Anyone with a passport has caught themselves daydreaming of European beaches, especially with Summer right around the corner.

Europe is jam-packed with stunning shores, but oftentimes, travelers tend to follow the crowds, playing it safe so they know what they’re signing up for when splurging on a vacation.

That’s not to say Europe’s iconic beaches aren’t worthy of a trip, but many still fly under the radar.

We’re not talking about far-flung islands with 3 layovers to reach either.

There are some incredible beach spots hidden in plain sight and, better yet, offer direct flights from the U.S.

While many travelers seeking sun and sand will hit up Spain, Portugal, and Greece, among others, why not give Belgium a fair chance?

Easily reachable, and even overshadowed by the country’s own cultural inland cities of Brussels and Bruges, Belgium’s stunning coastline should be your next European beach vacation.

Belgium Is More Than Picturesque Canals And Cobbled Streets

How many times have you heard ‘Belgium’ and ‘beach vacation’ in the same sentence? Probably not a lot.

Beach hotels in Belgium

In fact, it’s safe to say many travelers don’t realize Belgium is a coastal getaway at all, being attracted to Brussels and Bruges like moths to a flame.

It’s not that Belgium isn’t popular, but this beautiful, historic country has never quite had a seat at the table with the likes of France, Spain, and the U.K., even as close as they are geographically.

Yet, Belgium is indeed an awesome beach destination with over a dozen resorts to choose from.

From the picture-perfect beaches of Du Panne bordering France to the scenic coastal town of Knokke-Heist bordering The Netherlands, it’s time for Belgium’s shores to take center stage.

Entry into beautiful beach in De Panne, Belgium

One Of The Most Unique Ways In Europe To Find Your Beach

Speaking of Du Panne and Knokk-Heiste, traveling border to border is easy peasy with Belgium’s 140-year-old Kusttram tram.

While certainly no epic European train adventure, beach-hopping around Belgium’s quaint seaside is still a thrill for scenic sites and perfect photo-ops on the longest tramline in the world.

Taking vacationers the full 43 miles, this fun ride sure beats an Uber or dirty taxi ride! The tram is not just for going beach to beach, Belgium’s coast is full of surprises.

Kusttram in Du Panne

Some notable stops along the journey are the Middelkerke Casino, German Second World War fortifications, and both the gorgeous Zwin Nature Reserve and Westhoek Nature Reserve.

With a total of 67 stops, tourists can enjoy a mix of urban sites and coastal gems perusing this highly underrated side of the country.

Don’t Skip Ostend

Du Panne and Knokk-Heiste are much smaller beach towns compared to Ostend, which is the most sizable city along the coast.

Resorts lining Ostend beach at sunset

Here, is a mix of beautiful beaches, nice hotels, and some unexpected historical experiences dating back centuries.

First being Fort Napoleon. Dating back to 1811, this preserved fort of historical significance is easy to reach by free ferry service and is open 6 days a week.

And despite being old, there are new developments nearby to grab a bit to eat, shop, or simply lounge at the beach.

Ostend is also home to the Mu.ZEE, which displays art from the early 1800s and stunning architectural marvels like the churches of St. Peter and St. Paul.

Ostend beach tourists

Americans Can Fly Nonstop To Brussels

Americans may not realize Belgium is far easier to reach than one might think. Usually not at the top of the list for a Euro-trip, Brussels can actually be your first stop.

Between New York City and Washington D.C., Americans can hop aboard Brussels Airlines for a direct flight to Belgium.

From here, Belgium’s coast is super accessible with multiple trains under an hour and a half from the capital city.

Of course, Brussels, Bruges, and Ghent, among others, are incredible places to visit while here.

You can also take a nice city break before enjoying the underrated seaside.

Brussels Airlines plane

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