Knokke is a town within the municipality of Knokke-Heist. The town itself is fairly small but accounts for 16,000 of the municipality’s 30,000 residents. The destination is not the most popular in Belgium but it certainly appeals to the middle-class in the country and proves a popular spot for those with holiday homes due to its many beaches and decent nightlife. If you explore the area around Knokke, you will see that there are many mansions dotted around the neighbouring towns.
As far as tourism goes, the main attraction of Knokke is the beach and the nightlife but there are also a few worthwhile museums and art galleries and, if you have money to spend, there are a number of swanky and unusual shops to spend money in. As always in Belgium eating out is always an option and the Knokke-Heist area has plenty of good eating establishments.
If you are planning to pass through Knokke and Knokke-Heist on a trip of Belgium, then my advice would be to allow for a couple of days only. This will allow you to enjoy the beach on one day and a couple of museums on the other. Don’t forget to visit the casino and either see some entertainment or gamble a few euros away. If you are in the area for longer, try to have a guided tour of the casino in order to see its hidden treasures and take a boat trip to see some seals.
Lets explore the best things to do in Knokke:
1. Visit the For Freedom Museum
This fascinating museum in the Knokke-Heist area shows how tough life was during the Second World War in an accurate and realistic way.
The museum is often included on battlefield tours in the area and many people would say that it is a tour highlight.
The various dioramas, exhibits and artefacts show life in this region between 1940 and 1945. The museum is open daily in the summer and at weekends during November and December.
Entry costs 8 Euros for an adult.
2. See Knokke’s Nature Reserve
The Zwin Nature Park amusingly but accurately describes itself as the international bird airport due to the incredible amount and variety of migrating birds that pass through here on their journeys around the world.
The park has recently had a new visitor’s centre which explains more about the birds and their migratory routes in various entertaining displays.
There are also observatory decks and a walking trail to allow you to get up close and personal to all the birds.
3. Be a high-roller in the Grand Casino
Knokke’s Grand Casino is far more grand on the inside than from outside.
On the outside the building is a fairly unassuming concrete structure with some neon lights for effect.
Inside however the experience is more like you would expect in Las Vegas including slot machines, live tables and even live entertainment on certain days of the week including magicians and musicians.
Entry is to anyone over 21. The highlights of the casino, its 72 meter wide mural and the impressive glass chandelier are not visible to the public, so if you want so see these (and you certainly should) ask at the tourist office for details of tours.
4. Learn about the ways of the past in Knokke-Heist
The daily lives of the fisherman in Knokke-Heist were tough and at the Sincfala Museum you can learn all about them.
The museum actually covers the history of the region for the past 2000 years, providing the most in depth and interesting look at life in the region available.
Entry to the museum is 3.50 Euros and it is every day of the year apart from Christmas and New Year.
5. Hire a bike from Zoute Cycles
Zoute Cycles offers the absolute optimal starting point for a cycling trip in the Knokke area.
Instead of driving into the centre of the town, paying for parking and then starting your journey, simply drive to Zoute Cycles, park for free and hire your bikes there.
Zoute is also a great starting point for your ride whether you want to explore the countryside or the coastline.
6. Take a boat trip
What better thing to do when by the sea than to take a boat trip? You will find plenty of companies offering tours from Knokke (like: knokke boat) and these prove for a great day out, especially in the summer months.
The best tours are those offering a chance to see the local seals .
These tours usually begin with a speedy trip out to see, reaching speeds of around 65kmph, before slowing down and allowing the seals to emerge from the water and approach the boat.
7. Visit the five beaches
The region of Knokke-Heist has five beaches, all of which are easily accessible from the town of Knokke.
The five beaches each possess very different characteristics and you will no doubt have a favourite after visiting all five.
Walk from Knokke to Heist and experience the different beaches; some sporty, some stylish and others more family oriented.
If you feel like walking is too much effort, why not try one of the many horseback tours of the beaches for a unique experience.
8. Visit the Art Nocturne Knokke gallery
Art Nocturne Knokke is growing in reputation around Europe and for good reason.
The collection here is varied and interesting and covers a wide range of themes and styles including contemporary art and design.
Admission to the gallery is not cheap and anyone over 18 will have to pay 15 Euros, under 18s are free.
The gallery can be found on Maxim Willemspad.
9. Chill at Surfer’s Paradise
The Surfer’s Paradise bar has an ideal location beachside and is one of the best places to drink and snack in Knokke.
Don’t expect gourmet food but do expect decent music, great views of the beach, comfy seats and casual dining.
If you are on the beach and looking for a nice cold drink near the sea with a bite to eat; look no further than surfer’s paradise.
Surfer’s Paradise also offer surfing lessons if you feel the need to improve your surfing skills.
10. Listen to some sweet jazz music
The Septime Jazz Bar in Knokke is earning quite a reputation for its classy and entertaining nightlife.
The bar serves a small amount of food, good beer and cocktails and hosts live jazz music every Saturday night.
The interior of the bar is simply decorated and quite small but the atmosphere on a Saturday night is great with top class jazz music and many people dancing.
11. Ride in the Sea Lounge
The Sea Lounge is a boat trip that is very different from the seal watching boat tours also available in Knokke.
The Sea Lounge is a luxury catamaran available for hire and tours.
The catamaran can be hired privately or used for bachelor parties or photo shoots.
If you fancy a boat trip with a more luxurious feel than the seal watching boats; this is the best option for you.
12. Visit the Crea Bloemen Flower Shop
Even if you do not intend to buy any flowers or ceramics, this shop is worth visiting.
The Crea Bloemen shop has been situated in Knokke for more than two decades now and specialises in creating beautiful homeware and flowers.
The shop looks as good as any art gallery you may visit and is certainly worth exploring during your time in Knokke.
You can find Crea Bloemen on Lippenslaan.
13. Take a green tour of the coast
For those who don’t want to cause pollution by driving around the coast but haven’t got the legs for cycling; Park and Drive Electric makes perfect sense.
You can hire an electric golf caddy style vehicle and tour the coast and town alike.
The benefits of these little vehicles are; they are open-sided allowing for great visibility, they are free to run (apart from the hire cost) and, if you hire one for more than a day, they will provide you with a new battery each day to keep you on the move.
14. Get active at the Chalet Suisse
The premiere leisure centre in Knokke, the Chalet Suisse offers many different sports in one place.
Tennis, miniature golf, bowls and archery are all available here as well as food via the restaurant which can cater for 50 people.
The restaurant serves basic food such as grilled meats and mussels but if you are hungry after a game of tennis, it is just right.
15. See a flying hare
Walk around the dunes near the Zwin in Knokke and you may well be lucky enough to see the sculpture of a flying hare.
The massive hare, which has been sculpted mid-leap, is made entirely from Bronze and was sculpted by British artist Barry Flannigan.
The sculpture is called “Hospitality” and the hare itself is said to represent fertility, power and freedom.