Charming villages and the tranquil polder landscape are making the Westhoek the ideal place for a relaxing trip on the water. Along the 163 km long route you will find a lot of historical monuments and buildings. Some evoke the atmosphere of the Middle Ages, other tell fascinating stories about ' the great war '.

Region & boating routes

Start - destination Boating hours Canal
Bruges Nieuwpoort Diksmuide 7h 30min Canal Ghent-Bruges-Ostend, Canal Passendale-Nieuwpoort, Verbindingskanaal, IJzer
Diksmuide Ieper - Fintele Veurne 11h IJzer, Kanaal Ieper-Ijzer (Kanaal van de Ieperlee), Lokanaal
Veurne Nieuwpoort 1h 15min Canal Nieuwpoort - Duinkerken
Nieuwpoort Bruges 5h 30min Canal Plassendale-Nieuwpoort, Canal Ghent-Bruges-Ostend
Optional: Veurne Adinkerke (+ Adinkerke -Nieuwpoort) 2h 30min Canal Nieuwpoort-Duinkerke, Canal de Furnes

Tourism

In Ostend is the Mercator at anchor, a sailing ship that served as a training ship from 1932 to 1960 for the officers of the Belgian Merchant Navy. Today the three-master is a museum full of nautical treasures.

Tucked away in the dunes you will find Fort Napoleon. The military building which leads us back to the time of Napoleon was completely restored and now houses a museum and a restaurant. From the terrace you have a beautiful view over the dunes. At that time, this work of art created an important connection between the coast and the hinterland. Today it is a protected monument.

In the “Dronkenput” in Middelkerke you have the feeling of losing your balance. The well was suddenly pushed upwards at the end of the 19th century. You get the tendency to keep yourself parallel with the pillars, which has a gradient of 12%.

Who feels like having spare-ribs can, among other things, to the “Rattevallebrug” in Middelkerke. 

The Grand Hotel Bellevue in Westende is a remarkable building in Belle Epoque style by architect Octave Van Rysselberghe. Thanks to the striking, round extension, the building was given the nickname 'De Rotonde'. In 2009 it served as the setting for the VT4 television program 'Het Hotel: Westende'.

Nieuwpoort used to be one of the most important fishing ports of the coast. Shrimp fishing and line fishing remain a Niewpoortse specialty. Be sure to visit the fish market and the marinas, which offer no less than 2500 berths.

Lovers of water sports can visit the various domains of Sport Vlaanderen (formerly Bloso).

In Dikmsuide numerous monuments remember us to World War I.  Impressive are the ‘IJzertoren’, museum of the IJser and the dead gang, a trench of the Belgian army to the IJzer.

The ‘IJzer’ has strongly influenced the course of World War I, and played a significant role. Along this stream, the German offensive in October 1914, was stopped, by the flooding of the adjacent areas (the so-called IJzervlakte). This flooding happened in three stages, and only after the third it finally halted the advance of the German army and they were forced into a small retreat.

The main performers of this inundation were later on, commemorated by their photo on the banknotes of 1000 fr. This river takes us, by way of speaking, along the front line where four years of fight were delivered.

For more information such as the war museums, war cemeteries, etc… you can have a look on the following web-site: www.100jaargroteoorlog.be

Absolutely not to be missed is the Ypres market square with the famous cloth Hall, the belfry, the courthouse and the Old Castellan domain building, today the commercial court. On the first floor of the rebuilt cloth Hall you’ll find the “In Flanders Fields Museum” which will take you back to ' 14-' 18, the period of World War I. Also visit the ‘Menenpoort’, it is very impressive.

From Ypres you can cycle along the Canal to Komen via the Kanaaldijken route. 
In Fintele there are some excellent eel restaurants.

Close to the lock, the remnants of the old Hooipietebrug are situated.

The picturesque village of Lo-Reninge in 1985 officially got the title of ‘Luilekkerstad’. Their cheeses are world famous, and also the Jules Destrooper's biscuits are produced there (tour through visitor center). In the basement of Athena, the beautiful tourist office, you can discover the atmosphere of the old cookie factory.

Veurne, with its marina in the Centre of the city, is an open air museum with the Town Hall and the country house in Flemish and Italian renaissance style respectively, the Spanish Pavilion and the Sint-Walburga Church. Veurne also has a lot of goodies such as the regional specialties white sausage meat, pots and Ginger snaps. There is weekly market on Wednesday.

In Adinkerke, from the youngest to the oldest visitor can have lots of fun in Plopsaland. Dunkirk is the third largest port in France. But there is obviously more to see. The city center of Dunkirk has several assets: historical buildings, museums, shopping opportunities, the sea at the Malo-les-Bains district.

Expansion possibilities

  • Connect to route North of France
  • Connect to route Leiestreek-Kortrijk & Ghent