A busy beach resort, De Panne started life as a fishing village set in a panne (hollow) among the dunes. It was here that King Léopold I, arriving from London, first set foot on Belgian territory in 1831.

De Panne is the westernmost town on the Belgian coast. Its proximity to the French border means you're as likely to hear French spoken as Dutch, giving the town a slightly more exotic flavour than the other resorts.

West of De Panne’s central strip, grassy-topped dunes provide a home for winter’s migratory birds, but views in this direction are unfortunately marred by the belching smokestacks of Dunkerque.