Zwin Natuur Park

Belgian Coast

Around 5km northeast of Knokke, Het Zwin was once one of the world’s busiest waterways, connecting Bruges with the sea. In medieval times the river silted up, devastating Bruges’ economy. The marshy area is now this reserve, a tranquil region of polders (areas of drained land), ponds, scrub forest and mudflats that blush purple with zwinnebloem (sea lavender). Migrating swans, ducks and reed geese arrive here seasonally and there are populations of eagle owls and storks.

Rubber boots might prove useful if you've come for more than the 3pm stork-feeding.

To peruse the area from a distance (for free), walk or cycle a thoroughly upgraded 2.8km circular walk that starts down the promenade from Knokke’s Surfers’ Paradise beach bar (accessed from the easternmost end of Zwinlaan then by walking up Appelzakstraat and turning right) and ends at the ‘flying’ hare statue. The park is only accessible on foot; park your car at Bronlaan.