7 x the best things to do in Knokke (with and without kids!)

The Belgian Knokke (or officially Knokke-Heist) is a beautiful coastal city just a few hours’ drive from the Netherlands. We visit Knokke in March for a long weekend away. The weather is not great, but it is nice to get some fresh air. In this blog, you will find seven fun things to do in Knokke, with or without children.Knokke 22

7 fun activities in Knokke with and without children!

Below are the seven best activities to do in Knokke with good and bad weather. When activities are specifically for kids, I mentioned this too.

1. Relax on the beach of Knokke

Knokke is located on the beach. A beautiful long beach where you see cute white beach houses and a beautiful beach bar every few meters. The beach is divided into several parts. You have a sports beach, a children’s area full of playgrounds and the luxurious “Zoute” with expensive restaurants and a jet-set vibe. You will find dunes in the Heist section (sub-municipality of Knokke-Heist). This is the place where many families are.

Beach pavilions and beach clubs are open from Easter weekend until the beginning of October, before and after they are all closed (legally regulated). Most beach bars also have a small playground for children, which is perfect!

Unfortunately, the weather is not great when we are in Knokke. So chilling on the beach is not an option, and the beach pavilions are also closed. But a walk on the beach to get some fresh air is very nice!

2. Enjoy the delicious food at the hotspots of Knokke

There is no shortage of good food in Knokke! There are hundreds of restaurants, bakeries, pastry shops and caterers. In three days we discovered a number of nice hotspots in Knokke.

Rubens: traditional Belgian food

Everyone we spoke to beforehand said that visiting Rubens was a must when in Knokke. Followed by the warning that this place is certainly not fancy, but is truly Belgian. And that’s right, we eat the famous shrimp croquettes and smoked salmon and the menu is packed with classic Belgian dishes. Rubens sits on the popular Rubensplein with a sea view. The decor is classic, almost old-fashioned, but the service is very friendly and the food is delicious. So definitely visit this household name in Knokke! Click here for this restaurant in Knokke.Knokke 8

Marie-Rose Bakery: breakfast and brunch

You can have a very good breakfast or brunch at Marie-Rose Bakery. This small restaurant on the famous shopping street Dumortierlaan makes the most delicious breakfasts. We order a bowl of coconut yogurt with fruit and vegetables, American pancakes, and a green juice.  A bread basket with delicious fresh bread is served standard with your food, so you definitely won’t leave hungry. Also suitable with children. Click here for this restaurant in Knokke.

Cremerie Francois Knokke: ice cream, waffles and drinks

Cremerie Francois is a household name in Belgium. It is the oldest ice cream parlor in Belgium, with its original location in Sint-Niklaas. Nowadays there is also a Cremerie Fancois in Knokke where you can eat great ice cream sundaes, but where they also make delicious crepes, waffles, and snacks. This is not a place where you get an ice cream to take away, you sit in the cozy shop or on the cute terrace to enjoy your ice cream sundae. On a chilly and wet afternoon, we sit down for a snack and drink and that is also very tasty! Click here for the location of this restaurant in Knokke.

Bakeries/Patisseries in Knokke-Heist

Knokke is chock full of luxurious bakeries or patisseries. Perfect for when, like us, you wake up very early because of children. With Floris in the stroller, Ries gets fresh bread, croissants, and pain au chocolat, so I can sleep in a bit. 

Our favorite bakeries/patisseries in Knokke are Bakkerij Lievens with delicious pancakes to take away and Patisserie Lukas with the most amazing pastries.Knokke

Caterers in Knokke-Heist

Because we get back to our apartment early in the evening, since Floris goes to bed between 6:00 PM and 7:00 PM, we order something tasty at the end of the afternoon from one of the many caterers that you can find in Knokke-Heist. Ries is a fan of caterer Da Tony with all kinds of Italian dishes. And I love the Homarderie, where they sell fish dishes and cheese.

Restaurants we have not been to but were recommended to us:

  • Simz: for delicious Belgian sandwiches, called Smoskes in Flemish.
  • Roots: for tasty coffee or a healthy acai bowl
  • Blé d’Or: a luxury bakery where you can also have a good breakfast
  • La Sapiniére: good restaurant with Belgian classics
  • Le Bistro de la Mer: chic restaurant with a French-Belgian menu
  • Café de Paris: french brasserie with very good fries!
  • Pinot: wine shop where you can also have a bite to eat
  • The Stork: despite its very old-fashioned appearance (and not-so-kind waitress), it is known for serving the best mussels in Knokke.

3. Cycling through the Zwin to Cadzand

The Zwin Nature Park is a beautiful nature reserve between Belgium and the Netherlands. It is a so-called slufter, a beach area behind the dunes where water flows in at low tide. And because fresh water also flows into the sea here, nature is very versatile. When we cycle here it is low tide and large parts of the Zwin meadow are completely dry.

You can discover beautiful routes here by bike. On a dry but cold morning, we decide to cycle from Knokke via the Zwin to Cadzand (in the Netherlands). A beautiful route where you cycle alternately along the sea, the gully and through the dunes and polders. On the way we drive past The Shelter, an ecological restaurant that overlooks a large meadow where Scottish highlanders graze. There are poles with stork nests everywhere around the striking, black building. We have never seen so many of these birds together.

We continue our route over the dike along the Zwinweide (the gully), where the landscape as soon as we return to the Netherlands is somewhat rougher, with higher dunes. We end at the nice beach pavilion de Zeemeeuw for coffee and a cake. Our route (can be found here on Google Maps) is 11 km back and 11 km forth, so an excellent distance on a well-maintained cycle path. There are many more cycling and walking paths through the Zwin. Take a look at the Zwin website for more information.

4. Knokke with children: Rent a go-kart on the boulevard

A real hit according to all the parents we spoke to: rent a go-kart and race along the boulevard of Knokke! And yes, we come across several places where you can rent the craziest and most beautiful go-karts and bicycles. Perfect for when your kids need to burn off some energy and it’s not warm enough for the beach. Unfortunately, Floris was still a bit too young, but we’ll go for it next time! You can rent a go-kart for 8 euros per hour.

5. Shopping in the luxury triangle

I have never seen so many beautiful and luxurious shops together in a small town. In the Golden Triangle, an area of three streets that together form a triangle, you can indulge in shopping. A well-filled wallet is useful because most shops are really expensive.

The three streets that together form the Golden Triangle are: Lippenslaan, Kustlaan and Dumortierlaan. You will also find art galleries and interior design shops throughout the city. Also nice, there is more than enough art to see on the streets!

6. Knokke with children: Playground & heart waffles at Marie Siska

Marie Siska is truly a household name here in Knokke. I came here 23 years ago as a child, to Marie Siska’s beautiful large playground. Marie Siska is, in addition to a restaurant that mainly revolves around freshly baked waffle hearts, a great fun playground for children. With several slides, a carousel that you push yourself, and different themes such as pirates, sweets, and hot air balloons. Here your kids can play to their heart’s content while you sit on the terrace.

Floris is also a big fan, not only of playing but also of the waffles. We find the latter a little less tasty, but the whole setting is worth it! Click here for the location of Marie Siska in Knokke. Oh, and you can also spend the night here, click here for the hotel.

7. In bad weather: a nice accommodation with a swimming pool

Going to Knokke in mid-March means a high chance of bad weather. That’s why we booked a more luxurious apartment than normal. After all, we spend more time indoors here! This is highly recommended if you go to Knokke in winter or early spring. Our apartment has an indoor swimming pool and sauna and it is wonderful to warm up there after a long bike ride or rainy walk. Also, perfect for when you travel with children who can enjoy themselves in the pool in the afternoon.

Apartments and hotels are also a lot more affordable in the low season. We are staying in a luxurious Portwin apartment in the center of Knokke. You can sleep here for 200 euros per night. Click here for more information. You can find other hotels and apartments in Knokke here.

Other things we didn’t do in Knokke-Heist

We will definitely go back to Knokke again because we truly fell in love with this beach town. Things we haven’t done yet are:

  • Social Media walking route: In the Knokke-Heist tourism office (housed in a beautiful building on the sea), you can take one of the Social Media walking routes through the center. These are walking or cycling routes that take you past all kinds of highlights of the city, but also allow you to see a different side of Knokke. Click here for more information.
  • Water sports at Lakeside Paradise: no far from the coast you will find a dune water lake called Put van de Cloedt. This is where Lakeside Paradise is located, a water sports club where you can also eat and drink. There is even a hostel, click here for more information.
  • Indoor playground De Zes Bochten: Is the weather really bad for several days? Then a visit to the restaurant and indoor playground De Zes Bochten could be a solution for a holiday in Knokke with children. When the weather clears, there is also an outdoor playground. You can also spend the night here. Click here for more information.

Other tips Knokke-Heist:

Cheap or free parking in Knokke-Heist:

In many places in Knokke you can park for free or you only have to pay during the weekend. In this overview, you will find all the information about the parking zones in Knokke-Heist and how much you pay for parking.

Lower prices in Knokke during the low season:

We are unintentionally in Knokke during the low season. That means much lower prices for hotels and apartments. So not bad for your wallet. But it also means that the beach bars are not yet open and some restaurants are also closed. We don’t mind, but we do plan to go back sometime in the summer!

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