De Kusttram - The Coast Tram
This looks like an interesting journey. The Belgian Coast Tram is reckoned to be the longest tram line in the world, following almost the entire Belgian coastline from Adinkerke/De Panne, on the French border, to Knokke, on the Dutch border. There are a total of 70 stops over the 68 kilometres and all the coastal towns and villages can be visited.
I haven't, as yet, worked out all the info as the official site is in Dutch only, but I believe you can buy a sort of "rover" ticket which allows unlimited travel for various periods. There also seems to be a combined bike hire and tram ticket where you can cycle certain sections and take the tram others.
Definitely on my "to do" list!
De Kusttram - A Bit Of A Disappointment
Having finally gotten the time off to explore a bit more of Belgium I decided to have an overnight stop at Ostend after I'd done my tobacco shopping (and had an excellent lunch) here in Adinkerke. This also gave me the opportunity to ride the Coast Tram between the two.
As a means of getting around the Belgian coast (well, up and down anyway) this is an excellent service with the trams running every fifteen minutes during the day and the maximum single fare being only 2 Euros if bought before joining the tram (3 Euros from the driver).
The trams are modern and comfortable and although they can get a little crowded around the main towns it is generally a relaxing ride.
Unfortunately the route doesn't actually follow the coast as such but rather it passes through the centres of the coastal towns and villages which all seem to be joined together by a homogenous mass of towering apartment blocks. Glimpses of the sea are just that, the occasional short stretch where the coast's developments briefly peter out before restarting a few hundred metres later.
This made my hour and twenty minute journey kind of a let-down but having said that it is otherwise a very practical and inexpensive service which took me from where I was to where I wanted to be.
- Budget Travel
Nice Train Station - Scruffy Trains Though!
Adinkerke's train station is actually called De Panne but seems to be niether in De Panne nor in Adinkerke, both being a kilometre or so distant. I'm not sure whether there's a bus connection to Adinkerke but it's only a 10 minute or so walk to the south. There is a tram connection to De Panne though, the Coastal Tram, which runs every 10 minutes or so during peak summer months.
De Panne is the end of the branch line from Gent, which is just over an hour away, and trains seem to run hourly from early until late. Both the trains I caught on my last visit were the scruffiest imaginable (a bit like our local branch line services here back home) but were clean and comfortable inside and so not a complaint, merely an observation.