De Haan has a lovely wide beach, and once over the sand dunes at the far end of the beach, you see an incredible vista of sea and sand.
The beach by the heart of the town is easily accessible down a slope (right by the ice cream seller, which is very useful on a hot day).
I did not see any lifeguards on the beach.
One of the highlights is the little Tram Station of De Haan, where the tourist office of De Haan is situated (you can find a tram line everywhere along Belgian coast for reaching any coast city). It was built in 1902, when the older one was removed. See the beautifully decorated "Art Nouveau"-style.
Walking here in the center of De Haan you can see in the background the traditional, beautiful house (English cottage style), close to the Tram Station. Take on your walk a delicious Belgium bread, fritten (chips) or the famous Belgium chocolate ...
See the architecture from 19th century in De Haan which made this cute little town that popular. The wonderful located villas with beautiful flowers and quiet charm made a lot of tourists coming to De Haan, enjoying the beach area, too, for a romantic holiday.
Actually De Haan got opened for tourism at 22nd of July with the opening of "Hotel du Coq", translated "Hotel De Haan". It was then the Belgian authorities decided to create some space for a new, carefully planned beach city ...
De Haan is not that big, so a walk from hotel, appartment or villa to the center can be very relaxing. See the beautiful houses and villa's and, enjoy some real Belgium bread, or a snack ...
The house called "Columbier"
The town was founded rather recently in 1888 by the company "Coq-sur-mer" and the architect E.Colinet.
It was not that easy to decide - what is more important - the town itself or the tram line .Those houses are located very near the line from east to west ! From De Panne till Knokke ! And the landscapes between those cities are many times so different ! Not only in landscape - but also in language !French is popular in Knokke and De Panne - Flemish in Middelkerke and Blankenberge - such a small world and country - but so complex !!
The Town Hall located at the Leopoldlaan
is special - a classified so protected building and actually the street itself is in a stade of renovation !! (november 2003) Getting ready for the next holiday season !!
Christiana/Tenierslaan in De Haan. A nice residence in De Haan - many houses builded in the early 20th century ! Traditional english architecture actually functioning as a Hotel - beloved by many tourists from germany and the UK ! They feel at home in Belgium
De Haan has a lovely, 11 km fine sandy beach stretching from De Haan to Wenduine. Close to the center, you can relax on the beach in a beach chair protected from the northern wind by wind shields. There is also a building with first-aid and toilettes.
No trip to the Flemish coast would be complete without enjoying a beer, some fries, and perhaps some ice cream, all of which are readily available in De Haan. More importantly, all are tastefully provided, in houses and buildings that continue to evoke an old world sense of charm and class.
Also, since De Haan is in Flanders, you can feel confident that whether you speak English, French, Dutch, or German, they will happily help you out and take your money.
Designed as a turn of the century escape for Brussels' and Antwerp's wealthy and fashionable, De Haan glows with the balconies and bright colours of the period. From an architectural perspective, De Haan forms a crucial link in the Flanders saga. It stands as a terrific counterpoint to the medieval art cities of Brugge and Gent or the Art Nouveau facades of Brussels and Antwerp.
Plus, it looks swell. And the beer is good.
Despite the lovely Belle Epoque architecture, there is one and only one reason to visit De Haan: the beach.
The sand is not white, the sea is not turquoise, and the sun is not always shining. That said, for a Belgian in need of sea, sand, and surf, De Haan fits the bill perfectly.
Lovely houses and terraces line the shore, with plenty of opportunities for beer, fries, and waffles. Above all, try the chicken, especially since De Haan aan Zee means "Hen on the Sea".