Blankenberge is a coastal town in Belgium; on hot summer days, the town and the sandy beaches can be jam-packed with day tourists who want to enjoy the sparse sunny days in Belgium. Cafes and restaurants -- where one can have the typical Belgian "mussels and fries" combined with a glass of white wine or Belgian beer -- line the pedestrian-only boulevard along the beach.
Blankenberge has some pretty neat tourist attractions. The pier, which is the longest in Belgium, offers a great view on the beach; the Serpentarium has a fine collection of reptiles, amphibians, and insects of all sorts and is ideal for a rainy day. Certainly worth a visit is the sea life center, a marine animal zoo with rescue center where on the weekends it's possible to volunteer to help the rescued animals.
From June to September the city organizes the must-see Sand Sculpture Festival of Blankenberge, where various artists from all over the world come together to create a magical world entirely made out of sand.
It is possible to reach Blankenberge and the other coastal cities in Belgium by motorway from Brussels, Bruges, or Ghent. There are many traffic jams, though, on hot days in July and August. Another option is to take a train -- nearly all cities and towns in Belgium are connected by rail, so it is easy to reach from anywhere in the country.
There are various accommodation options in Blankenberge, from budget studios to luxury hotels, including a Blankenberge hostel located in Uitkerke, on the edge of the city center.
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