Vlissingen (historically known as Flushing) is a port town in the Dutch province of Zeeland, situated on the northern bank of Western Scheldt, just at its estuary on the North Sea.
It is the second largest town of Zeeland with 34,000 inhabitants. The town is industrial in character and is connected by a large canal to Middelburg and onwards to the inland lake of Veerse Meer. In summer, tourists and day trippers flock to the city's well-known 2.6-km-long boulevard, which is also a sweep spot for maritime aficionados, as large ships pass by the Vlissingen coastline perhaps closer than anywhere else in the world.
Vlissingen has two railway stations and is the end on the line Roosendaal-Vlissingen. Passing through Roosendaal, there are direct connections to Rotterdam (1 hr 40 min), The Hague (>2 hr) and Amsterdam (almost 3 hr). There's also a direct connection to Breda and beyong. Trains go every 30 minutes.
Vlissingen is at the end of the motorway A58 (Eindhoven-Vlissingen), which is the main road in. Coming from the south, the Westerscheldetunnelweg allows you to cross the water of the Westerschelde near Terneuzen. Smaller, non-highway roads lead to town as well, making it possible to get here by bike, although they take detours to connect neighbouring villages.
As the town is an ancient harbour, it's reachable by boat.
Rotterdam Airport is one of the closest options when flying in, but is mostly served by discount carriers. Brussels has a larger international airport and is a good option when flying in. Amsterdam Schiphol is slightly further away but does have descent connections, making it still a logical pick.
You can easily get around by bicycle. The area is well served by cycle lanes and cycle paths. You can cycle along the shipping canal to Middelburg which is only a few km away. You can also cross the Westerschelde, and cycle to Terneuzen, Ghent or Bruges. You can also take the bus.
The closeness of the sea, the regular sea breeze that blows through town and some of its architecture give Vlissingen a typical maritime character. There are many historic buildings around, reminding of the harbour's golden ages and of the daily life of the people who lived there.
Pretty much everything that is of regular tourist interest can be found in the very compact centre, or Binnenstadt. The old town of Vlissingen, which used to be a fortress, is centred on the Koopmanshaven (merchants' haven), with the Beursplein, or market square, extending directly to the east from it. Most of the historic buildings are contained within the former fortress and thus within walking distance from there.
On the Spuistraat, the Belgian Loodshuizen, pretty Jugendstil mansions commissioned by Belgian Maritime Pilots, were built in 1910. Pilots still board visiting ships to steer them through the tricky waters of the Westerscheldt. Watching the massive ships up close as they make their way towards and from the harbour of Antwerp is a popular pass-time for the crowds on the boulevards. On the Beursplein you'll find the 1648 Beursgebouw, a historic commodity exchange in Dutch Renaissance-style and now a restaurant. The 1730 Beeldenhuis, now on the Prins Hendrikstraat, was built at the Dokkade as a city palace for a local adventurer who returned from his Far East travels a rich man and later became a leading figure in the Dutch West India Company. As the harbour industry along the Dokkade grew, the building was scheduled to be demolished. A plan to save it came through the last weeks and the precious façade was carefully taken apart and later rebuilt at the current location.
The North Sea side of Vlissingen is lined with boulevards, starting at the Koopmanshaven with Boulevard de Ruyter, and then extending northwestwards with Boulevard Bankert, with an increasing height of buildings and a beach.
Most visitors take a walk along the Boulevard. Go to the beach for a swim in summer season or a fresh walk at winters.
- 1 Het Arsenaal, Arsenaalplein 7, ☏ . 10:00-20:00 daily. This is a pirates and aquarium attraction park for children. It is possible to get atop the "Crow's Nest" to get a view of the city from a high altitude. €13.50, children €11.50.
- 2 Carrousel, Arsenaalplein 3 (next to Het Arsenaal), ☏ . M-F 12:00-00:00, Sa Su 11:00-00:00. This is the place to be if you like arcade halls. There are more than one hundred arcades in this beautifully designed entertainment centre, that is in a traditional Dutch funfair style. Upstairs are the slots and the children games, while downstairs have more graphically enhanced games. It is a lot of fun, especially if you're in a group. Don't play for the rewards though, as you'll need to spend a lot of money in order to win something decent. It's not worth it. There's also a restaurant upstairs that serves simple dishes. €0.50-2 per session.
- 3 muZEEum, Nieuwendijk 11, ☏ . M-F 10:00-17:00, Sa Su hols 13:00-17:00. MuZEEum means MuSEAum in Dutch, a word-play as it is the maritime museum of Zeeland. Vlissingen has been a maritime stronghold of Zeeland for centuries with its seafront, harbours and shipbuilding. The museum is housed in buildings from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, fused together by modern 21st century architecture. €8.
- Vlissingen Cycle Route - Exploring the Walcheren peninsula (south). Distance: 49 km.
- The largest supermarket of Zeeland, Albert Heijn XL.
There are plenty of places to eat in the old centre and along the boulevard. Nearly all restaurants serve seafood, the typical food of the region. Mussels (mosselen) are a particular favourite, and advertised all over town, as are squid (inktvis), cod (kabeljauw or kibbeling), sole (sliptong) and plaice (scholvis). At day-time you can also try a bolus, a bread that came from Zeeland.
- 1 Soif, Bellamypark 14, ☏ . Trendy, laid back place with tasty food. Great quality for money, with anything from lobster to the cheap dish of the day. Many of the dishes use biological and seasonal products.
- 2 Albatros, Beursplein 3, ☏ . This restaurant/bar serves the seafood common in Vlissingen. On the menu are many kinds of fried fish, including kibbeling and squid. It doesn't look fancy, but is an option if you're looking for cheaper fare. The staff are really friendly and willing to give you advice on where to go and what to do in Vlissingen and Zeeland. Order the Fish Mix if you want to try all the fish in one go. €12-14.
- 3 Foppe, Bellamypark 8, ☏ . Very simple snackbar in between the bars of the Bellamypark. If you're looking to save money, and don't expect any service, then this is the place. Try some fried kibbeling (fish snack) with fries here. They are even prepared in an unusual way with Asian spices. €7.
- 4 De Leugenaar, Boulevard Bankert 132, ☏ . Nicely located on the boulevard with a good view. Simple but tasty bistro dishes. €20 for a main.
Nightlife in Vlissingen is centred on the Bellamypark, a central square with the bars around it. As the bars are next to each other, just pick one and see if you like it. If you don't, there's plenty of other bars around.
- 1 De Concurrent, Bellamypark 22, ☏ . 12:00-03:00 daily. This is quite a traditional bar, but it has a nice atmosphere. In the afternoon and evening, music is not that loud so you can easily have a conversation. Simple pub grub is served, though at €17-20, the mains are quite overpriced. Better come here for the drinks as they have some nice beers on tap. Try the Vedett on hot summer days, a light Belgian wheat beer.
- 2 Speyk, Bellamypark 12, ☏ . M 19:00-03:00, Tu-Su 13:00-03:00. The most bustling bar of Vlissingen that has the interior of a British pub. At day-time it is a relaxed place to have a beer or sit on the outside terrace. There are many different kinds of beer on tap, inform with the waiter. At night it turns into a hip bar with loud pop music. It is popular among the locals, especially with younger audiences.
- 1 Zilt, Nieuwendijk 39, ☏ . Sea-side boutique hotel with modern rooms. The ones on the city side can be a bit noisy, but earplugs are provided. The reception isn't open 24/7 but there's staff on call if needed. €119 for a double (breakfast included).
- 2 Amadore Hotel Restaurant Arion, Boulevard Bankert 266. Nice sea views from many of the rooms (the others look out over the city) and good breakfast buffet. The rooms are nothing out of the ordinary, but well equipped and spacious. There's parking and facilities including a sauna available. €130 for a double.
- 3 City Hostel Vlissingen, Kerkstraat 10, ☏ . This hostel has rooms and dorms. They're all simple, with pine furniture and a separate bathroom for each room. Towels and bed linen are for rent. It's located conveniently in the centre, but bring earplugs as the next door church bells ring every half hour, also at night. Dorm beds from €22.50 (30 € during high season) including simple breakfast.
- 4 , Beursplein 7, ☏ . Friendly, small, 3-star hotel in the historic part of town. Rooms on the front side have a nice view over the Westerschelde. €100 for a double room with a view.
|Routes through Vlissingen|
|END ←||W E||→ Middelburg → Eindhoven|