Bloggers Lesley Van Loon and Yannick Merckx from Het Is De Merckx report
Yannick Merckx is a 23-year-old YouTuber from Antwerp, who loves sharing his creative stories via funny and energetic videos. He’s a cheerful chap who manages to get the best out of everyone, hence his determination to make everyone smile.
Travelling is a passion Yannick shares with his girlfriend Lesley. It is something that grew over time. He originally started his YouTube career producing funny and entertaining videos of his student days. And that entertaining aspect and positive vibe still comes through in the videos he posts today. Via his videos, he tries to take people along on his travels and to get them to join him on his many adventures.
Lesley Van Loon is a 23-year-old female blogger from Antwerp who is always at the ready to embark on new adventures and discover new places. She became part of the 'Het Is De Merckx' team in 2016, when the team switched to producing travel videos. Exploring the world and discovering new cultures is a passion Lesley & Yannick share.
While she regularly features in the entertaining videos, the blog, which complements the videos and contains buckets of information, is her baby. Her greatest passion is photography which she uses to try to inspire people to push back the boundaries.
Homeboat Nieuwpoort, a unique place to stay on the Belgian Coast
Never heard of HomeBoat Nieuwpoort? For us too it was a new, yet most interesting type of accommodation. Glamping as it’s called in funkier lingo. We stayed at the only Homeboat in Europe which is moored in the West-Flemish Nieuwpoort, that seaside resort that conjures up no end of nostalgia and personal memories. I’ve been coming here for 22 years and was pretty curious about this new type of accommodation!
Our stay at HomeBoat Nieuwpoort, glamping loft on the water
So what is a Homeboat?
For starters a Homeboat is not the same as a houseboat. Most of us would know at least 1 of those. This HomeBoat is the concept of 2 owners. And an innovative one at that because it’s an apartment built on a catamaran. The catamaran has been designed in such a way that the entire construction is extremely stable. Even when the weather is appalling, the HomeBoat will merely slide across the water without any fear of it capsizing. Toerisme Vlaanderen (the Flemish Tourist Board) gave this HomeBoat a 4 * rating.
Not only unique and luxurious but also environmentally friendly!
Both the current modern and ecological standards have been met here. Insulated to the highest standards, the HomeBoat could be equated to a passive home. It is equipped with all sorts of things like a modern heat pump, LED lights and electronic devices with the top ecolabels.
Our personal experience
The owners define the HomeBoat concept as ‘glamping’ which stands for glamorous camping, in a special atmosphere and in a very different type of accommodation. The perfect description to illustrate the feeling you get when staying on the HomeBoat. You are completely surrounded by water, it’s peaceful and you have all the privacy you want.
The fortes of the HomeBoat:
- Completely surrounded by water and nature
- Exclusive accommodation
- Near to passive accommodation with a modern interior
These aspects are quite unique, not to mention a far cry from your average hotel room.
This great glamping accommodation is suitable for young and old but we would say that, as a rule, HomeBoat Nieuwpoort will appeal to people who value peace and quiet and luxury. Everything is set up for 4 people, as you would see in a modern apartment. The overall surface area is 46 m2 to which you can add another 30 m2 of terrace on the roof. From here you can enjoy a 270° view of the Nieuwpoort waters and plains. All spaces have been equipped to cater for the not so young and there is a fixed stairs to the terrace.
We considered it a really fun and unique getaway for a couple to unwind and recover from the daily grind.
How much does a night on the HomeBoat cost?
- € 130-195 a night, but if you stay for more than 1 month you get a 20 % discount!
Do keep an eye on all the special offers, because they run them on a regular basis!
What does the immediate area have to offer?
Nieuwpoort is by far my favourite seaside resort because of its vast beach that takes you all the way to Oostduinkerke, the lovely shops, the ferry to Lombardsijde-Bad, the luxurious marina and the great atmosphere.
Great sights to visit in Nieuwpoort
- Make sure to check out the walkway-cum-cycle track that runs along the harbour channel. This promenade connects the North Sea and the marina and is about 2 km long.
- For people with children a visit to Kinderboerderij De Lenspolder (pet farm) comes highly recommended. I have so many happy childhood memories of that place.
- The Nieuwpoort marina with its 3 yacht clubs and some 2000 berths is the largest marina in Northern Europe. Easy to combine with the walkway-cum-cycle track!
Sporting activities in Nieuwpoort
- Nature reserve De IJzermonding, with its specific fauna and flora of mud flats, salt marshes, dunes, beach and polders, is pretty unique in Belgium. The ferry will take you from Nieuwpoort to the other side of the IJzermonding free of charge. A spot where walkers and cyclists can really indulge in their passion!
- Sand yachting is an absolute must if you’re any way sporty. At low tide, you’ll see loads of surf skateboards on the beaches. If you want to take lessons or hire equipment in Nieuwpoort, call into Wishbone.
- For those who prefer to be on the water, why not try your hand at windsurfing, kayaking or sailing?
Cultural excursions in Nieuwpoort
- Nieuwpoort is extremely popular because of its ‘war tourism’ with well-known monuments like The Ninth Wave by Edith Dekyndt, Men by Nina Beier, and other monuments and works of art such as Le vent souffle où il veut (The wind blows where it wants) by Daniel Buren and De Poolreiziger (The polar traveller) by Freddy Cappon.
- At the foot of the impressive King Albert I monument, which was erected in memory of the victims of World War I, lies the Westfront. This is the spot that marks the German invasion of Belgium in 1914. There is also a visitor centre where you can engross yourself in the history of the Great War.
- Via Ganzenpoot, the harbour channel links up with 6 other traffic flows.
We went on a marvellous boat trip with the local organisation Flanders Tours, with its founder, Dirk, at the helm. Dirk is an extremely likeable fellow, who is passionate about the region. He loves nothing better than taking people around Nieuwpoort and the surrounding area and showing them the sights and getting them to savour the atmosphere. Flanders Tours organises excursions and boat trips tailored to a specific target audience and in limited groups. If you do happen to book an excursion with him, make sure to give him our regards!
The nicest restaurants and trendiest lunch spots in Nieuwpoort
The greatest spots to lunch in Nieuwpoort, by far my favourite seaside resort because of its vast beach that takes you all the way to Oostduinkerke, the lovely shops, the convivial restaurants, the swish marina and the great atmosphere. In recent years, Nieuwpoort has become a major seaside resort with many wonderful, trendy lunch spots and restaurants.
In this blog, I would like to introduce you to my Nieuwpoort culinary favourites!
Trendy lunch spots in Nieuwpoort worth a detour
A haven for cyclists. A meeting place where you can have something to drink and a bite to eat in a unique cycling decor.
Address: Zeedijk 63, 8620 Nieuwpoort
Opening hours: Closed on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, all other days from 10:00 to 18:00.
For lovers of Scandinavian design, vintage and coffee! The place to pop into if you fancy a great breakfast with granola or a roll, a healthy lunch or an afternoon treat. A celebration of artisan produce, lovingly prepared. The menu isn’t very extensive but everything that’s on it is top-notch! ‘He that despises the little is not worthy of the great’.
Address: Marktstraat 48, 8620 Nieuwpoort
Opening hours: cClosed on Wednesdays & Thursdays, all other days from 09:30 to 17:30.
Spanish tapas, home-made cakes, a hot latte macchiato or a special gin perhaps? Whatever you fancy! Charlie’s Lunchroom offers a luncheon menu that is slightly out of the ordinary. But they also serve traditional rolls and a mean burger, I’ll have you know!
Address: Albert I laan 326, 8620 Nieuwpoort
Opening hours: Closed on Tuesdays, other days from 10:00 - 19:00, Saturdays and Sundays until 20:00.
The baker who has been serving simple, but delicious fair like home-made soup, rolls or a delicious snacks for well over 10 years. And if you fancy something sweet, treat yourself to home-made ice cream, pancakes or a slice of cake.
Address: Albert I laan 259a, 8620 Nieuwpoort
Opening hours: Closed on Wednesdays & Thursdays, all other days from 08:00 to 18:00.
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