The most beautiful spots of the Creek area

The most beautiful spots of the Creek area

The sun leaves a radiant wreath on the water

Stroll through quiet church villages where you can hear a pin drop. The Creek area is truly a sparkling jewel in the crown of Meetjesland. If you want to experience genuine peace and quiet, they're the ideal spot.

Nature and silence

The Meetjesland Creek area is a beautiful natural area as far as the eye can see. The vast bodies of water that interrupt the green polder landscape attract thousands of birds and other creatures. Spot birds you hardly see anywhere else and experience how invigorating a place of glorious silence can be. In the creeks, you come back into your own for a while.

The eternal battle against water

The story of the Creek area is that of the struggle against water. Each time the Western Scheldt flooded, the existing peat pits were further eroded. In the 14th and 15th centuries, villages like Terpiete and Koudekerke disappeared under the rising waters. The current church of Sint-Margriete, a borough of Sint-Laureins, is the fifth in a row. The previous four were destroyed by floods. It took hundreds of years to completely embank the area so its inhabitants could finally sleep at ease.Humans also broke breaches in the dykes themselves to flood the land and keep the enemy at bay. Nature took care of the rest. Due to operation of the sea tides, canals later became gullies and afterwards large pools of water: a creek. With both fresh and salt water, as creeks were often created by the tidal action of the sea. Today, gullies, creeks and dykes define the landscape of the region around Sint-Laureins and around Assenede.

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Sint-Laureins: the biggest

The creeks around Sint-Laureins stretch from Middelburg to Zelzate, thus rubbing up against the Dutch-Belgian border. The largest creeks can be found between Sint-Laureins and Watervliet. From the many traffic-free agricultural roads, you can explore the area at your leisure, without any traffic stress. Take your bike or put on your hiking boots and explore more than 265 kilometres of hiking trails. And if you really want a unique experience, book a covered wagon ride through the polders.

The biggest of all creeks is Boerekreek. Much of it is nature reserve, the rest was turned into a provincial sports centre for schools, groups and environmental education programs. It is a nice place to visit and to walk alongside the creek.

There used to be intensive eel fishing in the creeks. Those days are sadly over, but the eel restaurants have remained. Like restaurant Polderzicht in Sint-Jan-in-Eremo. The De Wever family's restaurant has gathered a name and fame as an eel expert. Or will you go for restaurant the Roste Muis? Here, too, you will taste eel in at least four different ways, which you can wash down with special Muizebier. In summer, the large café terrace is a major draw with a view of the picturesque church of St John the Baptist: sheer bliss! Unless you slip your feet under the table at restaurant Sies, in the former rectory of Watervliet inhabited by the eccentric "Paster Sies". You eat lobster and rib-eye here, but also eel, of course.

Hiking along the Sent creeks

The hiking trail along the creeks of Sint-Laureins is the perfect way to recharge, with nothing but the gentle murmur of water and trees in the background. You start the 13-kilometre walk in the centre of Sint-Laureins, at the Godshuis. From there it goes to the Leopold Canal, where you pull yourself across with the foot ferry. And then you immediately step into the wonderful world of creeks. The Vrouwkenshoekkreek, the Blokkreek and the Hollandersgatkreek stretch out before you, fringed by vast nature and an imposing sky above.

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Biking along the Sent creeks

Ready for a day spent admiring nature on two wheels? Then try the Meetjesland Creeks cycling route that departs and arrives at the Huysmanhoeve in Eeklo. A brisk 52.6-kilometre ride past picturesque villages, green lanes, impressive forests and fabulous bodies of water. Along the way, you pass Sint-Laureins and Boerekreek. But Oostpolderkreek also offers you beautiful views - be sure to take a walk on the long fishing pier.

Also enjoy the overwhelming view over the Leopold Canal and the Bentille Creek, get off at the white church of Sint-Jan-in-Eremo or visit Watervliet - one of the 15 most beautiful villages in Flanders with a beautiful church and picturesque streets.

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The Assenede Gezusterkreken

Assenede's creeks date back to the 8th century. De Grote Geul, de Rode Geul and de Kleine Geul, het Hollandse Gat and the ‘Gezusterkreken’ Kleine Kil and Grote Kil lie dreamily in the landscape here, surrounded by green belts of vast fields. Just down the road you will also find the Bottomless Pit - a silent witness to a serious dike breach in 1808.

Dykes and Polders

The easiest way to reach the Assenede creeks is along the Doornendijk in Assenede. The village itself is particularly cosy. The friendly operators of Assenede's restaurants and cafes welcome you with a smile. The Phonograaf is a typical brown pub with a charming interior and extremely friendly service. Diederick van Assenede, in turn, is a gourmet restaurant where daily fresh flavours and perfect preparations are blended into a delicious symphony. Elegance on your plate, sophistication in the room.

Walking along the Assenede creeks

You will start your 15-kilometre walk on the market square of Assenede, one of the oldest villages in Flanders with ancient alleys and beautiful church ramparts. Entries date back to the 10th century. From there, head towards Doorndijkstraat, which takes you straight to Gezusterkreken. On the dykes surrounding the Gezusterskreken, you might encounter a flock of sheep grazing if you are lucky.

You will undoubtedly be tempted to instantly post the picture-perfect landscapes on your Instagram or Facebook, but above all, don't forget to enjoy it! Once you have left the beautiful, winding creeks behind you, you will continue walking for quite a while on country roads, between fields, past phenomenal rows of trees and vast landscapes.

The Dijkwerker also awaits you! The artwork commemorates the many dyke workers who built the Graafjansdijk here in 1494, a 25-kilometre dyke that finally protected the region from the rising waters. And afterall that natural beauty, you deserve a pick-me-up! In Assenede, pop into Café Passé. In the large garden, you'll get a beautiful view of the creek area. Cyclists, hikers, but especially neighbours and local residents come here often and will gladly turn up.

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Cycle along the Assenede creeks

The cycling route  from Zelzate to Sas van Gent, a hefty trek of almost 55 kilometres, goes straight across the border. Along the Canisvliet and the canal, ride to Sas van Gent. The village looks Flemish but is actually in the Netherlands! Back in Belgium, you will ride toward Gezusterskreken. Next comes the former fishing village of Boekhoute. Until the early 1950s, the Braakman, an arm of the Western Scheldt, was located here. Fishermen from Boekhoute sailed from there into the sea, a tradition unfortunately lost when the Braakman was closed with a dyke. The Boekhoute Visitor Centre tells the story of this 'fishing village without a port'. Nearby Philippine is still considered the leading mussel town.

In Oosteeklo, you cycle through the beautiful abbey surroundings, with one of the oldest buildings in Meetjesland: the former guest house of the Cistercian Abbey. And then comes Ertvelde, with its beautiful Lindenlaan - a protected village site. Also located here is Brewery Van Steenberge, brewer of monastery beer Augustijn. So you are almost obliged to stop at an outdoor pub terrace in Ertvelde. After all, it is the last stop before you ride back to your starting point.

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