24km (14 miles) NE of Bruges; 35km (21 miles) NE of Ostend

Knokke is fashionable -- not as exclusive as it once was, but still fashionable. You can tell this by the very look of the place; its main shopping street features upscale jewelers, art galleries, and sporting stores adorned with internationally famous designer names. Heist, snuggled up close to the Dutch border, attracts classy average-income families.

The winding residential streets of the nearby Het Zoute suburb fairly shriek "money," and big money by Belgian standards. The villas proclaim their owners to be people of both wealth and exquisite taste (or, at any rate, what they consider exquisite taste). Whether or not you fit easily into this moneyed environment, a drive, cycle, or walk through Het Zoute provides a glimpse of its inhabitants' wealthy lifestyle -- and if that doesn't grab you as a worthwhile way to spend 15 minutes, pass right through to Het Zwin Nature Reserve, where the birds have worse table manners but more grace.