"Where Am I?" Adinkerke by johngayton

Adinkerke Travel Guide: 19 reviews and 47 photos

Adinkerke or De Panne?

Many years ago I always used to go over to Calais, in France, for my tobacco runs. Then the French decided to squeeze the taxation on it and so I switched to Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

Amsterdam suited me and I usually made it a combination of a mini-break as well as the shopping trip. However the Dutch have started to go the same direction as the French and prices have crept up incrementally over the last couple of years. The recent stregnth of the Euro has further increased my costs and so I decided to look at other alternatives (giving up not being a realistic one in my invertebrate case!).

Doing a bit of research I found that one of the cheapest places in Europe for my particular brand of tobacco is Adinkerke, here in Belgium, just over the border from France. The tobacconists here specialise in "tobacco tourism" and so not only is it cheap but there is always a plentiful supply.

Adinkerke it was to be then!

No-man's Land!

Researching my journey I found that the easiest way for me, as a non-driver, to get to Adinkerke from North Devon is by train, travelling via London and Brussels by Eurostar (one of my favourite methods of travel). The only slight hiccup was that Adinkerke doesn't have its own railway station, the nearest being that of De Panne, about a kilometer away.

But what's a kilometer? For me a ten minute walk, that's all. And so I duly arranged my trip with an overnight stay on the return leg in Brussels as a treat.

My trip involved a bus into Barnstaple, train from Barnstaple to Exeter, another train from Exeter to London, short tube journey to St Pancras, Eurostar to Brussels and then the final two-hour local train journey from Brussels. All-in-all about 15 hours travelling, the first 12 of which were just to escape the UK! Fortunately I like travelling!

When I arrived at De Panne railway station, after a minor digression at Gent, it was a pleasant sunny September afternoon. I pretty much knew where I should be heading but with plenty of time decided to have a wander around De Panne itself.

This is when I discovered that De Panne railway station isn't in De Panne either, that's another kilometer journey in the opposite direction to Adinkerke.

Planning My Next Visit!

So here I was in no-man's land, niether Adinkerke nor De Panne.

After what turned to be 18 hours of buses and trains I needed to stretch my legs anyway and see what the immediate environs had to offer. No-man's land is a neat suburban street linking the two towns with a couple of bars, a bowling alley (called the "Bowling Stones"), a kids theme park (hence the roundabout), the local War Cemetery and what looked like an interesting woodland walk. Also of interest was the local transport into De Panne - a tram which runs round the Belgian coast and certainly looks worth taking a trip on.

As it was I never did get into Adinkerke proper, nor De Panne, but rather found quite an amazingly characterful Bar/Tabac/Junk Shop just across the road from the railway station. Here I got my tobacco, enjoyed a few beers (with a cigarette in hand) and had a very pleasant convivial afternoon with the friendly owners, regulars and a couple of other "tobacco tourists".

In fact the Tobacco Terminus, to give the Bar/Tabac its proper name, was so characterful I'm even going to give it its own little travelogue!

Looking forward to my next visit!

UPDATE MARCH 2011 - On this visit I managed to make the time for a wander around Adinkerke proper. It's a pleasant and friendly little town and OK there are lots of tobacconists but its canal-straddling location is scenic, locals say Hi to you in the street and the town itself is well-looked after with some interesting artworks scattered around. Check out my latest tips which include a couple of interesting shops which aren't tobacconists!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Cheap Tobacco!
  • Cons:None That I Noticed!
  • In a nutshell:Oddbod of a place but somehow intrigueing!
  • Last visit to Adinkerke: Mar 2011
  • Intro Updated Mar 27, 2011
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Reviews (16)

Comments (7)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jul 10, 2014 at 3:13 AM

    A nice introduction to this corner of Belgium.

    • johngayton's Profile Photo
      Jul 10, 2014 at 3:32 AM

      Thanks for the visit Don. Over the past couple of years I've been making a point of getting out and about in places where I've normally just had fleeting visits, or places where all I've done is change trains. For example I had a cracking evening in Hoek van Holland last month instead of just arriving to catch my ferry.

  • budapest8's Profile Photo
    Oct 4, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    Hi John, wish I had found your travel tips or someone had posted something somewhere, I was stuck in Calais last year and wanted to get to Brugges. Nobody in Tourist/train info had a clue how to travel along the coast and showed no interest. Only many weeks later did I discover it was possible, the hardest part is getting to De Panne or Adinkerke...It is easier to get here from London or some other UK towns than from Calais which seems much closer- French and Belgian Railways would have you travel for more than half a day changing trains many times. NO direct buses local transport from France to Belgium..Appalling. Look fwd to hearing abt yr latest baccy run..:)

    • johngayton's Profile Photo
      Oct 5, 2012 at 1:38 AM

      Yes there seems to be no cross-border buses Tim. On this trip I got the train to Dunquerke and then just got a cab across - OK it was about 40 Euros but I think my travel insurance is picking up the bill because of the Belgian rail strike.

  • zadunajska8's Profile Photo
    Apr 13, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    I'm planning to go to Adinkirke next month - although I gave up the cigarettes a couple of years ago. Fortunately my journey should be less arduous from Eastbourne. In fact we have regular coaches going to Adinkirke and De Panne (mainly for tobacco tourism) returning in the evening of the same day. My reasons for going: 1) I haven't been there yet and 2) I love Belgian beer!

    • Jun 14, 2013 at 8:00 AM

      5 star travel from Liverpool( 0151 481 0000 ) go fortnightly to adinkirke,
      Pick up at motorway services on M6 and M1 along the way from Birtonwood to Maidstone then on to Dover. From Liverpool it costs £60 return.
      Leaves Liverpool at 9pm arrives Dover 3.30am arriving Adinkirke just after 7am local time, I bring 60 x 50gr packets of tobacco for my own use and go again when I am getting low on stock. So including the bus fare my tobacco cost me £6.10p instead of £12.60p in the local shops, A saving of almost £400.00p.

    • Jun 14, 2013 at 8:05 AM

      That should be Burtonwood, It also stops off in Calais to call at Pidou,s for wine and beer, Chocolates and gifts. As many regulars will tell you Eastenders warehouse has closed down.

  • craic's Profile Photo
    Jan 6, 2011 at 8:41 AM

    fascinating

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Feb 20, 2010 at 4:38 AM

    so how much tobacco did you get to make all that getting there worthwhile!how much cheese would you fit in your suitcase if you make a cheese tourism trip to Alkmaar!thanks for the visit to my pg...a nice little town

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo
    Oct 12, 2009 at 1:54 AM

    nice to see that there still are some places that caters to the smokers. and to the cyclists too for that matter :O)

  • wise23girl's Profile Photo
    Sep 29, 2009 at 4:13 PM

    Now I will have to find out where that is ! Marg

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“The slow lane often gets you there faster”

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