Things to do in Antwerp – a travel guide to the area
Antwerp is a beautiful city located in the north of Belgium. It has the most eco-friendly harbor of Europe and is well known for its famous fashion designers all over the world.
I have lived in the city for more than twelve years and can recommend this beautiful city to everyone who loves culture, delicious food, and shopping!
To help you plan your next city break and enjoy it to the fullest, I have listed all the best things to do in Antwerp in this guide.
Traveling to Antwerp, Belgium – fun facts to know
Here are some facts to keep in mind before heading to Antwerp for the first time
- Currency: Euro
- Languages: Dutch, French and German
- Population Antwerp: circa 500,000
- Tap water: Drinkable and tasty
- Famous Belgian dish: French fries and waffles
- Belgian is record holder for longest time without a government, after the elections of 2010, it took 541 days to form a new government.
- The best time to visit Antwerp is from March till September, during spring and summer, the weather will be lovely and changes on rain are less, the rest of the year can be depressive with grey skies and tons of rain.
- Antwerp is always a busy city as it has one the biggest and busiest harbors in Europe, always book your hotel well in advance and don’t expect to get a table at a reservation without reservations.
How to get around in Antwerp
Antwerp has the most beautiful train station in Europe so if you are visiting the city by train, don’t just rush out of the train station, take the time to admire the great architecture of the station. Public transport in Belgium can be a hassle from time to time, trains and busses are not always punctual.
Antwerp is a small city which makes it easy to discover the city by foot. Do you prefer biking? Antwerp Velo is Antwerp’s most widely used bike sharing service. You can get a day pass or a week pass. You will find bike stations on almost every corner of the streets, you simply take the bike, enjoy a bike ride for 30 minutes, store the bike in another station and after waiting for five minutes you can already enjoy your next bike ride. During my twelve years in the city, this was my favorite transport in the city, I have never owned my own bike, since the Anterp Vélo service is absolute great!
Where to stay and explore around Antwerp
Antwerp is divided in nine districts; I’ve listed the most popular areas and the best places to stay and explore the main sections of Antwerp below.
In the heart of the city, you will find the impressive Grand Place with its beautiful ancient buildings, surrounded by many bars and restaurants. Here you will also find the world famous Plantin-Moretus Museum.
Hotel tip: Hotel Rubens Grote Markt,check out the reviews, amenities and current prices
Due to the many theatres in this neighborhood, you will find creativity around every corner. If you like fashion, antique and interior shops this is the perfect place to stay in Antwerp.
In this neighborhood you can find Antwerp’s oldest port area. Surrounded by water, here you will find some of the best things to do Antwerp, like MAS | Museum aan de Stroom, the Red Star Line Museum and the Port House.
Today most port activities are in the north of the city, we have the most eco-friendly port of Europe.
Things to do in Antwerp
Antwerp is a small city, with impressive things do, below you can find some of the most fun activities to enjoy in the city. With a fun and unusual mixture of old, historic to new and modern architecture, the city comes alive with fantastic places, neighborhoods and areas to explore around the city.
One of the most beautiful places in Belgium is the well-hidden Vlaeykensgang, an alley from 1591 which connects three streets with one another. Walk through the gate at Oude Koornmarkt 16 and you feel as if you have journeyed back in time.
Plantin- Moretus Museum
The plantin-Moretus Museum is the only museum in the world classified as a Unesco World Heritage site and is worth a visit.
In the MAS museum you can discover the history of the city, its residents and the harbor.
Here you will also find the most spectacular view over the entire city on the Museum’s rooftop.
Explore the Kloosterstraat
Thanks to our world-famous fashion academy, you can find many designer boutiques in the city on the Schuttershofstraat and Nationalestraat. Looking for international brands? On the Meir you will find all the well-known brands. Enjoy a stroll in the Kloosterstraat on Sundays where you will find a lovely flea market.
Explore the outdoors of Antwerp
Do you want to escape the busy city and enjoy nature? Discover Antwerp to the fullest and enjoy one of the many hikes in and around the city by exploring the outdoor areas with fantastic panoramic views back into the city and harbor area. You can check out the many hikes in and around the city here to inspire you to be outdoors and enjoy the countryside around the city.
Try some of the famous Breweries of Antwerp
You haven’t really been to Belgium without visiting one of our famous beer breweries. If you like to learn more about our local beers and enjoy a tasting, visit De Coninck brewery, situated close to the city center, make sure to book your tickets online well in advance!
Visiting a brewery is one of the most fun things to do in Antwerp on a rainy day.
Guest Author: Stéphanie Beyens
Bio: Stéphanie loves to inspire people to go out and discover new cultures, she recently moved from Belgium to Spain, follow her stories on her adventurous travel blog Bey Of Travel or on her socials.
Have you visited any of these things to do in Antwerp?
Please share your thoughts and other recommendations in the comments below with your tips and suggestions for additional places to explore around the city.
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