antwerp, belgium, city breaks, travel

15 Things To Do in Antwerp

September 13, 2016

Antwerp is one of the biggest cities in Flanders, Belgium and has a lot to offer. It’s the perfect place to have a short, sweet, city break and explore what Antwerp has to offer.

1. Visit the MAS Museum and see the views from the roofThe Museum Aan de Stroom is the largest museum in Antwerp and celebrates the city’s history as an international port. It has post modern art deco architecture which is really striking when you see it along the river Scheldt. If you don’t have much time or money, you can skip the museum and ride the escalators to the roof where you can get gorgeous 360 view of the city.

2. Shop in Antwerp’s fashion districtAntwerp is to Belgium as Milan is to Italy. It’s the fashion capital and there’s a lot of influential brands in this district, including some that are local to Belgium so are worth checking out if you’re a fashion lover or can’t resist a bargain.

3. Visit Grote MarktSituated in the old quarter, Grote Markt is a perfect place to spot the famous Brabo fountain, the city hall and the guildhalls. If you visit in winter, you could enjoy the ice rink and the Christmas markets.

4. Visit Antwerpen-Centraal Railway StationAntwerp’s train station is one of the most beautiful in the world and surely cannot be missed on a trip to Antwerp, whether you travelled by plane or train. If you have more time in Antwerp, a day trip to Ghent, Bruges or Brussels would be a perfect opportunity to see the station on your way to another city.

5. See the VleeshuisHistory lovers might enjoy seeing Vleeshuis, which translates to Meat House. In the 16th century it was used as a slaughterhouse (not very vegan, but still interesting!) and is made of red brick and white sandstone, used to look like bacon rashers. Today it is a museum of music and occasionally holds concerts during the summer.

6. Visit the City HallYou can’t miss the building covered in flags right next to Grote Markt. Although the outside is impressive with it’s Italian and Flemish architectural influences and the fact the building was built over 400 years ago, you can visit the hall’s cafe, bar and see the beautiful interior.

7. Climb Cathedral of Our LadyIf you’re a lover of cathedrals and of magnificent city views, climbing the Cathedral of Our Lady’s tower is a must-do in Antwerp. It’s one of the best viewpoints in the city.

8. See De Lange WapperDe Lange Wapper is a flemish folkloric character who is a giant who chases drunks amongst other things. It’s worth checking out the wikipedia page to find out more about this unusual chap. The statue of the Lange Wapper can be found outside Het Steen.

9. Ride on Antwerp’s Ferris Wheel

Like many big cities, Antwerp has it’s own Ferris Wheel for tourists and locals to enjoy. If this sounds like your cup of tea, the Antwerp one is located next to the railway station. It can’t be missed.

10. Visit Antwerp TowerIf you like the sound of an abandoned tower block turned club/bar, you must visit Antwerp Tower for an alternative night out with a magnificent city view. Drinks are on the pricey side, so make sure to pre-drink before you leave.

11. Walk down Vlaeykensgang(Picture taken from Wikicommons) One of the oldest alleyways in Antwerp is the Vlaeykensgang. It’s a picturesque street with hanging vines and a perfect nook to have a drink after a busy day in the city.

12. Visit the Rubenshuis(Picture taken from Wikicommons) The Rubenshuis is the former house of Peter Paul Rubens and is now a museum with dozens of paintings and artworks. There is also an interior courtyard which is quite beautiful to witness.

13. Museum of Modern Art(Picture taken from Wikicommons) Art lovers might enjoy a visit to the Museum of Modern Art, with alternative more contemporary pieces than in places such as the Rubenshuis.

14. Visit Het SteenHet Steen is a medieval fortress in the city centre and one of Europe’s biggest ports. It’s the oldest building in Antwerp and there is plenty to learn about the history of the city and Belgium’s folkloric here. In the past Het Steen has been a prison and a maritime museum amongst other things.

15. Nosy at the DiamondsAntwerp is a city famous for diamonds. It’s almost impossible to walk down a street and not find a shop trying to sell you their finest jewels. Whilst in Antwerp, it’s worth having a nosy at the precious jewels, even if you don’t intend to buy any.

 

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