what to do in antwerp

What to Do in Antwerp, Belgium

what to do in antwerp

Are you planning a trip to Antwerp, Belgium? You should, because it’s my favourite city in Belgium and if that isn’t recommendation enough, what the hell is?

Discover the top things to do in Antwerp and explore this vibrant city like a local with my comprehensive travel guide.

What to Do in Antwerp – Key Takeaways:

  • Antwerp offers a mix of history and modernity, with stunning landmarks like the Central Station and the Cathedral of Our Lady.
  • Visit the Diamond District, known as the world’s diamond capital, and explore the picturesque Grote Markt with its beautiful architecture.
  • Don’t miss the Ruben House Museum, Plantin-Moretus Museum, and the MAS Museum for a dose of culture.
  • Shopaholics can indulge in Meir Shopping Street and satisfy their sweet tooth at The Chocolate Line.
  • Experience the city’s rich heritage by visiting St. Paul’s Church and the Red Star Line Museum.
  • Explore the bustling Port of Antwerp, one of Europe’s largest and busiest ports, to learn about the city’s maritime history.
  • Take a unique underground journey through the Saint Anna’s Tunnel and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere at Groenplaats.

Antwerp Attractions and Landmarks

Antwerp is home to an array of captivating attractions and landmarks that showcase the city’s rich history and modern charm. From stunning architecture to world-renowned museums, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this vibrant Belgian city.

One of the must-visit landmarks in Antwerp is the Central Station, often referred to as the “Railway Cathedral.” This architectural masterpiece is known for its stunning blend of art nouveau and neoclassical styles. Inside, visitors can admire the impressive iron and glass dome, as well as the intricate details that adorn the station’s interior.

No visit to Antwerp would be complete without exploring the Cathedral of Our Lady. This iconic landmark is one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in Europe and houses a remarkable collection of art, including works by Rubens and other Flemish masters. The cathedral’s stunning spire dominates the city’s skyline and offers panoramic views of Antwerp from its top.

For those interested in diamonds, a visit to the Diamond District is a must. Located just a short walk from the Central Station, the Diamond District is home to numerous diamond traders, cutters, and polishers. Visitors can explore the district’s shops and gain insight into the world of diamond trading.

Attractions Description
Grote Markt A picturesque square with stunning architecture, lined with historic buildings including the City Hall and guildhalls.
Ruben House Museum Former residence and studio of the renowned Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens, showcasing his works and providing a glimpse into his life.
Plantin-Moretus Museum The only museum in the world that is a UNESCO World Heritage site, this museum offers a fascinating look into the history of printing and publishing.
MAS Museum A striking museum dedicated to art, culture, and the history of Antwerp, offering panoramic views of the city from its rooftop.

 

Antwerp also boasts excellent shopping opportunities, with Meir Shopping Street being a standout destination. This bustling street is lined with a mix of international brands and local boutiques, making it a shopper’s paradise. And for chocolate lovers, The Chocolate Line is a must-visit. This renowned chocolate shop offers a wide range of delectable chocolates, crafted with innovative flavors and techniques.

For a taste of Antwerp’s rich cultural heritage, St. Paul’s Church is a must-see. This stunning church showcases a blend of architectural styles, including Gothic and Baroque, and houses impressive artworks and sculptures. Another cultural gem is the Red Star Line Museum, which tells the story of millions of immigrants who departed from Antwerp to start a new life in America. Through interactive exhibits and personal stories, visitors can gain a deeper understanding of the city’s immigrant history.

Port of Antwerp

The Port of Antwerp, one of the largest and busiest ports in Europe, offers a unique insight into the city’s maritime heritage. Stretching along the river Scheldt, it serves as a gateway for international trade and showcases the importance of Antwerp as a global hub. Visitors can take a boat tour to explore the port’s bustling activity, learn about its history, and witness the impressive size of the cargo ships that pass through.

In addition to the Port of Antwerp, another notable landmark is the Saint Anna’s Tunnel, also known as the “Underground.” This pedestrian tunnel provides an alternative way to cross the river Scheldt, offering panoramic views of the city along the way. On the other side, visitors can explore the vibrant square of Groenplaats, where they can relax in a café, admire the statue of Rubens, and soak in the lively atmosphere of this bustling city.

With its diverse range of attractions and landmarks, Antwerp truly has something for every traveler. Whether you’re interested in history, art, shopping, or simply enjoying the local cuisine, this Belgian gem is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Shopping and Culinary Delights

Indulge in retail therapy along Antwerp’s Meir Shopping Street, home to a myriad of shops and boutiques offering something for every taste. From high-end fashion brands to unique local designers, Meir Street is a shopper’s paradise. Take a leisurely stroll down this bustling avenue and explore the diverse range of stores, including international chains and independent boutiques.

For chocolate enthusiasts, a visit to The Chocolate Line is a must. This renowned chocolate shop, located in the heart of Antwerp, offers a tantalizing selection of artisanal chocolates. Delight your taste buds with their innovative flavors and luxurious creations. Whether you’re a chocolate lover or searching for the perfect gift, The Chocolate Line is a true gem.

Antwerp is also a culinary destination, with a vibrant food scene that caters to all palates. From traditional Belgian dishes to international cuisine, the city has a plethora of dining options. Sample mouthwatering Belgian waffles, indulge in hearty Flemish stews, or savor fresh seafood delicacies. Don’t forget to pair your meal with a glass of local beer or a fine Belgian chocolate.

Local Gastronomic Delights

When it comes to culinary delights, Antwerp has something for everyone. For seafood lovers, De Kaai restaurant is a hidden gem. Located near the harbor, this cozy eatery offers a variety of fresh and flavorful seafood dishes. From briny oysters to succulent lobster, each bite is a true taste of the sea.

For meat connoisseurs, The Butcher’s Son is a must-visit. This trendy steakhouse prides itself on serving the finest cuts of beef, cooked to perfection. Sink your teeth into a juicy ribeye or savor a tender filet mignon, accompanied by delectable sides and sauces.

Exploring Antwerp is not complete without experiencing its culinary delights. From shopping for unique finds on Meir Street to indulging in the city’s gastronomic offerings, there is no shortage of memorable experiences awaiting visitors to this vibrant Belgian city.

Best Places to Visit in Antwerp Top Attractions
Meir Shopping Street The Chocolate Line
De Kaai restaurant The Butcher’s Son steakhouse

Cultural Experiences in Antwerp

Immerse yourself in Antwerp’s rich cultural heritage by visiting St. Paul’s Church and the Red Star Line Museum. St. Paul’s Church is a stunning example of Gothic architecture, known for its intricate details and towering spires. As you step inside, you’ll be greeted by beautiful stained glass windows and a serene atmosphere that invites contemplation.

The Red Star Line Museum offers a poignant glimpse into Antwerp’s immigrant history. Housed in the former departure hall of the Red Star Line shipping company, the museum tells the stories of millions of people who embarked on a journey to a new life in America. Through interactive exhibits and personal accounts, visitors can gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and dreams of those who left everything behind in search of a better future.

Both St. Paul’s Church and the Red Star Line Museum are essential stops for anyone seeking to explore the cultural fabric of Antwerp. Each provides a unique window into different aspects of the city’s history and offers an opportunity for reflection and appreciation.

The Port of Antwerp

Get a glimpse into Antwerp’s bustling harbor by exploring the Port of Antwerp, one of Europe’s largest and busiest ports. With a rich history dating back centuries, this maritime hub plays a vital role in the city’s economy and offers visitors an opportunity to learn about Antwerp’s maritime heritage.

Stretching along the river Scheldt, the Port of Antwerp welcomes ships from all over the world, making it a fascinating sight for sightseers. As you walk along the port, you’ll witness the constant flow of cargo ships, container terminals, and impressive cranes, showcasing the scale and efficiency of this bustling harbor.

For a truly immersive experience, you can take a guided tour and explore the port’s various facilities. Learn about the daily operations, witness the loading and unloading of cargo firsthand, and gain insights into the port’s crucial role in international trade.

Additionally, the Port of Antwerp is home to the MAS Museum, a contemporary museum that delves into the city’s maritime history. The museum’s striking architecture and engaging exhibits provide visitors with a deeper understanding of Antwerp’s relationship with the sea, making it a must-visit destination for those interested in the city’s cultural heritage.

Key Highlights of the Port of Antwerp
The Port of Antwerp is one of the largest and busiest ports in Europe.
Visitors can witness the constant flow of cargo ships, container terminals, and impressive cranes.
Guided tours offer a behind-the-scenes look at the port’s daily operations.
The MAS Museum provides a deeper understanding of Antwerp’s maritime history.

Saint Anna’s Tunnel and Groenplaats

Explore Antwerp’s hidden gems, including the Saint Anna’s Tunnel and the lively Groenplaats. The Saint Anna’s Tunnel, also known as the “Underground,” offers a unique and adventurous way to cross the river Scheldt. Built in 1933, this pedestrian tunnel connects the city center with the left bank, and it is a popular spot for both locals and tourists. Enter the tunnel through the historic wooden escalators and descend underground to find yourself in a maze of tiled tunnels. As you walk or cycle through the tunnel, take in the colorful tile artwork that lines the walls, depicting scenes from Antwerp’s history. Once you emerge on the other side, you’ll be greeted by stunning views of the river and the city skyline.

After exploring the underground, head to Groenplaats, a vibrant square located in the heart of Antwerp. This bustling hub is surrounded by cafes, restaurants, and shops, making it the perfect place to take a break and soak in the city’s atmosphere. Enjoy a cup of coffee or a refreshing Belgian beer at one of the outdoor terraces while admiring the historic buildings that surround the square. Groenplaats is also known for its lively events and performances, so keep an eye out for street musicians, artists, and cultural festivals that often take place here.

Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, the Saint Anna’s Tunnel and Groenplaats offer unique experiences and a true taste of Antwerp’s charm. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore these hidden gems and create lasting memories in this vibrant city.

Explore Antwerp’s Hidden Gems

“The Saint Anna’s Tunnel provides a thrilling underground adventure, while Groenplaats offers a lively atmosphere to relax and enjoy the city’s vibrant vibe.”

Table: Saint Anna’s Tunnel and Groenplaats

Saint Anna’s Tunnel Groenplaats
Connects the city center with the left bank Located in the heart of Antwerp
Features colorful tile artwork depicting the city’s history Surrounded by cafes, restaurants, and shops
Offers stunning views of the river and city skyline Hosts lively events and performances

Conclusion

With its rich history, captivating attractions, and diverse cultural experiences, Antwerp offers an array of exciting things to do for visitors of all tastes and interests. Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, a shopaholic, or a food lover, this vibrant Belgian city has something to offer.

Start your journey by exploring the city’s iconic landmarks, such as the Central Station and the Cathedral of Our Lady, where you can marvel at the architectural wonders that have stood the test of time. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Diamond District, where you can witness the world’s diamond capital in action.

Immerse yourself in Antwerp’s rich cultural heritage by visiting the Ruben House Museum, the Plantin-Moretus Museum, and the MAS Museum, all of which showcase the city’s artistic achievements and cultural contributions. For a unique shopping experience, head to Meir Shopping Street, home to a wide variety of stores and boutiques. And don’t forget to indulge in delicious chocolates at The Chocolate Line.

For a deeper understanding of Antwerp’s history and culture, explore St. Paul’s Church and the Red Star Line Museum. These sites offer fascinating insights into the city’s past and the stories of the people who have shaped it. And if you’re interested in maritime heritage, a visit to the Port of Antwerp is a must. Discover its significance as one of Europe’s largest and busiest ports and learn about the city’s connection to the sea.

Finally, take a moment to stroll through the Saint Anna’s Tunnel, also known as the “Underground,” for a unique perspective of the city. And when you need a break, head to Groenplaats, a vibrant square where you can relax and soak in the lively atmosphere of Antwerp.

In conclusion, Antwerp is a city that offers a blend of history, culture, shopping, and gastronomy. It’s a destination that will captivate your senses and leave you with unforgettable memories. So pack your bags and embark on an adventure in Antwerp, where there’s always something exciting to discover.

Andy Higgs
Andy Higgs

I know what it's like to go from being a crazy backpacker without a care in the world, via being a vaguely sensible parent to being an adventurer once more. In other words, evolving into a Grown-up Traveller.

Like everyone else, I love to travel, have visited a lot of countries and all that but my big thing is Africa.

I also own and run The Grown-up Travel Company as a travel designer creating personalised African itineraries for experienced adventurers

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