First Time Tourists Guide in Antwerpen, Belgium

Antwerp - Image by Johan AT from Pixabay

Antwerp is a city in Belgium

This city is home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as the Antwerp City Hall and Plantin-Moretus Museum

Beautiful grand buildings that have been standing for centuries can also be found in Antwerp like the Cathedral of Our Lady Antwerp and Saint Carolus Borromeus Church

While you're in Antwerp, don't forget to try the iconic foods like gourmet chocolate, waffles, and croquettes, also try Bolleke for the drink

Stay at Boulevard Leopold Bed and Breakfast, a lodging in a 19th-century townhouse

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SIGHTSEEING

Grote Markt or Great Market Square is a town square located in the center of Antwerp's old city quarter. The square is surrounded by 16th-century buildings. During the weekend, this place is a center for a lot of activities. Bars and restaurants can also be found around the square that makes this place a local's favorite to hang out with friends. So, tourists can observe the culture of the locals.

Grote Markt

The most famous square in Antwerp

Address : Grote Markt, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium

DOWNTOWN

If you're walking towards the western side of Grote Markt, you will find Antwerp City Hall. This Renaissance building was built in the 1560s. It's listed as one of UNESCO's World Heritage since 1999. In front of the City Hall, there's a Brabo Fountain that has existed since 1887. Another a must visit majestic building in downtown Antwerp is the Cathedral of Our Lady Antwerp. The building that took 169 years to build, from 1352-1521, is home to major artworks by the great artist Peter Paul Rubens, such as the Elevation of the Cross and Descent from the Cross. The cathedral also features three stunning stained glass windows.

Antwerp City Hall

The Stadhuis (City Hall) of Antwerp, Belgium, stands on the western side of Antwerp's Grote Markt (Great Market Square)

Address : Grote Markt 1, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium

SHOPPING

Stadsfeestzaal is a shopping mall in Meir, the main shopping street in Antwerp. Situated in a grand building, this mall provides many items, both domestic and international products. You will find a variety of items from beauty, jewelry, accessories, fashion, and food. You can also find other shops outside the mall. Since Meir is basically a shopping paradise in Antwerp, you will find no difficulty in finding great places to shop.

Stadsfeestzaal

This shopping mall in a grand building features domestic & international retailers, plus dining

Address : Meir 78, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium

FOOD & DRINK

Belgium specializes in Belgian waffles. So, looking for waffles is not hard when you're in Antwerp. Belgian waffles are different from other waffles. Waffles in Belgium is made of different batter. Besides waffles, the country is also popular for its high-quality chocolate. You can find specialty gourmet chocolate easily in Antwerp. Waffles and chocolate are not the only delicious thing Belgium has, there's also savory Croquette that you can enjoy with a glass of Antwerp iconic drink called Bolleke.

CULTURE

Antwerp is the home of great artists such as Peter Paul Rubens, Sir Anthony van Dyck, and Jacob Jordaens. No wonder the city is famous for its artistic reputation. The official language that is spoken in Antwerp is Dutch, which is the official and standard language of the province of Antwerp. Antwerp is also well-known for its diamond industry that has operated since the sixteenth century.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Peak season: You can experience the best time of Antwerp in the late Spring, which is happening around march to May. During this time, Antwerp starts to get a lot of sunlight but the temperature is not really hot yet. It's a perfect time if you want to explore Antwerps attractions.

HOTEL

Boulevard Leopold Bed and Breakfast is a recommended hotel built in a 19th-century townhouse. The charm of this hotel comes from the antiques that decorate all the rooms. The location of the hotel is quite secluded, so it will be relaxing to stay here since it's not in the center of the city. No worries, you can still explore Antwerp's tourist attractions easily. August Hotel Antwerp is a modern hotel located in a grand building that used to be a convent. The hotel has a perfect combination of old and modern architecture. The hotel features an old nun's chapel that now functioned as a bar and a garden. A sauna and swimming pool are available at the hotel for the guests to enjoy.

Boulevard Leopold Bed and Breakfast

Set on a tree-lined street, this casual 19th-century B&B is 2 km from the Rubenshuis museum, 4 km from Antwerp Zoo and a 3-minute walk from the nearest bus stop

Address : Belgiëlei 135, 2018 Antwerpen, Belgium

August Hotel Antwerp

Set in a grand former convent, 11 minutes' walk from Antwerpen-Berchem train station, this chic, contemporary hotel is 3 km from artwork at The Rubens House and 4 km from the Gothic Cathedral of Our Lady Antwerp

Address : Jules Bordetstraat 5, 2018 Antwerpen, Belgium

RESTAURANT

Elfde Gebod is a unique restaurant that is featured with angel & saint statues. The restaurant has a title as Antwerp's oldest restaurant. The menu mostly consists of Belgian cuisines such as rabbit stew, vol-au-vent, and mussels. To complement your food, the restaurant also offers beers from the local popular brewery such as De Koninck, St. Bernardus and Rochefort. Every Wednesday. In this restaurant, there's a live music performance by Karl Salong that starts at 7 PM. Chez Fred Restaurant is another great place to visit when you're in Antwerp. The charming bistro that is located among antique shops serves various kinds of foods, from pasta, meat dishes, fish dishes, salads, to dessert and ice cream. When you're here, make sure to order their Tuna Pepper Steak. It is better to reserve a table beforehand because the place tends to be always full since there's only a limited number of seats available.

Elfde Gebod

A unique culinary pub with a spectacular interior in the old town of Antwerp, Belgium: that’s the ‘Elfde Gebod’

Address : Torfbrug 10, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium

Chez Fred Restaurant

You can certainly enjoy “food and drink” here! In winter, Chez Fred is one of antwerp's most charming bistros, and in summer it is cozy on the stylish wooden terrace

Address : Kloosterstraat 83, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium

CAFE

Koffieklap is an amazing coffee shop that you can't miss. The coffee shop serves very good coffee along with tasty sandwiches, pie, and pastries. But what makes this coffee shop amazing is because it's a non-profit and volunteer-run. The coffee shop provides training and helps women who are in need of a better life. Another great coffee shop in Antwerp is Kolonel Coffee Roastery. The coffee shop is a great spot to grab a quick bite in a relaxing atmosphere. They specialize in really good coffee and their food is also recommended. Here, you can find menus for breakfast and lunch, as well as homemade sweets and pastries. Outdoor seating is also available to enjoy the atmosphere of the surrounding neighborhood.

Koffieklap

Koffieklap is a cosy coffeebar in Antwerp where you can drink very good coffee accompanied with fresh soup, pie or tasteful sandwiches

Address : Klapdorp 41, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium

Kolonel Coffee Roastery

Lovely coffee shop in Antwerp

Really good coffee

Great service and good food

Address : Montignystraat 51, 2018 Antwerpen, Belgium

BAR AND NIGHTLIFE

One of the best places to spend the night time in Antwerp is De Muze. The bar that is open since 1964 provides a great selection of local craft beers, specialty brews, spirit, and other drinks. The bar holds a live jazz performance every night, starting from 10 PM till drop. With the vintage atmosphere inside, the bar is a perfect place to enjoy a good night in Antwerp as well as meeting new people. If you want to spend the night partying, you can come to Ampere. Ampere is no ordinary nightclub, it is also a space for cultural and creative events. During the weekdays, Ampere holds several workshops that include music production, DJ-ing, video mapping, and etc. Both local and international artists often perform here. With the sound quality and great lighting, Ampere is a perfect place for you to dance the night away.

De Muze

Great spot for a drink and some live music

Address : Melkmarkt 15, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium

Ampere

Excellent club with a class A line-up

A decent space with good lighting and great sound

Address : Simonsstraat 21, 2018 Antwerpen, Belgium

INTERESTING PLACE

Plantin-Moretus Museum is a printing museum that hosts the works of 16th-century printers Christophe Plantin and Jan Moretus. The museum used to be the original residence and workshops of Plantin and Moretus. It's listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The museum features several interesting collections such as Biblia Polyglotta - a bible in five languages, paintings and drawings by Peter Paul Rubens, and Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - a geographical book by Abraham Ortelius. Museum aan de Stroom or MAS is another museum that can't be missed when you're in Antwerp. This red-brick building is located on the riverbank of the river Scheldt. The museum that was first opened in May 2011 is Antwerp's largest museum that focuses on Antwerp and its connection to the world. The museum is home to more than 500.000 museum pieces, from maritime objects to the art and culture from Europe, Africa, America, Asia, and Oceania.

Plantin-Moretus Museum

Mansion museum housing the world's oldest printing presses, plus books, antiques, tapestries & art

Address : Vrijdagmarkt 22-23, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium

Museum aan de Stroom

Striking red sandstone museum with high-tech exhibitions exploring Antwerp's place in the world

Address : Hanzestedenplaats 1, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium

INSTAGRAMMABLE SPOT

Saint Carolus Borromeus Church was first built in 1626. This baroque church displays several paintings by Rubens that are framed around the altar. Besides the artistic paintings, the interior of the church is the work of other great artists, such as Gerard Seghers, Daniel Seghers, and Cornelius Schut. This spot is perfect for you who like capturing historic items. Antwerp Central Station is the main train station in Antwerp that has been operating since 1905. The train station has the title as the fourth most beautiful train station in the world in 2009 by the American magazine Newsweek. The predicate is well-deserved since the structure, design, and exterior of the building are truly magnificent.

Saint Carolus Borromeus Church

1600s church with ornate baroque art & architecture & 4 altar paintings that are rotated seasonally

Address : Hendrik Conscienceplein 11, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium

Antwerp Central Station

Easily one of Europe's best train stations

Amazingly eclectic architecture

Very clean

But also quite easy to navigate despite its size

Address : Koningin Astridplein 27, 2018 Antwerpen, Belgium