The city of Antwerp, Belgium has made it on Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Cities to visit in 2018. It is number 6 on the list. I have been coming to this city for the past 3 years and have moved here recently. Antwerp has that lovely combination of being metropolitan while still having that small town feel. My mom visited recently and I showed her this beautiful city for a few days and I thought I would share it with you or anyone who would like to visit this city. This Antwerp City Guide can hopefully help you plan your next trip. 🙂
ANTWERP CITY GUIDE
HOW TO GET IN ANTWERP
BY TRAIN – Antwerp has direct connections to and from the United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Belgium and other cities in Belgium. A traveler can take the Thalys or the Belgian Rail to get here by train.
BY PLANE – There is a small airport here in Antwerp that has connections for a number of destinations but most of them are active in the summer. Otherwise, the main entry point would be through Zaventem (Brussels airport). From Brussels airport, you can get directly to Antwerp by train (30 mins) or by bus (45 mins)
BY CAR/BUS – Several bus companies operate and go directly to Antwerp like flixbus and ouibus. If you are doing a European road trip, you can easily pass through this lovely city.
WHERE TO STAY
HOTELS/HOSTELS – Hotels are the main option for accommodation in the city if you would like to be in the center of Antwerp. Prices are reasonable as well compared to other European cities. I have only stayed at Leonardo Hotel near the station and you can read my review here. There are plenty of options around the city for every budget.
AIRBNB – There are also several airbnb options. We have actually tried this the first time I visited the city and this would be more ideal if you are staying longer and you have a car since some of them like the one we rented had private parking.
WHAT TO DO
SIGHTS – The city of Antwerp has a lot of popular attractions including: The Central Station, Meir, Grote Markt, Cathedral of our Lady, Museum Plantin-Moretus, Museum aan de Stroom, Red Line Museum, Saint Paul’s Church, Ruben’s House, Cogels Oyslei, De Konick Antwerp City Brewery, Antwerp Zoo, St. Anna’s Tunnel, Steen Castle, Shopping Stadfeezstal, Antwerp Underground
ACTIVITIES – Walking Tours, Secret Rooms, Theme Park, Open Markets
FESTIVITIES – Christmas Market, Music Festivals, Tall Ship Race (not annual), Tour de France (sometimes), Summer in Antwerp (July-Oct), Rubensmarkt Festival (August 15), Cuulturmarkt van Vlaanderen (last Sunday of August)
WHERE TO EAT
COFFEE SHOPS – If you want to find quaint and adorable coffee places, Antwerp has a lot of them.
CHOCOLATE – Belgium in general is known for its chocolate and because of that, Antwerp has many chocolate shops you can visit. From the mainstream chocolate stores like Leonida’s to award winning chocolatiers like Gunther Watte.
WAFFLES – Belgian waffles are known worldwide. However, there is not just one waffle. There are several kinds of Belgian waffles including the Brussels waffles which is lighter and tastes a bit plain so it is usually topped with sugar or cream with fruits. In addition, there is the Liege waffle is richer, denser, and sweeter. This is my favorite because of the pearl sugar inside.
BEER – I’m not a big beer drinker so I am not the best judge to know what is the best beer or not. My favorite though is the Kriek. It’s a beer made of cherries. To me, it does not taste like beer at all. It’s more like a fruit drink with some fizz.
FRIES – The Frituur is a typical Belgian fast food place where they sell mostly fried food including french fries and also hamburgers. It’s very convenient, accessible and inexpensive. You can see them in the center of the city. The most visible ones are Frituur No. 1 near the Municipal Hall and the fancy Frites Atelier located on Koret Gasthuisstraat.
KOFFIEKOEKEN – Koffiekoken are an assortment of Belgian pastries you would see in Bakeries all over the city. The direct english translation of Koffiekoeken is coffee cake. It is usually available in the morning as a companion for coffee. I can maybe consume two of these in one sitting easily. 🙂