Everyone knows Brussels in Belgium, after all it’s famous for the mussels. 🙂 But have you been to Antwerp? This charming city in the north of Belgium has plenty of historic streets to explore, delicious food to eat and of course tasty Belgian beers to sip. It’s a terrific weekend destination.
The Weekend Guide to Antwerp
Read on for things to do, where to eat and drink, places to stay and how to get there and around.
Getting to Antwerp
The Thalys train serves Antwerp from Amsterdam and Rotterdam and you can take the Eurostar from London. Check Trainline for ticket and route options.
Probably the least expensive way to travel to Antwerp from other cities in Europe is with Flixbus. You can find ticket prices as low as €4. Check here for prices and schedules.
The closest airport is Antwerp (ANR) and Brussels (BRU). If you are arriving from an overseas destination you will likely arrive in Brussels, where you can catch a train to Antwerp. Airlines that serve Antwerp are TUI, Flybe and VLM. Check Skyscanner for the best prices and schedules.
Things To Do in Antwerp
Antwerp is a fascinating city with lots of places to explore. Here are the sights you should not miss.
- Museum aan de Stroom focuses on the history of Antwerp and its link with the world, and has amazing rooftop views and a Michelin starred restaurant
- Visit Rubenshuis, the house of the painter Peter Paul Rubens
- Have a drink in a cafe surrounded by beautiful buildings such as city hall and guild halls at Grote Markt
- Take a stroll under the river Schelde through the 1930s Sint Anna’s Tunnel
- Are you interested in printing? Check out the Plantin-Moretus Museum.
- Den Botaniek is a small public botanic garden and greenhouse in the city center
- Lovers of photography should be sure to visit FOMU, the Museum of Photography
- Taking a walking or cycling tour is always a good idea, here are some top tours I’ve found
Places to Eat & Drink in Antwerp
Antwerp has plenty of options, from cheap eats to fancy dining. Here our some of our favorite addresses.
Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch & Coffee in Antwerp
- Coffeelabs: terrific coffee plus breakfast and lunch
- Cafematic: coffee and a tasty breakfast menu
- Kaffeenini: coffee, bagels and lunch
- Kolonel Koffie: coffee, breakfast and lunch at this modern cafe
- Caffenation: classic Antwerp coffee shop with two locations for excellent espresso drinks
- Maurice Coffee & Knits: coffee and healthy food like salads and smoothies, plus brunch on the weekends
- Felix Pakhuis: a great place to come for their brunch buffet
- Cafe Kamiel: lovely pastries and vegan and gluten-free specialties
- Wasbar: do your laundry and enjoy breakfast or lunch while you wait
Snacks You Should Try in Antwerp
- Waffles: get your Belgian waffles at Wafeltjes van ons Bomma
- Fries: try the frietjes at fancy Frites Atelier or Chips or try a some kroket with your fries at De Smulpaep
- Antwerpse Handjes: crispy cookies in the shape of a hand, the city’s symbol – find yours at Philip’s Biscuits
- Take a food tour and try all these snacks!
Dinner in Antwerp
- The Jane: probably the most famous and exclusive restaurant in Antwerp, Jane serves a tasting menu of 12-14 dishes
- Umami: Asian fusion dishes with a twist
- Elfde Gebod: quirky religious decor and typical Belgian style dishes like mussels in white wine
- De Pottekijker: traditional Belgian dishes
- Backyard: a fun restaurant with great cocktails
- ‘t Zilte: a Michelin starred restaurant in Antwerp on top of the MAS
Drinks in Antwerp
- Cafe Kulminator: funky craft beer bar that has been voted the best in the world
- Caffe Barbossa: cozy wine bar and restaurant
- Dogma: dark and moody with creative cocktails
- Gollem: beer bar with burgers too
- Billie’s Beer Kafetaria: small beer cafe with 11 brews on tap
Places to Stay in Antwerp
When I visit Antwerp I like to stay in an apartment so that I can get to know a neighborhood. There are many places available on sites like Airbnb. Use this link to register and you can save €30 off your first reservation!
Here are some wonderful places to stay in Antwerp:
- The Collectors House is an apartment conveniently located within steps of many sights and rented by a charming and interesting owner. Click here to check on prices and availability.
- Smartflats Design are modern apartments of all sizes perfect if you are traveling with a group. Full kitchens, stunning views and even Cocomat beds. Check here for availability.
- Maison de Trazegnies: a chic hotel with all suite rooms
- Enjoy the creative decor at the Koto Garden suite hotel with a swimming pool and many interesting details. Click here for rates and availability.
- Raphael Suites are delightful suites and apartments in the center of Antwerp while Suite 11 offers modern rooms and studio apartments with kitchens
- Cozy & Bright Apartment: a large apartment located in the heart of the city
- Staark is a fantastic spacious apartment with great views and close to the dock area. Click here to see rates and photos.
- Bed & Breakfast Exterlaer: stay in a quiet area outside the city and enjoy a relaxing garden
- Mañana Mañana is an affordable and cozy hotel in the center of Antwerp.
- Maison Nationale City Flats & Suites has chic, bright rooms and apartments, helpful, friendly owners. Click here to book.
- B&B Au Lit Jerome: amazing decor at this fabulous stylish B&B
- Kabas Hostel is a great option for those on a budget or who like a more social setting. The hostel even serves breakfast made with eggs from their own chickens. Check to see if rooms are available for your visit.
Getting Around in Antwerp
The city center is easy to get around on foot, but if you’d like to explore further you can also travel by tram, bus or bike.
You can save money on public transport if you plan ahead. It is less expensive to purchase your tram or bus ticket in a point of sale than onboard. You can buy a 1-, 3-, 5-day or 10-trip pass from these point of sales and save money. Visit the website of de Lijn to get all the details.
You can also use the Antwerp city bikes called Velo Antwerpen to get around. A day pass is €4 and a week is €10. Each first 30 minutes of bicycle use is free, then you pay a few cents for each chunk of time after that. The complete information is on their website.
For more info on things to do in the city, be sure to check out Visit Antwerp!
We hope you liked this weekend guide to Antwerp and that you enjoy your visit to this wonderful city.
You might like to check out this book, The 500 Hidden Secrets of Antwerp:
Headed to Europe this spring? Take a look at this handy list to decide what to pack for a spring trip to Europe.
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