Looking for fun things to do in Antwerp?
Antwerp is a cool city just perfect for a laid-back weekend break.
Here we share our favorite Antwerp attractions as well as some hidden gems and local delicacies.
GOOD MAPS – DIRECT HIT
Shine on, you crazy diamond
Antwerp is home to many historic buildings such as the Cathedral of Our Lady and the medieval fortress Het Steen, but that’s not all. This city isn’t standing still when it comes to architecture. The Port House aka ‘The Diamond’ is the best proof of that. The world famous architect Zaha Hadid designed it as the new head office of the Antwerp Port Authority. The building is considered an honorary salute to the diamond, one of the products Antwerp is most renowned for.
Party like a local
Antwerp has plenty of fine clubs where you can party all night long.
The true party animal will surely get his or her fill.
However, if you really want to blend in with the LGBTQ+ local community,
you should for sure visit places like Hessenhuis, Bonaparte, Café Delux, Twilight.
From Mr Big shot to broke students
If you’re prepared to spend some euros, Antwerp offers you some of the best food in Belgium and beyond. Restaurants like The Jane, ‘t Zilte and Nuance are top of the bill. You can even dine in an age-old chapel or on top of one of Antwerp’s most iconic buildings (such as the MAS). But also if you’re backpacking and only have a couple of euros to spend, there is plenty of choice too.
A city with a soundtrack
If Belgium and Flanders have a music capital: you’ve found it. There are plenty of music venues all over the city. Try visiting KAVKA, for instance. With a wide range of artists, bands and deejays, you’ll surely find your match here. Want to go back in time? Then go and gaze at BOURLA. It’s not only one of the most marvellous buildings in the city, it’s also home to a magnificent theatre. In the concert hall, take a look up. The ceiling has a painting by contemporary artist Jan Van Riet. When still in awe, go upstairs to the Foyer, pick a table and let it all sink in while enjoying a great view over the paintings and skylight.
Even the railway station is an architectural gem in Antwerp. It appears in almost every list of the world’s most beautiful railway stations. Probably lesser-known, is the street called Cogels-Osylei, the main street of the Zurenborg neighbourhood and a must-see for architecture lovers. You’ll see a stunning mix of Art Nouveau, Jugendstil and Neo-Classicism. And to think that the city was going to tear those ‘old-fashioned’ buildings down, back in the 1960s… Thank god for a group of artists who bought the houses and saved the neighbourhood.
Bring Rubens a visit, he will like it
The city has a long and flourishing relationship with art and artists. The greatest of them all: Pieter Paul Rubens. The celebrated baroque master painted and breathed Antwerp. You can admire his paintings all over town, but the most famous ones are in Rubenshuis. This 1611 building was his home and workplace, rescued from ruins back in 1937. A must see, yet not the only palace of culture that Antwerp has to offer. The museum Plantin-Moretus, for instance, is given the UNESCO World Heritage status. There you can see the world’s oldest printing press, priceless manuscripts and original type sets. The medieval building-with-courtyard has been a museum for nearly 150 years.
The old underpass
The Scheldt is the picturesque river that cuts Antwerp in two. Do you want to get to the other side? Don’t worry, it’s possible without getting wet by using the Saint-Anne Tunnel or Underpass. Built in 1933, it allows you to even travel back in time, since the interior decoration hasn’t changed a bit since. Walk through the entrance building, past the sings and fences and go down on the original wooden escalator. It’ll truly give you the feeling of being in the avant-garde, breathing the city’s atmosphere of a century back.
With thanks to (c) visit flanders.com