Insider tips: Planning a trip to Antwerp
Jurga Rubinovaite is an avid traveler, photographer, and chief adventure planner behind the popular family travel blog Full Suitcase. She lives in Belgium, and on her blog, you can find more information and all the details for planning a trip to Antwerp.
What should I do on my first trip to Antwerp?
One of the nicest things to do in Antwerp is exploring different facets of the city - architecture, museums, the riverside, world-class fashion boutiques, and fantastic restaurants. In the old town, don't miss the impressive main town square Grote Markt, the Cathedral, Plantin – Moretus Museum, and countless little streets packed with cozy cafes and charming little shops. Antwerp is also the Diamond capital of the world and it's a great place to buy jewelery.
What are some hidden gems to see in Antwerp?
Some of our favorite hidden gems in Antwerp include the restored Handelsbeurs building, Vlaeykensgang, St. Anna Tunnel under the Scheldt River, Beguinage of Antwerp, and De Ruien, the underground waterways under the city. If you're willing to venture just a bit further from the city center, check out the Park Bridge as well.
How much time should I spend in Antwerp?
One day is enough to see the main highlights of Antwerp. However, if you also want to visit one or two museums, check out one of the oldest zoos in Europe, try some local delicacies and do some shopping, it's best to plan 2-3 days for the city. Antwerp is a great destination for a weekend city break in Europe.
What food is Antwerp known for?
In addition to all the typical Belgian specialties that you'll find all over the country, Antwerp is also known for its hand-shaped cookies called "Antwerpse handjes". No visit to Antwerp would be complete without tasting "Bolleke", the most famous beer of Antwerp, and also Elixir d’Anvers, a liqueur made out of 32 different types of plants and herbs.
What is the best way to get around Antwerp?
The best way to explore Antwerp is on foot, by step, or by bike. The city center is quite compact and walkable, and the distances between the main landmarks aren't very big. In addition, Antwerp has good public transport connections, including some hop-on hop-off boat routes that take you to the more local areas of the city and its surroundings.
What are the best months to visit Antwerp?
Antwerp is a year-round destination that offers plenty to see and do in all seasons. In the warmer months, there are lots of outdoor events, cozy summer bars, and fun activities. And in winter, you can enjoy theaters, concerts, museums, as well as visit the Antwerp Christmas market. The city is always lively, although the majority of international tourists seem to visit between April and September.
What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?
Antwerp is a true paradise for shopping. Meir is the main shopping street and that's where you'll find all the largest global clothing retailers. For luxury brands and designer boutiques, check out Schuttershofstraat, Huidevettersstraat, and the surrounding area. The area next to the Central Station is the place for be for diamonds and jewelery.
What is the best family-friendly thing to do in Antwerp?
One of the best things to do in Antwerp with kids is visiting the zoo, one of the oldest animal parks in Europe. It's located right in the city center, next to the Central Station, and is fun for young and old.