Things to do in

Antwerp

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10 things to see and do in Antwerp

To visit Antwerp is to experience the coolest city in Belgium, where design and art meet history and culture – it’s got it all. But if a minibreak means you don’t have all the time in the world, hit our sightseeing hotspots to make the most of your trip.

  • Rubenshuis

    1. Rubenshuis

    This former home and studio of Peter Paul Rubens was rescued and restored in 1937 and is now an attraction dedicated to the Flemish Baroque painter. Save time for the gardens.

  • Cathedral of Our Lady

    2. Cathedral of Our Lady

    Daily tours take place in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish from mid-July to August; the rest of the year, take your own stroll through the splendour of the Cathedral.

  • Plantin-Moretus Museum

    3. Plantin-Moretus Museum

    Design nerds will appreciate this UNESCO Word Heritage Site, honoring printers Christophe Plantin and Jan Moretus. It's the place to be if you’re interested in classic typography.

  • Museum aan de Stroom

    4. Museum aan de Stroom

    One of the coolest buildings in Antwerp, it's also the city's biggest museum, so leave plenty of time to explore the collections, including maritime history and ethnography.

  • Antwerp Zoo

    5. Antwerp Zoo

    Right next to Antwerpen-Centrale station is this historic zoo, one of the oldest in the world. There’s enough to please both animal and architecture fans, so take your camera!

  • 6. Museum Mayer van den Bergh

    Fritz Mayer van den Bergh was the Charles Saatchi of his time, collecting more than 3,000 works of art, regularly curated here. Entrance is included with admission to Rubenshuis.

  • Museum of Fine Arts

    7. Museum of Fine Arts

    Closed for refurnishment until 2018, this historic museum will be buzzing when it reopens. Until then, see the website for touring collections at nearby locations.

  • Béguinage

    8. Béguinage

    It may be less famous than its Bruges or Ghent counterparts, but this understated site is like a secret garden in the heart of Antwerp. Ideal for a quiet hour between museums.

  • Museum of Modern Art Antwerp

    9. Museum of Modern Art Antwerp

    This cool space can be recognised instantly by the huge ‘HK’ painted on the corner. It boasts a permanent collection of contemporary pieces from Belgian and international artists.

  • Aguatopia

    10. Aguatopia

    This aquarium is a bit cheaper than the zoo and a great way to entertain kids, especially if you visit in colder months. Allow half a day to explore the themed rooms and play area.

Frequently asked questions about Antwerp

What top attractions are a must-see in Antwerp?

Planning Your Visit

  • How long do I need?

    Three days should be enough to cover the key sights. Visitors who like to take their time strolling through a city may prefer four to five days.

  • Where should I stay?

    Grote Markt, in the old town, is a popular and lively spot, with shopping and sights on its doorstep.

  • Is it easy to get around?

    The city has an extensive bus and tram network, which runs from around 6:00AM to 11:00PM. The number 15 bus, which costs 1.50€, links the airport to the Centrale station, covering all arrivals and departures.

  • Can I take a day trip?

    It’s easy to get to Bruges or Ghent by train from Centrale Station, making Antwerp a great base for exploring all the sights of Belgium.

Good to know

  • Language
    Dutch, German and French
  • Currency
    Euro (€)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+01:00)
  • Country Code
    +32
  • Best time to visit
    It's the busiest time of year for a reason: The summer months offer sunshine and lots of outdoor festivals, so there's always something to grab your attention!

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.

Other Sightseeing Options in Antwerp

Want to discover all there is to do in Antwerp? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Antwerp

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 526 reviews

The city walk through Antwerp with Heloïse was a very nice experience. Already at the station building we were able to gain insights into the peculiarities of this city with their help, which continued through this beautiful, worth seeing city.

Berem was our guide. He welcomed me in a very friendly way and showed me Antwerp in a very interesting and varied way. I am already looking forward to my next tour with Berem. Thank you very much again.

luc was very entertaining, knowledgeable and humorous. really recommended to get to know the city!

It was a great tour that gave a good introduction to the city. Luc did a great job!

Everything was great. Beren walked us through many areas. Thank you!