Bijgewerkt op: 17 aug. 2020
Antwerp is the second largest city of Belgium and is situated on the river Scheldt . The city is known for it's narrow alleys and the Cathedral of our Lady. But Antwerp is more than just historical architecture. Antwerp’s cultural heritage is also on display at it's museums, it's fashion industry, it's diamond quarter and shopping districts. In this blog you’re going to read about our experience and we’ll give you some tips for a weekend in Antwerp.
Take the train
An international intercity train of the Dutch and Belgian railways runs between Brussels and Amsterdam. You can easily book train tickets via the website of NS international. If you do not live in the Netherlands but somewhere else in Europe you can choose to take the Thalys, ICE or Eurostar for example to Antwerp.
Why take the train? The train has the following advantages: No parking fees, no long wait for security checks at the airport, but above all you get the chance to discover Antwerp via its centrally located station. Antwerp central is seen by many as one of the most beautiful stations in Europe, the station is also known as “the railway cathedral”. The station was built between 1899 and 1905 and was designed in the eclectic style, in 2007 the station was expanded with a railway tunnel.
Walk through the alleys
After unpacking our things, we decided to have lunch at the “T’hofke”. This is a bistro located in the Vlaeykensgang, this alley has been around since 1591. The poorest people of Antwerp used to live here. Now you can find antique stores and “hofke”.
'T Hofke has Belgian French cuisine, the lunch was extensive but not too pricey and, above all, the staff were friendly.
Address: Oude Koornmarkt 16, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium
Visit the Saint Paul church
The “St Pauluskerk” is a former convent church of the Dominicans and dates from 1639. The church is characterized by baroque altars and paintings by famous artist such as Rubens and Van Dyck. In our opinion this was the most beautiful church in Antwerp, this was due to the rich decoration and the stunning black and white contrast.
Address: Sint-Paulusstraat 22, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium.
To get a good impression of the city we climbed to the top of the MAS museum. The panorama roof is free and you have to pay for the exhibitions only. From the roof you look over the historic center, the Scheldt, the ports and the islet of Antwerp. Every floor in the building has its own exhibition, so you gradually climb up and you can decide which exhibition you want to visit. Unfortunately, we have not been to the museum's exhibitions yet.
Tip: The museum is also experienced as fun by children! During the school holidays, they organize special events for all age groups.
Address: Hanzestedenplaats 1, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium.
Antwerp is seen as the fashion city of Belgium, this is because you can find every clothing style in the many shops in the city. This is often designer clothing of the more expensive type and may therefore not be suitable for every ones purse. The only thing we bought was books, which we think is nicer than clothing.
Tip: The shops in Antwerp are not always open on Sundays and do not have “late opening” during the week. Therefore check before departure!
“Plantin-Moretus” is a museum situated within the home of Christoffel Plantijn. Plantin was one of the top publishers in Europe in the 16th century. The company was passed on from generation to generation. Now you can look at printed matter from the past and admire the printing works themselves.
The courtyard with the historic building around it made it an attractive place for tourists already in the 16th century. The garden is planted with plants that were the most popular in 16th and 17th centuries.
Address: Vrijdagmarkt 22-23, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium.
Markets and Saint-Anna tunnel
Lastly we visited the flea market and walked through the Sint-Anna tunnel. The flea market travels through Antwerp, on the Sunday market you can mainly buy silver and books. Markets can be found throughout Antwerp throughout the week, and what is sold on them varies from day to day. On the “Visit Antwerp” website you can find what is sold and where, depending on the day of the week.
The pedestrian tunnel connects the two riverbanks of the city. In the tunnel you can see one of the few remaining wooden escalators in Europe and is definitely worth a look.
Address: 2000, Sint-Jansvliet 19, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium
FOMU, photo museum.
M HKA, Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp.
The harbor house, designed by Zaha Hadid.
Walking through Zurenborg.