Antwerp: the city of fashion, quaint buildings, Belgian chocolate, exceptional beer, and diamonds. A weekend in Antwerp will go by in a flash because the city is so versatile and fascinating to walk around. You
Antwerp: the city of fashion, quaint buildings, Belgian chocolate, exceptional beer, and diamonds. A weekend in Antwerp will go by in a flash because the city is so versatile and fascinating to walk around. You can take a break on one of the many terraces and enjoy the view of the river Suhelde, or check out the renovated fashion museum in the center of the city and many more. Here are some tips on what to do in Antwerp, and of course, there are plenty of great places to stay!
As soon as you take the train to Antwerp, you’ll be in the midst of the city’s beautiful buildings. The station is also known as the “Railway Cathedral,” and for a good reason. You can walk directly to the city center from the station, where you will arrive at the large shopping street “De Meer”. Here you will find all the major fashion chains, but the more upscale and smaller stores can be found in the side streets.
Back to the Past
On the side street is the Handelsbeurs, a monumental stock exchange built in the 19th century. The fair walls are covered inside with old maps showing which countries Antwerp used to trade with. A hidden gem on the fairgrounds is Fiera, a restaurant and bar with a bohemian, jungle-like interior that serves excellent cocktails.
Meir and its side streets are home to much more than just fashion. If you like to shop, you will enjoy Antwerp’s fashion and theater district to the fullest. Firstly, at the renovated Fashion Museum in Nationalestraat, you can see the museum’s permanent collection, including works by famous Belgian designers such as Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, and Walter Van Beirendonck, as well as by students of the Fashion Academy. There are also occasional exhibitions on fashion and its impact on society.
The same street is lined with stores of famous Belgian designers. Steenhouwersvest is also a good street for strolling around, finding clothes, and shopping. There’s also a centuries-old glove store in Lombardenvest: two Italians started the store in 1886, and the Boon family took over the business in 1920. The interior is still the same as it was in 1920, and it is beautiful to see.
Visiting the Center of Antwerp
In the center of the city is the impressive Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Don’t miss the statue of the Virgin Mary wearing a piece by Nathan, a fashion brand known for Queen Maxima’s dress, and various works by the painter Peter Paul Rubens.
The new interactive diamond museum, DIVA, is also worth a visit. Here you can hear, see, and feel the stories of diamonds, jewelry, silver, and silverware. Would you like coffee and cake or a nice lunch? Caffe Mundi in Oude Beurs or District in Sint Jacobs Markt are great places to get a good cup of coffee. Cakes, quiches, yogurt bowls, and fresh bagels are also highly recommended.
Just around the corner from the center is Groen Kwartier, a green oasis in the city. This is Pakt, and it is a trendy place with several restaurants, beer cafes, bars, and small boutiques. Here you can quickly get into the holiday spirit.
Cafe Bobby is located not far from this fantastic, industrial hotspot. It’s an excellent place to grab a drink as they have a lot of unique beers and wines on the menu. Are you a big beer drinker? Then Stadsbrouwerij de Koninck is worth a visit. It is the last remaining municipal brewery in Antwerp. Here you can also book an interactive tour or do a beer tasting with local brews.
Have you ever been to any of these places? Share your experience with us in the comments below!