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The top things to do in Antwerp
Antwerp has many things to see and do. Take the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal and the lively port, for example. Art enthusiasts will love admiring the centuries-old art pieces in the Rubenshuis. At the same time, the Chocolate Museum is a must for sweet tooths. Relax with a craft beer on the Grote Markt or take in the Begijnhof to experience authentic Antwerp. Discover this captivating Flemish city with ALL – Accor Live Limitless.
The beating heart of Antwerp is, without a doubt, the Grote Markt. Plenty of welcoming outdoor cafés here will provide you with a place to recover from your voyage of discovery through the city. Antwerp's centuries-old grandeur is fully displayed at the Grote Markt, reflected in the stately guildhalls and the town hall built in the Renaissance style.
The most striking guildhall, the largest, is at number seven: Het Pand van Spanje. The top of the façade features a golden statue of Sint-Joris moments before he slays the dragon. An important monument at the Grote Markt is the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal with its 123-metre-tall spire. Due to attacks that took place during the 16th century, almost nothing remains of the original interior of this 14th-century cathedral. Only a few murals and a marble sculpture of the Madonna were spared.
On the banks of the Scheldt river stands the oldest building of Antwerp: Het Steen. This is one of the three gatehouses that were part of the walled-in fortress of Antwerp during the Middle Ages. Het Steen was used as a prison until the start of the 10th century and later became a museum. Today the gate is a visitor centre.
Museums and galleries
Art lovers will love Antwerp. At the Rubenshuis, you can marvel at some of the works by one of the greatest artists of the Baroque: Peter Paul Rubens. This painter from Antwerp is famed for his works based on biblical, mythological and historical stories. The collection's masterpiece is The Annunciation.
Antwerp is inextricably bound up with its port and shipping. This clearly shows at the MAS (Museum Aan de Stroom). Over 500,000 pieces of art are on display, spread over ten floors. The building also features a promenade with tall glass walls, taking you up to 60 metres high, where a 360-degree view of the city awaits you.
Het Zuid is short for Zuid-Museum, based on a collection of museums in this part of Antwerp. This area has numerous small art galleries and some large museums, including the FOMU museum of photography, in which you will learn about the history of photography. A short walk from there, find the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, the contemporary art museum in the city. The Koninklijke Museum Voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen has a collection of around 8,200 paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints, including work from Peter Paul Rubens.
Beauty around every corner
Antwerp is a vibrant city, from the port to the Grote Markt, making the Begijnhof a unique refuge. The Begijnhof consists of picturesque 16th-century houses. The courtyard is only accessible via the main gates. Begijnen lived in these houses, devout women who dedicated themselves to the church without taking religious vows.
One of the most beautiful streets of Antwerp is the Cogels-Osylei, in the Zurenborg-district. Glimpse the life lived by the bourgeoisie at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. Architecture enthusiasts can admire the elegant townhouses built in the Jugendstil or Art Nouveau styles.
For those who can't get enough of spectacular architecture, check out the 19th-century Antwerpen-Centraal railway station with its eclectic styles and 40-metre steel platform roof.
Right next to the station is the Antwerp Zoo. The 19th-century zoo is the oldest zoo in Belgium and one of the oldest in the world. Over four hundred animals live here, in an area of 11 hectares. The Mercure Antwerpen centrum hotel boasts a view over Antwerp, a mere five-minute walk from the train station. This four-star hotel in Antwerp is also suitable for a business trip due to its availability of meeting rooms. The ibis Antwerpen Centrum and ibis budget Antwerpen Centraal Station are budget-friendly alternatives, located near the Diamantwijk and the stylish Dageraadplaats in Zurenborg. If you love vintage styles and antiques and collectibles, check out Kloosterstraat, Antwerp's main street for antiques. You'll find antiques and many concept stores run by entrepreneurs and young designers. During the summer months, buy fresh products at the Dokmarkt on Napoleonkaai.
What to eat and drink in Antwerp
Belgium is famous for its chocolate and praline. Chocolate Nation is the largest chocolate museum in Belgium. Discover more about the history, traditions and brands that made Belgian chocolate famous. You'll also be able to observe chocolatiers while they're working on their delicious creations, and you can participate in workshops.
We can't speak about Belgian cuisine without mentioning Belgian fries. Enjoy your fries from a traditional zak friet at one of the many stands on the Grote Markt while staying in Antwerp.
Fancy a Belgian beer? Famous breweries from Antwerp include Brouwerij De Koninck and Huisbrouwerij 't Pakhuis. Brouwerij De Koninck has an experience centre allowing you to learn more about brewing.
North of the city, find Het Eilandje, a trendy entertainment area studded with converted warehouses. Many of its bars and restaurants are nautically themed, connecting them to the area's history.
Het Zuid also is a vibrant neighbourhood filled with bars, clubs and restaurants. Fiske Bar is a popular hangout for regional dishes and wine.
One of Antwerp's most popular restaurants? The Jane, from chef Nick Bril. The restaurant is in the chapel of a former military hospital with a menu is full of innovative dishes. Restaurant RAS on the Scheldt river is highly recommended for classic Belgian dishes combined and a stunning view. Black Smoke is a well-known rooftop bar where you can enjoy drinks, BBQ food and a panoramic view over the city. Sky Bar Antwerpen is a welcoming place to have a few drinks while enjoying an outlook over the river Scheldt.