Antwerp travel guide

Antwerp Tourism | Antwerp Guide

You're Going to Love Antwerp

Antwerp offers the best of both worlds, combining an enchanting and historic city center with a thriving modern economy. Historically, Antwerp was a powerful economic hub, and it continues to take a leading role in the region. Culturally, Antwerp is home to impressive museums, a successful contemporary arts and fashion scene and entertainment options for every taste.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Antwerp

1. Beautiful History

There are many ways to explore the enchanting remnants of the city's centuries old history, including the Begijnhof, a medieval abbey with charming gardens, the Rubenshuis, where famous painter Rubens once lived, and baroque Carlus Borromeus Church.

2. Diamonds!

As the world's leading trading center for diamonds - more than 70% of the global market is located right here - Antwerp is the place to be if you are looking for diamonds, including dazzling finished pieces of jewelry and shimmering loose stones.

3. Arts & Culture

Antwerp is a hip, trendy city that has attracted some of Europe's finest talent in art, writing, acting and more, with a vibrant cultural scene that offers something to do virtually every day of the week.

4. Foodie Scene

From traditional Flemish dishes and craft beers to classic Franco-Belgian fusion, Mediterranean food and other culinary influences from around the world, Antwerp's dining scene is world class and ever changing.

5. Fashionista Paradise

Antwerp is one of the nation's fashion centers, with a successful local scene that has spawned national designer brands like Margiela and Raf Simons, with an emphasis on ultramodern and avant garde designs.

What to do in Antwerp

1. Museum Plantin-Moretus: A Page of History

Showcasing Christophe Plantin and Jan Moretus' collection of manuscripts, the Plantin-Moretus Museum, an integral site in the history of typography, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. The former 16th-century printing company, once the largest in the world, provides insight into the Plantin-Moretus bookbinding empire. Among the treasures found in the striking medieval building are two of the world's oldest surviving printing presses, a library dating back to 1640 that holds an early Gutenberg Bible, and rooms featuring priceless art, including numerous paintings by Rubens.

2. Groenplaats: A Touch of Green

Antwerp's Groenplaats or "Green Place" is one of the city's most renowned squares, featuring an 1843 statue of the city's most revered painter, Pieter Paul Rubens, designed by Willem Geefs. The square is lined with cafés where visitors come to soak in the local color. Anchored by its majestic Gothic cathedral with the highest church tower in the region, the Groenplaats - which used to house a legendary cemetery that was outlawed during the Austrian occupation by Emperor Joseph II - is now the place to sample local beers and grab a bite to eat.

3. Middelheim Museum: Carved in Stone

The Middelheim, one of the oldest open-air sculpture museums in the world, rests on 30 acres within the Middelheim Nachtegalen Park in Antwerp. Many of the sculptures are the legacy of the Biennale Middelheim, held from 1951 to 1989. The museum, with works ranging from 19th-century statues to large modern designs, features the work of legendary artists such as Auguste Rodin, Rik Wouters, Max Bill, and Alexander Calder, among others.

4. Vogeltjesmarkt: An Iconic Shopping Site

The Vogeltjesmarkt or the Bird Market, which dates back to the Middle Ages, is Antwerp's biggest open-air market. The bazaar, centrally located in the theater district, opens daily from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. It was historically where songbirds, post pigeons, and exotic birds were traded. Nowadays, the market is popular with tourists looking for unique finds, such as antiques and second-hand items, as well as local delicacies and craft beers.

5. Market Square: Guilded Age

The Grote Markt or Great Market Square of Antwerp, near the banks of the the Scheldt River, is located in the heart of the city's historic downtown. The square houses the Flemish Renaissance Stadhuis or City Hall which was built in 1565; several 19th-century guild halls, rebuilt after a 1576 fire; the Brabo fountain, designed by Jef Lambeaux, and the Antwerp Jazz Club, as well as a variety of cafés and restaurants. In winter, visitors can enjoy the Christmas market and a bit of ice skating.

Museum Plantin-MoretusMuseum Plantin-Moretus
GroenplaatsGroenplaats
VogeltjesmarktVogeltjesmarkt
Market SquareMarket Square

1. Museum Plantin-Moretus: A Page of History

Showcasing Christophe Plantin and Jan Moretus' collection of manuscripts, the Plantin-Moretus Museum, an integral site in the history of typography, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. The former 16th-century printing company, once the largest in the world, provides insight into the Plantin-Moretus bookbinding empire. Among the treasures found in the striking medieval building are two of the world's oldest surviving printing presses, a library dating back to 1640 that holds an early Gutenberg Bible, and rooms featuring priceless art, including numerous paintings by Rubens.

2. Groenplaats: A Touch of Green

Antwerp's Groenplaats or "Green Place" is one of the city's most renowned squares, featuring an 1843 statue of the city's most revered painter, Pieter Paul Rubens, designed by Willem Geefs. The square is lined with cafés where visitors come to soak in the local color. Anchored by its majestic Gothic cathedral with the highest church tower in the region, the Groenplaats - which used to house a legendary cemetery that was outlawed during the Austrian occupation by Emperor Joseph II - is now the place to sample local beers and grab a bite to eat.

3. Middelheim Museum: Carved in Stone

The Middelheim, one of the oldest open-air sculpture museums in the world, rests on 30 acres within the Middelheim Nachtegalen Park in Antwerp. Many of the sculptures are the legacy of the Biennale Middelheim, held from 1951 to 1989. The museum, with works ranging from 19th-century statues to large modern designs, features the work of legendary artists such as Auguste Rodin, Rik Wouters, Max Bill, and Alexander Calder, among others.

4. Vogeltjesmarkt: An Iconic Shopping Site

The Vogeltjesmarkt or the Bird Market, which dates back to the Middle Ages, is Antwerp's biggest open-air market. The bazaar, centrally located in the theater district, opens daily from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. It was historically where songbirds, post pigeons, and exotic birds were traded. Nowadays, the market is popular with tourists looking for unique finds, such as antiques and second-hand items, as well as local delicacies and craft beers.

5. Market Square: Guilded Age

The Grote Markt or Great Market Square of Antwerp, near the banks of the the Scheldt River, is located in the heart of the city's historic downtown. The square houses the Flemish Renaissance Stadhuis or City Hall which was built in 1565; several 19th-century guild halls, rebuilt after a 1576 fire; the Brabo fountain, designed by Jef Lambeaux, and the Antwerp Jazz Club, as well as a variety of cafés and restaurants. In winter, visitors can enjoy the Christmas market and a bit of ice skating.

Museum Plantin-MoretusMuseum Plantin-Moretus
GroenplaatsGroenplaats
VogeltjesmarktVogeltjesmarkt
Market SquareMarket Square

Top activities & attractions in Antwerp

Where to Eat in Antwerp

Enjoy the atmosphere along with the fine dining cuisine at The Jane, designed by architect Piet Boon. A multi-course dinner menu starts at EU85. Elfde Gebod serves classic Belgian dishes in a gorgeous medieval building, with mains that start at EU14.

When to visit Antwerp

Antwerp in February
Estimated hotel price
$63
1 night at 3-star hotel
Antwerp in February
Estimated hotel price
$63
1 night at 3-star hotel

With a seasonal climate, most tourists opt to visit during the spring and summer months between May and September, when average temperatures hover around 60°F to 65°F.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Fahrenheit (°F)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Antwerp

Plane

Antwerp airport (ANR) is a smaller regional airport located about 3.5 miles from the city center that serves London and other locations in the UK. Regular bus service to the Berchem train station costs around EU10. Brussels Airport (BRU) is where most international flights will land. Located about 28 miles from Antwerp, a train links the airport to the central station in Antwerp, with fares at about EU12.

Train

Antwerp is a major hub on the Belgian Rail system, with connections to major centers throughout Belgium and the rest of Europe.

Car

Antwerp is serviced by a well-maintained network of highways that link it to all major towns and cities in Flanders and throughout Belgium.

Bus

Several bus companies offer intercity service that connects Antwerp to major centers across Europe, including Eurolines, Flixbus, ECOLINES and Megabus.

Airlines serving Antwerp

United Airlines
Good (2,829 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (2,131 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,373 reviews)
KLM
Good (347 reviews)
Air France
Good (394 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,406 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (3,035 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,317 reviews)
SWISS
Good (451 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,192 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (941 reviews)
Iberia
Good (910 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (1,389 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (278 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (304 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Excellent (317 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (535 reviews)
Brussels Airlines
Good (100 reviews)
Finnair
Good (690 reviews)
LATAM Airlines
Good (773 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in Antwerp

City Centre - this historic district is where to find attractions like the Antwerp Zoo and impressive Gothic Cathedral of Our Lady, along with the central train station and much more.

Popular Neighborhoods in Antwerp

Antwerp South (Het Zuid) - this is where you'll find a hip, trendy scene of restaurants and bars along with many cultural attractions like the MUHKA Museum of Contemporary Art and the graffiti art of Het Munplein.

Zurenborg - this district will take you off the beaten track and into a neighborhood of intriguing 19th century architecture, including Art Nouveau and other styles, along with a collection of trendy restaurants.

Most popular hotel in Antwerp by neighborhood

Where to stay in popular areas of Antwerp

Most booked hotels in Antwerp

Van Der Valk Hotel Dennenhof
Excellent (8.2, 984 reviews)
$94+
B&B Hotel Antwerpen Zuid
Excellent (8.1, 2656 reviews)
$57+
Hotel Ter Elst
Excellent (8.1, 816 reviews)
$103+
Van Der Valk Hotel Beveren
Excellent (8, 1447 reviews)
$106+
Charmehotel Klokkenhof
Excellent (8, 1295 reviews)
$71+
Hotel Drie Eiken
Good (7.8, 794 reviews)
$100+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Antwerp

Public Transportation

Public transportation in the city includes a network of buses, trams and underground trains operated by De Lijn company. Single fares start at EU3, with a 10-ride ticket available at EU14.

Taxi

Taxis are plentiful in the city and are often a preferable option to rush hour traffic in the downtown area. An average fare within the city center should cost around EU10-20.

Car

Be forewarned that many sources have rated the city's traffic jams as among the worst in Europe and parking spaces often come at a premium, starting at EU2 per hour. A compact rental should cost around EU35 a day.

The Cost of Living in Antwerp

Shopping Streets

The Meir shopping street runs between the City Hall and central train station. The Fashion District is located along the river to the south of the historic City Centre.

Groceries and Other

Carrefour and Delhaize are two of the many supermarket chains you'll find sprinkled throughout the city, offering a good selection of items at reasonable prices. A gallon of milk is about EU3.25 and a dozen eggs about EU2.40.

Cheap meal
$16.66
A pair of jeans
$101.67
Single public transport ticket
$3.33
Cappuccino
$2.84
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