One day in Antwerp offers a great chance to see the best of this place. In 24 hours you can see and do a lot.
I mean, it’s fair to say that Ghent, Bruges and Brussels get most of the attention when it comes to visiting Belgium. It’s a tad unfair though. Antwerp deserves a big, shiny spotlight of its own.
It’s a beautiful city. It’s the largest one in Belgium, yet you can still enjoy the most of it with just one day in Antwerp.
A Day in Antwerp
Breakfast in Antwerp
Head up to one of the museum rooftops early in the morning for a peaceful look out over the city before it comes to life.
Even better though, opt for a bedroom on one of the upper floors of a hotel so that you can enjoy the view from the comfort of your snuggly duvet like I did. You don’t need to spend a fortune – rooms start from just £50/60 at modern TRYP by Wyndham Antwerp.
If you haven’t grabbed breakfast yet (or to be honest, even if you have) hit the bakeries. OMG the bakeries. Huge glass windows are filled with the most indulgent, scrummiest cakes, tarts and pastries.
You’ll find many of them throughout the city, but it’s worth checking if you’re near De Biologische Bakkerij. You’ll also find a couple more right by this spot.
Explore Antwerp on Bike
Antwerp is blessed with lots of wide, flat roads that are perfect for cyclists. So much so, that you’ll find lots of cycle lanes, as well as lots of places to rent a bike for an hour or two, or much longer. It’s a great way to see the city without spending much money at all.
Whether you’re into material things or just arty designs, Antwerp has it covered and always in the prettiest way possible. Independent boutiques sing with individuality, their beautiful window displays inviting you to have a nosy look and complimenting you as you do so. Even cafes and office buildings stand out as creative installations.
Get Lunch at Barnini
Pop in adorable Barnini for a spot of lunch. After all that cycling and shopping you’ve earned it. Said to serve the best coffee in Atwerp, this cafe offers delicious bagels. It’s small, but beautiful and in a great location for a bit of people watching.
Afternoon to Enjoy the Architecture
Antwerp is one of those cities where something as simple as a walking down a street can give your heart a flutter. The buildings are those gorgeous, imposing ones that hit you as you turn the corner, catching you off guard and making you reach for your camera.
Make sure you also include a visit to the famous ‘Railway Cathedral’. It’s Antwerp’s central train station and is a landmark in many people’s eyes.
If it’s raining or you don’t fancy a wander, there are loads of museums, galleries and such that you can visit too. If that’s your kind of thing, Rubenshuis is particularly well praised online.
Visit Steen Castle
Talking of architecture, Steen Castle deserves its own mention. Right on the water’s edge, it’s a huge block of whites and yellows, hiding a warren of treasures that you wouldn’t normally expect in a castle.
It’s over eight-hundred years old and is only a fraction of what it once was. There’s a cute cafe space with a vintage photo machine, a large hourglass and the highlight of this spot, the river views.
Dinner in Antwerp
For a special (but still affordable) dinner, head to Dock’s Cafe .
How to Get to Antwerp
Travelling to Antwerp from the UK is ridiculously easy and cheap. You can pick up a return ticket with Eurostar for less than £80 per person.
The train leaves London and goes to Brussels. If you’ve selected ‘Any Belgian Station’ as your ticket type you then simply transfer to a new train for the short leg to Antwerp.
Alternatively you can just buy an extra ticket once you get to Brussels. I’d highly recommend the first option though as then you can spend some time in Brussels too, even if it is just for a few hours (in which case go for lunch at the ah-may-zing Bia Mara).
Antwerp at Christmas
Antwerp knows how to celebrate Christmas. If you’re visiting during winter you’ll be in for a treat. Huge Christmas trees fill the squares, twinkly lights dress the streets and ice skating rinks and stalls magically appear. Wrap up warm (really warm!) and enjoy the season.
Pin for later…
Have you been to Antwerp? Do you have any recommendations or tips to add to this list? Is this somewhere you’d like to visit? X