Always on time

Tours Antwerpen

Lively Antwerp is a beautiful destination. Its medieval streets, Renaissance monuments and vibrant nightlife are often overshadowed by the city’s reputation as a center of the diamond trade and the fifth largest port in the world. Bicycles are a popular choice as a mode of transportation to traverse this stylish Flemish city. Admire the thousands of Old Masters in the Royal Museum and in the Rubens House. Experience the lively activity on the Grand Place. Also admire the art and architecture of the unfinished Cathedral of Our Lady, whose construction began in 1351.

1. Central Station: the railroad cathedral

Did you know that Antwerp Central Station is one of the most beautiful station buildings in Europe? Because it is such a beautiful station, it also received the name “railroad cathedral”. The station was first a small terminus, which was then grandly renovated in 2007 to become a major train station. Now it is no longer a stopping point and you can easily take a train to Amsterdam, for example.

Surely one of the most spectacular stations

The station building is a mix of stone walls and a glass dome and contains platforms spread over several levels. So even if you don’t take the train to Antwerp, it’s definitely worth a visit to the station.

2. The Grand Place

The Grote Markt in Antwerp is the city’s central square but also one of the liveliest. At the square you’ll find a lot of beautiful old guild houses and landmarks, but also some nice terraces and the beautiful Brabo fountain with a statue of Silvius Brabo.From the Grote Markt you can see the sixteenth-century Antwerp Town Hall, designed by Cornelis Floris and considered one of the most beautiful Renaissance buildings of the Low Countries. The Grote Markt is also the place where you can admire the city’s famous temple.

3. Cathedral of Our Lady

Antwerp’s magnificent cathedral towers above the city center with its large 123-meter-high tower. The cathedral has been built, torn down and rebuilt several times, allowing you to find different architectural styles.

For example, the church was built in the twelfth century around a ninth-century chapel. Also, very little of the original interior remains due to the sixteenth-century iconoclasm, but there are also a number of famous works by the Antwerp artist Peter Paul Rubens on display in the church (including the famous ‘The Raising of the Cross’, for that alone you should really visit the cathedral).

  • The cathedral is open to the public daily between 10:00 and 17:00 on weekdays, and until 15:00 on Saturdays and between 13:00 and 16:00 on Sundays.
  • Access to the church costs €8 for anyone over the age of 12 who is not from Antwerp itself.

4.  St. Paul’s Church

The St. Paul’s Church was built in the seventeenth century and was then one of the richest and most powerful churches in the country. Today, the beautiful late Gothic building serves as a parish church, where you can see beautiful statues and works of art by Peter Paul Rubens , among other things. You can also take a look in the treasury.

  • The church can be visited daily for free between 14:00 and 17:00.
  • Access to the treasury costs €1.

5.  The Rubens House

At the end of the sixteenth century, the young Peter Paul Rubens moved to Antwerp, where he then lived his entire life except for a short stay in Italy. On a side street of the Meir, the Wapper, he had a beautiful house built in the Italian style, making it resemble a small Renaissance palace. In the building many paintings were painted by Rubens himself and by his pupils. Some of these works can still be seen in the Rubens House now that it has been restored to its original state after restoration and serves as a museum.

  • The Rubens House is open every Tuesday through Sunday between 10:00 and 17:00.
  • Income is €8 for visitors aged 26 to 65 years inclusive.
  • Income is €6 for visitors from 12 to 25 years old and over 65 years old.

6.  The Beguinage

The Beguinage was in the sixteenth century a place where elderly poor women lived together in houses around a park. These beguines often focused here on a life dedicated to the faith. Nowadays only a few beguines live in this Beguinage, and most of the other houses are homes for the elderly. The court itself is a beautiful place of peace in the city and definitely worth a visit.

7.  The Botanical Garden

The Botanical Garden or Den Botanieken Hof on Leopoldstraat is also a small oasis of calm in the center. Once the Botanical Garden served as a garden where herbs with healing powers were planted for the hospital. Today you will find about 2000 different species of plants, flowers and trees, some of which are protected flora.

While shopping or sightseeing, the Botanical Garden is then a wonderful place to sit on a bench and recover.

  • In the summer, the Botanical Garden is open between 08:00 and 20:00
  • In the winter between 08:00 and 17:30 free to visit.

8. ‘t Steen

‘t Steen is the old castle of Antwerp, which can be found on the banks of the Scheldt. It was built at the beginning of the thirteenth century, making it the oldest building on the Antwerp quay. It was also one of the first stone buildings in the city. The castle served as a prison for hundreds of years, but since the 19th century it has been a museum. At the castle you can also find a statue of Lange Wapper, a tease who frightened drunk people in a 19th century poem.

  • The Stone is currently under restoration. From February 2021, you will learn more about the history of the city and the building through an experience trail. The cruise terminal and tourist information office will also move to Het Steen.
  • 9.  Zurenborg

    The Zurenborg district is located between the Antwerp Central Station and Berchem Station and is thus a beautiful hidden gem. This whole district was built at the beginning of the twentieth century and therefore exists mainly in the special Belle Époque style. Art-nouveau elements are incorporated everywhere, especially in the houses on the Cogels-Osylei and around it. You can also find a lot of nice terraces in the district, on the Draakplaats and the Tramplaats, where you can enjoy yourself like a local.

    This neighborhood has been on the rise the last few years and is laughingly called the “hipster area” by the locals. Definitely worth a stroll!

    10.  The South

    But it can get even trendier! Het Zuid is a district outside the center of Antwerp that is considered the hippest district of the city. The old buildings in the district have in recent decades been converted into studios and workshops but also into trendy homes. So you can find here a lot of galleries, fashion houses, design stores and art studios, but also nice restaurants and cafes. You’ll also find a few art museums in the district, such as the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Photography.The Museum of Fine Arts is a temporary collection of artworks.

    The Museum of Fine Arts is still closed for now due to renovation works, and indefinitely. Parts of the collection can be viewed at a few guest locations such as the Cathedral of Our Lady and at the Snijders&Rockoxhuis.

    11.  Photography Museum (FoMu)

    The Fotomuseum or the FoMu is a very interesting contemporary museum with varied exhibitions. You can check out the exhibitions that are currently running here. The exhibitions change regularly, so you will always find something that interests you personally. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm (closed Monday). A guided tour is possible, but you have to request it in advance through the website. Be sure to browse around in the museum shop or enjoy a drink in the museum café Pixel!.

    12. The Museum of Fine Arts

    The Museum of Fine Arts houses a lot of works of art by Dutch and Flemish masters. Among other things, there are works by Peter Paul Rubens on display. In addition, a number of foreign works can also be found in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, such as works by Titian and Auguste Rodin.
    The museum is currently undergoing restoration, so it is not open. However, the collection remains on display at guest locations in Antwerp, such as the Rockox House and the Cathedral of Our Lady.

    13.  The MAS: Museum Aan de Stroom

    The Museum Aan de Stroom has been located on ‘t Eilandje since 2011 and tells about the history of the city. There is particular attention to Antwerp as an important port city, and the MAS also houses the old collection of the nearby Scheepvaartmuseum and the collection of the former Volkenkundemuseum. At the top of the building you can enjoy the view of Antwerp on the panoramic roof terrace (which can be entered for free).

    • The MAS is open every Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00.
    • The panoramic terrace is free to visit, but for the museum a standard ticket costs €10 and a ticket for schoolchildren, students and seniors €8.

    14.  The Modenation

    The building of the Modenatie houses some institutions related to the fashion world of Antwerp. The city has been an important fashion city for a number of years due to a number of top designers who live and/or work here.

    The Modenatie is therefore the center of this world, with the fashion academy of Antwerp, the Flanders Fashion Institute, the Fashion Museum (MOMU) with a collection dating back to the 16th century and the art bookstore Copyright. Goes back open in 2021.

    15.  The Ruien

    The Antwerp Ruins, or the old Sewers or Overwhelming City Canals are a special sight in the city.The Ruins no longer flush sewage, so you can visit them with an underground walk. Since 2005, the three-hour long walking tours are organized. Here you put on a protective suit at the beginning of the tour and are then guided through the underground Antwerp.

    • The Ruien is open every Thursday through Monday from 10:00 to 18:00.
    • The interactive walk with tablet is a great way to explore the underground.
    • The interactive walk with tablet costs €18 per person and €12 per child (10-16).

    The St. Anne’s Tunnel or Pedestrian Tunnel takes you under the Scheldt River from the Right Bank to the Left Bank.The tunnel itself is already a special structure because of the houten escalators and the artworks in the tunnel, once on the Left Bank you have a beautiful view of the Antwerp skyline.

    17.  De Koninck Brewery

    A Bolleke, it doesn’t get much more Antwerp! De Koninck is the local brewery of Antwerp. For over 150 years, the beer has been brewed in the brewery on the Mechelsesteenweg. Since the renovation of a few years ago, you can join afun tour to see the brewing process of the De Koninck beer. Of course you can also taste the brewed beer during the tour.

      A ticket costs €14, or €12 for seniors, €10 for students and €8 for children between 4 and 15 years old.

    18.  The Meir

    The Meir is the largest shopping street in Antwerp. Here you will find branches of a lot of big chains like H&M, C&A and more.  on the Meir. In the streets around the Meir you can also find a lot of stores, from small local stores to big boutique stores of brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton. So if you want to go shopping in Antwerp, the Meir and its surroundings is the place you want to be.

    19.  Antwerp Zoo

    The Antwerp Zoo dates back to 1843 is one of the most famous, oldest and beautiful city zoos in Europe. It is located right next to the Central Station (if you stand on platform 6, you can already see the walls and trees of the zoo). There are about 1000 different animal species to see in the zoo, and in addition you can also walk around in the beautiful garden of the Zoo. The Antwerp Zoo is definitely fun if you go out with kids, because here they can feast their eyes.

    • The zoo is open daily from 10:00. Closing times vary by season.
    • Access to the zoo costs €31 for adults, €29 for students and young people and €25 for children between the ages of 3 and 11.

    20.  Hidden gem: the Conscience Square and St. Charles Borromeo’s Church

    Happily, not many tourists have discovered this beautiful square yet! It is located near Antwerp Cathedral and as soon as you step onto the square, you imagine yourself back in the Baroque era. The stately St. Charles Borromeo’s Church is a pearl from the Baroque era and was a former Jesuit church. In this church you will also be able to discover several works by Rubens. Every Sunday and holiday, the Carolus Borromeus Church hosts an artists’ mass.

    • Operations : Monday to Saturday : 10h – 12h30 and 14h – 17h

    21.  Red Star Line Museum

    One of the newer museums in Antwerp, is the Red Star Line Museum. It’s a bit of a walk (if you were to visit the MAS, definitely include this museum in your planning). Your whole life in a suitcase, and then across the ocean…. burning topical. The Red Star Line had a few shipping lines around the world, the most famous of which was their shipping line in New York. So many people were eager to escape the misery and go to the dreamed USA.

    Millions of people ventured across in the hope of a better life. In this museum you follow the ups and downs of some of these passengers and discover how the preparations for this journey went. The museum is located in the old building of the Red Star Line. The stories are tangible and compelling, a great recommendation. The museum cafe ‘Upper Deck’ is also very cozy.

    • Tuesday to Sunday: 10 am to 5 pm
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    • Monday closed, with the exception of Easter Monday and Whit Monday / On December 24 and 31, the museum exceptionally closes at 4 pm. / Closed on January 1, May 1, Corpus Christi, November 1 and December 25.
    • € 8 :25 – 65 years
      € 6 :12 – 25 years, 65+, members Davidsfonds

    22.  The Harbour House

    The Port House of architect Dame Zaha Hadid had a lot of trouble: not everyone was equally enthusiastic about the design. Now, a few years later, it has become one of the figureheads of the Antwerp port and dozens of tours are made through the building every week. The former fire station and protected replica of a Hanseatic house had to be integrated into the new design, and this has worked out beautifully.

    Tours are also given in the new Port House of Port of Antwerp, and rooms are also rented for seminars and receptions.

    • Tuesdays at 18:30 and every first Saturday of the month at 11 am and 2 pm
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    • Price: 10 euro per person (only in advance and only to be purchased until 3 days before the visit)
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    • For group visits there is a different arrangement, which best to check on the website

    23.  The Wild Sea

    If you find the Meir too crowded for a nice shopping experience, and you are looking for more special stores, the “Wild Sea” is definitely a must. Actually, these are some side streets of the Meir, but not all tourists have discovered them yet. Here you can have a nice stroll without being trampled. Some of the streets that are worth a visit are: Lombardenvest, Schrijnwerkersstraat, Korte Gasthuisstraat, Huidevetterstraat,…

    24.  The Bourla Theatre and the City Theatre

    Fan of culture? Then you can indulge yourself and visit the Bourla Theatre or the City Theatre. The Bourla Theatre was designed in 1827 by architect Pierre Bourla.
    With the unusual semicircular entrance, he left his mark on the unusual architecture. The Bourla Schouwburg has been the home of the Toneelhuis theater company since 1998.

    The City Theatre had a tragic beginning: on October 8, 1944, a V1 bomb fell on Bonte Mantelstraat in Antwerp, almost completely destroying it and several other streets. The city council then decided in ’69 to make way for Theaterplein, where the city council would have the new Antwerp City Theatre built. In the Bourlaschouwburg, a fire had broken out in the cellars, and 3 years earlier there had been a fire in Sclessin in a cinema. The cultural temples had to be safer and larger. The plans for the City Theatre were born.

    Although it is one of the most famous sights in Antwerp, it is still smugly called “den bunker”. Nowadays you can go here to watch great shows and performances. By the way, definitely take a walk through the cozy streets that you can find at the City Theatre and flatter yourself at one of the many terraces in the area.

    25.  The Felix Warehouse

    One of the most famous hotspots of ‘t Eilandje: the Felix Warehouse. An old warehouse that was transformed into a hub of activity: you will find the city archives, the beautiful indoor street leads you to the marina and you will find all sorts of cozy places to eat or drink something. In the summer you can visit one of the nicest summer bars in Antwerp.

    26.  The Saturday market

    Ah, the Saturday market (also called foreigners market because of all the delicious foreign food you can get there). One of the most famous markets in Antwerp, next to the ‘Vogeltjesmarkt’. Here you chat on Saturday, order a glass of cava and meander along all the cozy market stalls.
    Also, don’t forget to have a fresh mint tea and enjoy a bacon and egg sandwich, fresh hummus, oysters, churros and much more. A real market for foodies!

    After visiting this market, you’ll be all set to discover many more of Antwerp’s attractions!

    27.   The medieval Vlaeykensgang

    Right in the center of Antwerp you will find the Vlaeykensgang or Vlaaikensgang. If you ask us, this is undoubtedly the most beautiful street in all of Antwerp. You bump into picturesque houses, beautiful courtyards and you seem to be in the medieval. And that is actually true, because this staag dates from the year 1591. This used to be a street where shoemakers and bell ringers settled, but now you will find some nice restaurants and beautiful houses.

    Despite the fact that the Vlaeykensgang is located in the center of Antwerp, it is not so easy to find. You quickly walk past it unaware. The Vlaeykensgang connects the Hoogstraat, the Oude Koornmarkt and the Pelgrimstraat. You can walk in and out of the alley on two sides, so be sure to look for it!

    28.  Shopping in Antwerp

    As everyone knows, you can find a lot of stores in the famous shopping street at the Meir, but these are mainly the famous chain stores. So make sure you also explore the side streets and small streets of the Meir, because they are full of great stores. The city festival hall is also a must to visit, even if you don’t necessarily want to shop.

    For the true fashion lovers you also have the Fashion Quarter where, among other things, the Antwerp Fashion Museum is located. In addition, there are three famous streets where you can find the almost cute boutiques. So definitely note on your to-do list: Schuttershofstraat, Kammenstraat and Korte Gasthuisstraat. Get out your credit card…

    29.  The bird market

    A weekend in Antwerp? Then reserve a spot in your agenda on Sunday to visit the city’s most famous market, the old bird market. As the name suggests, this market used to revolve entirely around selling birds, but today you can buy all sorts of things. Think of clothes, flowers, delicacies… and of course still birds too. The market goes on every Sunday until around 12-13 pm, located around the Oudevaartplaats, Theaterplein and Tabakvest.

    30.  The diamond district

    The diamond district is a district in Antwerp that is entirely dedicated to diamond craftsmen, jewelers and diamond dealers. If you’re looking for a luxurious piece of jewelry (with an accompanying price tag) you can definitely come here, but apart from that you should also explore the district, because Antwerp says diamonds. If you can’t get enough of all the glittering splendor, pay a visit to the DIVA Diamond Museum where you can admire many special specimens and jewelry.

    31.  Chocolate Nation

    We probably shouldn’t tell you that Belgium is known for its chocolate and that’s the reason why you should visit Chocolate Nation (and of course because Belgian chocolate is delicious)! Chocolate Nation is the largest Belgian chocolate museum in the world and a paradise for chocolate lovers! The museum says it’s a ‘sweet and blissful experience museum’ and we’re happy to put it to the test! Here you will learn about the entire chocolate process: from bean to finished product with all the intermediate steps that are taken. Moreover, you get more information about the role of chocolate in Belgium. Of course you can also taste the chocolate or stock up in the museum shop or in the webshop.

    Ticket prices vary by age (children, students, seniors…). Take a look at the website for more info on tickets and prices.

    32.  Museum Mayer van den Bergh

    At the Museum Mayer van den Bergh you come face to face with the Dulle Griet, the work of the great Pieter Bruegel. This museum feels a little different than other museums, as you are immersed in an intimate and homely atmosphere. During your visit, you will get to know Mayer van den Bergh’s extraordinary collection and also who this man was. The museum bears his name (Fritz Mayer van den Bergh), someone who knew his stuff, an art connoisseur and top collector. Who he was and what he had in common with Pieter Bruegel you will find out here. His collection, assembled around the 19th century, consists of over 3000 works of Bruegel, Rubens, van der Weyden and others… In addition to painting, Mayer van den Bergh also collected a number of sculptures and porcelain art. More info & tickets can be found on the website.

    33.  Plantin-Moretus Museum

    Next stop: the Plantin-Moretus Museum, located on the Vrijdagmarkt in Antwerp. The Frenchman Christophe Plantin transferred his printing business to this place in 1576. They built the ‘Gulden Passer’ into a beautiful patrician residence and his family lived and worked there for up to 300 (!) years. The family cherished their printing house so much that it eventually became heritage. In 1555 Plantin published his first book, 20 years later his publishing house was among the top in Europe. The last owner, Edward Moretus, sold it to the city of Antwerp in 1876.

    Today, you can visit the printing house as the Plantin-Moretus Museum. Get to know the palace, the printing house, the rooms, studio… and experience how word and image were sent into the world before the digital age arrived. There is even a room dedicated to the history of books where you can see an authentic Gutenberg Bible. You can find more info on what you can see and do there and order tickets at the website.

    34. Museum of Contemporary Art (MUHKA)

    MUHKA, the Museum of Contemporary Art, immerses you in a lot of remarkable and current art. There is a permanent collection (part of which you can visit for free as a first introduction) and there is also a lot of variety on the program. All presentations taking place in the current month can be found on the planning of MUHKA.

    35. The Nottebohm Hall

    The Nottebohm hall was furnished in 1936 as pronk room. The room is located in the Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library in oldest part called the Sodality. This is where the first 150,000 books of the library were kept. The fact that the setting is also beautiful and historic ensures that all kinds of exhibitions, lectures, concerts and tours are held here. In addition, the Nottebohm Room is also used as a repository for special donations. Just think of an Egyptian cabinet, the famous globes of Blaeu… You can find more information about the current exhibitions and the showpieces of the Nottebohm Hall here. And for the fans (or the curious), you can now also relisten to the lectures that took place at the Nottebohm Hall with their new podcast!

    36. The Church of St. James

    St. James’ Church is one of the five monumental churches from downtown Antwerp and also the second oldest parish church (just after the cathedral). The church is best known for famous burial chapel of Antwerp’s master painter of the baroque, Peter Paul Rubens. He made an altarpiece ‘Madonna surrounded by Saints’ that you can also see in the chapel. A little further inside the church you can admire another masterpiece by Jacob Jordaens. And did you know that it is also the Antwerp starting point for pilgrims on their journey to the tomb of Apostle James in Santiago de Compostela? In short, there is plenty to tell and know about St. James’ Church, so a visit is definitely recommended. The church is located near the Meir and is open all year round, daily from 2 to 5 pm, including holidays.

    37.  The City Park

    The 151 year old city park in Antwerp is a protected piece of landscape heritage and a beautiful example of a Romantic landscape style. The planting and trees, but also the shape of the pond and the many vistas are very recognizable for the style and have been preserved quite well throughout the years. Unfortunately, the park is no longer comparable to the old days, the 1869s. Due to urbanization and increasing mobility around the park, the water supply of the pond and the natural growth of trees and plants were negatively affected. By the year 2000, the image of the park had declined significantly, so since 2006 the city began to rebuild the image of the park. There was a skate park, a renovated playground, fly-tipping was addressed etc. So the park is worth a visit again and in the meantime work continues on the park!

    38. PAKT

    PAKT is a fun (and until now a rather unknown) hotspot in Antwerp. In the PAKT site you will find more than 25 creative entrepreneurs, along with a coffee bar and roastery, tasty lunch spots, restaurants, a Belgian beer bar, fitness and much more! This hidden gem in the heart of Antwerp is also freely accessible. PAKT is located in the Green Quarter and there is also a green courtyard, a playground and several hidden green corners. If you want to visit the special rooftop farm, you will have to do so during one of the organized activities. At other times, it is not accessible. For that, check out the PAKT calendar. More information (restaurant opening hours, who is PAKT…) can be found on the website.

    39.  The Middelheim Museum

    The Middelheim museum may be located just outside the center of Antwerp, but it is still easy to get to and definitely worth a visit. The Middelheim Museum is a free open air museum surrounded by beautiful nature. You can stroll through the sculpture park and discover the museum at your own pace. In the neighborhood there are three other parks that you can combine with your visit: Den Brandt, Vogelenzang and Hortiflora.