The best activities in Antwerp, Belgium | Travel guide

Antwerp, the Diamond capital of the World! A city full of rich history, vibrant culture, and architectural wonders. Antwerp has something to offer for everyone.
We went on a day trip to explore this charming Belgium city and in this travel guide we’ll share the best activities in Antwerp.

The best activities in Antwerp

1. Antwerp Central Station

We started our adventure at the Antwerp Central Station. With its stunning achitecture, it is often called one of the most beautiful train stations in the world. And we do understand why.
It’s not only a transportation hub, but also a symbol of the city’s rich history, and it’s listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Even if you don’t need to catch a train, make sure to put this landmark on your list!

2. Shopping street Meir

This one is for the shopaholics or historylovers! The Meir is Antwerp’s premier shopping street and is full of shops, boutiques, designer stores and charming cafes. It is absolutely worth a stroll. While you walk down the 1.2 kilometer long shopping street, you can enjoy the beautiful historic buildings it has to offer. In this area you can also find another famous landmark.


The Stadsfeestzaal is a grand shopping arcade housed in a beautifully restored historic building. The combination of shopping and the abundant golden details make this shopping centre something I haven’t seen very often before.

3. Explore the Theatre district

Only a short hop from the Meir, you can find the Theatre district. This part of the city has a lot to offer. From designer boutiques to the impressive theater, and from the cozy ”Graanmarkt” to the peaceful botanical garden. Let’s dive a little deeper into the sights you can find in this area:

  • Designer Boutiques at the ”Schutterhofstraat” such as Hermès and Chanel
  • The ”Leopoldstraat” is famous for its antique shops
  • The ”Bourla Theater” is one of the most beautiful theaters in the world. Admire the outside or go for the full experience with a theatershow
  • Are you a museum lover? Check out the small but beautiful ”Maagdenhuismuseum” en ”Museum Mayer Van den Bergh”
  • A real hidden gem is the cozy square the ”Graanmarkt” with several restaurants, cafes and local delicacies
  • Take a break at the peaceful botanical garden
  • Enjoy the ”Theaterplein”: on saturday and sunday you can stroll over the market. During weekdays you can enjoy a cup of coffee or an icecream at the lovely square.

4. The Cathedral of our Lady

From the Theater district, we arrive at the ”Handschoenmarkt”. A small but charming square, known for its lively atmosphere and historic buildings. If you want to try some Belgium Chocolate or local beers, this is the right place.

Via this square you can acces the Cathedral of our Lady. The entrance fee is €14 p.p. which is a bit on the expensive side, but we would still recommend a visit, because nonetheless it is still very beautiful.

The Cathedral is known as the largest Gothic Cathedral in the Lower countries, and is a true masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Admire its majestic arches and stained glass windows as you step inside this sacred place.

5. Town Hall

On the ”Grote Markt” you can find the most iconic buildings from Antwerp, where the façade and the statues on the roofs capture your imagination. On the magnifecent square you can also find the ”City’s Town Hall”.

The entrance hall of the Town Hall is free to visit. Here you will find a number of exhibitions worth seeing.
It’s also possible to book a guided tour to see all the highlights from the Town Hall. We didn’t do the tour but more information can be found on the official website.

6. St. Charles Borromeo’s Church

Talking about hidden gems, we can’t forget about this one. In comparison to the Cathedral, this small church is only a €5 entrance fee, but an absolute must see! Once you are inside you can admire its elegant Baroque architecture and exquisite interior, featuring stunning marble altars.

7. Antwerp Castle ”Het Steen”

This medieval fortress that once served as the residence of the city’s rulers, is a famous landmark in the city. It is home to a Visitor Centre, a cruise terminal and ”The Antwerp Story”. The castle’s rooftop terrace is free to visit and well worth a quick visit to catch up with Antwerp’s skyline during sunset.

To be honest, the castle is not that big so we didn’t spend too much time here. From the castle, you’re close to Antwerp’s next hidden gem.

8. The wooden escalators of St Anna’s tunnel

The Saint Anna tunnel is not only a pedestrian tunnel but it’s an unique famous landmark that is worth a visit. The wooden escalators are still in use, as they connects Antwerp’s historic Centre with the Left Bank.

We wondered how busy it was with cyclists and pedestrians. And found it a really fun activity to experience. We walked the tunnel which is 572 meters long to enjoy the skyline of Antwerp at the ”Left Bank’‘.

At the Left Bank you can escape the bustling city center and enjoy a scenic walk along the riverfront promenade, dotted with cafes, parks, and picturesque views of the skyline.

We ended our day on the Left Bank after enjoying the best activities in Antwerp.

Planning a trip to this beautiful city in Belgium? Make sure to check out our YouTube video with all the ins-and-outs of our day trip.

We loved to explore Antwerp, as it has so much to offer! A lot of activities in this blog are free to visit. But there are also many vibrant squares and dining options, which we didn’t got the chance to experience on our trip.

Let us know in the comments which Belgium city we should visit next!

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