The Best Things To Do In Antwerp, Belgium

The Dutch-speaking city of Antwerp should be on every traveler’s list when visiting Belgium. Despite my best efforts, I arrived in Antwerp after sunset and was unable to get my bearings during daylight hours. Yet somehow, I still felt safe on my walk to dinner that evening and immediately fell in love with this city.

Even though Dutch is predominantly taught in Schools here, you’ll hear a mix of languages spoken — including English, German and French — so it’s an extremely tourist-friendly destination. And because the city is surprisingly small, the list below can easily be done on a three-day visit. Here are the 7 best things to do in Antwerp, Belgium!


The Best Things To Do In Antwerp, Belgium


Grote Markt in Old Town

I had dinner reservations on the night of my arrival, so I set off on foot to find Dock’s Cafe — using confusing directions from the receptionist at my hotel. After a frustrating day of train delays, I opted to cancel my dinner plans and instead stumbled upon Grote Markt and Old Town Antwerp.

72 Hours in Antwerp, Belgium
This area of Antwerp is definitely my favorite because of the unlimited restaurant options and stunning architecture. Old Town is also where you will find the Cathedral of our Lady (the tallest building in downtown Antwerp) and Silvius Brabo (the famous hand statue and how Antwerp got its name). Because of its size, the Cathedral is a great reference point to avoid getting lost in this part of the city.


The Chocolate Line Shop in Grand Meir Palace

The Chocolate Line is a gorgeous chocolate shop and is located in Grand Meir Palace, which was at one time owned by both the Belgian Royal Family and Napoleon. You can buy a variety of unique handmade chocolates here — including Earl Grey, cannabis, bacon and cigar-flavored chocolate squares.

Bacon-Flavored Chocolate Antwerp, Belgium

Cannabis-Flavored Chocolate in Antwerp, Belgium

Cellar Restaurants & Beer Tastings!

I absolutely loved the underground restaurants in Antwerp. These dungeon-like cellars serve food that ranges from French and Belgian to medieval cuisine. That’s right, you can reserve a table at De Grootte Ganz and taste traditional medieval dishes eaten with a spoon and your hands!

I ordered the beer tasting at De Pelgrom (in the same cellar as De Grootte Ganz) and it came with four healthy tastings of Belgian beer and a block of cheese for 11 Euro. Estro Armonico is another cave-restaurant, located a block or two away from De Pelgrom and it gets excellent reviews for its Belgian cuisine.

Beer Tasting in Grote Markt - Antwerp


Dock’s Cafe

I did eventually make it to the Michelin-approved restaurant, Dock’s Cafe, located along the docks of the Scheldt river. The French and Italian-inspired cuisine and extremely fresh oyster bar definitely deserves its Michelin Star status. I highly recommend the savory duck with leeks and potatoes. I was actually sad that I don’t like oysters because their bar looks tempting.

Dock's Cafe Oyster Bar - Antwerp, Belgium


Antwerpen-Central Railway Station

Did you know that Antwerp has one of the prettiest train stations in the world? Apparently, this 19th Century building is listed as one of the top three most beautiful railway stations. Even if you’re not arriving or departing by train, it’s a must see for the photo opportunities alone.

Antwerp Central Train Station


Invincible is a hip restaurant with a menu that changes daily. I suggest reserving a seat in the kitchen, where you can watch the cooks prepare everyone’s meal from start to finish. The waitstaff and chef really know how to pair local beers to compliment each dish.


Goossens Bakery & Philip’s Biscuits

Goossens has been around since 1884 and it’s extremely popular with the locals, which means you absolutely have to try it. You can’t miss this small shop if you arrive in the morning because there will be a line out the door. Right next door is Philip’s Biscuits and it’s also a local favorite. Don’t forget to try the delicious, buttery Antwerp Hand cookie — it’s a great gift to bring home as well.

Goossens Bakery & Philip's Biscuits


Plan Your Trip to Antwerp

Where to Stay: Staying within walking distance from Old Town is ideal if you want to visit the locations mentioned in this post. I stayed at Hotel Les Nuits and walked everywhere.

Antwerp also has a bike sharing program called Velo Antwerpen, so if you would prefer to experience the city like the locals, I suggest getting on a bike!

How to Get There: I flew from the USA with Air Berlin and took a two-hour train ride from my first travel destination in Germany. Going is the first place we check when searching for cheap flights. If you sign up for their email alerts, you’ll receive flight deals at up to 90% off. I have traveled all over the world using their flight deals.

Antwerp is the perfect base for a day trip to the stunning town of Bruges — which I highly recommend visiting. The train takes about 1.5 hours each way and costs 28 Euro round trip.

Travel Insurance: We never travel out of the country without a travel insurance policy because it’s not worth the risk! We use and trust Visitors Coverage, which we’ve used for the past 8 years.


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  1. Bar’rique is a very nicest place to visit as well. Very nice breakfast and selection of wines! Near Berchem station…

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Thank you for the tip!

  2. Cian Janinnk says:

    What sort of nightlife is there for 18/19 year olds ? Is there many clubs ?

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      I honestly didn’t experience any of the nightlife. I just tasted beer in the pubs. I’m not sure about clubs. Sorry!

  3. I’m amazed with this site! Your posts are exactly what I’ve searching for next trip! Antwerp, different side of Paris, Tenby.
    Congrats…and thanks!!

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Thank you so much! That makes me really happy to hear.

  4. Jalan2Liburan says:

    My city ! 🙂

  5. Diamonds, the Christmas market and the Ice Sculpture Festival…. A wonderful city all round and thank you for these tips – a few more great reasons to return.

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Oh, I bet Antwerp would be lovely at Christmas. Thanks for adding your reasons to visit!

  6. Green Global Travel says:

    Lovely pictures! Antwerp seems like a quaint and inviting city! I’ll have to go someday for sure. Thanks for sharing! – Vanessa

  7. Traveling Ted says:

    I visited Antwerp many years ago, and my favorite memory was walking down by the Scheldt and seeing all the ships and commerce. I did not see any chocolate cannabis delights. Will look for that next time 🙂

  8. Corinne Vail says:

    Christy, You’ve listed some things I wouldn’t have thought of. Now I can’t wait to go again!

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Great to hear, Corinne!

  9. Dave Briggs says:

    I was sold at beer tasting!

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Beer tasting in an underground cellar was really unique for me!

  10. Sofie Couwenbergh says:

    I can add LOTS!:D
    Shopping at the Wilde Zee, window shopping at the Nationalestra at, drinks at Café au Lait, a party at Public, admiring the view on the city and beyond from the terrace rooftop of the MAS,, marveing at art at the KMSKA and the MuKHA, seeing a play at the Toneelhuis or one of the other many performance theaters, watching an alternative movie at cinema Cartoons…
    Man, I love Antwerp:)

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Did you live there, Sofie? I need to go back for a longer stay!

      1. Sofie Couwenbergh says:

        I’ve lived there for a year while I was studying there and I try to visit some friends there whenever I can. I live in Belgium so it’s not that hard for me:)

          1. Sofie Couwenbergh says:

            It was a great year:)

  11. Ordinary Traveler says:

    I agree. I could spend all day there. I was so happy it was sunny too!

  12. Renuka Singh says:

    Wow! Antwerp looks like my kind of a city! Lovely pictures. 🙂

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Thank you, Renuka!

  13. Christy, I would add the White Star Line museum to that list

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      I didn’t get a chance to visit! I was too busy drinking beer. 🙂

    2. It’s the Red Star Line museum 😉

  14. Vicki Scheunemann says:

    Love the zoo….right next to the railroad station!

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Thanks for the tip!