CITY BREAKS IN ANTWERP
BOOK A SHORT BREAK OR LONG WEEKEND IN ANTWERP, BELGIUM’S HIDDEN DIAMOND.There’s much more to Antwerp than meets the eye. Hidden among the medieval markets, Gothic cathedrals, Baroque masterpieces, Diamond District and international seaport lies the true Antwerp: a city that radiates coolness and class without even trying.
Discover Grote Markt, the medieval square where artists, architects, musicians, coffee enthusiasts, philosophy students and horse carriages gather. Here, you can feel the history around the iconic Brabo Fountain, guarded by guildhalls and the grand City Hall.
Above the Markt towers the spire of the Cathedral of Our Lady, one of Belgium’s greatest cathedrals that’s been looking over Antwerp since being completed in 1521. The cathedral houses a series of Rubens’ paintings, which are equally synonymous with the city.
From the cobbled heart of the city, follow the banks of the Scheldt river straight to the soul of the city: The Port of Antwerp. A strategic spot since the Middle Ages, the seaport has brought the whole world to Scheldt, transforming Antwerp into a great city.
The dockside neighbourhood, Eilandje, is home to popular Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) and a number of restaurants boasting beautiful views and diverse dishes: from local and tradition to innovative and experimental.
Stay in the heart of the town by beautiful Central Station at Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel, Antwerp – perfect for exploring everything this city has to offer.
Top 3 Antwerp attractions near the hotel
- Grote Markt
- Cathedral of Our Lady
Top 3 Antwerp museums near the hotel
- Rubens’ House
- MAS – Museum aan de Stroom
- DIVA: Home of Diamonds
Top 3 Belgium foods to try
- Filet d’Anvers
- Antwerp Handjes
- Lackmans waffles
Locations and Neighborhoods
Location and neighborhoods
Discover Antwerp’s different areas
Antwerp is a city of contrasts with neighborhoods ranging from hip to historic. Whether you’re in the mood for beautiful boulevards dotted with art galleries or lively lanes steeped in history, Belgium’s gem boasts diversity beyond belief.
Best for history buffs: The historic centre (16th century)
Between the Grand Palace and the Cathedral of Our Lady you can enjoy 16th century architecture and ambiance. Visit the remarkable Rubens’ House and the world’s only UNESCO World Heritage museum, the Plantin-Moretus printing museum.Best for architecture: Central Station
Besides being one the most beautiful stations in the world, Central Stations is surrounded by splendid sites. Discover the Diamond Quarter, the historic home of most of the world’s rough diamonds or stroll through the colorful Chinatown.
Best for shopping: shopping district & Quartier Latin
Here you’ll find everything from high street brands on Meir to high-end fashion on Schuttershofstraat, Hopland and Huidevettersstraat. If you need a break, head to the botanical garden opposite Bourla Theatre.Best for nightlife: Zuid
For a fun night out, head to Het Zuid. The number of bars and restaurants will make the final choice difficult, but whatever you choose, you won’t be disappointed. Spend a few hours before dinner on art galleries or museums such as The Photo Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art.
Best for fresh air: Linkeroever
Bike or walk through the picturesque, early 20th century Voetgangerstunnel to enjoy views of Antwerp city from the other side of the river. For a bit of peace and quiet, relax on the beach of Sint Anneke.
Where to Stay
Book a Radisson Blu hotel in Antwerp
City breaks can be full of surprises. Book your stay with Radisson Blu and look forward to exploring everything Antwerp has to offer.
Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel, Antwerp
Across from the central train station and close to Antwerp’s diamond and fashion districts, this sophisticated hotel offers 253 rooms designed by Michael Graves and complete with amenities like Free high-speed, wireless Internet and flat-screen televisions. Square Brasserie and Terrace serves Belgian and international cuisine, and the fitness center includes an indoor pool, a Jacuzzi and wet and dry saunas. Aquatopia, located on-site, showcases over 10,000 fish and reptiles in their natural surroundings. Host business conferences or personal celebrations in style with 18 meeting rooms spread across two floors.
Things to do in Antwerp
Must-sees, must-eats and must-dos
Landmarks and attractions
- Grote Markt: Antwerp’s Old Market Square is where it all happens. It’s where you’ll find the beautiful baroque Brabo Fountain, depicting the legend of how the city of Antwerp got its name. It’s where you’ll be surrounded by grand, gorgeous guildhalls whilst sipping coffee in a cafe. It’s where you’ll see the Renaissance City Hall from 1565 dominate the skyline.
Directions: From the hotel, bike for 5 minutes toward Scheldt River.
- Cathedral of Our Lady: The Cathedral of Our Lady is Belgium’s largest Gothic church built between 1352 and 1521. It’s been subject to repeated damage throughout the centuries, but was finally restored in 1983. To locals and visitors alike, it’s an important cultural monument. Enter to hear the organ play and to see the paintings that adorn its interior, including masterworks by Peter Paul Rubens.
- DIVA: Home of Diamonds: Antwerp’s diamond world can be studied and explored from May 2018, when the DIVA: Home of Diamonds opens its doors to an exhibition full of jewellery, silverware and stories about the unique diamond craftsmanship and technology. If you want a sneak peek into DIVA, its entrance hall and souvenir shop are already open.
- Filet d’Anvers: Dried, salted and smoked beef is always delicious, but there’s something special about Filet d’Anvers. The cut of choice is silverside and the quick smoking method includes oak, pine and beech wood, creating a unique and nutty flavour. Buy a chunk or two at the butcher’s store at De Koninck Brewery. Once you’re there, pair it with a pint of the iconic Bolleke Koninck.
- Antwerp Handjes: : Legend has it that a giant by the name of Druoon Antigoon lived by the river of Scheldt and bothered every ship that was passing by. The giant required the poor sailors to pay an extremely high toll. Those who wouldn’t comply got their hand cut off. One day, the brave Silvius Brabo killed the giant and threw his hand into the river. That’s how the city of Antwerp got its name (hand-werpen means hand-throwing). This legend has transformed into hand-formed chocolates and biscuits. They taste great and are ideal souvenirs to bring back home!
- Lackmans waffles: Désiré Smidts, a pastry worker dreaming of joining the marine, created these buttery waffles almost by coincidence. Around the beginning of the 20th century, Smidts threw a ball of dough in a waffle iron, filled it with syrup, coated it with sugar and the rest is history. You can’t leave Antwerp without tasting this local delicacy.
- Historic City Center:Antwerp’s Historic City Center overflows with curving, cobblestone streets, bright red brick buildings, funky facades and cozy pubs. Wander the second-hand and vintage boutiques in Kloosterstraat, shop 19th century literature in Wolstraat and buy art in Lange Koepoortstraat. When you need a break, find a bench and soak up the sun by the river Scheldt or indulge in a traditional Belgian snack on one of the terraces in Groenplaats by the statue of Rubens.
- Quartier Latin: You could easily spend an entire weekend in Antwerp without leaving the Quartier Latin. Schuttershofstraat is packed with high-end boutiques, including Jimmy Choo, Hermès and Burberry. Every Saturday, you can visit The Exotic Market and try food you’ve never had before and on Sundays, you can explore the popular Vogeltjesmarkt, which sells everything from flowers to food and household appliances. In the evening, visit the Bourla Theatre, which still boasts its original stage machinery.
- Fashion District: Anyone with a passion for design will feel right at home around Nationalestraat, Antwerp’s most fashionable and eclectic street. Having the Fashion Museum and the Fashion Academy nearby adds a vibrant ambiance to the neighbourhood
- Wilde Zee: Shopping enthusiasts can enjoy a relaxing day wandering around exclusive stores, while foodies can discover the diverse delicatessens dotted around the five main Wilde Zee streets: The Korte Gasthuisstraat, Wiegstraat, Lombardenvest, Groendaalstraat and Schrijnwerkerstraat. The whole area is car-free and walkable within minutes, but you will want to spend the whole day there; eating waffles, savoring cheeses, buying shoes and handbags or simply enjoying the atmosphere at the central square.
- Meir: Meir is the most famous shopping street in Belgium and a must-see if you’ve come to Antwerp to shop. Ravishing Rococo buildings adorn the traffic-free Meir boulevard. Don’t miss out on Antwerp Stadsfeestzaal, once an astonishing festival hall, now home to a luxurious shopping center with oak floors and a golden leaf dome.
- Rubens’ House: Rubenshuis was originally Peter Paul Rubens’ home, but in 1937 the city of Antwerp turned the house into a museum to the renowned Flemish Baroque painter from the 16th century. In addition to Rubens’ work, you can admire his own outstanding art collection.
- MAS – Museum aan de Stroom: The Museum aan de Stroom links Antwerp’s and its river’s past and present through storytelling and collectibles. Take in panoramic views from the rooftop of this fascinating postmodern building.
Travel in Antwerp
All you need to know about the city’s transport
How to get around
All you need to know about Antwerp’s transport
To really get a sense of Antwerp, explore the city by foot or by bike. The Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel, Antwerp is located on the historic Astrid Square close to the Diamond District, Antwerp Zoo and the Cathedral of Our Lady. If you want to travel beyond the heart of Antwerp, our hotel has quick and convenient public transport links nearby.
Here’s everything you need to know to get around Antwerp:
Brussels International Airport
Direct from the terminals at Brussels International Airport, take the express train to Antwerp Central Station in just 34 minutes. Once you get off, simply follow the exit sign for Astrid Square, where we will be waiting for you. If you’re going by cab or car, the journey takes less than half an hour.
The metro, buses and trams are located just 100 meters from the hotel. Visiting the city center, Antwerp’s suburbs and the rest of Belgium by public transport is easy and convenient. If you have any questions, the hotel concierge will be happy to help.
To use public transport for free during your stay, buy an Antwerp City Card.
To travel around Antwerp like a true Antwerpian, rent a bike from Velo Antwerpen. There’s a pick-up station in front of the hotel and a day pass will only cost you 4 Euros.
Facts and Useful phrases
Language, costs, useful phrases and more
Top 10 Belgium phrases:
|Do you speak English?||Spreekt u Engels?|
|Where are the toilets?||Waar vind ik een toilet?|
|How much?||Hoeveel kost dit?|
|Thanks||Dank u wel|
|Yes / no||Ja/nee|
|I’m sick||Ik voel me niet goed|
Population: 500,000 (January 2017) - 173 nationalities
Average cost of travel: A single ticket for the bus or metro costs 3 Euro (but cheaper when you buy it online)
Most defining feature: Skyline
Average cost of a pint: € 2,5