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Shopping in Antwerp


If diamonds really are a girl’s best friend, then a lady can make many companions in Antwerp; most of the world’s diamonds are cut and sold in the city’s bustling diamond district. Add this to the plethora of designer boutiques and fashionable high street stores and you can see why Antwerp has forged a reputation for being “Belgium’s shopping city.”


There are also plenty of antique stores, bric-a-brac shops and lively markets for you to hunt down unique treasures. Not only do these spots make for good shopping, but they also give visitors a taste of local life.


Key areas

Antwerp is famous for its fashion district, De Modewijk, found on and around Kammenstraat and Nationalestraat – don't miss Schuttershofstraat if you want to check out high-end labels. Meanwhile, pedestrianised Meir (pronounced my-er) is the main shopping street, lined with a host of national and international brands. For more individual shopping, browse the alleyways of the Historic Centre and try Kloosterstraat ( for bric à brac and antiques. One of the hippest shops in town is Fish & Chips (Kammenstraat 18-22), which boasts three floors of new and second-hand vintage clothing, bikes, oddball gadgets and alternative art. It also doubles as a bar and restaurant.



Vogelenmarkt, the Sunday morning bird market at Theaterplein, is an Antwerp institution and great for a slice of local life. The Exotic Market is also lively, although if you don’t like seeing caged birds give it a miss. It’s held all day every Saturday.

Shopping centres

There are several shopping centres in Antwerp, but Stadsfeestzaal (Meir 78/Hopland 45) is by far the best. Located in the city’s old Festival Hall, this lavish 20th-century building is now home to approximately 40 retailers including Urban Outfitters and Tommy Hilfiger.

Opening hours

Shops in Antwerp normally open Monday to Saturday 0900/1000-1800/1830. The main exceptions are Kloosterstraat and Hoogstraat, where many shops open on Sunday.


The Belgians are masters of brewing beer. Stella Artois, Leffe and Chimay are some of the most celebrated tipples, but there are hundreds to choose from and absolutely no excuse for returning home without a few bottles. Avoid tourist shops where you’ll pay over the odds – small off licenses and supermarkets have the best deals.

Those looking to procure some of Belgium’s famous chocolate should visit one of the city’s numerous chocolatiers; prices aren’t cheap, but you get what you pay for. The Chocolate Line (tel: +32 3 206 2030; at Paleis op de Meir 50 is the best for pralines. The shop just so happens to be a former residence of Napoleon, of whom there is a chocolate sculpture inside. Those on slimmer budgets can find some of the big brands at local supermarkets.


Antwerp is synonymous with diamonds, so if you’re looking for something more than a souvenir (i.e. an engagement ring) this is the place to buy it. More than half the world’s diamonds are traded in the city’s bustling diamond district.


Tax information

Sales tax in Antwerp is 21% and can be refunded to non-EU citizens by shops affiliated to Global Refund. Participating shops will issue a Global Refund cheque, which should be stamped at customs.

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Featured Hotels


Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel

Less characterful than some Antwerp hotels, though no less luxurious, the Astrid is a towering modern building that borrows elements from older styles. Boasting some 200 rooms of 5-star lavishness, it’s situated directly opposite Antwerp's Centraal station. Guests have full use of the leisure facilities, including a health centre.

Hotel Julien

A short walk from Groenplaats Square, this elegant and cosy Antwerp hotel is a beautiful mix of old and new. The rooms sport minimalist designer décor and all amenities blend seamlessly with original medieval features. Friendly staff preside over the space, and the roof terrace provides sweeping city views.

Leonardo Hotel

Located near Antwerp's Centraal Station, Leonardo Hotel has 96 spacious bedrooms, which are smart, clean and contemporary. The location is great for exploring the diamond district and for onward travel, but not so good for the historic Old Town, which is a fair walk away. But the price is right and the summer terrace is the perfect place to enjoy breakfast.

De Witte Lelie

This former 17th-century canal house is today one of the best boutique hotels in Antwerp. Period features and antiques have been sympathetically fused with contemporary designs to offer guests a comfortable and characterful stay in the city. The 10 gorgeous bedrooms give the hotel a cosy, personable feel, although rooms book up quickly.

Hilton Antwerp Old Town

Boasting the sky-high Cathedral of Our Lady as its next-door neighbour, this five-story fin-de-siècle building was originally the Grand Bazar department store. Spacious rooms are sumptuously decorated with one eye on history, though the flat-screen TVs and Wi-Fi keep everything up to date. Drink in the surroundings by taking afternoon tea in the marble-floored lobby.

Hotel Rubens

Tucked away in a quiet side street behind the Grote Markt, this stylish 4-star hotel is the perfect base to explore the Old Town. A friendly concierge welcomes weary travellers with a refreshing port or sherry, while the hotel’s chic rooms are comfortable, quiet and well-appointed. You won’t go hungry either; their buffet breakfast will set you up for a day full of sightseeing.