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Things to do in Antwerp

Channel your inner Lewis Hamilton by go-karting

Indoor Karting Antwerp’s tarmac track (tel: +32 3 541 4343; www.indoorkartingantwerpen.be) is one of the best in Belgium and a magnet for petrolheads and budding racers alike. This 710m-long (2,329ft) circuit features kerb stones, gravel traps and some nippy little go karts, which make for a true racing experience.

Cycle through Flanders’ fields

There aren’t many places better than Belgium to hop on your bike; the country is as flat as a pool table. A cycle around the city is scenic enough, but if you prefer natural beauty there are plenty of cycling trails in Flanders that take in the region’s waterways and villages. De Ligfiets (tel: +32 3 293 7456; www.en.ligfiets.net) can help with bikes and advice.

Hike to your heart’s delight

Visitors can cover plenty of ground just getting around Antwerp’s urban sights. However, for more serious walkers, there are plenty of great hiking trails in and around the Flanders region. The Antwerp tourist board (tel: +32 3 232 0103; www.visitantwerpen.be) will be able to point you in the right direction.

Show your Royal Antwerp colours

Founded in 1880, Royal Antwerp Football Club (tel: +32 47 265 2440; www.rafc.be) is the oldest team in the Belgium league. They play at the city’s historic Bosuilstadion and currently compete in the second division. After some crippling financial problems, the club is now alive, kicking and worth a watch.

Splash about in Lake Zilvermeer

If you need to blow the cobwebs away after too many De Koninck beers, head to Lake Zilvermeer (tel: +32 1482 9500; www.zilvermeer.be), located 50km (31 miles) east of Antwerp. This 25-hectare (61-acre) lake is used for a variety of watersports. Visitors can sail, kayak and even learn to dive.

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Hotel Matelote

Matelote is a unique boutique hotel merging 21st century convenience with 16th century architecture. Nestled in the Haarstraat, the building is just a short walk from main attractions like the Grand Palace and its town hall, the River Scheldt and the Antwerp Cathedral. The Fashion Museum and Rubens House also sit nearby, making sight-seeing a breeze. Because it’s a historical site, there is no elevator in the hotel, meaning it does not offer full accessibility.

 

Firean Hotel

Built in 1929, the Firean Hotel is reputed to be one of the most charming hotels in Belgium. This hotel is an Art-deco mansion that the actual owners restored in 1986. They take pride in offering outstanding quality and service with thoughtful gestures. One of the proprietors welcomes guests upon arrival, acquainting visitors with the space.

 

Tra Noi

Located in the heart of the fashion district, this superb little guesthouse is owned by Danielle, a friendly lady who has two apartments and a guest bedroom that she rents out at very reasonable rates. Danielle used to work in the fashion industry, so the decor is stylish and slightly eccentric (there’s an antique rowing boat hanging from the ceiling of one apartment), but the city centre location is almost unbeatable.

Hotel Postiljon

Nestled in the shadow cast by the neighbouring cathedral, this long-established Antwerp hotel offers simple, clean and elegant rooms. It may be small with no frills, but considering its prime location opposite the city’s biggest landmark, Hotel Postiljon offers fantastic value for money.

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.