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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > Belgium > Antwerp

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Things to see in Antwerp

Attractions

Plantin-Moretus Museum

Probably Antwerp's most unexpected tourist attraction, this fascinating 16th-century aristocratic house is home to the world’s first industrial printing works. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this museum reaches far beyond the history of the namesake publishing group to portray the birth of a new technological age and the lifestyle of the city in its Golden Age.

Address: , Vrijdagmarkt 22, Antwerp, 2000
Telephone: +32 3 221 1450
Opening times:

Tue-Sun 1000-1700.

Website: http://www.museumplantinmoretus.be/en
Admission Fees:

Yes.

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

MAS (Museum aan de Stroom)

Since opening in 2011, the MAS (Museum on the River) has transformed this once neglected dockside into a thriving arts district. A feat of modern architecture, it houses some of the city’s most extraordinary exhibitions and a Michelin-starred restaurant. This gargantuan building, constructed of red stone and curved glass, dominates the area and takes visitors on an entertaining and interactive journey through Antwerp’s colourful history.

Address: , Hanzestedenplaats 1, Antwerp, 2000
Telephone: +32 3 338 4400
Opening times:

Tue-Fri 1000-1700, Sat-Sun 1000-1800 (Apr-Oct); Tue-Sun 1000-1700 (Nov-Mar).

Website: http://www.mas.be/en
Admission Fees:

Yes.

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Diamond Pavilion at the MAS (Diamantpaviljoen aan het MAS)

Antwerp has long been entwined in the romance of diamonds, with the city controlling much of the rough and polished diamond market. The excellent Diamond Museum reopens on 7 May 2018.

Address: , Suikerrui 17-19, Antwerp, 2000
Telephone: +32 3 360 5252
Opening times:

Sun-Thu 1100-1900, Fri-Sat 1100-2100.

Website: http://www.divaantwerp.be/en
Admission Fees:

No.

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Cathedral of Our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal)

Described as 'lacework in stone', this beautiful structure was completed in 1521 and remains the largest gothic cathedral in the Low Countries. Rubens’ masterpieces adorn the interior, including his well-known works Raising of the Cross and the Descent from the Cross. A symbol of Antwerp’s rich culture and history, the cathedral is a stunning sight by night when floodlit.

Address: , Groenplaats 21, Antwerp, 2000
Telephone: +32 3 213 9951
Opening times:

Mon-Fri 1000-1700, Sat 1000-1500, Sun 1300-1600.

Website: http://www.dekathedraal.be/en/
Admission Fees:

Yes.

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Grote Markt (Main Market Square)

At the heart of Antwerp’s Old Town sits the magnificent Grote Markt, arguably the city’s biggest drawing card. In summer, this cobbled square throngs with tourists who come to see the imposing Renaissance-style Town Hall, flanked on both sides by a row of 16th-century guild houses. An unfeasibly large water feature dominates the centre of the square. Dubbed the Statue of Brabo and the Giant’s Hand, it was erected in 1887 and depicts the legend of Antwerp’s creation. It’s all overlooked by the largest gothic church in the Low Countries, the Cathedral of Our Lady.

Address: , Grote Markt, Antwerp, 2000
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily 24 hours.

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Ruben’s House (Rubenshuis)

The former residence of Sir Peter Paul Rubens is now a museum dedicated to the legendary baroque painter, who lived and worked in Antwerp from 1610 until his death in 1640. As well as a small exhibition of his works (which includes Adam and Eve in Paradise, Henry IV in the Battle for Paris and Self Portrait) the museum displays some of Rubens’ personal possessions and objects d’art. Visitors can also admire the impressive Flemish-Italian Renaissance garden, which Rubens designed himself.

Address: , Wapper 9-11, Antwerp, 2000
Telephone: +32 3 201 1555
Opening times:

Tue-Sun 1000-1700.

Website: http://www.rubenshuis.be/en
Admission Fees:

Yes.

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Middelheim Museum

This stunning open-air art gallery is well worth the bus ride from the city centre. Visitors can wander around the leafy park, which sports a quirky collection of 400 sculptures including a sausage massacre, a bendy boat and a series of eerie statues lurking in the woods. The museum fuses contemporary art with more traditional works by artists such as Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore and Rik Wouters.

Address: , Middelheimlaan 61, Antwerp, 2020
Telephone: +32 3 288 3360
Opening times:

Tue-Sun 1000-1700 (Oct-Mar); Tue-Sun 1000-1900 (Apr and Sep); Tue-Sun 1000-2000 (May and Aug); Tue-Sun 1000-2100 (Jun-Jul).

Website: http://www.middelheimmuseum.be/en
Admission Fees:

No.

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Mode Museum/MoMu (Fashion Museum)

Antwerp is a city at the cutting edge of fashion, so it seems apt that it should have a museum dedicated to this international obsession. In addition to MoMu’s permanent collection of clothing, lace, embroidery, fabrics and artisans' tools, the museum hosts two themed exhibitions every year to reflect the current trends. MoMu is currently closed for renovations, but will reopen in the autumn of 2020.

Address: , Nationalestraat 28, Antwerp, 2000
Telephone: +32 3 470 2770
Opening times:

Tue-Sun 1000-1800.

Website: https://www.momu.be/en.html
Admission Fees:

Yes.

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

MUHKA (Museum of Contemporary Art of Antwerp)

Housed in a converted grain store, the MUHKA boasts over 4,000sq m (43,055sq ft) of exhibition space used to display a vast collection of art from 1970 to present day. The works come courtesy of Belgian artists, as well as a host of international painters and sculptors, and are enhanced by a range of fascinating temporary exhibitions. The museum strives to create connections between artistic expression and emerging social issues.

Address: , Leuvenstraat 32, Antwerp, 2000
Telephone: +32 3 260 9999
Opening times:

Tue-Wed 1100-1800, Thu 1100-2100, Fri-Sun 1100-1800.

Website: https://www.muhka.be/en
Admission Fees:

Yes.

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Royal Museum of Fine Arts collection at MAS

Antwerp's Royal Museum of Fine Arts houses a collection fit to grace any world capital, spanning 600 years from the 14th century to the present day. Unfortunately, it’s currently closed for an epic renovation and won’t reopen until 2020. Until then, some of the museum’s works are being temporarily displayed at the Cathedral of our Lady and the Museum Aan de Stroom (MAS).

Address: , Leopold de Waelplaats 2, Antwerp, 2000
Telephone: +32 3 224 9550
Opening times:

See website for opening times and specific locations.

Website: http://www.kmska.be/en/
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Tourist Offices

Visit Antwerpen

Address: , Grote Markt 13, Antwerp, 2000
Telephone: +32 3 232 0103
Opening times:

Mon-Sun 1000-1700.

Website: https://www.visitantwerpen.be/en

As well as stocking a wide range of brochures and maps, Antwerp’s tourist office can book tours and make hotel reservations. There is also an information desk at level 0 in Centraal station.

Tourist passes

The Antwerp City Card (www.visitantwerpen.be/city-card) offers free admission to 16 museums and three churches, along with a host of other discounts, including free transport across the city. Passes are available for 24-, 48- or 72-hour periods.

Book Accommodation

Featured Hotels

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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.

Hotel Rubenshof

Next to the Fine Arts Museum, this cheap Antwerp hotel sits in the trendy Zuid district. The building occupies a former cardinal's residence that dates back to 1860, with ornate public areas and 22 tastefully decorated bedrooms.

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.