36 Hours in Antwerp, Belgium
Photo: Antwerp, Belgium, via Visit Antwerpen
Antwerp, Belgium -- One of the foremost electronic music festivals is only a few days away. Located in Boom, Belgium, the fantastical Tomorrowland promises three days full of the biggest names in dance music. There’s a reason that people come from all over the world for this festival.
Though you may not have been itching to go to Boom otherwise, you’re in luck: Antwerp is a short train ride from the festival site, or 20 minutes by car, and is a destination worthy of the trip. Here is a mini guide to the city, sourced from a Cultivora friend and former Antwerp resident who was kind enough to share some tips for a memorable 36 hours.
Day One3pm: Arrive in style at Antwerpen-Centraal
Set the tone for your visit, as the central station is one of the most stunning train stations in Europe.
3:30pm: Gawk at the cathedral in the Groenplaats
This “green place” in the city center is for pedestrians only, and no visit to a European city would be complete without a stop at a church. The enormous Gothic-style Cathedral of our Lady is just a few years shy of its 500th birthday. Make sure to view the Rubens masterpieces inside.
5pm: Shop ‘til you drop on the Kammenstraat
This strip of boutiques and shops offers much more variety than the Meir.
7:30pm: Go French at Bourla
Head to a casual yet delightfully chic bistro, which boasts beautiful lighting, top-notch food, and the most dashing redheaded waitstaff this side of the EU.
9pm: Cool down at De Muze
Enjoy live jazz and a wide assortment of Belgian beers.
Day Two11am: Grab breakfast at ZUM
Start the day right with a cappucino (complete with yummy bits of chocolate), freshly squeezed orange juice, and a small but tasty selection of breakfast items - including some delicious muffins.
Noon: Relax in Park Spoor Noord
This newer park in the city is a lovely spot to laze about in the grass or go for a stroll to take in the greenery.
2pm: Update your look at MoMu
Head to the ModeMuseum, otherwise known as the fashion museum of Antwerp. The current exhibition features silks and prints from the Abraham archive, the textile company that provided exclusive fabrics for fashion houses like Dior and Yves Saint Laurent. For the style-oriented, this exhibition is not to be missed.
5pm: Enjoy a late lunch at De Groote Witte Arend
Right around the corner from the museum sits this restaurant and it's the ideal place to try Belgian cuisine. The courtyard is very picturesque, but note that it can get crowded on sunny days.
7pm: Have a drink in the Mechelseplein
A small square with a slew of bars that are packed every afternoon and evening with young locals, relaxing with a half pint of sipping beer. There are plenty of restaurants in the vicinity too, on the off chance that you're still hungry after lunch.
10pm: Dance the night away at Bar Nadar
Ernest van Dijckkaai 19
This local favorite doesn't close until the last patron leaves.
Day Three10am: Breakfast in a counterintuitive space
Jan van Rijswijcklaan 155
Tucked inside of the International Arts Campus - a music, theatre, and dance performance center - is the Grand Café deSingel. The space itself is beautiful, and the admittedly pricey breakfast is worth every penny, especially considering it comes with a glass of champagne.
11:30: Go antiquing on the Kloosterstraat
On Sundays, this street becomes pedestrians-only and the many antique shops pull their merchandise out onto the street for perusing.
3pm: Say farewell at Witzli-Poetzli
Head to this small, old-timey pub in the shadow of the cathedral to close out the weekend.
A very special thank you to Elizabeth Koosed, international Pilates instructor who used her local knowledge of Antwerp to help us with this mini guide to the city.
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