Antwerp, the second largest city of Belgium. In our little country everyone knows it, but on a global scale, we are pretty unknown. On top of that, I wanted to feel like how it is to be a tourist in my hometown. I’ve been a tourist in plenty of other cities and countries, so it was time to be one in my own and promote my city too.
In this blog post, I will talk about how I would visit my hometown in one day. Of course, there are so many more things to do, which might follow in a later blog post.
Disclaimer: Although most are, not all photos are made on the day of my visit. This is due to the bad weather and my database of better photos I already made.
Visit the Photography museum
By now you know I am a photography fan. So visiting this museum isn’t anything out of the ordinary. Since most museums are constantly changing their collections, my return to this place was still a new experience.
At the moment there is an interesting exhibition running about Ai Wei Wei. The Chinese artist talks about privacy, the Chinese government and more in this one. An interesting view of the artist and special execution makes this a must-see exhibition.
Enjoying modern art at M-HKA
After some photography, it was time to go to the museum of contemporary art. It’s a beautiful building and the collections often are great. This time, however, they did not really speak to me, but don’t let my personal opinion hold you back.
Eating street food at Loa Streetfood
After all this art, you obviously get hungry. At the Hoogstraat there is a good place which sells street food. All of it is halal too (except of course for the pork-based lunches). I had the Loa Burger and my mate Fons, who just joined me at that moment, went for the pulled pork burger. It’s a small restaurant, but the food is great.
Walk through the Voetgangerstunnel
The Voetgangerstunnel, or pedestrian tunnel, is the place to walk to Linkeroever (left-bank). There you have a view over the skyline of Antwerp. If you’re an early bird, it could be a good spot to see the sun rise behind the city. If you’re not a morning person, the view over the city by day and the walk through the old tunnel is worth the effort already.
Enjoy a stroll at the riverside
After returning back to the city center, you can enjoy a walk by the river via the Zuiderterras. You can see the different ships arrive or watch the occasional cruise-ship dock. This walk will also bring you to the city’s historical center, where there is a lot more to see.
Look at the old fortress of Antwerp
After your short walk next to the river ’t Scheldt, you arrive at Het Steen. It translates to The Stone, The Rock, and even Dwayne Johnson. This is one of the oldest castles in the city. It provides some more views on the river and used to contain a museum. This year they are starting the renovations to make a cruise-terminal of the building.
The statue you see is called “Lange Wapper”, which a malicious person (not me) would translate as Long Willy.
Observe the architecture of the Grote Markt
The central square is also home of Brabo (the statue), which is our city hero. You see several old building, one of which is our city counsel house. It’s a beautiful place to take some photos and there are plenty of restaurants to eat and take a break. I can recommend Bia Mara, which is a fish and chips restaurant.
Discover a city legend about the cathedral
The most prominent building in the city, is probably the Cathedral. Don’t try to call it a church to a native, they will end you. It’s a Cathedral and we are proud of it… for some reason.
On the square in front of it, you can find a statue of a sleeping boy with his dog. These are the heros from a city legend. The kid dies in the cold after finally seeing the paintings in the Cathedral. A sad, but beautiful story.
Modern architecture at Eilandje
’t Eilandje is a modern and upcoming neighborhood in the city. It’s also home of MAS. A huge orange building. Inside you can find a museum about old ships. However, you can take the stairs all the way up for free. On the roof, you have a beautiful view over the city and the port. A must visit.
A bit further, you also have the new port house designed by Zaha Hadid. Inside is a huge aereal photo of the city and the harbor.
Eating Belgian food and drinking Belgian beers at Billy’s
A place that recently opened is Billy’s Beer Kafetaria. A typical café from Belgium. Although the inside looks old, it actually is quite hip and trendy. You have a lot of beers to choose from here. If you can’t decide which one to try, you can ask the staff. They are genuinly passionate about the beers.
Next stop through the Antwerp Central Station
In Antwerp there are plenty of hotels and hostels to stay. If you are just passing by from Brussels or Amsterdam, you will probably go through Central Station. A lot of websites and magazine have actually chosen this building as their #1 most beautiful trainstation in the world. So take an extra minute to enjoy the building and it’s grandeur.
Have you ever been to my lovely hometown? What did you see? Let me know in the comments below.