Belgium is a wonderful country. It has lots of fantastic architectural sights, the beer scene is amazing and the cities are beautiful. One of the most beautiful ones is with no doubt Antwerp, capital of Flanders as well as “diamond capital of the world”.
I had a chance to spend a lovely weekend in Antwerp cooperating with Lublin Airport.
Why Lublin Airport you may ask? Because it has just opened a new route to Antwerp operated by TUIfly.
Lublin-Antwerp flight info
Flight time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Lublin – Antwerp – Fridays, 20:15 – 22:30
Antwerp – Lublin – Mondays, 17:25 – 19:30
Pricing: Return trip from around 130–150 EUR (~60 EUR one way)
Arriving to Antwerp Airport
The airport of the Flemish capital is pretty small and the road to the city center is pretty easy.
You should take buses number 51, 52 or 53 that will take you to the Berchem station. From there take a tram 9 that goes to the city center.
Price of the public transport ticket in Antwerp is €3.00 per ride, can be bought from the bus driver.
Note that the ticket is valid for 60 minutes so when you’re taking a bus + a tram from the airport you will need to have only 1 ticket!
What to see in Antwerp
Why: it is one of the most beautiful train stations in the world. When you get there and see it in all of its glory you will understand why. Looking more like a palace then like a railway station, Antwerpen Centraal is a sight to behold and one of the trademarks of the city.
Extra tip: be sure to drink a cup of coffee in the splendid coffeehouse on the first floor of the building.
Why: even if you’re not that into Flemish art, House of Rubens is a great place to visit in Antwerp. There is a charming garden, pretty Flemish architecture and a rich exposition devoted to the celebrated painter’s life. The highlight of this place is the room full of Rubens original masterpieces.
Why: the very heart of Antwerp, Meir is where you go to stroll, shop and basically belong to the city. The precious gem of the street is Stadsfeestzaal, a luxurious shopping mall full of gold that may well be one of the opulent places to shop you visit in your life.
Extra tip: at the end of Meir street you will notice a gigantic building resembling the best examples of New York or Chicago oldschool skyscrapers. This is Boerentoren that is considered to be Europe’s first skyscraper. See the Art Deco architecture and climb to the top to observe a spectacular panorama of the city.
Cathedral of Our Lady
Why: Flanders is all about the magnificent architecture. Antwerp doesn’t disappoint, its centerpiece, the marvelous Cathedral of Our Lady, is a sight to behold. Keep an eye for the Rubens paintings inside and be sure to check out the amazing stained glass windows too.
Grote Markt Square
Why: you can really get Antwerp if you come to the Grote Markt. Rows of picturesque houses adorn a square with a rocky fountain and a city hall. An epitome of European and Belgian beauty and a must-see in the city. Also, an ideal place for selfies, panoramic shots, 360s or just calmly enjoying the beauty of the past.
Why: protected by UNESCO, this museum will give you an idea of printing when it just began back in the 16th century. There are two oldest surviving printing presses in the world, the beautiful library and many interesting things to discover about the book production.
Why: futuristic architecture, rich expositions detailing the past and the present of Antwerp, fantastic views from the top make Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) a perfect place to visit in the city.
Affordable eats in Antwerp
Alright, you’ve checked out all the cool things the city has to offer, now it’s time to eat. Antwerp is not a cheapest city when it comes to dining. Nevertheless, if you choose wisely you can find pretty good deals that won’t break your budget and will let you enjoy the Flemish capital without the hassle.
Why: a street foody spot right in the heart of the Old Town next to the Cathedral. While the location might suggest otherwise, it is in fact a great place to have a delicious fish snack in Antwerp at a reasonable price (which would be considered even cheap in Belgium). You have different kinds o grilled fish here, squid, mussels and the menu changes weekly.
Here’s their menu with prices:
Why: freshly opened place that positions itself as the healthy alternative to unhealthy fast food of Antwerp. Serving great food at affordable price, Foodvibes is a great pick for having a nice eat in a friendly atmosphere. Also, their terrace has amazing street views and their interior is clean and pleasant.
Why: B stands for Belgium and B stands for Belgian beer. This country has a certain talent for brewing the best beer in the world. To have a great beer selection at the cozy setting of a typical local pub head to Paters Vaetje.