Bucket List: Popular Activities, Tourist Spots, and Amazing Places to Visit in Antwerp, Belgium
Belgium’s second-largest city, Antwerp, is beyond magical. It is home to some of the most creatively designed buildings, grandest landmarks, and chicest boutiques. Its culture and cuisines are no less than inviting too!
If this beautiful city has been enchanting you for some time now, consider revamping your bucket list with these activities in mind:
Circumnavigate one of Europe’s best zoo
Antwerp Zoo is one of the oldest and most established zoos in the world. It is frequented by millions of people who can’t help but be amazed by what it offers. In this wildlife park, you can find over 7,000 animals.
There are over 27 mini-parks in this zoo, leaving you with numerous things to see and several activities to do. Your journey usually starts with visiting the mesmerizing Butterfly Garden and ends with the exhilarating Bird Building. In between, you will enjoy the sights of varying penguins.
Did you know that king penguins and macaroni penguins exist? How about naming some nocturnal animals? Nocturamas like aardvarks, armadillos, tamanduas, and Philippine mouse deer reside in this park, and they’re all worth seeing. Some crowd favorites include wandering the Buffalo Savanna, the Valley of the Great Apes, and the Egyptian Temple.
Discover the music of Antwerp
Museum Vleeshuis features around 600 years of Antwerps’s musicality and dances. It depicts the lives of street musicians, passionate trumpeters, impressive carillon players, and their music enthusiasts.
Since emotions make music and music makes emotions, prepare to be deeply immersed in the roots of Antwerp through sound. You will also discover how music shaped this lovely city’s opera and concert halls as you rummage through this museum’s galleries.
Visit an ancient cathedral.
How does it feel to share the same pathways with different generations in 600 years? You’re about to find out! This Gothic cathedral of Antwerp was constructed between 1352 and 1521.
Although the Cathedral of Our Lady Antwerp looks well-designed, its construction is barely complete. To some, this edifice is like a timeless character that grows over time—it’s never fully finished. Apart from the cathedral itself, some of the most notable things to see here are the works of a well-respected painter.
The creativity of Sir Peter Rubens, Otto van Veen, Jacob de Backer, and Marten de Vos are all displayed here, waiting to inspire your day.
Have a date with the world’s finest chocolates
Some of the most heavenly chocolates in the world are artisanally made by the chocolatiers of Belgium. If you want to spend time getting to know these sweet delights, Antwerp has the largest Belgian chocolate museum in the world.
The Chocolate Nation features many chocolates, a 90-minute guided tour, and complimentary tastings. Experience love and euphoria in a bite through Antwerp’s chocolatiest!
Be dazzled by around 500 stellar pieces of jewelry.
Antwerp’s DIVA museum has six rooms with six different stories waiting to be untold. It has an unparalleled collection of diamonds and other gemstones systematically displayed to narrate their own stories.
As you visit this house of diamonds, you will be welcomed by your butler. You will be shown the Wunderkammer, an exquisite chamber featuring luxurious stones from different parts of the world. After reminiscing about the city’s rich past, you will be shown the There will be a demonstration of the diamond-cutting and silversmithing necessary to create the world’s most beautiful gemstones.
You will also get acquainted with how trading diamonds happen through The International Trading Room. More rooms are displaying one-of-a-kind exhibitions waiting to amaze you. Make sure you spend some time in this museum of luster.
Tour a popular Belgian marketplace
Belgium is home to the Great Market Square, also known as Grote Markt. This famous landmark houses an illustrious-looking 16th-century town hall and many charming cafes and quaint shops. This fascinating marketplace lies by the 220-mile-long Scheldt river that flows through France.
Grote Markt is especially lovely during Christmas because of the ice rink installation and the more bountiful bazaars. Although this place is even more engaging in the winter, you will undoubtedly enjoy visiting all year round.
Go on a boat tour
Going on a boat tour of Antwerp’s heavenly waters is one of the most relaxing yet exciting ways.
This city’s seaport is Europe’s second-largest, home to over 100,000 great ships that make the most scenic sight. If you want a different vantage point for the sunrise and sunset, boat tours are perfect for you.
Check out the museum by the river.
Museum aan de Stroom, also known as MAS, is Antwerp’s largest museum. Its unique design features a bricked 200 ft. exterior and an art deco-inspired interior designed by the world-renowned Neutelings Riedijk Architects. The museum is situated on the banks of the river Scheldt and is a prominent landmark in the city.
The MAS opened in 2011 and houses a collection of over 500,000 objects related to the history of Antwerp, including works of art, artifacts, and everyday objects. You will see over 180,000 artifacts here that depict the city’s history, artistry, and an enviable culture. The museum’s exhibits are organized around the themes of power, belief, and exchange, and explore the history of the city and its relationship to the wider world.
The building itself is an impressive structure, with ten floors of exhibition space and a unique design that features a series of stacked red sandstone boxes. The rooftop of the museum offers panoramic views of the city and the river and is accessible to visitors for a small fee.
In addition to its permanent collection, the MAS also hosts temporary exhibitions, events, and educational programs for visitors of all ages. The museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the history of Antwerp and the wider region, as well as for those interested in contemporary art and design.
See the extensive collection of a Belgian art connoisseur
Fritz Mayer van den Bergh is the eldest son of considerably wealthy parents. With immense wealth in his hands and a lovely taste in everything beautiful, he invested in ancient art and various masterpieces.
Besides art, he loved plants, flowers, and photography. He also had fine taste in thoroughbred horses. After his death at 43 years of age, his mother founded and managed a museum commemorating his son’s fantastic collection. Even after their death, their exquisite taste and many masterpieces live on through the Museum Mayer van den Bergh.
Uncover what makes this UNESCO World Heritage Site Special
The multifaceted history of Belgium is impossible to confine to just one museum. In the 16th century, Christophe Plantin and Jan Moretus shaped history through their printing company, which produced some of the most excellent collections of printing types during their time.
The Biblia Polyglotta, a bible written in five languages, is one of Christophe Plantin’s most iconic works. Because of their contributions to Belgium, their printing press, and the rest of their works, form the protected collection of the Plantin-Moretus Museum. In 2005, this museum was nominated and listed as a world heritage site.
Trace the notable journey of the Red Star Line
Over the years, Red Star Line has been sailing passengers to and from Antwerp. Their ships have contained emigrants whose lives have been permanently changed since they emigrated. Their gigantic boats have also seen loved ones get together after sailing far away for some time.
Today, a museum proudly shows its contributions to Belgians in the most interactive way possible. The Red Star Line Museum has various activities for the whole family, with a beautiful cafe on the upper deck. Many families loved seeing this museum, and you certainly will too.
See more ancient art at The Royal Museum of Fine Arts.
The Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, also known as the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen (KMSKA), is a museum in Antwerp, Belgium that is dedicated to the fine arts. The museum is located in the Zuid district of Antwerp and is one of the most important cultural institutions in the city.
The Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp has been displaying multigenerational art since 1810. Here, you will see the glorious paintings, sculptures, and drawings that influenced the 14th century through the 20th century.
The museum’s collection includes a wide range of artworks, including paintings, sculptures, and drawings, from the 14th century to the present day. Some of the most famous works in the collection include paintings by Flemish masters such as Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, and Jacob Jordaens.
The KMSKA was originally founded in 1810 as the Royal Museum of Paintings and Sculptures and has since undergone several expansions and renovations. The most recent renovation began in 2011 and is expected to be completed in 2023 when the museum will reopen to the public.
The extraordinary creativity in this museum reflects art in many countries across Europe. Besides the exhibit, its neoclassical building is also a must-see.
In addition to its permanent collection, the KMSKA also hosts temporary exhibitions and educational programs for visitors of all ages. The museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the history of art, particularly Flemish art, and for those interested in the cultural heritage of Antwerp and Belgium.
Drop by Rubens’ House
Antwerp’s Ruben is unlike any other Ruben. Peter Paul Rubens is one of the most influential artists of his time. His artistry is known to many European countries. Among his most notable works are altarpieces, such as The Raising of the Cross, The Descent from the Cross, and the Cathedral of Our Lady.
His home in Antwerp is preserved to maintain its untouched form. If you are interested in getting inspired by one of the best painters Europe has ever seen, you should undoubtedly see this home.
Visit St. James’ Church
If you love phenomenal churches, St. James’ Church is the perfect place for you. It showcases a Gothic exterior and a Baroque interior. This church is believed to have been around since 1431 or earlier.
The church is one of the city’s most notable landmarks and is considered one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in the country.
Construction of the church began in the 14th century, but it was not completed until the 16th century. The church features an imposing exterior, with a tall spire and intricate carvings and sculptures on the facade. The interior of the church is equally impressive, with a high nave, ornate altars, and beautiful stained glass windows.
The design contrast is very telling of the amount of history it has seen. The respected Peter Paul Rubens remains here, making this landmark even more valuable.
One of the most notable features of St. James’ Church is its collection of artworks, which includes several important pieces by Flemish masters such as Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck. The church also houses a number of ornate tombs, including the tomb of the famous Flemish painter Quentin Matsys.
St. James’ Church is still an active place of worship and is open to visitors for tours and services. It is a must-see destination for anyone interested in the history of Antwerp and the rich cultural heritage of Belgium.
Appreciate the vibrant art at St. Paul’s Church
This beautiful church is nestled in the old city center of Antwerp. It sits by the Scheldt river, which makes it a sight to behold on the outside. Once you enter its Baroque arches, you will see unique sculptures and paintings by well-acclaimed artists that influenced the city’s glorious past.
Artists and sculptures like Anthony van Dyck, Jacob Jordaens, Artus Quellinus the Elder, Pieter Verbrugghen I, Jan Pieter van Baurscheit de Elder, Jan Claudius de Cock, and Andries Colyns de Nole have contributed to the magnificence of this church. With all this elaborate art, visiting St. Paul’s Church is undeniably one of the most inspiring experiences in this country.
Antwerp Travel and Tour Packages
Searching for the best hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of cheap Antwerp hotels and resorts via Agoda, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.
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