Antwerp is a city with many charms. The historic architecture makes Antwerp one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, but its multicultural citizens add a touch of diversity. Antwerp offers more than enough cultural highlights, but it’s still small enough to explore in just a few hours. That’s what makes the city so perfect for a short day trip or two-day weekend in Belgium. Of course, it would (almost) be a waste if you spend the whole day only eating Belgian waffles. Looking to spend a wonderful day in Belgium’s second city? Maximize your time, and check out these 5 amazing things to do in Antwerp in one day.
5 Things to do in Antwerp
The Chinatown in Antwerp is the only officially recognized Chinatown in Belgium. Granted, it isn’t very big (it is actually more like a China Street), but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the time to take a look at this colourful hotspot. The view of the captivating Central Station through the Chinatown gate alone is worth a few snapshots.
2. Go See the Antwerp Ferris Wheel at Steenplein
The iconic Ferris wheel of Antwerp can be found near Steenplein (Stone Square), along the banks of the Scheldt river. You can go on the Ferris wheel, see the city from above and take a few photos of the romantic scenery. When you’re done, head to the river bank and take a leisurely walk along the waterfront. I promise this will make your day twice as lovely.
3. Admire the Architecture of the Cathedral of Our Lady
You can find statuettes of Virgin Mary can be found all over town, reflecting the city’s Roman Catholic background. Antwerp’s religious history culminates in the city’s architectural highlight: the Cathedral of Our Lady, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Every Wednesday (from April to September), you can climb the tower and enjoy a stunning cityscape view from the top.
4. Visit the Main Square and See the Antwerp City Hall
The Antwerp City Hall dates to the 16th century and is another important medieval landmark in town. You can find the city hall on the western side of the main square (Grote Markt). The building is a beautiful mix of both Flemish and Italian influences from the Renaissance era. You wouldn’t want to miss it.
5. Take a Peek at the Antwerp Botanical Garden
Finally, a nice way to finish your day is a quick visit to the Plantentuin, Antwerp’s tiny botanical garden that is over 200 years old. This green space is a little oasis of relaxing walking paths and a peacefully quiet atmosphere. You can peek inside of the greenhouses and see all sorts of adorable plants and a legion of prickly cacti.
Note: This post was updated in February 2017.