Antwerp City Guide

 

A quick guide through the city

 

Living in Amsterdam, Antwerp has always been that city I escape to when I have a day or two of free time. It’s that place you go to when you feel like taking a mini vacation. From the moment you arrive in the city and see the big shopping street, the magnificent Central station, the mesmerizing diamond stores, you know you’ve hit a magical place. 

I’ll tell you some of my favorite spots to visit when you’re in Antwerp. 

Hotels

My last stay in Antwerp was at Hotel Franq. A boutique hotel founded only two years ago. Everything is new and looks absolutely stunning. The lobby is something like a movie set. The rooms are super comfortable with a nice rain shower. The bed big and comfy with lots of pillows. Located near the Cathedral and the famous shopping street the Meir, I would recommend this hotel to anyone who loves to stay in the city centre but doesn’t want to be in a too hectic place. 

The hotel has a Michelin-starred restaurant where we had a 4-course menu which was very tasty and creative. The food was presented picture perfect. The same place serves breakfast in the morning and I can tell you, they have it all. 

Book your stay at https://www.hotelfranq.com

Coffee

Those of you who know me know that coffee is very important to me so when I go to a nice city, I am always looking for the best coffee spots in town.

Normo

A very nice hipster looking coffee bar where the barista awaits you with a big smile. You order your coffee, have a seat at one of the nice marble tables (perfect to make a nice picture of your picture perfect coffee) and wait for your order to be ready. The walls are brick and the floor a sort of cement look with broken tiles, around you the people look ultra hip and speak several languages, the relaxed atmosphere makes you feel at home. Oh and by the way, the coffee is great. 

normo Antwerp

Kaffeenini

After a shopping spree at the Nationale straat, kaffeenini is the place to stop for a coffee. The assortiment has lots of pies and sweets that are to die for and the coffee is very tasty and made with care. 

Shopping

Meir

This shopping street is very big and here you find all the international stores like Primark, H&M. During the holidays this street has a somewhat magical feel to it because of the Christmas lights. It’s a very long street that goes all the way up to the Central station.

Nationalestraat

You’ll find this street in a hip area of Antwerp. Located above the area Zuid, it is a street know for its fashion boutiques. You’ll find big and small brands, some vintage and jewelry and nice places to stop for Coffee.

Kloosterstraat 

If you love vintage, antiques and brocante, this is the street to go to. The tiny stores filled with secondhand furniture, art and clothes make you want to hire a truck and just load it up. 

Wilde zee

This is tiny area where you’ll find boutiques, nice restaurants and stores for home decor. Especially during Christmas it’s a a very cute area. 

Diamonds

Diamonds are a girls best friends and even though that sounds like a cliché, for me it is very true!

Did you know: EVERY DIAMOND IN THE WORLD PASSES THROUGH ANTWERP AT LEAST ONCE!

Antwerp’s brilliance dates back to 1447, when the city first claimed the title of diamond capital city. So what is there to see?

DIVA experience immerse yourself in this museum and discover the world of diamonds, jewellery and goldsmith’s art.

Antwerp’s ‘Golden Streets

In these shopping streets located in the historic city centre you find 24 of Antwerp’s best jewellers, silver or goldsmiths and independent jewellery designers.

Guided group walk through Diamant Square Mile and/or the Jewish Quarter

Get to know everything about the process of making diamonds by visiting the international melting pot of the diamond quarter. The Jewish walk is more about religion, history and traditions of the big Jewish community that Antwerp knows.

Learn more on www.antwerpdiamondcapital.eu

Food

I love food and am always looking for the nicest places to eat. The Jane is still on my list but since it was closed on Monday I’ll have to go back for it (such a pity). 

Restaurant Franq

This restaurant is a part of the Hotel Franq where I stayed during my last trip to Antwerp. The restaurant is has an elegant style and the food is inspired by the French kitchen with a Belgian touch. The four course menu we had started with oysters wrapped in San Daniele ham, then coquilles with pork belly (omg) and the main course was Guinea fowl. All was very tasty and especially the wine we got served was excellent. We drank a Verdicchio sur lie from Campo delle oche that particularly surprised me. Come here to celebrate a nice evening with your loved one or for a lovely lunch with friends or family. Book your table here: https://www.hotelfranq.com/restaurant-bar/

restaurant Frans

Fish a’ gogo

If you love fish, this is the place to be. Expect nothing fancy but just well prepared super fresh fish. You get to choose from a display and they prepare it directly. Think of fresh oysters, coquilles, razor fish, mussels and so on. You can sit outside or inside. The place is small and it takes you around 30 minutes to consume a meal, perfect for when you have some serious shopping to do. http://fishagogo.be

Fish a gogo

Bún

This restaurant serves high level Vietnamese street food in a wonderful looking setting. The restaurant is very stylish and new, it only exists one year. You get to choose from a simple lunch menu that consists in two courses, a medium menu and a big menu. We chose the medium menu for lunch and it was very tasty. It started with 3 snacks, an oyster, grilled corn and a curry soup. Then the starter, duck breast with pumpkin, very tasty! The main course was a Vietnamese curry with fish, asian eggplant, rice and a nice herbs salad on the side. Lastly we had a delicious desert with mango ice-cream. Besides very nice food, this place is also know for their cocktails. Think of a yuzu sake margarita! If you’re up for Vietnamese but want it all a it faster and cheaper, they have an other restaurant where they focus on noodles! Will have to try that one another time for sure. https://www.bunantwerp.be

 

bun Antwerp

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