I put together a one day in Antwerp itinerary, based on our recent trip to Antwerp. These are all based on what we did there, and what I would recommend you check out if you ever find yourself in the wonderful city of Antwerp.
A few weeks back we were in Brussels for a second time. We took full advantage of the close proximity of Belgian cities. We took a short train ride to spend the day in Antwerp. With Belgium being such a small country, you can easily reach many destinations in an hour or two from Brussels.
Antwerp Central Station
We took a train from Brussels and arrived at Antwerp Central Station around 9:30am. Even this train station is worth exploring. It has stunning architecture and is very unique for a train station.
Once you get to the train station, you’ll need a way to get around the city. If you get an Antwerp City card, you’ll get free access to a variety of museums and also get a free transit pass.* We found a bus that took us directly to our next destination in maybe 15 min.
Museum aan de Stroom
From the train station, we hopped on a DeLijn bus, heading towards Museum aan de Stroom (MAS). We got off the bus a few blocks away so we could take in the scenes of the city as we made our way to the museum. On our way, we stumbled into a really unique alley.
The MAS museum is 10 stories tall and has a variety of rotating exhibits featuring Antwerp and the world. Personally, my favorite part of the museum was the views from the top. We took the escalators up to the top floor. Stepping out onto the rooftop, we took in some stunning views of the city. For something a little more unique, check out the 9th floor windows. Add a bit of interest to your photos.
After we hit up the museum gift shop, we walked over to Parkbrug, an interesting pedestrian bridge.
There’s not a lot of sights near the bridge itself, other than a college. However, you can take in the sights of the canal along the way. There are many interesting buildings that I think give you the true feelings of Antwerp on your route.
After visiting the bridge, it was time for lunch. We found a tram nearby and headed towards the old part of town. We ended up eating at a restaurant called Satay. It’s a cozy little spot with lots of windows to take in the bustling road – the train . THIS MEAL WAS LIFE CHANGING. Get the lunch special, you won’t regret it.
After lunch, we walked to the city center and enjoyed the views of the old town. Full of Flemish Renaissance architecture, there’s plenty to look at around this neighborhood.
Visit the Plantin-Morteus Museum
While you’re in the old part of town, swing by the Plantin-Morteus Musem. Located in the former residence and printing building, the museum features history of the printing press in Antwerp, as well as telling the story of the Plantin-Morteus family. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The building is amazing. It’s over 400 years old and the self-guided tour takes you through the living quarters as well as the printing areas. It also features a stunning courtyard. I really loved touring this museum because it was self paced and there are so many interesting rooms to look through.
Also, if you go here for any reason at all, there is an ORIGINAL GUTENBERG BIBLE on display. Yes, you read that correctly, a Gutenberg Bible on display.
Known as simply the Underpass to locals, Saint Anna Tunnel is a pedestrian tunnel completed in 1933 as a way to get from one bank of the city to the other. While it may not sound like much, using the tunnel is a unique experience. The Wooden escalators, which are original to the tunnel, take you deep underground. 31.57m underground, to be exact.
Once underground, you then walk a cool 572 m (or 1/3 of a mile) to get to the other side. The tunnel is very much in use by the locals as a way to get around the city. Bicycles whizzed by us as we took in the tunnel experience. It kind of reminded me of a very long subway station tunnel.
As a bonus, when you reach the Left Bank of Antwerp, you can see some unique views of where you just came from. There is a nice park along the canal to take it all in.
While I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to in Antwerp, it was the best day of exploring, learning and snacking. I can’t wait to visit again.
Hopefully this one day in Antwerp Itinerary is helpful for you to plan your next trip to Belgium. Have you been to Antwerp? What would you add to a one day Antwerp itinerary?
*I received complimentary City Card Passes from Visit Antwerp. As always, all views and opinions are my own.