Antwerp Life and Visitor Travel Tips
(Antwerp, Antwerpen, Flanders, Belgium)
A historic city full of charm, Antwerp is today very proud of its tourist and travel industry, which often plays an important part in local Belgian life in the city. Consider taking one of the many self-guided walking tours of Antwerp, which take in large chunks of the city, from the Grote Markt, right up to the Centraal Station.
Most walking tours will last around one and a half hours, although if you are in the habit of being easily sidetracked, they may well take longer, particularly if you choose to cross beneath the river and visit the Linkeroever. Look out for the Steenplein, an ancient waterfront square where Antwerp's oldest building resides, the 11th-century Steen Castle. Either side of the Steenplein are elevated and extremely popular promenades, which were originally built so that the locals could enjoy views of the boats and their rather exotic cargo.
Useful Contact Details
There are a number of different tourist offices within Antwerp. Your first port of call should be the Grand Place (Grand Markt), where the main tourist information centre (Stadtladen) resides, along with the Prospekta, which is filled with details about all the very latest cultural events and exhibitions in the city.
To order tickets for the theatre or similar, the Stadtladen office now operates a state-of-the-art Ticket Antwerpen system, although a small commission is added to the overall charge for the use of this facility.
Antwerpen Kongressbüro VZW (Antwerp Tourist Information)
Address: Koningin Elisabethlei 22, Antwerp, BE-2018, Belgium, BE
Tel: +32 03 202 16 26
Fax: +32 03 202 16 28
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 09:00 to 18:00, Sunday - 09:00 to 17:00
Stadtladen (Antwerp Tourist Information)
Address: Grote Markt 11, Antwerp, BE-2000, Belgium, BE
Tel: +32 03 221 1333
Prospekta VZW (Tourist Information and Theatre Booking)
Address: Grote Markt, Antwerp, BE-132000, Belgium, BE
Tel: +32 03 203 95 85
Fax: +32 03 203 95 97
Address: Everdijstraat, Antwerp, BE-202000, Belgium, BE
Tel: +32 0800 94 843
Fax: +32 03 202 59 59
Address: Grote Markt 40, Antwerp, BE-2000, Belgium, BE
Tel: +32 03 220 8180
- Grote Markt 13, Vzw Prospekta Centrum voor Kunstcommunicatie, Antwerp, BE-2000, Belgium, BE
Tel: +32 03 203 9585
Language and Dialect
Locals in Antwerp speak everything from Dutch, French and also German. A Belgian version of Dutch, known as Flemish, is spoken by the largest percentage of Belgians here, although more and more are now understanding English, particularly those involved in the tourist trade.
Dos and Don'ts / Tourist Traps
- Belgian Chocolate - while in Antwerp, don't miss the opportunity to sample some authentic Belgian chocolate at its very best. Do this at the smaller shops, such as Godiva and also Burie, where the chocolates are actually made by hand
- Diamond Jewellery - the best place to find the most reputable of jewellers and goldsmiths is on De Keyserlei. Beneath the Central Station, along the Pelikaanstraat and around the actual diamond centre, many of these jewellers are not as they appear, selling overpriced, poor quality gold and diamonds. Do consider contacting a certified diamond broker if you are unsure of quality
- Drinking Beer - try to make the time to try just a few of the hundreds of different beers available at the many bars and cafes within Antwerp, where you can even find the surprisingly popular 'banana beer', Duvel and many more Belgian beers
- Eating Out - avoid the most touristy of restaurants and bars, such as those along the Meir in central Antwerp, and even some of the Groenplaats, where prices are likely to be somewhat inflated and your meal is hurried along to make room for more diners. Instead, check out the eateries along some of the less crowded side streets, where it is likely you will find better value for money