Bank and embankment recreated

Along the banks of the Scheldt, across the Eilandje and straight through the Schipperskwartier (sailor’s quarter)… your guide walks you through the earliest history of the port of Antwerp - from the bank of the Scheldt to lively city on the river.

This is the city-by-the-river walk par excellence! Your guide will tell you a fascinating tale about the origin and growth of the historic city centre by the Scheldt as you follow a quirky and unusual route along the river bank, across ‘Eilandje’ and through the Red-Light District.
 
Step by step you will learn how the river bank, the dunes and canals were transformed throughout
the centuries. Hidden parts of the city walls, strange place names, vaulted canals - known as ‘ruien’ - and historic facades reveal the fascinating past of these old port districts. Dive into the history of the Antwerp as a canal city, Gilbert van Schoonbeke’s Nieuwstad, the picturesque Napoleonic docks, the sieges of 1814 and 1830 and the straightening of the Scheldt quays in the nineteenth century during which part of the city even disappeared into the river ...
 
Fortunately the beautiful St. Paul’s Church survived a major fire in 1968 and this restored monument is now an eye-catching feature along our route. Nostalgic sailor’s bars, high brick warehouses and imposing port buildings as well as the tolerance zone for prostitution showcase the proud maritime past and vibrant present of this renewed part of the city by the river. The future plans for these port neighbourhoods are also addressed. Along the way you stop on a terrace with stunning views of MAS for refreshments or get a taste of the atmosphere of a real sailor’s pub.
 
Because of the longer distance, some stairs and bumpy cobblestones this walk is less suited to people who are not that mobile.
 
Wear good walking shoes.
The trail also takes you through the Red-Light District. This may not be an ideal family outing.
Refreshments during the stop are not included in the price.
 
The trail takes you along: STEEN - PILOTAGE BUILDING – MAS (‘Eiland je’) - FALCONPLEIN - ST. PAUL’S CHURCH. It includes a short visit - if open to: the reception area of MAS and St. Paul’s Church.
 
Start and finish: Visit Antwerpen, Grote Markt 13.


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Touring around (and in) the MAS

Touring around (and in) the MAS

Old Docks, Cadix and Montevideo… the once so faded docklands are rejuvenating. Today we call them ‘het Eilandje’ – because the neighbourhood was formerly enclosed by water when the locks of the Bonapartedok and the Verbindingsdok were open. A fascinating walk along Antwerp’s first docks. 

The Eilandje's Past

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Weather-beaten statues, rusty wharf cranes, old bridges and locks, historic warehouses… in and around the hip Eilandje neighbourhood one finds references to an eventful maritime past and traces of the legendary Red Star Line shipping company. 

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Antwerp’s latest architectural jewel is the Port House. This funky and innovative building, with roots in the past, is the new headquarters of the Antwerp Port Authority that accommodates over 500 employees. You can also plan a guided tour of the building and enjoy the panoramic view over the port and the city.

Antwerp City Card

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Get all you can out of Antwerp! Are you interested in exploring all of Antwerp? Then use the Antwerp City Card as your guide. The card will open the nicest, tastiest and most surprising doors of the city for you, for free or at a discount. What’s more, you can choose how long you want to use it. 

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Markets

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Nothing is more fun than a market.You get a taste of the city and its local offerings.Antwerp has several weekly and monthly markets spread all over the city.They’re highly recommended for those who want to experience the real Antwerp.

Public transport

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Antwerp is a pocket-sized city. Many of the attractions are within walking or biking distance of each other. Another way of getting around the city is on the trams and buses of De Lijn. Tip: buy your tram or bus ticket in a point of pre-sale (newsagent’s, supermarket, the vending machines at the various stops or in the visitor centres of Visit Antwerp), where tickets are cheaper.

Sunday Shopping

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Many of the shops in the historical city centre are open every first Sunday of the month. Performances and small mobile events like the Antwerp Fashion Festival and Models on Wheels make Sunday shopping an even more memorable experience.