9 reasons why Antwerp belongs on your winter bucket list

In winter, Antwerp belongs on everyone’s bucket list. In case you have your doubts, then here are 9 good reasons why you should book a city trip to Antwerp and enjoy all the delights of this picture-perfect winter destination.


1. A culinary capital

Antwerp is home to 174 different nationalities and the proof is in the pudding, or in any event in the food on your plate. Streetfood and Michelin-star restaurants, fun pubs and trendy coffee bars, world-renowned chocolate makers and award-winning cocktail shakers, Moroccan couscous bars and Jewish restaurants: you can find all this and more in Antwerp!

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2. Winter in Antwerp

From Saturday 8 December 2018 until Sunday 6 January 2019, Antwerp welcomes you to a magical winter wonderland. You won’t know where to look first because there are so many things to choose from. Take a stroll through the lovely Christmas market, or a ride in the giant ferris wheel. How about a spin on the covered ice-skating rink or why not hop on a tube and cruise down the tubing hill? Follow the Christmas lights and enjoy a piping hot drink in one of the many winter bars after your fun-filled day of adventures. Winter in Antwerp kicks off on 8 December with a big opening event. This year, the city will ring in winter with song with dozens of pop-choirs taking to stages in seven locations around the city. From gospel to classical music and angelic children’s voices. That day, the historic city centre will resonate with the sound of heavenly choral music. Afterwards the choirs will lead you in a procession to Grote Markt for the highlight of the day. In the evening K’s Choice will perform an acoustic concert in the square, accompanied by a pop-up choir of 1,000 singers, officially marking the start of in Winter in Antwerp.
Have you chosen to celebrate New Year’s Eve in our city? Head to the river quays on 31 December for the amazing fireworks display!

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3. Visit the masters in their own homes

Winter is the perfect time to visit a museum. Why not choose a classic, like the Rubens House? Or explore something new, like the Heritage Library with its imposing Nottebohm Room? Don’t forget to visit the impressive Christmas manger and see the magnificent garlands in Museum Plantin-Moretus. Here you can also print your own Christmas cards or create your own Christmas ornaments and table decoration.

4. Diamond capital

For over 500 years, Antwerp has been the diamond capital of the world. 84% of all rough diamonds and 50% of all polished diamonds pass through the city. The brand-new DIVA diamond experience centre is situated in the historic city centre and is the perfect place to discover the dazzling world of diamonds, jewellery and silversmithing.

5. Shopping 7 days a week

Shopping in Antwerp is always a fun experience thanks to the many leading fashion houses, trendy shops, small and independent shops and innovative concept stores. A bonus: they’re all within walking distance of each other. Need to warm up indoors? Then walk over to the city’s Festival Hall, with its glass and gilded cupola. The shops are open seven days a week in December. Yes, this means also on Sunday.

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6. City on the river

Explore the city and the river that runs through it from the panoramic roof terrace of the MAS Museum. Or take the free ferry to Linkeroever for a winter walk and a dish of steaming mussels. Are you curious to see how big the port is? Then book a tour of the port on a Flandria boat. The stunning view of Antwerp’s skyline is thrown in for free.

7. Joie de vivre

The people of Antwerp are larger than life and love life. So why not follow their example and sample all the goodness our city has to offer? Head to a traditional pub and sip a beer at the bar like the locals. Order a Bolleke and then visit the De Koninck brewery where you can see how this beer is produced? Or taste an Elixir d’Anvers, which is still prepared according to the same traditional recipe? Do you have a hankering for some other sweet treats? Then taste the heavenly chocolates of our famous chocolate makers or have an Antwerps Handje biscuit with your coffee. These regional products will give you all the energy and appetite you need to discover even more of Antwerp.

8. Children in the spotlight

Children also love Antwerp. Why don’t you introduce them to Nello and Patrasche and tell them the poignant Christmas story about the unconditional friendship between an orphan and his dog? Or meet Belgian comic strip heroes in Comics Station. Or see a different side of the zoo during China Light Zoo: at night, when the animals sleep, the zoo is transformed into an enchanting light-filled garden.

9. Peace and quiet in a vibrant city

Antwerp is a vibrant city. But there are plenty of places to escape the hustle and bustle. How about a morning walk through Middelheim Park or a walk in Hobokense Polder where you can spot herons, oxen and horses? Or why not take a break in the centuries-old Botanic Garden in the city centre?

Book your stay in Antwerp and enjoy a wintry yet warm city trip. 
If you are planning to visit Antwerp by car start by checking here whether your vehicle may enter the low emission zone


Noortje Palmers



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