Antwerp in the wintertime belongs on everyone's bucket list. These nine reasons will convince you to book your stay and enjoy Antwerp - the ideal city trip destination.
Antwerp has no less than 174 nationalities and you can taste that. Street food and Michelin-star restaurants, real pubs and hip coffee bars, world-renowned chocolate confectioners and award-winning cocktail shakers, Moroccan couscous bars and Jewish restaurants - you'll find it all in Antwerp. In the covered food market Mercado you can enjoy fair, tasty and fresh food from every corner of the world. It's a great place for a take-away coffee in the morning, for lunch with colleagues at noon, to take a break while shopping, to meet your friends for something to drink or to grab a bite to eat with your family.
Antwerp will welcome you in a magical winter wonderland from Saturday, 9 December through Sunday, 7 January 2018. A feast for the eyes thanks to the many activities. Stroll around the attractive Christmas market, ride the Ferris wheel, fasten on some skates at the covered skating rink or whizz down the tubing slide. Let the atmospheric lighting guide you and enjoy a steaming hot beverage in one of the cosy winter bars. An opening celebration with concerts, shows and magical projections will take place on December 9. You'll be celebrating the end of the year in our city? We are planning a fantastic fireworks show on December 31.
The wintry cold makes this the ideal time to visit a museum. The Rubens House or the Heritage Library, with its stately Nottebohm Room, are museums with living rooms that are bathed in the same warm, cosy atmosphere as our own homes in winter. The renovated Museum Plantin-Moretus will display its impressive Nativity scene and garlands will decorate the walls. You can also print your own Christmas cards or craft baubles and centrepieces.
This winter will be more dazzling than usual. Antwerp has been the most important trading centre in the world for diamonds for more than 500 years. No less than 84% of all rough diamonds and 50% of all polished diamonds pass through the city. This autumn Antwerp celebrates the fact that it has been the 'Diamond Capital since 1447'. One of the eye-catchers is the exhibition Dazzling Desires in the MAS. You can admire the Cartier diamond tiara that Queen Elisabeth wore, the crown of the Russian czars and Mary of Burgundy's engagement ring.
Shopping in Antwerp is a real experience that fits in with Antwerp's status as a fashion city. Large fashion houses, trendy boutiques, small and independent shops and ground-breaking concept stores. You'll find it all within walking distance in a city that is simultaneously hip and historic, cool and classic, trendy and traditional. Shopping Stadsfeestzaal , with its glass dome with gold leaf, enables you to shop to your heart's content in a gorgeous setting. Throughout December (except Christmas Day) you can shop seven days a week so that the quest for that perfect gift can be stress-free. The chalets at the Christmas market will also offer inspiration for original and creative gifts.
Water makes us dream, even in the winter. Antwerp sways with the tides and from time to time likes to sail against the tide. Discover the city from the panoramic roof terrace of the Museum aan de Stroom. Walk along the quays and try out the free ferry to Linkeroever for a winter walk and a steaming serving of fresh mussels. Discover the second largest port in Europe from the water. Book a tour of the port, with beautiful views of Antwerp's skyline, with Flandria. A romantic sunset on the Scheldt River will warm you up.
Antwerp's residents are bon vivants so join in and thoroughly enjoy all the tasty goodness that the city has to offer. Sit at the bar of a real pub. Order a "Bolleke" then browse around Brouwerij De Koninck to see how the beer is made. Warm up your insides with some Elixir d’Anvers; it's prepared according to traditional methods. Bite into a piece of heavenly chocolate at one of the famous chocolate confectioners or enjoy an Antwerp Hand with a cup of coffee. These are all regional products that will give you the necessary energy and desire to discover more of Antwerp.
Kids will remember their holiday in Antwerp for a long time. Have them say hello to Nello and Patrasche and tell them the moving Christmas story about the unconditional friendship between an orphan boy and his dog. Walk with them past Het Steen, where they'll feel like knights or maidens in a castle setting. It's also the perfect background for a fairy-tale photo along the Scheldt River. Meet Belgian comic strip heroes in Comics Station. Or visit the Zoo in an entirely different way during China Light Zoo: At night, when the animals are asleep, the zoo turns into a magical light garden.
Antwerp is alive and brims over with energy. It also offers lots of places to relax and unwind. A morning walk in heavenly Middelheim Park for example. Or get some fresh air at the surprising Sint-Anneke beach on the left bank. Take a break in the Botanical Garden and discover an ancient oasis in the middle of the city. Be sure to enter the greenhouse for a portion of instant sun between the cactuses and other exotic plants. In the Hobokense Polder you'll dive into nature and encounter herons, ancient varieties of cattle, and horses.
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