Antwerp has more summer activities than it has summer days. The chances are you’ll soon get overheated in the city during these events, especially if the summer sun is really beating down on you. Want to escape from the heat of the city? Then this article has a whole host of cool options for you to try out.
One of the easiest ways to cool down is to take a refreshing dip in a swimming pool. But in Antwerp we’re not talking about your average swimming pool. The Boekenberg swimming pond is Europe’s biggest ecological swimming pond. The presence of special plants means you can swim here in naturally filtered water. Or why not visit the city’s oldest swimming pool, the art-deco gem in Veldstraat, where you can swim in a 33 metre pool, enjoy a hammam or relax in the hot tub complex. And did you know that Antwerp has its very own natural beach? You’re not allowed to swim in the Scheldewater but head to St. Anneke beach and see for yourself - the fresh breezes from the river and a chilled pint in one of the numerous cafes are the perfect antidote to the heatwave.
Even when temperatures rise to 30 degrees and more, it’s always nice and cool underground. Why not go on a tour through the Antwerp Canals, the city’s former canals and sewers, and feel the difference. It is always nice and cool in the pedestrian tunnel which you can walk or cycle through to Linkeroever for the best views of Antwerp’s skyline. Don’t forget to take a photo of the authentic wooden escalators!
Seek out the shade in the City Park, a triangular area not far from the pedestrianised shopping street, Meir. Take something to sit on and enjoy a picnic under the trees. Or go in search of the somewhat hidden away Botanical Garden in Leopoldstraat. Alongside great visual art the Middelheim Open Air Museum also has plenty of shady spots. Antwerp’s biggest park, the Rivierenhof, can be found in Deurne, which is also home to the open air theatre, one of the country’s best concert venues.
In Antwerp you can’t miss the Cathedral of Our Lady. Its 123 metre-high belfry dominates the city. Step inside and cool down whilst admiring some of the breath-taking art it contains. The other Antwerp churches are also worth a visit: St. Charles Borromeo is the Rubens church par excellence, St. Andrew’s Church has an amazingly beautiful pulpit and St. Paul’s Church is home to more than 50 paintings by famous Antwerp masters.
Many young people go to the pontoon bridge at the Steen when they want to cool down. There’s always a lovely breeze on this floating berth for pleasure boats. What better way to spend your evening than admiring the sunset to the relaxing ripple of the River Scheldt? Another unique spot is Conscienceplein. It is quite possibly Antwerp’s most beautiful square and you could be forgiven for thinking you’re in Italy. The bench under the big tree is a great spot to read a book or indulge in a spot of people-watching.
Special opening days
Special closing days
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Jazz Middelheim was organised for the first time in 1969 and is widely considered one of the best jazz festivals in Europe. Every year in August a host of leading jazz musicians gathers here in Antwerp. The idyllic Park Den Brandt is one of the most beautiful décors for a jazz festival.
Tomorrowland is a dance festival in Boom, not far from Antwerp. It’s been voted the world’s best festival on several occasions. In 2018, Tomorrowland will run during two weekends: 20-22 July and 27-29 July.
Open-air theatre with a varied programme, including concerts, family performances and free Friday night concerts.