You will experience the real Antwerp through its many pleasant squares. From traditional markets and authentic terraces, to lively events, the Antwerp squares are the heart of Antwerp life.
The easiest way to discover the soul of Antwerp and its inhabitants is to visit one of the many squares in Antwerp. Whether you are looking for an exotic market, antiques, a nice café, or want to participate in a large event: you will find it all on the Antwerp squares.
The Grote Markt is perhaps the most famous square in Antwerp. Enjoy the view of architectural pearls such as the Guild Houses or the Town Hall. Or take a picture with the Antonius Brabo fountain, named after the Roman soldier to whom, as legend has it, Antwerp owes its name.
Various events also take place here all year round. From the Rubens markets in summer, via the Bollekesfeest, to the magical Winter in Antwerp. The Grote Markt has always been the heart of the city, and you notice that.
Of course, you can also just sit down on one of the many terraces around this square. Lovely food and drinks guaranteed.
If you visit Antwerp, you cannot miss the Groenplaats. Numerous public transport routes cross here; it is the gateway to the Antwerp fashion district, the historic centre, and the shopping district.
This is why locals also use the Groenplaats as a meeting point. You can easily get anywhere in the city from here, and this open square makes it easy to find your companions.
Or you can just sit on a bench and enjoy the sun, or wave to the Rubens statue. Do not forget to take a photograph of the Cathedral, of which the view from the Groenplaats is ideal.
Operaplein is Antwerp’s newest square. More accurately, it is the most recently renovated square. All vehicular traffic has been hidden underground so you can easily enter the city centre from the Central Station. Please note: trams, cyclists and pedestrians still share the square.
By the way, don’t pass over the square too quickly. Operaplein offers you a great view of the beautiful architecture of the Meir, Central Station and – of course – the Antwerp Opera.
Named after the Belgian author, Hendrik Conscience (who, it is said, “taught his people to read”), this square is often described as being the most southern-feeling part of Antwerp. A touch of Barcelona or Lisbon in Antwerp.
The beautiful Baroque Carrolus Borromeus Church and the Heritage Library are well worth a visit, both for their architecture from the outside as well as the inside. Be sure to look at the ground to find figures formed by the cobblestones. Tip: keep your eyes open for fish, hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades.
Sit on a bench and enjoy the diverse Antwerp public who visit this square. Or go for an authentic café experience in one of the bars on and around the square.
The name says it all: this square is the beating heart of the Antwerp theatre district. Catch a musical or a large concert in the Stadsschouwburg, or take your children to a smaller theatre production in Het Paleis. The famous Arenberg Theatre and the Echt Antwaarps Theater are also nearby.
This square is also very popular with skaters, who make way for Antwerp’s two most popular markets at the weekend: the Vogelenmarkt and the Exotische markt. Both are visited by countless locals every week.
The Vogelenmarkt is perhaps the best known and one of the oldest markets in Antwerp. It runs every Sunday from 8.00 am to 1.00 pm. At the Vogelenmarkt, you will find flowers, antiques, textiles, jewellery, ornamental birds, hamsters and rabbits.
The Exotische markt runs here every Saturday from 8.00 am to 4.00 pm. After which, it is time for Antwerp citizens to enjoy and socialise at the many food stands. From oysters and champagne to Moroccan pancakes, you can indulge yourself here. In addition, local products and southern specialities are sold in this market. So you can enjoy them later at home.
The name of the square says it all: a market is held here every Friday. One of the most authentic markets in Antwerp by the way. Old furniture is auctioned here every Friday. Would you like to freshen up your interior with a vintage or antique bargain? Then you've come to the right place because you’ll find them here.
In addition to the cosy cafés on the Vrijdagmarkt, you can also visit the Plantin-Moretus Museum. This museum is a UNESCO heritage site and former home of Christophe Plantin, the man who professionalised book publishing from Antwerp. Admire some of the oldest printing presses in the world, lead letters, and immerse yourself in the history of printing and graphic design.
At the heart of the historic centre, at the foot of the Cathedral, you will find the Handschoenmarkt. Discover the story of Nello and Patrache, visit the Cathedral of Our Lady, or enjoy the many restaurants and bars in the area.
We’ve listed some of the most popular squares here, but don’t hesitate to explore on your own. Antwerp also has numerous smaller squares that offer a wonderful place to stay.
There is the Sint-Andriesplaats in the heart of the popular Sint-Andries district, with its cosy terraces and popular playground. Or the Mechelseplein, where locals gather at the café at night or to dance in the legendary De Studio.
Be sure to also check out the Regine Beerplein, in the Groen Kwartier. This square has been transformed into a creative hub with a cosy coffee bar, original restaurants and roof gardens. And if you want to let yourself go completely, starred restaurant, The Jane, is just around the corner.
And the Leopold de Waelplaats is located in the South of Antwerp. Admire the beautiful architecture of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, allow yourself to be pampered in some of Antwerp’s best restaurants, or soak up the night-time atmosphere in popular bars such as Hopper, Chatleroi or wine bar Patine.
In short: every neighbourhood in Antwerp has squares that, with their authentic atmosphere, can tempt you to enjoy exciting days and endless nights.
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There are numerous unique squares in the city, stop there and enjoy the surroundings and experience the life of the people of Antwerp.