5 Top Things To Do In Antwerp In A Day

Updated May 6, 2023
About the Author: Denise Cruz has lived in 4 countries and visited 35+ others. After her second sabbatical, she began sharing travel advice at Wander Her Way.

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What to Do in Antwerp in a Day Trip

A while back, I decided to take a day trip to from Paris to Antwerp just for fun. I know, not the most common day trip from Paris. But I had never been to Belgium, and I found super-cheap bus tickets and decided to just go for it!

I ended up loving Antwerp! It was a very pretty, interesting, and walkable city.

Are you wondering what to do in Antwerp on your own visit? I’ll walk you through the exact places I went to on my visit to Antwerp.

Where to Stay in Antwerp

While Antwerp is small enough that you can see most things in a day like I did, the city also makes a great weekend getaway.

If you’re looking for the perfect place to stay in Antwerp, here are a few incredible options right in the city center:

  • Cabosse Suites & Spa ($$$) — gorgeous boutique hotel in a renovated 1864 mansion is perfect for a more luxurious experience.
  • Hotel De Witte Lelie ($$) — super cute and thoughtfully decorated boutique hotel located just steps away from the Grote Markt square in the old town.
  • Boetik Hotel Rubenshof ($) — old house converted into a stunning budget-friendly hotel in a great location.

Things to do in Antwerp in a Day

Here’s everything that I did on my day trip to Antwerp:

📌 One of my favorite way to visit any city, specially one that is as walkable as Antwerp is to take a walking tour like this 2-hour tour of Antwerp’s old town highlights.

1. Stop for a Belgian waffle

How could you go to Belgium without ordering a Belgian waffle? If you go to a restaurant, don’t order a “Belgian waffle” though… they are actually called Liège waffles!

I stopped for a waffle in a cute and cozy tearoom called Désiré De Lille first thing when I arrived.

what to do in antwerp
Obligatory waffle stop in Belgium

2. Grote Markt

See the spectacular Flemish architecture of Antwerp’s historic main square, the Grote Markt. During the Christmas season, Grote Markt is home to a Christmas market that looks absolutely beautiful.

However, when I was there, not much was going on. But it was still a very nice spot to take pictures.

what to do in antwerp
Grote Markt in Antwerp

3. Go back in time in a secret alley

Just a couple minutes away from Grote Markt and in the shadow of the cathedral is a secret alley dating back to medieval times.

The cobblestone Vlaeykensgang alley winds through some of the oldest houses in the city and is the last street of its kind left in Antwerp. Now, this magical alley is home to art galleries and a chic French restaurant.

There are multiple entrances to the alley and they are all easy to miss, but you the best place to enter is at 16 Oude Koornmarkt. You will feel like you’ve gone back in time!

4. Do some shopping

Antwerp is a big shopping city, known for its diamonds and high fashion. The city is home to the Antwerp Six, a group of designers including Ann Demeulemeester and Dries van Noten who graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp.

For some of the best shopping in the city, you can stroll along the Meir, a big pedestrian-only shopping street in Antwerp. Or check out the flagship stores of the Antwerp Six like the one below.

things to do in antwerp in a day

5. Visit the Rubenshuis

The last place I stopped on my Antwerp day trip was the Rubenshuis. This former home and studio of Peter Paul Rubens is now a lovely art museum showcasing some of Rubens best work, along with the work of other famous Flemish painters.

May 2023 Update: The Reubenshuis museum is currently closed for renovations. I will do my best to keep this blog updated but make sure you check before you head over there.

what to do in antwerp

Is 1 day enough in Antwerp?

If you’re short on time, you can see most of Antwerps sights and visit some of the main attractions. But I would recommend at least two full days to Antwerp to relax and really enjoy your visit.

More Things to do in Antwerp in a Day

  • Admire the Cathedral of Our Lady
  • Stroll through Groenplaats square
  • Visit Het Steen medieval fortress
  • Eat Belgium frites (not French fries)
  • See 11 Things to Do in Antwerp, Belgium

Best Antwerp Tours

Where to next?

Even if you only have one day, Antwerp still has a lot for you to see and do. It also helps the the city is so walkable. So you can indulge in a Belgium chocolate waffle and walk off those calories while enjoying the sights!

Now you great things to do in Antwerp in a day, enjoy your day trip!

📌 Want more Antwerp? Check out more fun things to do in Antwerp.

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What to Do in Antwerp

Denise, travel blogger at Wander Her Way

About Denise Cruz

Denise is a marketing executive who escaped corporate to travel the world… twice. A Brazilian native living in the U.S., she’s lived in 4 countries and visited 35+ others. After side-hustling her way to financial independence, she curates solo destination guides, slow travel tips, and travel blogging advice on Wander Her Way. When she’s not on the road, you can find her in Miami with her dog Finnegan.