Where is Antwerp and what is it known for?

Antwerp is located in the region of Flanders. It is renowned for being the `world`s leading diamond city` and more than 70% of all diamonds are traded there. The Diamond Market is the hub of the economic section in Belgium. More than 85% of the world`s rough diamonds, 50% of cut diamonds, and 40% of industrial diamonds are traded in the city.

Antwerp is the second largest city of Belgium. It has a beautiful historic city center, and is world-renowned for its fashion industry. The port of Antwerp is the second largest in Europe, and a major economic player in Belgium.

After I arrive at the airport, what are my transportation options?

If you`re travelling to/from the city via Antwerp International Airport, then take the bus 51, 52 or 53 to Antwerp-Berchem railway station (travel time of 10 minutes), which is on the outskirts of the city. From there, you can take a quick train to Antwerp Central Station, or pick one of several trams and buses to your final destination in the city.

If you are arriving at any of these other nearby airports, here are your options:

Brussels Airport: Every hour there is a direct bus to and from this airport which costs about €10 one way. It has two stops in Antwerp: at Hotel Crowne Plaza and in the city center, in front of Central Station. Hourly direct trains link Antwerp central station with Brussels airport, with a travel time of approximately 35 minutes (45 minutes on weekends and public holidays). Single adult tickets are about €12.

Charleroi Airport: Marketed as `Brussels South Charleroi Airport`, is a low-cost hub, served mainly by Ryanair and WizzAir. An express bus (line A) connects it to Charleroi Sud train station, from where there are train connections to anywhere in Belgium. Belgian Railways sell a combined expressbus + train ticket: from Antwerp Central Station the trip takes 2 hours and costs about €20.

Schiphol Airport: There are two options to take the train from Amsterdam Schiphol airport to Antwerp central station. First, the regular intercity Amsterdam - Brussels service runs 16 times daily. You can buy tickets with a credit card at the ticketing machines in the Schiphol arrival hall. Payment with cash is also possible at the counter, or you can book in advance through Belgian Railways (SNCB/NMBS) A single ticket costs about €25. The second option, is the bright red high-speed Thalys train Amsterdam - Paris, which also connects Amsterdam airport with Antwerp central station, in half the time it takes the regular train, but at twice the price. We strongly encourage you to book your seat at least a week beforehand, since buying a ticket on the spot will turn out to be even more expensive. Keep in mind that the regular intercity and the Thalys are run by different companies, but their trains leave from the same platforms. Whatever you do, do not jump on a Thalys train with a regular intercity ticket or vice versa. Thalys and regular train tickets are not interchangeable, and you will be fined for riding without a valid ticket.

Düsseldorf Airport: This is the third largest airport of Germany. There is no easy train connection to Antwerp, but since June 2014, a bus service by Deutsche Bahn railways connects Antwerp directly to Düsseldorf Airport 3 times daily. Tickets can be booked through Deutsche Bahn.

How do I get to Antwerp by train? How do I get from the train station to my hotel?

The easiest way to get to Antwerp is usually by train. The Thalys connects Antwerp to Amsterdam and here are direct and connecting trains from most Belgian cities, as well as from Brussels National Airport. For train timetables, check the website of the NMBS, the National Railroads.

Central Station: Also known as the `Middle station` or `Railroad Cathedral`, was built between 1895 and 1905. Centraal Station, 1 mile east of the Grote Markt, is on the edge of the city center. It`s worthwhile taking a close look around the station (it rates as one of the world`s most beautiful), and view in particular the graceful ornamentation in the main hall. The original first-class waiting room is now the station cafe. There are coin-operated luggage lockers at Centraal Station. Antwerp's other mainline rail station is Berchem, 2 1/2 miles south of the city center.

Buses, taxis and the tram can all be accessed at or near the Central Station.

I will have a car, what is the parking like? What is the driving like?

Driving in Antwerp is not as difficult as many big cities in the world, but crossroads can seem very disorganized for foreigners. There are few free parking spaces, but many spaces where you have to pay (on the street or in underground car parks). The underground car parks are well-signposted. The prices are typically around €2 per hour.

There are many one-way roads that can make it difficult to get to a specific place. Try to park your car as close as possible and go on foot.

Antwerp has introduced a Low Emission Zone, which applies to domestic and foreign registered cars. The latter have to jump through hoops to demonstrate their emission status. The zone seems to be inside but excluding the ring-road, but the official map is hard to understand, so beware.

How do I get around Antwerp using public transportation?

Antwerp`s public transport network is well set-up and accessible for visitors. No location is more than 45 minutes or so away, and the connections/routes are all quite straightforward.

The public transportation company De Lijn operates a dense network of buses, trams, and pre-metro (underground tram) connections in the city and its surroundings. If you plan on taking a bus or tram more than 5 times, then it is worth buying a 10-ride card (Lijnkaart) that costs about €15. They can be bought at fixed locations in town (e.g. most supermarkets and any place that sells newspapers, just ask the cashier). Every time you enter a bus or tram, just put that card in one of the yellow ticket machines. A single ticket bought from the driver in the bus costs more (about €3.00 per ride).

For one fare, you can ride up to an hour within the city boundaries. If you want to travel out of the city boundaries you may have to pay more for extra zones travelled. The central bus station is the Franklin Rooseveltplaats, near the central train station. Nearly all buses leave from there, or from the Antwerp-Central or Antwerp-Berchem train stations. Buses towards the west terminate on the left bank (metro stop Van Eeden).

Due to traffic, buses and trams in Antwerp don`t always travel according to their indicated schedule, especially around rush hour. However, certainly within the city center the frequency is usually high enough to not cause too much of an inconvenience. Public transport company De Lijn has a bad reputation when it comes to informing the public of diversions, cancellations or delays. Expect to be given little to no information when the bus suddenly follows a diversion or a stop is not served - it`s best to ask a local. This is a persistent problem that even the locals find very difficult to deal with.

What is the Antwerp City Card and is it worth purchasing?

With the Antwerp City Card you can visit all museums and three monumental churches over a 48-hour period. It also features a 25% discount on attractions, sightseeing and bicycle rentals. In the free guide you find vouchers that you can use to enjoy benefits on typical Antwerp and Belgian products including chocolate and chips. The price runs around €28.

Is Antwerp a walking city?

Most things to see are near or within the Boulevards, the half-moon of avenues where there were once 16th-century city walls. This old town center, with a diameter of about 1 mile, can be walked, and there is also excellent public transport. The center is densely signposted to aid those discovering it on foot.

How do I get around by taxi?

Taxis are available, but they can be quite expensive. They await customers at specific locations around town (waving your hand will seldom work) such as the Groenplaats or the railway station. You can recognize these places by an orange TAXI sign. The prices are fixed in the taximeter. Between 10pm and 6am an additional fee is added to all fares.

What is the horse tram?

The horse tram leaves from the Grote Markt every hour. It is approximately a 40 minute ( a mile and half ride) through the city.

How do I get around Antwerp by bicyle?

Bicycles can be rented at several places in town like Ligfiets, Windroos, Fietsdokter (verschransingsstraat), or Fietshaven (government initiative, under the central station).

Velo-Antwerpen: Antwerp`s extensive bike-sharing system works very smoothly, with thousands of bikes at more than 100 stations. Memberships can be purchased with a Mastercard or Visa credit (but not debit) card online, at the office or through the app. Use the key code to release a bike, then return it at any other stand within 30 minutes. If the stand where you want to leave the bike is full, enter your code and you`ll receive extra minutes to find another. Stands are plentiful, but occasionally it can be hard to find a bike near the train station, or to drop one on Saturday night around KMSKA. The phone app has an interactive map showing where bikes and spaces are available. When depositing the bicycle, type in your code again to ensure that the return was duly registered as accepted. Late fees start around €0.50 for up to 30 minutes and rise to €150 for 24 hours, or €400 if you fail to report a loss.

The city has many special areas for cyclists, and cycling is easy and comfortable in Antwerp. Most one-way roads can be accessed both ways. Make sure to lock your bike to a fixed object, however, or it will be stolen! Around town there are a few places that are specially prepared for hosting bicycles for free.

Is Antwerp a dangerous city? Are there certain areas I should avoid?

Most parts of Antwerp are safe, but some neighborhoods are to be avoided in the evening, especially the area around De Coninckplein and the neighborhoods of Borgerhout, Seefhoek and the Schipperskwartier. Still, these neighborhoods have a very lively atmosphere and some are definitely worth a visit during the day.

If you plan to use a bike while visiting, it is very important that you lock your bike properly if left outside on the street throughout the city. If you need police assistance, the direct police number is 101. If you need a non-urgent police inquiry or the most nearby police station you can dial 0800/12312 for free. Most police officers in Antwerp area are friendly and professional.

Like most of the rest of Europe, the number for emergencies (ambulance, police and fire) is 112.

Can I pay/tip in US dollas

The currency in Belgium is the Euro. Once you`re in Belgium you will need to use the Euro in most all places. It is recommended to exchange at least some money before you leave home so that you can avoid lines at airport ATMs. There are various ATMs throughout the cities and towns in Belgium.

I don`t speak Dutch. Will many people speak English?

People in Antwerp are often multilingual, or at least bilingual, and multicultural. Still, many of the locals speak the Brabantian-Antwerp dialect of Dutch.

Because the city is situated in Flanders, Antwerp is a quite different city than Belgium. The French culture of the capital is not replicated in Antwerp - although this is not to say that its residents do not speak French. As half of the population speaks at least three foreign languages, you will definitely be able to get by with Dutch or English, and French will also be understood. Most locals speak enough English for tourists` needs, and it is common for hotels, restaurants, and shops that are aimed at tourists to use the English language. We suggest you get a good English-Dutch guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.

Where is the best shopping in Antwerp?

The long shopping street of Meir has mid-range international chains and department stores, while the upmarket stores and boutiques have occupied the area south of the Grote Markt between Steenhouwersvest and Komedieplaats; here you`ll find Diane von Furstenberg, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, and many others. For lace, check out the streets surrounding the cathedral and for diamonds, head for Appelmansstraat and nearby streets around Central Station.

Markets: Antwerp`s street markets are lively and fun as well as great for bargain-hunting. If you`re in town on a Saturday from April till September, check out the Antiques Market, Lijnwaadmarkt, Saturday from Easter to October 10am to 6pm. The outstanding Bird Market is a general market that features live animals, plants, textiles, and food products; it takes place Sunday mornings in Oude Vaartplaats near the City Theater. At the Friday Market, on Wednesday and Friday mornings on Vrijdagmarkt facing the Plantin-Moretus Museum,household goods and secondhand furniture are put on public auction.

What are the best things to shop for in Antwerp?

Antwerp remains the world`s leading market for cut diamonds and second only to London as an outlet for raw and industrial diamonds, despite extreme competition from India, Dubai, and Israel. The statistics are that 84 percent of all the world`s diamonds pass through Antwerp at some point on their journey from rough stone to polished, set gem. There are four diamond-trading houses in Antwerp and together they comprise an industry that generates over 147 million euros for the city each year. The trade, with its diamond cutters and polishers, workshops, brokers, and merchants, is centered on the few heavily guarded streets that form the city`s Diamond Quarter, located steps away from Central Station. It is regulated by the Antwerp World Diamond Center ( and mostly run by members of the city`s Hasidic Jewish community, who found a niche market when they arrived in Antwerp in the 15th century.

What is the weather like? When is the best time to go?

Antwerp is located in the Flanders province of Belgium. Flanders has a moderate historic climate, the months of May and August offer the sunniest days.

As with other travel destinations within Belgium, May through September is the best time to go to Antwerp. Late spring is recommended for its long, northern days and good weather. Summer is also a good time to visit Antwerp, as the residents are on holiday in July and August. September and October are fine times to visit, as tourists have left and the weather is still warm enough to be comfortable.

Flanders weather is known to be rather changeable, so be prepared. Rain is frequent but wait a while and it`ll probably change.

What is the nightlife like in Antwerp?

Antwerp offers a lively nightlife. The main entertainment takes place at Grote Market and Groenplaats, which both contain concentrations of bars, cafes, and theaters. For jazz and punk music, check out High Town (Hoogstraat, Pelgrimstraat, Pieter Potstraat, and vicinity). And the Centraal Station area is perfect if you are looking for discos, nightclubs, and gay bars. The red-light district here, concentrated in Riverside Quarter, is much seedier and less tourist-oriented than the one that`s a big visitor attraction just a few hours drive up the road in Amsterdam, in neighboring Holland.

What is the food like?

Antwerpse handjes are the most well-known products in Antwerp. You can call them Antwerp hands, and they are little biscuits or chocolates in the shape of a hand. Invented by a Jewish baker in 1932.

As with most Flemish towns, you can find many frietkoten in the city. These are places of which the Belgians are really proud of. Here you can buy the famous Belgian fries and other fried food for a reasonable price.

Pitta/Shoarma are shops found throughout the city that are often open through the day and are the last ones to close.

For lunch people often enjoy a smos sandwich, which means a `mess,` the expected outcome when trying to eat it. You can find them in several stores like Panos and Foodmaker.

Check out the Gote Markt for many traditional Belgian spots serving staples like mussles and stoofvlees (Flemish beef and beer stew), but the most dynamic dining scenes are found beyond the medieval center. To the north, the once seedy port area of Eilandje, now home to the MAS and Red Star Line Museum, has seen trendy cafes, restaurants, and bars popping up in formerly derelict harbor-front buildings. A 20-minute walk south of Grote Markt, the Zuid district, known for its plethora of art and antiques galleries, is growing as a hip dining destination.

If you’re looking for a drink you won`t have to go far, there is always a pub or another drinking establishment nearby. Belgium is famous for its great-tasting beers! Not surprising for a city that has the most pubs per capita in the world. In Antwerp pubs do not have a closing hour. Other than the famous Trappist beers, make sure to try the De Koninck (commonly called `Bolleke`), the local beer that is brewed in Antwerp.

What/When are the markets held in Antwerp?

Antwerp has several weekly, monthly, seasonal and annual markets. Vogelenmarkt (`Birds market`)
The Vogelenmarkt is a diverse farmers market where you`ll find flowers, fabrics, antiques, jewelry and more. You can even find small animals, like hamsters, here.
Oudevaartplaats, Theaterplein and surrounding streets
Sunday: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Exotic market
The exotic market is a very multicultural market where you can buy and taste all kinds of Mediterranean specialties. It`s a great place to find Turkish and Moroccan food.
Oudevaartplaats, Theaterplein and surrounding streets
Saturday: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. (except on public holidays)

Friday market
On Fridays, old furniture and small antiques are auctioned at the Friday Market. It`s always a lively event and fun to attend, even if you just go to watch.
Friday: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Antiques market
You can also find antiques and other old/second-hand stuff at the antique market on Saturday and Sunday. This market is aimed more at `casual` buyers than the Friday market.
Saturday: Lijnwaadmarkt, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (except on public holidays)
Sunday: Sint-Jansvliet, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (also on public holidays)

Bio market
At the Sunday bio market, only products with a bio quality label are being sold.
Sunday: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.


Boekenplein (`Books Square`)
Boekenplein is more than just a books market. There are always some musicians playing and there are stands where you can grab a bite or a drink.
De Coninckplein
March – October: every third Sunday of the month, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This market is where (mostly graphic) artists display their work and often there`s also someone drawing portraits of people. You`ll also find acoustic concerts taking place here.
May – September: every last Sunday, from 12 p.m. – 5 pm.

Flea-market where you can also find some vintage and antiques.
Grote Markt
March – October : every last Wednesday of the month, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Rubens Market
At the Rubens market, all merchants are dressed like 17th-century merchants and their stands are decorated in that way as well. At the end of the market day, the best-dressed merchant with the best-decorated stand is chosen. The items being sold are of this era.
Grote Markt and surroundings
August 15: 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Christmas Market
Each year the city of Antwerp organizes a Christmas market with lots of food and drink stands but also stands selling seasonal products, an ice skating rink and even a ferris wheel.

What should I do if I need medical assistance or need to go to the hospital?

In an Emergency dial 112 If you need to contact an on-call doctor in Antwerp, call: +32 (0) 900 10 512.