Do you need a holiday and would you like to get away from it all for a while, to tour the world?

Then come to Antwerp, a homestead for many different nationalities and cultures. Depending on what you visit, in Antwerp you could imagine yourself in New York, Japan, China, Africa or Italy.

What to do in Antwerp to travel the world

Wondering what to do in Antwerp, Belgium? Why not travel the world…while staying in the same city. Read more reasons to visit Antwerp!

From Chinatown to Japan

If you look over Astridplein from Central Station, you’ll see the Chinese pagoda gate on the other side, the entrance to the Chinese quarter. A must stop is the Sun Wah supermarket, where you’ll be surprised by the exotic offerings in every aisle. You’ll also find authentic Chinese and other Asian restaurants in this district. Join the Chinese walk and immerse yourself in the Antwerp-Chinese culture. And stop by the cathedral and the statue of Nello and Patrasche too. The story, well-known in Japan, is set in Antwerp and tells of the moving friendship between a boy and his dog.

It’s up to you, New York…

Fans of New York, take note. We don’t claim that Antwerp is a New York on the Scheldt, but still there is much in common between the two cities. There used to even be a literal connection, thanks to the Red Star Line that transported about two million fortune-seekers from Europe to America and Canada between 1873 and 1934. The journey to the new world began for many people in a port warehouse in Antwerp. Visit the Red Star Line Museum, the counterpart of the famous Ellis Island in New York, and discover the stories of millions of people with a dream. 

Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp, Belgium
Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp, Belgium

You can also go shopping like the film stars do on Fifth Avenue in Antwerp. Discover the various shopping districts in Antwerp. Or join a walk in the Jewish quarter that resembles in more ways than one the Jewish neighbourhood in the hip New York neighbourhood of Williamsburg.

Don’t have that much time? A bicycle tour through Jewish Antwerp is also an option. Dine in the evening at one of the meat restaurants on the Slachthuislaan and you might imagine yourself to be in the Meatpacking District. How about a Manhattan or New York Sour as an aperitif?

What to do in Antwerp - bicycle tours
What to do in Antwerp – bicycle tours

African savannah in the city centre of Antwerp

Has it been a while since your last visit to the Zoo? Come and have another look, because the Zoo has been revamped. In the Valley of the Apes, you can walk among the chimpanzees and gorillas. In the Buffalo Savannah, Cape buffalo and birds live together in peace. Your African safari feeling becomes complete when you look out over the new Savannah with giraffes and zebras. Whether you are an animal lover or not, this green oasis in the city centre is a great place to be.

Do you like African cuisine? Then TheFork has four tips for you: Little Ethiopia, Black Sugar, Elsie’s Ethiopian and Eritrean eatery and Cabo Verde.

What to do in Antwerp - visit the zoo
Zoo Antwerpen – Copyright woodmonkey

Experience Europe…in Antwerp

From the Rubens House to the town hall and the numerous restaurants, Antwerp is full of Italian influences. On the Grote Markt, take a look at the relationship between the Brabo fountain and the work of Italian Mannerist sculptors. At Museum De Reede, you will also find numerous European traces. More works by the famous Spanish painter Francisco Goya hang here than at the Prado in Madrid.

Do visit the ‘German Expressionists’ exhibitionists there too. Fans of Berlin shouldn’t miss PAKT. You’ll find locally produced coffee and you’ll enjoy meals made from ingredients grown in PAKT’s roof garden. As if you’re sitting on a lovely terrace in the German capital.

PAKT in Antwerp, Belgium
PAKT in Antwerp, Belgium

In Antwerp, you can enjoy a pocket-size trip around the world. Plan your trip and book a cosy hotel for an unforgettable holiday.


  • Bridget Langer

    South African writer and blogger looking for the awesome in travel, food and delicious wine. Collector of passport stamps.

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