Where To Stay In Antwerp – Top Picks
Best 5 star hotel
Botanic Sanctuary Antwerp
Best boutique hotel
Best budget hotel
Best for romance
Hotel De Witte Lelie
Best transport links
NH Collection Antwerp Centre
The best area to stay in Antwerp
Antwerp, a captivating city in Belgium, has a rich and storied history that dates back centuries. As one of Europe’s most vital ports, it thrived during the Middle Ages, blossoming into a cultural and economic powerhouse during the Renaissance. Today, Antwerp continues to enchant visitors with its blend of historic charm and modern vibrancy. The city’s majestic architecture, world-class museums, and renowned diamond district draw tourists seeking a taste of its illustrious past. With a thriving culinary scene, lively festivals, and a warm welcoming atmosphere, Antwerp beckons travelers to explore its captivating history while reveling in the dynamic energy of a modern European city.
Antwerp boasts a wide array of accommodation options, catering to various budgets and preferences. For budget-conscious travelers seeking quality stays, the city offers contemporary budget and midrange hotels, as well as friendly and affordable B&Bs.
Most visitors prefer to stay in or near the Historic Center, as it is the heart of the city with numerous attractions, shops, restaurants, and bars. The neighboring Theater District and Sint-Andries (St. Andrew’s) District offer similar experiences, making them convenient choices for accommodation.
For those seeking proximity to the train station, the Central Station District presents several relatively cheap options, along with ample shopping and family-friendly attractions. Hotels in the University District are also conveniently situated within walking distance of the station.
Alternatively, travelers looking for a more local and romantic atmosphere might consider Het Zuid, a trendy neighborhood home to the Royal Museum of Fine Arts and some of the city’s finest restaurants. Zurenborg, known for its stunning Art Nouveau and fin-de-siècle architecture, offers another charming option.
Lastly, for a more modern experience, Eilandje, located north of the old city in the former port district, features contemporary hotels amid a dynamic landscape of offices and apartments surrounding marinas, offering a unique waterfront appeal.
Antwerp Travel Tips
- Explore on Foot. Antwerp’s city center is compact and easily navigable on foot. Walking allows you to discover hidden gems, admire the architecture, and soak in the city’s vibrant atmosphere.
- Public Transportation: Consider using the efficient public transportation system, including trams and buses, to reach attractions and neighborhoods beyond the city center. Buying a day pass or a multi-day ticket can be cost-effective for exploring the city. Due to narrow streets and not much parking, it’s best not to drive in the city center.
- Hire a bike. There are plenty of bike lanes and cycle paths, and you can rent a bike through Velo for only €5 a day.
- Get an Antwerp City Card. If you’re doing a lot of sightseeing, get one of these for free entry to 16 museums and other attractions, as well as free travel on city buses and trams.
- Visit the Historic Center. Most of Antwerp’s attractions, shops, restaurants, and bars are concentrated in the Historic Center. Staying in or near this area can make it convenient to experience the city’s highlights.
- Try the Local Cuisine. Indulge in Belgian specialties such as moules-frites (mussels and fries), stoofvlees (beef stew), and delectable Belgian chocolates. Don’t forget to pair your meals with some famous Belgian beers.
- Visit the Diamond District. Antwerp is renowned as the global diamond capital. Take a stroll through the Diamond District and learn about the city’s fascinating diamond industry.
- Explore Art and Culture. Visit Antwerp’s world-class museums like the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, the MAS (Museum aan de Stroom), and the Rubenshuis, dedicated to the life and works of the renowned artist Peter Paul Rubens.
- Experience the Local Markets. Antwerp hosts various markets throughout the week, offering fresh produce, antiques, and other unique finds. The Saturday market at Theaterplein is especially popular.
- Cash and Cards: While most places accept credit cards, it’s a good idea to carry some cash, especially for small purchases and at smaller establishments.
The best neighbourhoods in Antwerp
Antwerp has several popular neighborhoods that are ideal for tourists. These include the Old Town, Zuid, and Central Station area. Each neighborhood has its own unique charm, and offers different advantages depending on your preferences.
Best for First Time Visitors – Old Town
Staying in Antwerp’s Historic Center is the most convenient choice, as it places you within walking distance of all the major attractions. From the Grote Markt and the cathedral to the Museum Plantin-Moretus, the Vleeshuis, St-Pauluskerk, and the River Scheldt waterfront, you’ll have easy access to the city’s iconic landmarks. The pedestrianized main shopping street, Meir, and Rubenshuis, the former home of the renowned painter Pieter Paul Rubens, are also found in this area.
Exploring other neighborhoods of interest is a breeze, as you can either walk or take short tram rides, including the Central Station. If you prefer a less touristy atmosphere, consider staying in the Sint-Andries (St. Andrew’s District) or Theater District, both relatively close to the main attractions. Even cheaper options like the University or Central Station neighborhoods are just a short stroll away from the old center, offering convenient access to the city’s diverse and captivating neighborhoods.
Best for Trendsetters – Zuid
For a more secluded and romantic stay away from the tourist crowds, consider booking one of the charming B&Bs or boutique hotels in fashionable Het Zuid, located south of the city center. This picturesque neighborhood boasts leafy boulevards and stunning 19th-century mansions, creating a captivating ambiance.
Het Zuid is a haven for food enthusiasts, offering some of the city’s best restaurants to savor delectable cuisine. As an artistic hub, the area is home to several galleries and top art museums like the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, FOMU–Fotomuseum, and Museum of Contemporary Art, making it an ideal retreat for art aficionados and couples seeking a romantic and culturally enriching experience.
Best for Nightlife: Eilandje
Antwerp is a fantastic destination for nightlife enthusiasts, with a plethora of bars scattered throughout the city, ranging from charming historic taverns to stylish modern venues. The local beer, De Koninck, a delightful light ale, is typically served in a distinctive small, stemmed glass known as a “bolleke.” In fact, when ordering, many locals simply ask for a “bolleke,” which has become synonymous with the beer itself as much as the glass (you’ll often see it written this way on menus).
While every nightspot in Antwerp promises a good time, the neighborhood of Eilandje stands out as a top choice for nightlife. With its lively ambiance and diverse options, Eilandje offers the best overall experience for those seeking an unforgettable night out in Antwerp.
Best for Transport – Central Station area
This neighborhood is ideal for those who want to be close to Antwerp’s transportation hub. It’s also within walking distance of many of the city’s top attractions, such as the Diamond District and the Antwerp Zoo.
All the best shopping is also found in this district.
Best for Food: Historic Center and Theater District
Antwerp has blossomed into a foodie destination, offering excellent dining experiences throughout the city. With 11 Michelin-starred restaurants spread across different neighborhoods, including Het Zuid and Eilandje, there’s no shortage of culinary delights to discover. However, even first-time visitors will find an abundance of great food options in the Historic Center and the neighboring Theater District.
Best for Local Vibe: Zurenborg
Zurenborg, though located beyond the city center and away from the usual tourist routes, is one of Antwerp’s most enchanting neighborhoods, boasting a warm and welcoming village-like ambiance. The area is adorned with a collection of stunning belle époque and art nouveau mansions, with the most exquisite examples found along Cogels-Osylei. A must-see detour takes you down Waterloostraat, where you’ll encounter four spectacular corner houses affectionately named “Autumn,” “Winter,” “Summer,” and “Spring” at the intersection with Generaal van Merlenstraat. Anchoring the neighborhood is Dageraadplaats, a central square lined with charming bars, cozy cafés, and delightful restaurants. After sundown, the square transforms into a romantic haven, enhanced by the whimsical allure of fairy lights gracefully suspended above.
Recommended hotels in Antwerp
Best luxury hotels in Antwerp
Best boutique hotels in Antwerp
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Best B&Bs in Antwerp
Antwerp Neighbourhood Guide
Antwerp’s Historic Center is the heart and soul of the city, and it’s where you’ll want to spend most of your time during your visit!
Picture yourself wandering through its charming medieval streets with their cobblestones, surrounded by cozy restaurants and bars that exude a warm and welcoming atmosphere. It’s like stepping back in time.
You’ll find some of Antwerp’s most captivating museums and iconic sights right here, offering a journey through the city’s vibrant past and artistic heritage.
But that’s not all – the shopping scene is fantastic! The main shopping street is right in the heart of the Historic Center, offering a delightful mix of shops, charming boutiques, and traditional stores.
A stroll along the riverbanks is a must-do, offering you stunning views and a sense of serenity amidst the city’s bustling energy.
One of the best things about the Historic Center is how pedestrian-friendly it is. Many streets are car-free, making it a joy to explore on foot. You can leisurely take in the sights, chat with friendly locals, and truly immerse yourself in the heartwarming vibe of Antwerp’s Historic Center.
Things to do in the Historic Center
In the Historic Center of Antwerp, you’ll find an abundance of exciting things to do, immersing yourself in the city’s rich history and cultural treasures. The heart of the city beats at the Grote Markt, a picturesque square surrounded by charming 16th-century houses and the iconic City Hall, offering a perfect starting point for your adventures.
Just a stone’s throw away, the DIVA Diamond Museum awaits, ready to fascinate you with the captivating world of diamonds and their significant role in Antwerp’s history. For a unique underground experience, explore De Ruien on guided tours, delving into the city’s hidden sewers and uncovering its intriguing subterranean history.
When you need a delightful coffee break, head to Handschoenmarkt, a charming square located next to the awe-inspiring Cathedral of Our Lady Antwerp. Step inside the cathedral to marvel at four early paintings by the famous artist Rubens, adding an artistic touch to this stunning Gothic masterpiece.
Make sure to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site, Museum Plantin-Moretus, housed in the old mansion of Christopher Plantin, a printer from the past. This experience offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of printing and publishing during the Renaissance.
As you wander through the Historic Center, you’ll encounter more breathtaking churches, charming squares, and captivating historic sites that tell the story of Antwerp’s rich past.
When you’re ready for some shopping, head south to Meir, Antwerp’s main shopping street. Admire the grand buildings lining the street and don’t miss a visit to Rubenshuis, a museum dedicated to the life and work of the renowned painter Pieter Paul Rubens. And of course, don’t forget to treat yourself to some delicious Belgian chocolate while you’re here.
Where to stay in the Antwerp Historic Center
Sapphire House Antwerp – 5 star luxury hotel with a fitness center, restaurant and terrace
Hotel Julien – 4 star hotel with a roof terrace and spa
Hotel Franq – 4 star boutique hotel with a Michelin star restaurant
Flora – Boutique hotel overlooking the city garden
Gulde Schoen – Luxury studio apartments suite hotel
Citybox Antwerp – Budget hotel with a garden
HotelO Kathedral – 3 star hotel with design furnishings
Central Station District
The Central Station District in Antwerp is a bustling neighborhood that surrounds the city’s main train station, making it an ideal location for travelers seeking convenience and easy access to the train network. Located just a short walk away from the historic center, it offers a seamless transition between the two vibrant areas.
One of the key advantages of staying in the Central Station District is the unparalleled access to the train network. If you plan on taking day trips or exploring other cities in Belgium and beyond, this district provides a strategic base for your adventures. No need to lug around heavy bags or worry about transportation logistics – the train station is right at your doorstep, allowing you to embark on your journeys with ease.
Things to do in Central Station District
The Central Station itself is a remarkable sight to behold, a masterpiece of 19th-century architecture that’s worth exploring. Its grandeur and historic charm make it an iconic landmark in the city.
For shopping enthusiasts, the district is close to the bustling shopping street, allowing you to indulge in retail therapy and discover a variety of shops and boutiques.
The Diamond District, the largest diamond market in the world, is also nearby, offering a fascinating glimpse into the world of precious gemstones and the city’s renowned diamond industry.
Animal lovers will be delighted to find Zoo Antwerpen in this district, a remarkable zoo housing approximately 7,000 animals from all corners of the globe. It’s a fantastic place for a family day out and to connect with nature’s diverse wonders.
For chocolate aficionados, the Central Station District is home to Chocolate Nation, a delightful chocolate museum where you can learn about the history and process of chocolate-making. Best of all, you can enjoy some delicious tastings while you’re there.
Adjacent to the chocolate museum, you’ll find the entrance to Antwerp’s Chinatown. This vibrant neighborhood offers a taste of the city’s multiculturalism, with a wide array of Asian restaurants, shops, and cultural experiences to explore.
Where to stay in Antwerp’s Central Station District
NH Collection Antwerp Centre – 4 star hotel with a garden, fitness center and bar
YAYs Antwerp Opera – Aparthotel that’s been recently renovated
Hotel Indigo – Chain boutique hotel with luxury touches
A-STAY Antwerp – Hotel with terrace
The Theater District in Antwerp is an extension of the old town, located to the southeast. As the name suggests, this neighborhood is brimming with theaters and cultural venues, making it a perfect choice for those looking to enjoy live performances and artistic experiences during their stay.
Staying in the Theater District is especially convenient if you’re keen on attending theatrical shows, concerts, or other performances, as you’ll be in close proximity to the bustling cultural scene. However, fear not if you’re also interested in exploring the city’s historic charms – the Theater District is not far from the enchanting Historic Center, allowing you to easily venture into the heart of Antwerp and discover its fascinating history, museums, and iconic landmarks.
Things to do in the theater district
The Theater District in Antwerp offers a delightful mix of activities and attractions that cater to various interests and preferences. For shopaholics, the district boasts numerous high-end shopping options, with chic boutiques, designer stores, and upscale shopping streets that promise a luxurious retail experience like no other.
Art enthusiasts will find their paradise at the Museum Mayer van den Bergh, a must-visit gallery located in the heart of the Theater District. This captivating museum houses an impressive collection of artworks, including masterpieces from the Flemish Primitives and other renowned artists, providing a rich cultural experience for visitors.
Need a tranquil escape from the bustling city? Look no further than Plantentuin, a hidden botanical garden tucked away within the Theater District. Here, you can leisurely stroll through lush greenery, admire exotic plants, and find serenity in this peaceful oasis.
One of the highlights of the Theater District is its vibrant Saturday market, hosted in the district’s square. Join the locals and fellow visitors as they gather to explore a diverse array of stalls offering fresh produce, local delicacies, arts, crafts, and much more. It’s a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and savor the authentic flavors of Antwerp.
Where to stay in Antwerp’s Theater District
Hotel Les Nuits – Boutique hotel with a lounge and rooftop terrace
Botanic Sanctuary – 5 star hotel with 4 restaurants , fitness centre, bar and garden
Het Zuid is a fashionable and charming neighborhood in Antwerp, adorned with tree-lined boulevards, exceptional restaurants, and stylish bars. The area boasts stunning mansions that add to its elegant allure, making it a must-visit destination even if you don’t choose to stay here.
For travelers seeking to escape the typical tourist spots in the city center, Het Zuid is the perfect alternative. This delightful neighborhood offers a more local and authentic atmosphere, allowing you to immerse yourself in the true essence of Antwerp.
Het Zuid is an excellent choice for couples on a romantic trip. The romantic ambiance, coupled with the neighborhood’s enchanting scenery and excellent dining options, creates an ideal setting for a romantic getaway.
Things to do in Het Zuid
The recently reopened Royal Museum of Fine Arts, following a significant renovation in September 2022, beckons visitors to immerse themselves in a world of artistic brilliance. Here, you’ll encounter an impressive collection of masterpieces from renowned artists, taking you on a captivating journey through the realms of art and history.
For those who have a penchant for contemporary art, the Museum of Contemporary Art offers a refreshing and thought-provoking experience. Embrace the innovative expressions of modern artists as you delve into the dynamic and ever-evolving world of contemporary art.
Moreover, Het Zuid boasts a wealth of art galleries, each a haven for creativity and expression. Stroll through this fashionable neighborhood, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by a diverse range of artistic styles and talents, showcased in these charming galleries.
Where to stay in Antwerp’s Het Zuid
Musa – Modern and sustainable bed and breakfast
B in Antwerp – Boutique hotel
The Soul – Budget hotel with a terrace and cafe
Quartier Le Sud – Modern Aparthotel
Eilandje, a small island located north of the city center, serves as Antwerp’s port area and holds a distinct character that divides opinions among visitors. Unlike the picturesque and historical Antwerp that many love, Eilandje offers a refreshing twist with its focus on contemporary architecture. If you’re intrigued by modern design and urban aesthetics, this area is a haven of architectural gems waiting to be discovered.
For those who have experienced Antwerp before and seek a contrast to the city’s traditional charm, Eilandje presents a perfect choice. Embrace the juxtaposition of old and new as you explore this modern hub amidst the city’s historical backdrop.
Eilandje has evolved into a bustling business hub, featuring numerous modern office and residential high-rises that create a vibrant and dynamic atmosphere. It’s an excellent location for business travelers and those who enjoy the energy of urban city life.
Things to do in Eilandje
In Eilandje, an array of exciting activities and attractions awaits to captivate visitors. One prominent highlight is the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS), a striking tower made of sandstone that stands tall above the water. Inside the MAS, you can explore the fascinating history of Antwerp’s maritime heritage. From its captivating exhibits to the observation deck that offers breathtaking views of the city, the MAS provides a memorable cultural and visual experience.
Another compelling stop is the Red Star Line Museum, which tells the poignant stories of the Red Star Line shipping service. This historic service transported emigrants to the United States until 1934. The museum offers an immersive experience, allowing you to trace the personal journeys and experiences of those who sought new opportunities and dreams in distant lands.
Aside from its rich cultural offerings, Eilandje is known for having some of the best nightlife in the city. As the sun sets, the district comes alive with a plethora of bars, clubs, and entertainment venues, offering an exciting and vibrant scene for night owls and party-goers.
Eilandje is an ideal starting point for boat tours that depart from its waters. Hop on a boat and embark on a scenic tour along the river, offering you the chance to admire the city’s captivating skyline from a unique and picturesque perspective.
Where to stay in Antwerp’s Eilandje
B&B Suites FEEK – Modern B&B with design furniture
Prizeotel – 2 star hotel with a bar and lounge
Lucy in the Sky – Modern B&B with a terrace
Where To Stay In Antwerp FAQ
Choose the Historic Center if you want to be close to major attractions and experience Antwerp’s charm. Opt for Het Zuid for a fashionable vibe and contemporary art scene, or consider Eilandje for modern architecture and waterfront views. The Central Station District is ideal for easy access to transportation, while the Theater District offers a local and authentic experience away from tourist crowds.
We think it’s worth staying in Antwerp! It is a great city, one of Belgium’s biggest and is internationally known for its diamond trade. It’s a great place for a weekend getaway.
Antwerp has beautiful architecture, world-famous art, interesting museums and amazing shopping and dining. It’s a great destination for tourists to visit.
We would suggest spending around 3 days in Antwerp exploring its neighborhoods. This will give you enough time to explore the history, see the sights, go shopping and enjoy the food.
Yes, Antwerp is a very walkable city.
Avoid the areas around the port and docks as they are known crime hotspots.