Another day in Antwerp with the City Card
Antwerp has so much to offer, you can easily spend an entire weekend exploring its cultural spots. The City Card giving you free access in museums is therefore also available in a 48 hours format. In this sequel I take you on a journey through secrets gardens, discovering stories of music, books and Baroque treasures. And since we're talking about spending two days in Antwerp, I have found the perfect place for you to stay!
Stay at Hotel Franq | Kipdorp 10-12, 2000 Antwerp
Mixing old and new, Hotel Franq exemplifies the Antwerp spirit and fits right into this culturally themed trip. Entering the vast lobby, you are instantly mesmerized by the gorgeous neoclassical elements, reminiscent of the building's past, serving as a bank. This historical charm has been completed with a contemporary decoration that's right up my alley, composed of rich colors, beautiful prints and lots of velvet. Add some inspirational coffee books to that equation and you get why I was so strongly drawn to this space. The rooms are modern and foreseen of all the necessary comfort and the hotel boasts a lovely terrace in the back where you can have breakfast in the morning. Oh and did I mention all of this can be found right in the center of Antwerp, in between the Meir and the Cathedral of Our Lady?
Visit of the Butchers' Hall | Vleeshouwersstraat 38, 2000 Antwerp
Behind the Grote Markt lies a small labyrinth of pedestrian, cobbled streets and in its midst stands a monumental building that could be mistaken for a church. It is actually the Butchers' Hall, where people from Antwerp came to buy their meat, and it dates back to 1504. Nowadays it houses a collection of instruments and other musical items, taking its visitors on a tour to discover 600 years of sounds of the city. I liked that you can hear some of the instruments on your smartphone using a dedicated website and I was surprised the exhibition continues underground, so don't miss the stairs!
Visit of Museum Plantin-Moretus | Vrijdagmarkt 22, 2000 Antwerp
Museum Plantin-Moretus promises a dive into the history of printing and I must say I enjoyed its visit more than I could have imagined. There is something fascinating about the exceptional entrepreneur spirit of the founder of this publishing house and printing establishment (called Christophe Plantin) who gained international fame for its qualitative books. Also, the way books used to be printed, using letters in lead put next to one another, before being inked and pressed on paper, gives printing an entirely new meaning (by the way, the museum houses the oldest printing presses in the world which are more than 400 years old). The visit takes you through the various rooms of the beautiful house, as well as the inner garden that's particularly charming. You may enter the museum all day long with your bracelet so you could even come back to chill in this floral decor.
Lunch at The School of Life | Muntstraat 2, 2000 Antwerp
The School of Life is present in some of the most exciting cities in the world and Antwerp is one of them. Their concept revolves around classes on the big themes of life, such as love, friendship and work. And the address on the Munthof also has a café where you can enjoy small things to eat such as salads and toasts, accompanied by some refreshments or coffee. Either you take place outside on the sunbathed terrace, either you sit inside surrounded by their great selection of books and little items. Because one can never have too many potential sources of inspiration!
Visit of the Snijders&Rockox House | Keizerstraat 10-12, 2000 Antwerp
This recently opened museum brings together the houses of two prominent citizens of Antwerp during the Baroque era: Nicolaas Rockox, the city's mayer, and Frans Snijders, a painter who specialized in still lives and animals. During your visit, you get to admire many beautiful paintings, some part of Rockox's personal collection, some painted by Snijders, and some borrowed from other collections to illustrate 17th century life. This museum also features a small inner garden which is a true haven of peace!
Sweet break at Bubble Waffle | Wijngaardbrug 2, 2000 Antwerp
Waffles are a quintessentially Belgian treat, so the people from Bubble Waffle decided to give the Hong Kong egg waffles a Belgian twist. Inspired by this Asian street food, they propose waffles in the distinct shape with toppings such as ice cream, homemade sauces and fruit. You can go for one of their traditional recipes such as Dame Blanche or Speculoos, or you can go wild and create your own. Bon appétit!
This city guide is suited for both Saturdays and Sundays. You can buy your City Card online or at one of the visitor centers (at the Central Station and the Grote Markt 13). For more information you can go to the website of Visit Antwerp. If needed, you can book a spot for your car in Hotel Franq's private parking.