If you need a guide in Antwerp

Having lived in Antwerp for two years now, i can say that still every day i come accross something new, something undiscovered, something that catches my eye and of which i wonder if it has always been there and just went unnoticed. I live in a beautiful city, which has both its historic value and its here-and-now-happening value.

I have enjoyed assembling this blog with pieces i find here and there. I thought maybe it would be nice to make a more lasting and 'real' collection of bars that i can àctually visit, squares where i can see everyday life passing and stores where i can really enter and buy (well.. not always) the beautiful things i see. And so can you if someday you would like to visit what must look like a small town to some but what is an endless town to me!

I'm a little short in words usually due to my inconfidence in writing in English, but i will try and with a little understanding we will manage.

To start i think i might make things easier if i collect by neighborhood. I will list everything that comes in my mind in the 'city center', 'the south', 'the north' and 'eilandje'.

City center

Hotel Julien / Korte Nieuwstraat 24
I have never been to a hotel in Antwerp, so naming great places to stay is a tough one. Sometimes I ride the tramline past Hotel Julien and then I dream away. I really can not resist to try and catch a glimpse of how it should be in there, behind those curtains.

Linnen / Lijnwaadmarkt 9
Another hotel that must be like a little piece of heaven is Linnen. You can't find a place that is more in the heart of the city than this one. You step outside and bump right into the antwerp cathedral. Or wait... no. You step outside and bump right into their splendid cocktailbar (which i have visited and in which i always feel very stilish and distinguished!).

youth hostel pulcinella / Bogaardestraat 2
If you're looking for a simple place to stay, nothing extraordinary you can visit the brand new youth hostel pulcinella, which is located in the city center. +26 pay 22 euro a night.

I live near Conscienceplein. A tiny square at the Carolus Borromeuschurch. The square in itself is worth a little stop. Usually, if the weather allows it, a musician is playing on the bench below the tree. Either violin, guitar, clarinet, or sometimes even a singer.

Jam / Wolstraat 47
There are some nice things around the square that I can recommend as a snack at JAM, where you can sit at a cosy table in the sun, or a delicious hot chocolate in a real chocolatbar. In Wolstraat, just behind the corner there, you have some fine galleries.

Juliette Bogers / Wolstraat 32
Don't forget to jump in (on saturdays) - or else look at the vitrine of Juliette Bogers. She's a fashion designer that added a little shop to her atelier where you can buy her latest work.

Helder / Vrijdagmarkt 13B
Recently i discovered a new design shop called Helder. You will find lots of items that make you smile or catch your eye.

In de Roscam / Vrijdagmarkt 12
Right nextdoors at In de Roscam you can eat soup for cheap. This is where i often spent my saturday-noon during school break.

top: Copyright Bookshop / Nationalestraat 28a
bottom: 't Stad Leest / Steenhouwersvest 16
Around the corner you have two nice bookshops. One is copyright bookshop, for all art and art-related subjects. The other one is 't stad leest, a brand new independant bookshop that looks promising.

If it really cold and you want to go to a fine Belgian film (professional deformation, I work for a cinema theatre), the smallest and most charming place to go is 'Cartoons'. Very small and a little alternative and it might not be there for a long time.

© Greetje Van Buggenhout
La Chascona at the beginning of Kloosterstraat, where you can have coffee and special juices. I don't drink coffee, but I saw a lady with such a beautiful creamflower in her coffee and the cutest cups ever, and that always makes me consider drinking coffee again, just for the experience. The juices are very nice too!

De Zwarte Panter / Hoogstraat 70
 From thursday till sunday you can walk through the buildings of gallery De Zwarte Panter. They have a nice exposition once in a while.

Het Gebaar / Leopoldstraat 24
 Antwerp has a very small botanical garden. A nice place to just sit for a quiet moment. But in this garden you can also discover Het Gebaar, a lunch restaurant famous for its desserts.

During the summer we have a theatre festival called the 'Summer of Antwerp'. Then there are many places like summer bars hidden in the city, in old warehouses or in small forests. You can also go to the circus or theater throughout the summer, but you should really be super fast for tickets because they are completely sold out in a few hours. 

Bakkerij Goossens / Korte Gasthuisstraat 31
 Goossens bakery is perhaps the most famous, but also one of the oldest and some say even one of the best bakeries in Antwerp. The secret? This bakery is maintaining its traditions and bakes bread in the traditional way! Do make some time for your visit because the bakery is almost always crowded and people stand in line outside.


The south

Kloosterstraat is a street that connects the historic city with the south part of the city. The street is crowded with antique and design shops and is one of the only shopping streets that is opened on a sunday. In the weekend there's also a small antique market at the beginning of Kloosterstraat.

Ra / Kloosterstraat 13
You must definitely pay a visit to Ra in Kloosterstraat. There's special collections of graduate Antwerp fashion designers in this concept store. There is also a nice cafe in front.

Pen en Papier / Kloosterstraat 58
The shop 'Pen en papier' (pen and paper), which also is located in Kloosterstraat, sells special paper, envelopes and writing materials.

Dansing Chocola / Kloosterstraat 159
A bit further down the road you pass by Dansing Chocola. Last summer we had dinner on their terras, but it must be cosy to sit inside too.


The North


If it's a sunny day you can take a look at Park Spoor Noord. During summer, they have a very big summer bar with hammocks and chairs and flowers and fountains. There's a choice of several small (and quite cheap) meals and loads of beverages. A small paradise.

© picture by Sofie / Caravan / Damplein 17

Close to the park, on Damplein in a tavern named caravan you can even order a picknick basket to take to the park. Or you can sit on their lovely terrace as well.

Het eilandje

Broer Bretel / Nassaustraat 7
When you're visiting this neighborhood you can't go without noticing the new MAS museum. Around the museum lots of little bars are being opened. I really like coffee bar Broer Bretel.

Waanzee / St. Alegondiskaai52

Also Waanzee is a cosy place for coffee and cake. Their display with cakes looks really great.