Antwerp has a great range of accommodation to choose from and option vary from quirky guesthouses to luxury hotels. Accommodation in Antwerp is much cheaper than it is in Brussels and many of the hotels offer excellent weekend rates, making Antwerp a great destination for a quick city break. Much of the accommodation in Antwerp is situated is the charming Old District, many of which offer great views of the Cathedral of Our Lady. The City Park area is another poplar place to stay and there is a range of accommodation options here.
In addition to international chain hotels, Antwerp has a handful of intimate boutique hotels which are perfect for those looking for somewhere different to stay. However, it should be noted that boutique hotels here can book up pretty quickly. So be sure to book your room early if you have heart set on a particular boutique!
If you find yourself in Antwerp without reserving any accommodation in advance, there is a tourist office in the city that has a same-day hotel reservation service. While the reservation service is free, you will need to pay part of your accommodation bill upfront as a deposit.
Things to do in Antwerp
If you are arriving here with your family or children, it is a wise choice to visit the world-renowned Antwerp Zoo. Built in 1843, it is currently the oldest zoo in the country and one of the oldest in the entire world. So, much of the Gilded Age architecture can be seen within its confines. 7,000 animals and 950 different species are housed here. Some rarer examples include king penguins, Asian elephants and Siberian tigers. Alongside these sights, you will note many original buildings such as an Egyptian temple and a tropical greenhouse dating from 1897 known as “Winter Garden”.
Should you encounter a rainy day or if you are simply looking to breathe in a bit of culture, be sure to visit the Royal Museum of Fine Arts. This massive and imposing building was created in 1884 and opened its doors in 1890. There are several famous national and international artists which are featured here. Some well-known names include Jan van Eyck, Marten de Vos, Anthony van Dyck and Auguste Rodin. Keep in mind that these collections will rotate on a regular basis. After your visit, you can get a breath of fresh air by strolling around the exterior gardens found around the building.
Summer and jazz have always enjoyed a welcome presence in Antwerp. This can be seen in an annual jazz festival known as Jazz Middleheim. It is held in a large outdoor park overlooking the city centre. Such famous names as Wayne Shorter, Archie Shepp and Dave Holland but are a few of the artists to have played here in the past. As it is held outdoors, obtaining tickets is normally not a problem. It is still a good idea to book ahead to enjoy the most amenable rates.