Looking for that holiday feeling but you don’t have enough time at hand? Escape to Antwerp for a great 24-hour mini-holiday. Just a two-hour train trip from Amsterdam will take you to the heart of the city. But what are Antwerp’s top picks? Read about it in the blog below and get prepared for your escape…
Restaurant of famous Dutch chef Sergio Herman, received its second Michelin star in December 2015: a must-visit when going to Antwerp. The Jane is located in a beautiful former chapel and has been designed by Piet Boon.
The Jane claims; “Food is our religion”, therefore the kitchen in The Jane is located on the former altar. The restaurant is divided in two. One part is the main restaurant The Jane, located on the ground floor, where you can see the chefs in the open kitchen. Two tasting menus are served here. If you are looking for a more accessible, less expensive but really cool experience, you can go to the Upper Room Bar. Enjoy your meal while sitting around the bar counter and listen to great music from the DJ booth in the corner. The Upper Room Bar’s tasting menu is a selection of nine dishes, all are beautifully presented in a cool and different way than you would normally expect. Each dish is prepared à la minute by the chefs and if you go for the wine pairing, you will be surprised by the different wines, and of course other drinks, that are served together with the dishes. Finish your night with a cocktail from the great bar tenders.
Website: The Jane
The Dirty Rabbit
Up for another drink? Cocktail bar The Dirty Rabbit serves delicious cocktails, from classics to their own invented mixtures. The bar has won several awards (Best Bar Concept and Best Bartender) and has a cool, underground design. On Sunday they serve a hangover breakfast, of course combined with cocktails!
Website: The Dirty Rabbit
Hilton Antwerp Old Town
If you are in the city for only 24-hours, you need to make the most out of your time and see as much as you can. The Hilton hotel in Antwerp is located perfectly in the heart of the city, at Groenplaats, overlooking the beautiful Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe cathedral. The rooms are very comfortable, big and classy. Tip: if you have a little bit more to spend, make sure you book a suite. This will give you access to the Executive Lounge of the hotel that also features a rooftop terrace overlooking the city. Especially when travelling in the summer, this is a great place to go for pre-dinner drinks as they have an open bar with a variety of canapés for you available on the terrace.
Website: Hilton Antwerp Old Town
So, what are you doing the next day for lunch? Go to Fiskebar: the best fish and seafood restaurant of Antwerp located in the South district on a beautiful square. If the weather allows for it, you can sit outside on the terrace, if not, the restaurant is beautiful as well and has a really cosy atmosphere. Enjoy a plateau Fruit de Mer, go for the catch-of-the-day or take the famous Fiskebar bouillabaisse.
Maurice Coffee & Knits
For a good cup of coffee you should go to Maurice Coffee & Knits, located near Meir (above the KBC Bank). A great place where coffee meets knitwear, literally. Look for the hidden message in you coffee mug!
Website: Maurice Coffee & Knits
Plein Publiek is thé pop-up in Antwerp for 2016. Located between deserted buildings in the South district of Antwerp, you’ll find a 300 meter green conservatory, built in the courtyard. This space is now used by artists and creative entrepreneurs, and there is a cosy café called Congé. You can go here everyday for food, cocktails, performances, dancing, music or exhibitions. During the weekend, Congé becomes a club and the place to be for all locals.
Website: Plein Publiek
In Antwerp the best way to move around is by using the Velo. This is a special bike service in Antwerp that allows you to rent a bike from station to station. Take a day pass and you will move around in Antwerp very easily, fast and cheap.
The best period to travel to Antwerp is of course when it is sunny – all people are out on the 1,000 terraces and the city simply just looks more beautiful! So plan you escape somewhere from May to September, to catch some sun rays.
Look at the Antwerp agenda before your departure, as you might be able to visit one of the many cool events or festivals going on in the city.
Planning on visiting one of the above (or other) well known restaurants? Make sure to make your reservation upfront. For The Jane, you will need to reserve at least 3 months in advance.
Psst. Do(n’t) tell!
This travel guide is written by Nina van het Spijker
With a family that are typically globetrotters, and her mom being a tour leader in Indonesia, she was raised with the travelling virus. Now a days she loves to travel as much as she can to explore new places and cultures. When visiting a new destination, she always looks for the best places to eat and drink. With her love for food, she is also one of the first who is testing new restaurants, bars and hotspots in Amsterdam who have just opened their doors.
Sorry for any mistakes!
As Dutchies we are doing our best to write these articles with little to no mistakes, but as English isn’t our native language, we are very sure to have failed in doing so. But, we do have to say that we love writing in English as we hope to reach more people and inspire them with our travel stories. So we hope we have managed to do that with you and you will excuse us for any mistakes made.
Photo credits cover picture: Antii Tassberg.