Antwerp is working on coffee and my favorite is Tartware, a cafe tucked away near the Grote Markt in the old town. It has great homemade cakes and vintage Vespa memorabilia. Another favorite is Zolma coffee bar In a homely neighborhood of Merksem – serves the best chocolate cake in Antwerp.
The Little Island neighborhood offers good value all-day dining with views across the harbor to the landmark Anne de Strom Museum. Panic Bar It is an old waterside warehouse, with an artistic feel, while Pizza Atoms It has a unique Belgian pizza, with unusual toppings and local beer.
File is reopened Royal Museum of Fine Arts This fall is huge for the city, bringing Flemish gentlemen back to the people after 11 years of closure for renovation. You’ll find classic art by Rubens and Jan van Eyck alongside more modern works – redesigned exhibitions arranged by themes rather than chronological – as well as a new wing dedicated to Ostend-born artist James Ensor.
This month coincides with the reopening of MoMu, The Fashion Museumwith a new gallery featuring his permanent collection, as well as bimonthly fashion outings on Saturdays.
Antwerp has a classic tradition, but I love the street art in it. If Robbins had been working today, he would have been making art on the streets. We now have over 400 examples of murals and graffiti across the city, and new urban art stars like Zenith and Roa are Antwerp’s answers to Banksy. I take a walk around the northern Merksem district, which is a huge open air art museum for everyone. This is the new creative spirit of Antwerp.
Berchem is only 10 minutes south by train from Central Station but is relatively unexplored. It combines modern architecture with affordable places to eat around Dageraadplaats, such as Zeezicht.
My tours in this part of town always end at the Summer Factory, which has more than 4,000 square meters of murals. The street series, which is built around a creative arts center and café, features works by artists from around the world as part of the annual street art festival. It is renewed every year and each mural now contains a QR code, which links to the artist’s profile. It is rumored that the entire area can be demolished to make room for habitation, so see while you can.
In the city center, I like to walk the Munthof district, one of the original street spaces in the city. It used to be a gritty area, but it has now been renovated. Graffiti as an art of rebellion started here in the ’90s, but the new scene is more about quality.
My favorite green space is Park Sport NordReclaimed railroad land has been converted into a public space between the harbor and the renovated Little Island area, a 15-minute tram ride from downtown.
For beer in the old town, my choice Butters Fitzgy. It’s what we would call a proper “brown café”, a place lost in time with antique furniture and a great selection of beers. Another favorite is Antwerp quotes For small plates and cocktails – I have a thing for Moscow mules.
Any big night out ends at Frituur No 1, the old town’s sturdy snack bar. It’s a meeting place for all walks of life, open until 4am and serving my favorite food: curry and fries.
The A-Stay . Hotel (doubles from €125 for bed and breakfast), near Central Station, features huge murals of exotic animals by local artist Charlotte de Kock, inspired by the nearby Antwerp Zoo.
yes (doubles from €114 per room only), near the De Koninck brewery in Berchem is a small hotel with family rooms and female-only dormitories among other options.
lead tim Street Art Tours in Antwerp on Sunday, at the price of 20 euros; visitantwerpen.be It is a good source for more information