Located on the banks of the Scheldt River, Antwerp is the largest city and capital of the Antwerp province in the Flanders region. The city's fabulous fashion scene, magnificent museums and holy churches are sure to capture the heart of tourists. Visitors who wish to discover this Belgian city will easily be accessible by bike, car, train, and plane. Most of Antwerp's historic city centre is a pedestrian zone, but the city has laid out an extensive network of motorways, railways, and tram and bus lines for others.
Antwerp International Airport is located in the district of Deurne, about 4km southeast of the city centre, is easily accessible by car, bus, and national and international train connections. It operates a very limited number of international flights.
Belgium's biggest and most important airport is in Brussels, a 40min drive from Antwerp. There are regular trains from Brussels North Station to the airport itself. Airport Express, a direct coach connecting the airport and Antwerpen Centraal station, also connects the city.
Belgium was the first country in Europe to build a railway system, and today the country boasts of a widespread rail network. InterCity (I.C.), Eurostar (EST), Fyra Benelux (F.Y.), InterCity Benelux (I.C. B), InterRegio (I.R.), THALYS (THY), and EuroCity (E.C.) trains to connect key cities in Europe with Antwerp via rail line. These comfortable, high-speed trains stop at Antwerp's Centraal Station, 1.5km from the city centre.
Velo is a bike-sharing system designed for intensive urban use. It is the perfect vehicle to explore Antwerp on a budget and at your convenience. Plus, it's healthy too! Sporadic users and tourists could buy a day ticket or week ticket, but they need to register on the Velo website or at the service station. Velo website also updates the user on empty, complete, or operational stations/spots. Cyclists can rent a Velo bike for a maximum of 4-hours at a stretch.
Taxis in Antwerp are fast and affordable, with each vehicle identified by its red recognition sign. The rate is standardised, but preferably the taxi should be booked beforehand. You can hail a taxi in the street by looking out for orange taxi signs. Antwerp's well-known taxi companies are Antwerp Taxi, DTM Taxi, Metropole Taxi and Taxi Sinjoor.
One-fifth of Antwerp's historic city centre is a pedestrian zone. This small metropolis can be easily explored on foot, but if you need to pick up the pace, jump on a tram or bus operated by Flemish public transport company - De Lijn. In tandem with the night buses, their trams run late in the night, until 3:30 am.
Tipping in Belgium is not obligatory as the amount is included in the service charge. The service staff in the country is well paid and therefore do not expect tips to support their wages. However, if the service has been exceedingly good, an additional tip is gratefully accepted as a token of appreciation. Tipping is done by paying slightly higher than the value of the meal and then telling the staff to keep the change.
Antwerp is a reasonably safe city, but the area around some neighbourhoods like De Coninckplein, Borgerhout, Seefhoek, and the Schipperskwartier are considered unsafe and best avoided at night. Yet, they can be visited during the day to enjoy the lively environment.
Remain alert while travelling by public transport, especially at Antwerp's Central Station and Berchem station where a gang of pickpockets diverts the attention of tourists with the help of children whilst others get away with valuables like cash, laptops, and handbags. Keep an eye on your belongings and avoid hoarding all documents in one place. Keep photocopies of essential travel documents and save important phone numbers if the originals are lost or stolen.
If you are using a bicycle, lock it up safely if left outside on the street, as thefts are common in the city. Call 101 if you require police aid or dial 0800/12312 for a nearby police station in case of regular inquiries.
When to go to Antwerp?
The best time to visit Antwerp is during spring when the weather is pleasant and the sun shines all day long. It doesn't rain like in the summers and falls, nor is it too cold. But remember to carry something warm as early mornings and evenings can still be a little cold.
Antwerp City Card
If you are in Antwerp only for a couple of days, then Antwerp City Card is the best solution to discovering the city's assets over 48 hours. The card lets you explore the myriad attractions, museums, great shopping streets, and Belgian fashion centres at a considerable price discount. Experience the vibrancy of the world's diamond capital, its churches & museums with the card at your disposal. What the card proposes:
|Good Evening||Bonsoir||Goeden avond|
|Bye Bye||Au revoir||tot ziens|
|Thank You||Merci||Dank u wel|
|Please||S'il vous plait||alstublieft|
|Where is||Ou se trouve?||Waar is?|
|How much||Combien coute?||Hoeveel kost?|
|My name is||Je m'appelle||Mijn naam is / Ik heet|
|I am from||Je viens de||Ik ben van|