What To Do In Antwerp – Part 1

Posted by Jay in Travel on January 5th, 2018

ANTWERP

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As I’d said in a previous post, I found Antwerp to be an accessible city. It is the compactness of Antwerp that makes it so easy to get around, and allows you to see so much in a short space of time. Here is my guide on all the amazing places you can (and should) visit in this gorgeous city.

Antwerp Centraal

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I arrived in Antwerp via train from Amsterdam. I decided to visit Antwerp instead of staying in Amsterdam, as I’d been to the city many times. Travelling to the city using the train is the best option, as you already have a sightseeing option right there in the station. Antwerp Centraal is well located in the middle of the city, and is worth a look around. It is an absolutely gorgeous station, and is also referred to as the Railroad Cathedral. The interior mixes the old with the new, and it’s such a delight to see. American newspaper ‘Newsweek’ considered it one of the most beautiful stations in the world. And for good reason, I had such a great time exploring it, but it was also accessible, as there was an abundance of lifts, ramps and escalators.

Antwerp Zoo

Antwerp Zoo

The Antwerp Zoo is located right besides the station, located at the Koningen Astridplein exit of the station. It means that even if you are only in Antwerp for a very short time, you still have an opportunity to experience one of the tourist hotspots without worrying about missing your train! Antwerp Zoo is one of the oldest and best known zoos in Europe. What’s even better is that it is an accessible dream; everywhere is accessible via wheelchair. So, guests with special access needs are able to enjoy their visit, without missing anything. For those that cannot walk very far, the have wheelchairs that can be loaned out to guests that require them. Give as much notice as you can, so that you have a chair available to you. Those that are travelling with a disability, you and your companion are entitled to a cheaper ticket. Which means you have more money to spend on a plush animal toy, or just buy more Belgian chocolates!

Meir & Stadsfeestzaal

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A short metro ride away from Antwerp Zoo, and you will find yourself in Meir. This very long and very large shopping street has all the international favourites, as well as some local brands. While the area is cobbled, it is flat and smooth throughout, ensuring that everyone, disabled or otherwise, has equal opportunity to part with some cash in exchange for new goods. As Meir street is so long, there is very little chance that you won’t get pulled into a store.

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 Or better yet, the department store Stadsfeestzaal. The interior is reminiscent of the opulently decorated Galleries Lafayette in Paris, meaning lots of gold everywhere. There are many kiosks in the main atrium of the hall, as well as larger stores to the sides on the ground and top floors. This large space has lifts and escalators to all areas, as well as some restaurants on the top floor, with ramps included! It’s a great shopping centre that provides access to free WiFi.

Rubenshuis

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Once you’re able to pry yourself away, you will not be too far from Rubenshuis. The famous Flemish painter actually lived in this museum for 25 years. The entrance to his house and the studio section has both stairs and a ramp. The downstairs part of his house and the studio are flat throughout, so should not pose an issue for those travelling with a disability. There are two floors available for viewing. However, owing to the fact that this was Rubens home for many years, they have been unable to make the 2nd floor accessible. To get upstairs, you need to be able to climb a rather narrow wooden staircase. I did not make the trip myself as I was able to see quite a lot from the lower floor. Including the gorgeous courtyard, complete with ramps to all areas and benches towards the back.

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Depending on when you visit Rubenshuis, you will have the company of many school children on trips. So it may be wise to schedule a visit very early in the morning or much later during the day. Another point to note is that when you’re going from room to room, there is not that much space, so it would be advisable to go when the museum is less crowded. The museum staff were lovely and allowed me to sit on the chairs in the different rooms to rest my legs. The paintings and sculptures are described in English as well as Dutch. Which was lucky for me as my Dutch is limited to the rude phrases my friends taught me! A bonus point in Antwerp is that there is free wifi around main parts of the city. You can usually find it on your devices under “Antwerp free wifi”. It is an absolute Godsend for travellers and those that get easily lost like me!

As previously mentioned, Antwerp is a small city, but it has a lot on offer! So much on offer that I have decided to split it up into two posts. Otherwise, this just becomes a long love letter to a fabulous Belgian city! So do keep your eyes peeled for part two of the fun things you can do in Antwerp.

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about Jayon UPDATE: As of 25/09/2015 Nigeria has been removed from the WHO's Polio Endemic List! Having been born in Nigeria, I hail from one of three countries where polio is still unfortunately endemic, the other two being Pakistan and Afghanistan. I had contracted the poliovirus before my ...Read More

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