Antwerp, the city of diamonds. I’m not entirely sure if it’s even titled that.. However, Antwerp is possibly best known and most famous for its diamond industry and trade with the city centre housing thousands of diamond traders, cutters and polishers.. there’s a little fun fact to start off this post.
Last month, myself and a friend (Ruth) visited Antwerp as we have a mutual friend (Mollie) living there for the past few months. To be honest, Antwerp was never a city on my radar until Mollie decided to travel there and I personally never heard of many others I know that had travelled there previously. So because of that, I knew very little about this charming, cultural and friendly city, but boy am I glad I got to experience this little gem.
So because of the fact we have a friend living there, we were very lucky that we didn’t have to figure out accommodation and bunked in with her, so for that reason, I have zero recommendations or suggestions on places that you could stay while in Antwerp. However, I have a couple of really great restaurant suggestions, an amazing vintage shop you need to visit and the most stunning location to have some drinks. Overall, we had a pretty chilled visit and didn’t do much ‘touristy’ things as we just really wanted to catch up and meet everyone.. plus, that just gives us a very valid excuse to go back and do all of those things, right?
Where to eat
As you may have guessed, Le Thai is a Thai restaurant with authentic and delicious cuisine. All dishes can be made with Tofu which I was very happy to discover, so I opted for the Tofu Green Curry and I’ve been craving it since. Around 10 of us enjoyed a meal together and every one of us was impressed with this place! Great food and friendly service.. definitely one to check out if you’re looking for some really great Thai food.
Griekse Taverne is a Greek Restaurant situated in a beautifully peaceful courtyard in the middle of the city with an equally beautiful indoor restaurant. We kept commenting on how tucked away and tranquil it felt while still being in the centre of a city. This place serves lots of tapas with main dishes also. Luckily, we had a local with us and she told us that the tapas are super filling so maybe just order one each to start and thankfully that’s what we did as it was a struggle to finish but so delicious. I ordered Zucchini Balls served with Tzatziki and would 100% get them again. So once again, if Greek food is what you’re looking for, this place is so worth the visit.
…and of course, you can’t come to Belgium and not have a waffle! There are, as you can imagine lots of options around the city to grab a waffle with all of the toppings you could want.
Where to drink
Antwerp has a very vibrant nightlife with some bars staying open 24 hours so if you don’t feel like going home, well you don’t have to. While you will find some places with a crowd throughout the week, like most cities, it really comes alive at the weekend. There’s lots of bars and nightclubs dotted throughout the city.. however, somewhere that really stood out to me was Bocadero. This is a beach style bar located right beside the water. It is an old hangar renovated into a very aesthetically pleasing beach themed bar, with beach chairs, sand and wooden decking throughout. We came here during golden hour and it was really, really stunning. It has quite a chilled, cool atmosphere with lots of drinks, cocktails and nibbles available. Unfortunately, as it is a beach bar, it is only open for the summer months (May 10th to September 1st), so if you happen to be in Antwerp during this time frame, you absolutely need to pay a visit, even just for the out on the sunset.
Things to note
- Carry cash with you as many places still don’t accept card in Antwerp and if they do, a lot of them don’t accept Visa so it’s a good idea to have some cash on you.
- You will see electric scooters dotted throughout the city and you can use these for a fee if you download the app ‘Bird – Enjoy the Ride’ and then just leave them at your destination. There’s no particular pick-up and drop-off stations for them, you just pick them up as you see them and leave them wherever (within reason). I was personally too scared to use these as I’d surly hurt myself or worse, someone else but if you’re more confident than me in your scooter driving abilities, they’re a really great way to get around.
- Jay walking isn’t allowed, so make sure to wait for that green man!
Some interesting things you should see
Well there you have it, my little round up of my first time in Antwerp. I do hope to be back so I’ll make sure to take note of any other little gems I find along the way and I hope any of you planning a trip have taken something from this post.
Until next time,