Antwerp, Belgium – May 2001
Antwerp for Free
Travelling on a tight budget? No worries, there’s lots of things you can do here for free. Enjoy!
To locate the sights mentioned above, take a look at this online city map.
If you need to take a bus or tram to get somewhere, a single ticket costs only 40BF; a ticket for 10 rides is 300BF. Click here for timetables.
Sightseeing in the City Centre
Like in most European cities, you can easily spend an entire day just walking around the historic centre, taking in all the sights and architecture. Be sure not to miss the Grote Markt (central square), Cathedral, Carolus Borromeus-church, or het Steen (castle). But there are many other fine buildings; just follow your nose.
You can get to the left bank (Linkeroever) of the Scheldt River by taking the pedestrian tunnel from Sint-Jansvliet. From this side you can get a really nice view of the city’s landmarks. Faced towards the river, follow it to your left to get to the "beach" of St. Anna. It isn’t much of a beach really – and I wouldn’t recommend getting into the water – but on a sunny day this is a good place to have a picnic and just relax. Nicer, but a bit farther away, (ideal if you have a bicycle) is Lake Galgenweel, which you can reach by following the Scheldt in the other direction.
If you’re into architecture, this is something you cannot miss. On this street and the surrounding streets are lots of beautiful examples of art-nouveau architecture. To get there take tram 8 or 11, or a train to Berchem station. For more info and some pictures, click here.
You have many options if you want to spend some time in a park. Between the centre and the Jewish quarter is the Stadspark (city park). The largest and most pleasant park is the Rivierenhof (rivers garden) in the suburb of Deurne. Close to where I live in the suburb of Borgerhout is the Boelaerpark. This is a nice, small neighbourhood park and thoroughly off the beaten tourist track. Take tram 8 or 11 to get there from the centre. A bit further, near the terminus of the same trams at Eksterlaar, is the Boekenbergpark, which has an open air swimming pool (small entrance fee). In winter when it freezes, you can watch some very brave people who call themselves “polar bears” take a dip here. Another option is the Nachtegalenpark in the suburb of Berchem.
Recently, most of Antwerp museums have become free on Fridays, except for the ones that only have temporary exhibitions, like MUHKA. Middelheim is always free. For more info on Antwerp’s museums and links see last month’s article.
Tour de France
On the 9th of July, the Tour de France will arrive on Frederik van Eedenplein (Linkeroever). The next morning at 10 am it will leave from Suikerrui (between Grote Markt and the Scheldt).