With a population of half a million people, Antwerp is the second-largest city in Belgium and a major European port. The city is mostly known for its involvement in the diamond industry, but also as a top tourist destination.
The location on the River Scheldt combined with prominent Renaissance architecture is what makes the city pleasing to the eye. A long history going back as far as the Middle Ages, a colourful culture, and a vibrant entertainment scene are what make it such a great place to visit.
Quaint cafes on cobblestone streets, world-class restaurants, museums, and outstanding shopping opportunities are just some of the things you will come across in Antwerp.
Several festivals take place in the city, so depending on the time of year that you arrive, you can join in on the celebrations taking place during the Zomer van Antwerpen Summer Festival and Laundry Day Dance Festival.
Below are 11 of the best tours in Antwerp.
1. Embark on a Food Tour of Old Town
Combining must-see landmarks with opportunities to indulge in local cuisine is the ultimate way to experience Antwerp.
This three-hour walking tour starts at Groenplaats Square in the Historic Old Town District. Some of the sites you will see along the way include Antwerp’s oldest alleyway, the 20th-century buildings of the business district, Cathedral of our Lady, Town Hall, and Grote Markt.
You will make six stops during this tour to sample both modern and time-honored Belgian cuisine and typical dishes from some of the other cultures that are prominent in the city.
A well-known chocolatier and a traditional bakery are just some of the stops included, and you’ll sample a wide variety of food, including local produce, Belgian Waffles, fries with homemade sauce, and baked goods.
Listen closely as your guide tells stories about the people, the city, and how some of the dishes came to be.
2. Enjoy an Afternoon of Beer Tastings
Antwerp is widely known for being one of the beer capitals of the world, and visitors to the city have the chance to embark on this guided, 4-hour beer tasting tour.
Along the way, you’ll visit locally-inspired bars, where you will have the chance to sample six Belgian beers and some Geneva Gin. Favorite local snacks, including frites, chocolate, and Belgian cheese, are served with the tastings.
Your knowledgeable guide is an expert when it comes to local beer and food, so by the time the tour is over, you’ll be an expert too.
As an added treat, you’ll also see renowned city landmarks during your wanderings, including Our Lady Cathedral, Market Square, and Steen Castle.
3. A Bicycle Tour of Antwerp
Antwerp is known as a bike-friendly city, and what better way to see and experience it than as the locals do. There’s no need to bring your own bike for this tour because one will be provided.
Over two hours, you’ll ride along city streets through the city center and surrounding neighborhoods, taking in many of the main sites. You’ll depart Steenplein with your knowledgeable local guide, who’ll tell funny and interesting stories of life in the city, both past and present.
The Cathedral, City Hall, Steen Castle, MAS Museum, and a railway station said to be one of the most beautiful in the world are just some of the sites you will see as you make your way along. You’ll also get to enjoy stunning views of Antwerp’s Old Port.
While many of the sites are part of the tour, your guide is flexible. If there’s something else you would like to see, other attractions can be added before returning to where you started.
4. Go Hot Air Ballooning Over Nearby East Flanders
If you’ve ever wanted to see the land from above without the noise and cabin restrictions of an airplane seat, hot air ballooning is the way to go.
Travel 25 minutes to Sint-Niklaas and spend three hours soaring above the countryside and nearby towns and cities, including East Flanders. You have the choice of traveling at high or low altitude, and after your flight, you’ll enjoy a complimentary glass of cava.
5. Experience Antwerp Under the Cover of Darkness
Seeing a city by night is a much different experience from seeing it during the day. Visitors to Antwerp have the chance to experience it after the sun goes down with a guided 90-minute walking tour.
Start your tour at Grote Markt, where you will get a quick history lesson about life in Antwerp during the Middle Ages. Antwerp is known for its exciting and vibrant nightlife.
The city really does come alive at night, and this is something you will witness as you make your way along the darkened streets. Visit popular nightspots you likely never even knew existed and see popular attractions, including the Cathedral of Our Lady, Koolkaai, Falcon Square, and Felix Warehouse.
Take a walk through the city’s Red Light District, learn the interesting history of Saint Paul’s Church, and end the tour on top of the MAS Museum, where you will take in the spectacular views of the city and harbor.
Throughout the tour, your knowledgeable local guide will tell stories about the history and culture of the city. Before departing, you will be given a free voucher good for entry into one of the city’s bars.
6. Explore Antwerp by TukTuk
There are many ways to explore Antwerp, but if you are looking for a unique way to see the sights, this 90-minute tour offers you the opportunity to tour the city on an E-TukTuk.
Your knowledgeable local guide will take you to some of the nicest areas of the city, where you will visit renowned attractions. Visit the beautiful courtyard of the Renaissance Moretus Museum. Admire stunning views of the Scheldt from Steen Castle. Stop at the Museum Vleeshuis and see the impressive entrance hall. Visit The MAS Museum and Port Pavilion.
End the tour at the Grote Markt, where you will see the town hall and a statue of Brabo and Antigoon.
7. Indulge with an Evening of French Wine Tasting
If you are looking for a refined and relaxing experience in Antwerp, this small-group tour takes you to an exquisite wine hall in the center of the city, where you will spend an evening sampling French wines and delicious snacks.
You’ll be joined by a professional sommelier, who will tell you all about French wines and what foods they are best paired with. You’ll also learn about wine etiquette, different types of grapes, the various regions and how they differ from one another, and the processes involved in creating each type of wine.
Throughout the evening, you can sample six different types of wine accompanied by regional delicacies such as goat cheese, Belgian chocolate, and French Cheese.
This entire affair can last anywhere from two hours to four hours, depending on how much you drink and how much you would like to know about French wine.
8. Enjoy a Private Sightseeing Tour of Antwerp
Join your local guide at the entrance of your hotel and make your way through the city streets on foot. For three hours, explore this historic city and learn about its past and present as you admire the old-world charm that includes buildings from the 16th and 17th centuries.
Visit popular attractions including Renaissance City Hall, Grote Markt, Brabo Fountain, Groenplaats Square, The Rubens House, and the popular shopping area at The Meir.
View a Flemish art collection at Our Lady Cathedral and end the journey with a guided tour of the Central Station of Antwerp.
9. Tour Antwerp on a Segway
If you are looking for a fun, exciting, and unique way to explore Antwerp, this two-hour tour provides you with the opportunity to see the city from a Segway. Give your tired feet a break and glide through the city streets and squares on two wheels.
Meet up with your local, experienced guide, and after a short lesson, head out into both familiar and unfamiliar territory.
Ride along the shores of the Scheldt River and see well-known attractions such as Grote Markt and Town Hall. Explore lesser-known areas of the city that you would otherwise not get to see.
10. Enjoy an Exclusive Meal at Hard Rock Cafe Antwerp
A popular place to have a meal in Antwerp is the Hard Rock Café. With this offer, you can skip the long line-ups and enjoy an exclusive experience at any time during opening hours.
Get picked up at your hotel and enjoy your two or three-course meal in either the upper dining room, the lower dining room, or the heated outdoor terrace. Enjoy spectacular views of the city and marvel at all the interesting music memorabilia while you wait for your meal.
11. Uncover Hidden Gems of Antwerp
Antwerp is a city full of secrets and places that are not listed in your typical guidebooks. This private walking tour will take you to some of those places, where you’ll see areas of the city that you would otherwise not even know existed.
Meet your local guide at Grand Market Place and head toward the medieval center of Antwerp. Visit the renowned diamond district and historic Jewish district, where you will see a mix of modern and classic architecture.
Along the way, your guide will provide the back story of how things came to be in these areas of the city, and what daily life is like in modern times. Finish the tour at a trendy café, where you can relax with a hot beverage and some sweet treats.