The most instagrammable squares in Antwerpen
This lively city is bound to capture your heart, be it through dramatic architecture, jaw-dropping people watching – Antwerp has a world-renown fashion institute, which means more hipsters per square meter than your average city – or fantastic opportunities to wine and dine.
Locals jokingly proclaim they live in the city while the rest of the country is “parking”. While this is slightly over embellished, it is definitely worth popping in for a visit.
One could write a book about this city, but let’s start by highlighting the city’s most quintessential squares and courtyards.
Located smack in the middle of town, this square is home to my favourite church in the city, Carolus Borromeus, and the Hendrik Conscience heritage library with its picturesque reading room. The square also has a couple of tea-rooms: bring a book, order a cup of tea and soak up the architecture.
If you are looking for some tranquillity, a splash of greenery and charming architecture this is the spot for you. The beguinage houses a small garden, orchard, and even a pond. You can access this easily through the gate at the back of the square. Back in the day, the beguinage housed devout religious women who decided not to take their vows. The garden dates all the way back to the 16th century.
Location: Rodestraat 39, 2000 Antwerpen
Opening hours: 08.00-18.00
This is an oasis of greenery in the grey and concrete lined street of the city. This particular garden has been around for over 200 years, and used to grow medicinal plants. Today it is home to 2000 herbs, and my favourite, a dazzling array of cacti from all around the world.
Make sure you go over a weekend so you have the opportunity to visit the glasshouse. Aside from the cacti, the glasshouse also has some fragrant exotic flowers on display.
Location: Leopoldstraat 25, 2000 Antwerpen
Opening hours: Summer 08.00 to 20.00 & Winter 08.00 to 17.30
This square is located just off the Antwerpen Berchem, and is in the heart of what can only be deemed the most astounding neighbourhood of the city. Grab a drink at Wattman after spending the afternoon looking up at the eclectic architecture of the surrounding streets (Cogels-Osylei, Transvaalstraat, Velodroomstraat, Generaal van Merlenstraat).
It is the place to go after an afternoon of shopping. The square as such is not overly impressive, however the Bourla city theatre has a nice terrace, a tasty array of small bites to curb the midday cravings and a decent selection of wine. Do not let the run down façade fool you, the inside of this building is well worth nosing about. Think 19th century, high society done right – gold ornaments, lush red seats and chandeliers. This place also does a lovely brunch over the weekends. For more info check here: www.bourlaschouwburg.nu
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