At the corner of our street you can catch the hop on/hop off sightseeing bus tour of Antwerp.
Many of our guests find they are a fantastic way to explore and experience the history and culture of Antwerp. The bus tour passes all of the main places to see in Antwerp and I always recommend it to first time visitors as a convenient and informative way to get your bearings. Tickets are valid for 24 hours so I’d suggest starting off by taking the full tour and then use the bus to travel between each the sights you want to see.
The route takes you through all of Antwerp’s most interesting areas and stops are located at:
- Central Train Station
- The Park (end of our Street)
- Royal Museum of Fine Arts
The tour operates daily from 10:30 until 16:30 (finishing at 15:30 1st November – 31st March), officially it starts just outside Central Station but you’re welcome to join at any point, just buy your ticket from the driver (€11). Commentary is available in 8 languages including: Dutch, Spanish, French and English. The full tour typically takes just over an hour to complete. On the lower deck of the bus there is a designated space for wheelchairs and buggies/prams can be wheeled on (subject to space).
On a fine day there is no better way to view our city than from an open-top bus!
We are only a few weeks from the official opening of the new Museum Plantin-Moretus honouring pioneering printers Christoffel Plantijn and Jan Moretus and celebrating Antwerps dynamic cultural heritage.
The complex includes the printer former residence, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and striking new development including a 60 metre tower.
The company was originally founded in the 16th by Plantijn and was passed onto his son in law Jan Moretus. It remained in the Moretus family until 1876 when Edward Moretus sold it to the city of Antwerp. The museum contains incredible collections to typographical materials including and an amazing library.
Highlights of the collection include
- The two oldest surviving printing presses in the world
- Biblia Polyglotta – a Bible in 5 languages dating to late 16th century
- Highly significant works from the Enlightenment including works by humanist Justus Lipsius, mathematician Simon Stevin and biologist Andreas Vesalius
- 36 line Gutenberg Bible
- Paintings and drawings by Peter Paul Rubens
The original house is one of the most beautiful in Antwerp with richly decorated interiors and impressive library. Outside the courtyards and gardens create an idyllic space to contemplate and escape from modern life for a moment. Juxtaposed is the modern tower which stands as a beacon to the diversity and culture the port has bought to Antwerp.
The Museum Plantin-Moretus is situated in the Eilandje district, about 1.8km walk from the Astoria Hotel and near other Antwerp attractions including Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (Cathedral of Our Lady) and MoMu. The museum officially opens on 17th May and we look forward to bringing you a full report!
On Sunday 17th April, Antwerp will welcome thousands of runners to the city for the annual 10 Miles & Marathon. This will be the 26th marathon Antwerp has held and the organisers expect it to be the biggest and best yet. The marathon starts at Thonetlaan on the opposite side of the river and snakes its way around the city passing through the Kennedy and Waasland Tunnels. To keep the runners and supporters entertained there are music and street performers and stalls for snacks and drinks. Cheer on the weary runners at the finish line in Grote Markt (only 1.8km walk from the Astoria Antwerp).
The day also consists of a number of other races including the DVV Antwerp 10 Miles, Ladies Run and Childrens 1km – a wonderful range of challenges for varying fitness levels.
Unfortunately none of the hotel team are able to run this year (in training for next year!) but many participants have already booked to stay with us to take advantage of our central Antwerp hotel location and healthy breakfast. We wish all of you the best of luck and will be waving you along the way!
From now on you have the possibility to download storytelling walks from the StoryNations site. Enjoy the stories at home on your computer or transfer them to your mobile and experience the story of the city. Choose from the following routes: beer, diamonds, or the highlight attractions of Antwerp in English, Dutch or French. Be quick because the first 25,000 visitors can download their walks for free!
It is with some sadness that today we wished our good friend and colleague well as she leaves us to take up a new and exciting challenge in her life. Marlies has been part of our reception team for such a long time and we have all thoroughly enjoyed working with her over the years. We are very excited for her as she has taken a position in our group’s biggest hotel in Antwerp, the luxurious Ramada Plaza Hotel Antwerp!
We will all miss Marlies a lot and her funny Holland accent will remain in our daily laughing sessions…
A wonderful oasis of calm in vibrant Antwerp is Hendrik Conscience Square. A haven where the city embraces and protects you from the hubbub of the metropolis. The beautiful Hendrik Conscience Square features some of the best examples of baroque architecture anywhere in Europe. On one side of the square you can’t help but be impressed by the incredible detail of the triumphant baroque façade of St Carolus Borromeus Church which blends harmoniously with the dignified classical face of the Municipal Library. The library (Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience in Dutch) is guarded by the nineteenth century Flemish writer who gave the square his name.
St. Carolus Borromeus Church was built by the Jesuits between 1615 and 1621 and is based on their first church, Il Gesu in Rome. The opulent decoration has given the church the nickname “the marble temple”. Although the lightning strike nearly 300 years ago caused extensive damage, and destroyed many works by Rubens, the apse of the main alter and Mary chapel survived which provide you an idea of the original splendour. The church also features a small but very interesting lace museum.
Hendrick Conscience Square is just a 15 minute walk from the Astoria Hotel Antwerp.
Recently, we at the Astoria Hotel Antwerp have had many guests from around the world coming to stay with us who ask for advice on where to watch the summer sporting events.
There are a number of great pubs in Antwerp which show all the tournaments but our particular favourite is in the Diamond District and only 15 – 20 minutes walk from the hotel, Kelly’s Irish Pub. With 12 plasma TVs and a huge projector screen this is the ultimate sports bar in Antwerp. Kelly’s show all the top sporting events including Premier League matches, the SPL, golf, tennis, Six-Nations rugby and Formula 1. Being an Irish bar they also have the best brews from around Europe with 9 draught beers (including Guinness). For the best seats in the house we recommend getting along early (you can also enjoy happy hour weekdays 4 till 6pm).
During summer months enjoy the sun, the music, the sangria and the delicious flamkuchen on the terrace overlooking the Koning Albertpark at Cargo Zomerbar. The alfresco bar regularly hosts live music acts including upcoming talent and established artists (event listings). During major sporting events they erect a giant screen – we would have loved to see our neighbours win the world cup last week but was not to be but we still had a great time. The park is about 4km away but well served by public transport including nearby Tram Route 3.
One of the cities oldest and most beautiful bars is the Cafe Den Engel (the Angels). Though changed and improved over the centuries, the site dates back to the 15th century when it was the property of a Bruges merchant. Nowadays the friendly staff, led by owner Linda, and local regulars (some of whom have been visiting for years) welcome visitors in a wonderfully convivial atmosphere. The motto of the bar is “until soon” which nicely sums up the laid back style.
De Pelgrom is one of the most historic drinking and eating places in Antwerp. Located in the old town, about 2km from the hotel, the bar has resisted the urge to become a tourist trap and continues to serve excellent food and drink. We love the medieval features which add so much character to the venue.
Belgium is famous for the Jenvers liqueur and at De Vagant you can sample over 200 flavoured varieties! I’m particularly fond of the fruit flavours of this potent drink (but not on a work night!). You might need something to eat and the cafe here serves very good traditional Flemish food.
We hope you enjoyed our Antwerp guide to watching sport and some of the best alternative pubs to sample.
We like to keep our ear close to the ground so we know what’s coming up in Antwerp and bring you the best insights on the sights to see and events to visit in our fantastic city.
There is a great schedule planned this month for the Royal Ballet of Flanders. Of all the classical composers, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Swan Late is arguably the most famous and certainly remains one of the most cherished in the history of the genre. The Royal Ballet of Flanders version of Swan Lake is produced by Haydée (who worked with the company on their 2006 production of Sleeping Beauty).
A more modern great is Atrifact, already 25 years old but it continues to challenge the way audiences observe dance. The Royal Ballet of Flanders are staging productions in Antwerp before before touring to Ghent and then internationally.
A city of fashion, Antwerp has been at the centre of European design for centuries. The latest exhibition at the Momu Antwerp is “BLACK. Masters of Black in Fashion & Costume.” The meaning and symbolic references of the colour have been evolving and the exhibition illustrates the social changes reflected through paintings historic costumes and contemporary couture.
When visiting Antwerp a trip to Stadsschouwburg is a must. Located on Theaterplein Square the iconic building hosts some of the best in Belgian modern theatre. This June a new comedy, Boeing Boeing premiers. The author Marc Camoletti is one of our favourites and his new production is already attracting much critical and media attention. The play opens on June 4th and runs through till end of October.
The Royal Flemish Philharmonic has a special place in Belgian hearts and features in many annual celebrations. They are renowned for their flexibility and ability to play almost any style from classic to contemporary. Their next event in Antwerp will be the “Herreweghe in opperromantisch ballet,” conducted by Philippe Herreweghe on June 6th at The Roma on Borgerhout, less than 2km walk from the Astoria.
When I’m feeling adventurous I like to head down to the Augustine Music Centre or AMUZ as its known where there is a more contemporary program. The centre explores music from all periods in history and across all cultures and I find the broad spectrum fascinating and very engaging. Being housed in a baroque former church adds a quirky feel but AMUZ do sometimes perform in 0ther locations around the city. A particular highlight this summer is the Ensemble Clément Janequin on August 22nd who will perform enchanting songs drawn from the four volumes once belonging to Zeghere van Male, a merchant in Brugge in 1542.
There are many other exciting events in Antwerp this spring and summer and I’ll bring you some more suggestions very soon. If you have any you would like to share don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below or find us on Facebook.
Welcome to the exciting new Blog for the Astoria Antwerp hotel. Antwerp is a vibrant city with magnificent architecture, excellent shopping, inspiring arts, delicious dining and cosmopolitan nightlife, there is so much happening and to see and do we decided to create this Blog and let you know all about it.
For centuries Antwerp has been at the hub of the worlds diamond trade and “Antwerp quality” is an international trade term for the perfectly processed stones the city is so rightly proud to produce. Take time to visit some of the amazing showrooms, exhibitions or tours and see the fascinating history and sparkling Antwerp diamonds for yourself.
Our central location, just couple of minutes walk from the Central Railway station, makes us the ideal base for exploring this fascinating city and we’ll be posting details of the very best Antwerp hotel deals right here on the Blog so be sure to visit us regularly or subscribe to the RSS feed.
The Antwerp music scene is vibrant and dynamic with a great electro scene headed by emerging artists such as Keatch. The legendary club Café d’Anvers, located in a converted 16th century church, is a temple for electric showcasing the latest talent and attracting the biggest names for music for over twenty years.
Antwerp and fashion go hand in hand and the Royal Academy is widely accepted as the leading school for fashion designers in Europe producing some of the greatest designers of recent times. The philosophy of the Academy is the expression of the emotions of our times and designers the interpretations produce dazzling works. Fashionistas will find cutting edge trends on the streets, in the bars and clubs and in the stores across Antwerp.
Royal Antwerp FC is the oldest club in Belgium and the fist to register with the Belgian FA in 1900. The team is twinned with Manchester United, often taking younger players on loan to give them an opportunity to play with the first team. The last time Belgium had a team in the European Cup Final was 1993 but we’re proud to say that at least that team was Royal Antwerp FC and we hope to see them back soon.
Discover Antwerps sparkling cultural and artistic life through the dazzling array of museums, galleries, theatres and concert venues. With so many amazing works of the cities famous artistic citizens you’ll be spoilt for choice but you can find out more about Antwerp attractions by following the link.
Sometimes referred to as the New Paris, Antwerp shopping offers unrivalled opportunities and the city streets set an enchanting scene. Whatever you’re looking for you’re sure to find it in one of Antwerps unique districts, whether its the big names in the Meir, exclusive works in De Wilde Zee or antiques and interiors in the Quartier Latin, all the districts are within easy walk of each other and there are hundreds of cafes and bars along the way to stop, relax and soak up the atmosphere.
You can find out more about Antwerp attractions by following the link. I look forward to keeping you up to date with all thats happening in the city and hope to welcome you to the Astoria Hotel Antwerp soon.