Antwerp is a wonderful city to visit on a cheap weekend trip. The city located near the Dutch-Belgian border is the municipality in Belgium with the highest number of residents. Besides a harbour city, Antwerp is also a famous shopping city. But even on a budget there is plenty to see and do in Antwerp. A little preparation can go a long way, and it makes a budget trip to Antwerp perfectly doable.
Want to discover Antwerp on a budget? With some discount tips and cheap attractions, a weekend in Antwerp doesn’t need to be expensive at all!
Transports in Antwerp
Part of Antwerp’s city centre is not open to cars, which makes parking near the city centre quite expensive. Try parking at the edge of the city and taking the bus or tram into the centre. Instead of getting a single ticket, try a 10-ride card or a day-card, as this way you can save 20% on the fare.
Antwerp City Card
The Antwerp City Card is quite useful for tourists who want to get the most out of their visit to Antwerp, but who also have a limited budget. With this card you get access to all of Antwerp’s main attractions for 24, 48 or 72 hours, for a single price. It also includes unlimited travel on public transport within the city. Included are, among other attractions, the MAS, the Rubens House and the Cathedral of Our Lady. The card also gives you special discounts on rental bikes, genuine Belgian chips, and attractions like Zoo Antwerp and the horse tram.
Architecture and history up for grabs
A perfect and cheap way of spending the day in Antwerp is to simply take a walk through the city and marvel at its impressive buildings, which are attractions in their own, even from the outside. Take a walk along the Scheldt river on the boulevard, which takes you right to Antwerp’s oldest remaining building: the 13th century castle ‘Het Steen’ (The Stone). From across the Scheldt the views of the castle and the city are fantastic as well. Another, more modern sight is ‘t Bootje (Little Boat), the facade of the monumental 1901 building ‘De Vijf Werelddelen’ (The Five Continents), in the ‘Schilderstraat’. From the facade of this Art Nouveau building a ship’s bow protrudes, as a reference to Antwerp’s history as a maritime city. In the ‘Stadsfeestzaal’ shopping mall (City Celebration Hall) from 1908 you can spend your time window shopping and marvelling at the glass dome and gold leaf decorations.
Free admission to museums
Every last Wednesday of the month, a number of large and smaller museums in Antwerp offer free admission. If you are in the city around this time, be sure to make use of the option! This cheap deal is also available in the famous Rubens House - where you can admire the masterpieces of Flemish baroque painter Peter Paul RubensIedere - as well as the ‘Museum aan de Stroom’.
A stroll along the market
The weekly ‘Vogelenmarkt’ (Bird Market) at Theaterplein is a popular place to visit on Sunday morning. This market was originally a place where poultry and other animals were traded, but today only very few birds remain. It is now home to a variety of stalls. The merchandise tends to be quite affordable, and besides clothes and antiques the market also has little food stalls which offer a cheap breakfast or lunch! This makes the market a fun way to save on your stay in Antwerp. From chips to wraps to nut, you’ll surely find something to feed your appetite. The ‘Vogelenmarkt’ is held each Sunday from 1pm.