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We just returned from a weekend trip to Antwerp, Belgium and I was positively surprised! Although some of the buildings are in need for renovation and we missed a bit of green and free space in the city centre, the old city is beautiful and has a lot to offer.

They are three general points I want to mention:

  1. Public transport: even the metro, tram and bus system is good some trams are rather old and the steps to get in and out are very steep and narrow! Either swap to a bus or take a slim stroller.
  2. We toke the Thalys train to get to and from Antwerp. If your little ones are under 4 years old, they don’t need a ticket, but they also don’t get their own seat! We decided to save the money, but the seats and the corridor in the Thalys are narrow so I only recommend that for a short trip and with one kid.
  3. Language wise it’s really easy if you speak either English, French or Dutch (or a little bit of any combination of them ;-)).

We stayed at the SIR Plantin (now Tryp Antwerp), which is a good and affordable choice with four advantages:

  1. They offer family rooms: two rooms connected with a door;
  2. Free coffee, hot chocolate and tea in the lobby (saying that the “tea” can only be called like that by people who think bottled ice tea is tea);
  3. Next to the hotel is the Dageraarplats which has one of the few playgrounds in Antwerp and lots of cafés and restaurant. If the weather is nice, it’s a great spot to sit outside and let the kids run around;
  4. The Bus 21 stops just next to the hotel, which gets you directly to Middelheim Museum;

However, there are two things to be aware off:

  1. Ask for a room to the courtyard, as the windows are old and you will hear the traffic otherwise;
  2. The free minibar consists of two small bottles of sparkling and non sparkling water each, and a small bottle of orange lemonade and beer each;

More to come!

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photo credit: fritscdejong via photopin cc