As you might know, on December 20th I turned 21 years old. In a previous blog post I showed you what my 21st birthday celebration looked like. Instead of giving each other a typical gift, Elba and I planned to get away to Antwerp for both our birthdays. Elba turned 21 on November 15th, so our birthdays are pretty close. Most of the time we don’t know what to ask for our birthdays so I thought it would be fun to go somewhere and give that as a gift to each other. When you get older it is much more fun to do something like this for a birthday. We had a lovely time in Antwerp, Belgium so I just had to share everything in a travel diary. I hope you’ll enjoy!
➳ Where I stayed
When Elba and I came to the conclusion we wanted to get away somewhere to celebrate both our birthdays, I thought I would have a look on Airbnb for a place to stay in Antwerp. I had always heard that people find the cutest, unique and fairly cheap places to stay on Airbnb so I went on there and found Antwerp Loft #2. It immediately caught my eye because, well if you look at the photos above you’ll understand why.
We were able to check in from 3 pm so we first explored Antwerp a little before we went to the loft. I have to be honest, we kind of underestimated how long it would take us to get to the loft so we ended up walking around for about one and a half hours. That kind of sucked but when we finally got to the loft, we forget all about that. Since we had such a great experience with booking the Antwerp Loft, I definitely want to find some other places to stay at from Airbnb. If you have any suggestions, let me know! Btw, when you book a place on Airbnb through this link, you get a discount of € 35,- How awesome!
➳ What I saw
From Leiden Central Station we took the train to Roosendaal and then changed to a train that took us to Antwerp, Belgium. We first arrived at the beautiful Antwerp Central Station. It kind of reminded me of Grand Central Station in New York because of what it looked like, don’t you think? Luckily it wasn’t as busy as in New York and when we left the station, we just entered the centre of Antwerp.
There are a couple of sights in Antwerp that we really wanted to see. A great thing about Antwerp is that all of the big sights are located pretty close to each other. From Antwerp Central Station we ended up passing the Grote Markt (Great Market Square). I had seen the Grote Markt in many photos when I was looking up things to do in Antwerp but in real life it is so much bigger. When we were there, there was a Christmas market. So of course we had a look at all of the different booths with Christmas items and food.
One of the big sights I really wanted to see was the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal, which is located at the Handschoenmarkt. You can already see the tallest part of the cathedral from the Grote Markt and I was really curious what it looks like from the inside. When we came inside, we had to pay 6 euros to enter the cathedral and we didn’t really want to pay that kind of money. Instead we burnt a candle for our loved ones and left. The inside of the cathedral I will save for next time when I am in Antwerp. And from the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal we walked to Groenplaats. In the photo above you can see there was an ici rink in the middle of the square but we didn’t really have time to go on there. Also something for next time?
➳ Where I ate
Kaffeenini | Nationalestraat 114, Antwerp
As you might know, I always keep a list of hotspots to visit in different cities, also for Antwerp, Belgium. When it was time to have lunch somewhere, we actually sat down at Kaffeenini, which wasn’t even on my hotspot list. Elba got a bagel with chicken and I got a bagel with mozzarella, tomato and tapenade. They were both so good and besides that, we also got to enjoy the lovely interior while eating our food. Definitely worth a visit when you are in Antwerp!
Mo Made Cupcakes | Reyndersstraat 37, Antwerp
Since our first day consisted of mostly just strolling around, of course we got hungry at some point (even when we’ve just had these delicious bagels from Kaffenini). Mo Made Cupcakes had been on my list for quite some time and I thought we just had to go there to get a cupcake. Their store is really small and you can get mini and big cupcakes. Of course we got the bigger cupcakes, one with chocolate banana flavor and one with raspberry flavor. We actually took them to our loft to have as a snack and they were so good! Since I’ve tried so many different cupcakes, I feel like a real cupcake expert right now haha.
Glow | Melkmarkt 40, Antwerp
On our last day in Antwerp, we didn’t really have a plan. We wandered around for a little bit and then started looking for place to have lunch. This ended up taking a really long time until we saw Glow. The building looked very cute (it reminded me of little cafes in London for some reason) so we went in. They serve their coffees like milkshakes, which looks so cute and the food is also very delicious. I went for a croque monsieur (just with ham and cheese) and I really liked it. The only thing missing was my well beloved chili sauce.
➳ What I recommend
While wandering around Antwerp, I did find some places and hotspots I definitely recommend visiting. The first one is pretty touristy but you can’t miss it. I am talking about this long shopping street called Meir. There are so many shops here, some you might know and others are very unique. Besides Meir, you should also walk around T Groene Kwartier. This was the neighborhood where our loft was located. It’s a very quite neighborhood with some lovely architecture and you can also decide to have a fancy dinner at The Jane, because that’s located in T Groene Kwartier.
I actually also wanted to recommend two shopping hotspots to you because before going to Antwerp, I hadn’t heard of them. They are both located in the streets around the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal, so they are easy to find. One of them is MME Bovary. They are kind of like a concept store because they sell different brands and items. I bought a small bracelet here and they had a lot more minimalistic jewelry pieces as well. The second one is The Other Shop. This is such a cute gift shop. They have lots of books, cards, prints and they sell very unique gifts. In the photos below you can see the wall with prints on it, which I all really liked.
And now this travel diary from Antwerp, Belgium has come to an end. I think it is such a fun thing to go on a trip with your friends (or friend) to celebrate something, like a birthday. Since we were only there for two days, I do have some things lined up for next time that I want to visit or go to, like: MOMU (which is a fashion museum), YAY Concept Store and Tinsel (which looks like a lovely breakfast place). Have you ever been to Antwerp, Belgium? Which of the places above would you like to visit?