Who says you have to head to Germany for a magical Christmas experience is sorely mistaken. Belgium will be immersed in beautiful lights and authentic Christmas chalets from December onwards, and the Glühwein will once again flow richly. In Antwerp, too, they are getting ready for an unforgettable festive season. Here’s why you should pick the biscuit city as the ultimate Christmas destination this year.
Joyful Food & Drinks
Brunch & apero at 50 metres high
For an unforgettable breakfast or aperitif moment, head to Antwerp’s giant wheel. For 45 minutes (with up to 4 people) at 50 metres high, enjoy a unique view over the city with a snack and a drink.
The Bubbles in the Sky breakfast includes everything you expect from a full breakfast: from coffee cakes to yoghurt, smoked salmon, baguettes and more. Fresh fruit juice, coffee/hot chocolate and Prosecco are not missing either.
In the apero range, you’ll be richly spoilt with snacks from goat cheese to a wide range of charcuterie and from a savoury macaron to a white truffle.
Festive cocktail sipping at Marnigold
The holidays just call for indulgence and what better way to do that than with a cocktail? New since September, you can find Marnigold, named after the symbolic gold flower, on Antwerp’s Vrijdagmarkt. The interior is inspired by the golden years of Hollywood with a nod to metropolises like London and Paris. The cocktails were meticulously developed and fine-tuned for months finished. In addition to cocktails, you’ll also enjoy wine, beer and bites such as a serving of meatballs or puttanesca. One look at their Instagram page will undoubtedly win you over.
Handmade and vegan cinnamon rolls at Have a Roll
The best vegan sweets of 2022, awarded by the BE Vegan awards, can be found at Have a Roll. Dennis, the founder, baked in his parents’ kitchen as a teenager and continued his passion during the lockdown. After a successful first pop-up, Have a Roll kept running at full speed with success stories such as a stand at Tomorrowland that sold out every day. During your visit to Antwerp, be sure to pass through the Oudaan for this delicacy and surprise your friends and family with a serving. Until the holidays, in collaboration with Drive Me Nuts they are selling an almond paste with cinnamon roll flavour. Is your mouth watering already?
Walking through history at the Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library
This historic library space immediately makes you feel like you’ve entered the world of Harry Potter. For more than five centuries, it has been preserving cultural heritage. The highlight of the Heritage Library is the Nottebohm Room. In this prestigious library space, the library’s first 50,000 books are preserved in a breathtaking setting. Book here a visit.
Party preppings in your own COCON
Looking for a place to get ready for your Christmas or end-of-year party? In the centre of Antwerp, the new wellness revelation COCON opened in October. Here you will find all beauty services under one roof and literally retreat into your own private cocoon. You choose your own light settings and the music played. Meanwhile, get your hair taken care of, enjoy a manicure and finish off with a relaxing massage.
P.S.: score another quick gift (for yourself!) in their own COCON boutique shop.
Is Antwerp your go-to shopping city but do you want to discover new gems during your gift search? Several Antwerp locals are happy to give you their favourite tips. Discover here different shopping routes with tips from Paulien Riemis, among others. Choose from routes such as “Vintage”, “Wearable & Affordable” , “I buy Belgian”, “Streetwear & Urban Culture” and more. Bet it includes boutiques you didn’t know yet?”
On Sundays in December, shops in Antwerp are open, except on December 25!
Old school Winter Fun
From Central Station, a garland of lights leads you into the historic heart of the city, where you can enjoy classics such as the Christmas market and the skating rink at the Groenplaats. Definitely put a skating on your bucket list for this winter, because it’s not every day you can skate with a view of beautiful historical buildings. Bring your own skates or rent them on site. Children can also hire a skating helper. Oh yes, and the forgetful among us can even buy gloves there.
The atmosphere in the city is further ensured by several surprising musical performances in the city centre. Of course, the fireworks on New Year’s Eve should not be missed either.
Several hotels in Antwerp are happy to help with the magical end-of-year feeling and provide a warm welcome.
For example, you can book a Holiday Package at hotel FRANQ. On arrival, you will be welcomed with a hot aperol or hot chocolate.In the room, you will be owashed down with gifts such as Party Balls by Dominique Persoone, care products from FRANQ’s own house line and a warm fleece blanket with the FRANQ logo. The next day starts with breakfast with bubbles. The Winter in Antwerp guide you will find in your room will help you plan your next day in Antwerp. For the gourmets, the hotel offers a Holiday Season Culinary Package where the 4-course dinner will undoubtedly blow you away. Book here your room.
Mercure Antwerp City South
For visitors from the Netherlands who like to book a hotel that focuses on the llocal aspect, is Mercure Antwerp City South the perfect option. From the moment guests step into a Mercure hotel, they are immersed in their destination. The hotel s staff are therefore well acquainted with the neighbourhood and the city. Feel free to ask about their favourite spots in the city.
The kitchen and bar work a lot with local products and suppliers. They serve Antwerp beers like Seef, Victoria and Pauwel Kwak, Ritchie lemonades and Elixir d’Anvers, an Antwerp herbal liqueur. The menu features Belgian dishes like vol-au-vent, stew and waffles.
If you’re in the mood for more tips on travelling at home and abroad, head to our PureTravel page soon!