7 fun activities to do in Antwerp during rainy days
You’ve been looking forward to it for a long time, and finally, it’s here: your city trip to Antwerp. But alas, the weather is not cooperating. It’s raining, and you’re looking for fun activities where you can take shelter from the rain. Fortunately, there are many activities you can do when it rains in the city. Some suggestions!
1/ Explore Antwerp’s hidden history at the MAS Museum
Antwerp has excellent museums where you can spend hours. The Museum by the Stream (MAS) is one of the most famous museums in Antwerp. It is dedicated to the history and future of Antwerp. It focuses on the connection between the city and the world. Visitors to the MAS speak highly of its diverse collection consisting of 500,000 changing museum pieces. But the architecture of the MAS Museum is also remarkable. Dutch architects Neutelings-Riedijk designed a building composed of stacked several volumes, making it look like a stack of blocks. The facade of the museum is made of Indian bluestone in four shades of red, which gives the building a warm appearance. Moreover, large wavy windows provide a panoramic view of the city and the harbor. In short: worth a visit!
2/ Discover Antwerp’s art treasures at the KMSKA
The Royal Museum of Fine Arts (KMSKA) opened in late September 2022 after more than ten years of renovation. It displays 600 masterpieces, mostly European art from the 15th to 20th centuries, with works by Belgian artists such as Peter Paul Rubens and James Ensor, and European masters such as Albrecht Dürer, Jan van Eyck and Rembrandt. Three months after its reopening, the museum already counted 250,000 visitors. The collection is set up more or less chronologically but mostly thematically. You get the most out of your visit to the KMSKA with the KMSKA app. In it, you’ll find audio tours ranging from 60 to 90 minutes that you can choose based on your interests. If you are not a fan of audio tours, you can consult the app to discover the artworks and themes of the collection room by room.
3/ Experience the rich history of book printing at the Plantin-Moretus Museum
The Plantin-Moretus Museum displays the historic printing house and home of the famous Antwerp book printer Plantin-Moretus. The museum offers a unique look at the printing house of the 16th and 17th centuries. The collection includes antique printing presses and rare old books. There is also a reconstructed print shop and bindery, and you will find an extensive collection of works of art. The Plantin-Moretus Museum is a fascinating museum for anyone who is interested in the history of printing and loves art and culture. The museum also offers families with children an enjoyable and educational experience.
4/ Step back in time in the monumental churches of Antwerp
Antwerp has five “monumental churches”: Cathedral of Our Lady, St. Andrew’s Church, St. Charles Borromeo Church, St. James’ Church, and St. Paul’s Church. These churches differ from other churches in the city because they were built before the French Revolution and, to this day, retain their original function as places of Catholic worship. Each has its personality, and they are within walking distance of each other. All five of them house world-class works of art.
An absolute highlight is the Gothic Cathedral of Our Lady. You will find four of Rubens’ masterpieces: The Raising of the Cross, The Resurrection of Christ, The Descent from the Cross, and The Assumption of Mary. St. James Church is known for its beautiful interior and as the place where painter Peter Paul Rubens is buried. St. Paul’s Church displays paintings by Antwerp masters Rubens, Van Dyck, and Jordaens, as well as 200 splendid statues. It has a grand organ and beautiful furniture. Outside is the dramatic, epic calvary about Christ’s suffering and resurrection. St. Carolus Borromeus Church has a dynamic Baroque façade, and St. Andrew’s Church has an impressive high altar and colorful stained glass windows.
5/ Shop in Antwerp’s trendy stores
Shopping is a great way to escape the rain. In the center of Antwerp, you will find small shopping centers here and there where you can store indoors, such as the Grand Bazar, the Nieuwe Gaanderij, and the Stadsfeestzaal. The actual shopping heart of Antwerp is on De Meir. It is a long shopping street with over a hundred stores, often located in beautiful historic buildings. You can easily “hop” from store to store. The stores in downtown Antwerp usually close on Sundays. Still, there is an exceptional Sunday opening every first Sunday of the month. Then, you can shop your heart out in the core shopping districts, such as Meir, Wilde Zee, Modebuurt, Hoogstraat, Kloosterstraat, Steenhouwersvest, and Kammenstraat.
6/ See the city from a different perspective
Boating on the Scheldt is highly recommended if you want to experience Antwerp from another perspective. Several organizations offer boat tours in Antwerp, but if you’re going to see Antwerp from the water inexpensively, you can also use public transportation. The waterbus has two regular routes on the Scheldt: one from Steenplein to Lillo, which takes in the more industrial side along the Port of Antwerp and one to Hemiksem, which runs along the polders of Hoboken and Kruibeke. A ride will only cost 3 euros, but the experience is priceless and shelters you from the rain.
7/ Explore Antwerp on a guided city walk
Many people find it unpleasant to walk in the rain. Still, some people find walking through a rainy city extra atmospheric. A guided walk through Antwerp can be a fun experience if you’re not afraid of the rain. Our tour, “Antwerp Highlights“, is the perfect tour to discover the highlights in and around the historic center in a short time. You’ll explore the old center with a local guide, including the Grote Markt, the Vleeshuis, and the picturesque Vlaeykensgang. The tour also takes you to beautiful locations around Meir to end in beauty at Central Station. However, it is advisable to be well prepared for bad weather and protect yourself from the rain. Wear a raincoat or rain poncho, use an umbrella, and choose waterproof shoes.