My favourite places at 't Eilandje in Antwerp

't Eilandje (the island) used to be the area where boats from the harbour were repaired in docks. The maritime legacy is still visible in the stunning art deco architecture of the warehouses that survived. The docks are now filled with luxury boats and the warehouses turned mostly into expensive lofts and offices. The arrival of the MAS museum, a landmark building that attracts many visitors and tourists has brought new life into this part of town. Everywhere trendy restaurants and bars have popped up. The people who hang out here appreciate 't Eilandje for the relaxed vibe and plenty of interesting eateries on offer. The city of Antwerp is building a new metroline but that won't be finished for a few years, so for now it is a nice 15 minute stroll from the Cathedral along the river to get here.

One sunny autumn weekend, I went on an 'Eilandje' discover walk and found these great addresses. There is something for every taste and flavour! 

For coffeelovers: Broer Bretel
This is one of the best coffee spots in town. Inside it is all vintage wallpaper and an eclectic mix of chairs and tables, outside a simple wooden bench from which you can watch the world pass by with a perfect latte in your hand. The New York Times raved about Broer Bretel when they visited Antwerp. website

For museumlovers: the MAS
Museum Aan de Stroom, is a red brick block with wavy windows. There are temporary exhibitions but also a permanent exhibition of the history of Antwerp and its most famous inhabitants together with an amazing pre-Columbian art collection. Even if you don't fancy any of the exhibitions on view it is worthwhile going up the rooftop observation deck for the most amazing view over the city! website

For architecture lovers: Havenhuis
It is a bit of a walk to get there. The new Harbour Administration Buiding was one of the last projects of Zaha Hadid. The Havenhuis is something old and something new: the famous Iranian architect created a building on top of the old building, like a ship arriving in the harbour. 
Also, when walking along the docks, don't forget to look up and see the writings and rooftop silhouettes of the old art deco warehouses. Address: Entrepotkaai 1

For bicycle lovers: The bicycle bridge
It's not the easiest bridge to cross with your bike (down is ok, up is more of a challenge) but it definitely is the prettiest. Lots of photoshoot here! address: Italiëlei 9

For meatlovers: Millevaches and Mòn
The high-end butcher's shop Millevaches brings the meat straight from their farm in France. If you don't fancy cooking yourself, you can book a table at Mòn, their meat restaurant just a few houses further in the street. The fennel sausages only are worth the trip. website Millevaches, website Mòn

For breadlovers: Toon Declerck
Once he was the pastry chef at a three star Michelin restaurant, now he passionately bakes bread and pastries for the 'islanders'. There is little mezzanine above the counter where you can sit to have a coffee and your pastry of choice while cool jazz music is playing in the background. Address: Kattendijkdok-Westkaai 28

For pizza lovers: Otomat
Always packed and that's because the pizzas here are just so super yummy! With the lightest beer batter crust (Duvel lovers take note!). The owners have done their homework, everything at Otomat is great, the interior design and creative menu with original pizza topping, the speedy and friendly service and what's more, they deliver! website

For icecream lovers: Cremerie Germaine
I know December cold doesn't really invite to have ice cream, but this is the cutest ice cream parlour in the city. Instagram worthy floors and a glass counter give a real cosmopolitan feel to your ice cream. The choice of flavours is super! Facebook 

For fashion and interior design lovers: Monique Stam
I always have a 'Portobello Road' feeling when I walk into this concept store. A mix of interior design and fashion. Sometimes you walk into a shop and can't find anything, that has never happened to me at Monique Stam, I always want to buy everything. And for all Sunday walkers: this shop is open on Sunday! website
























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