Spring has finally sprung. And how! On the 7th and 8th of April the thermometer reached 20 degrees Celsius with ease. The nice sun gave it even some degrees more.
So where to enjoy the sun for free in Antwerp? No entry fee, no drinks to order. I give you five options. I’m discarding parks in this list because I don’t want to bring a sheet or a towel on which I could fall asleep and have my belongings stolen.
The Exotische Markt (‘Exotic Market’) is open on Saturdays from 8AM until 4PM. It’s located at the Theaterplein. There’s many things to see but you don’t have to buy anything.
Most of the stalls are food related. The vendors are supposed to be foreign, hence the name of the market. If you do want to buy, I recommend ging there between 8.30 AM and 10AM. It allows the vendors time to set up shop and it’s before the crowds come.
‘Peter the Great Square’ at Kloosterstraat
The square at Kloosterstraat doesn’t have a name but it features a statue of tsar Peter I the Great of Russia. It’s a smaller square but a bit further from the madding crowd. Except on Sundays.
Museum Aan de Stroom and surroundings
The Museum Aan de Stroom or MAS at the Hanzestedenplaats is a tower with a wonderful and free panorama terrace. Not only does it give you vistas over the city, it also brings just a bit closer to the sun.
Downstairs, near the entrance you’ll fin this little plaza which looks like a swimming pool without water. Perfect to sit down on the edges.
As a matter of fact, all the surroundings are nice to sit down. Around the Bonapartedok (named after emperor Napoleon) and the Willemdok (named after king William I of the Netherlands) you have benches where you can relax and read a book.
Steenplein and the jetty
The Steenplein near the medieval castle Het Steen (‘The Stone’) is a bit of a parking lot when it’s not hosting a concert, an ice skating rink or a fair. But it has benches, trees and a view on the river Scheldt (Schelde in Dutch).
Just down, in the water, there’s the jetty. If you don’t mind sitting on your bum, why not enjoying the riverside there?
Just next to Steenplein is my favourite: the pedestrian bridge of the Zuiderterras at the Ernest Va Dijckkaai. You could or drink something at Restaurant Aan de Stroom (RAS), but I love sitting on a bench, facing the sun and/or the river and looking at the ships, the flags or read a book.
Granted, after a while the bench is hard on my bum so I move on. But it’s my go-to spot when it’s sunny outside.