Postcards from an Antwerp stroll with Belgium beer

After a short hop across the North Sea and a quick train from Brussels there was plenty of time to have a look around the city. My hotel was on a large square with a fantastic view of the Central Train Station and big wheel which turns all day just outside. The perfect place to start a stroll along the boulevards and busy streets of the city.

Antwerp Central Train Station and big wheel, in the Flanders region of Belgium

The Central Train Station hiding behind the wheel

My eventual destination was the Zomerbar, a collection stalls selling food and drinks, located in the south of the central area. A slow stroll took around an hour,  actually longer as a few stops to try some of the vast selection  of beers available were included. It took me over two hours!

Beer is the beverage which Belgium is most associated with and almost every bar offers a wide choice of light, dark or wheat beers, most pack a punch with high alcohol by volume counts. Some as high as 8.5% were spotted today, it looks like I’ll have to get out and explore some more, purely to provide a detailed account of course!

A tram in the city centre of Antwerp in the Flanders region of Belgium on Mallory on Travel adventure photography

All the best places have trams

With typical English understatement, I’ll describe the afternoon as hot. It was also quite humid, which meant there was good reason to hydrate often. This probably explains why almost every table outside every bar was taken, locals enjoying their favourite thirst quencher, whilst the tourists were almost certainly experimenting. It is a good idea to have a little chat with the waiter/waitress, they are knowledgeable and can explain the differences between beers and make some recommendations. I am kind of partial to blonds myself!

The beer festival in the city centre of Antwerp in the Flanders region of Belgium on Mallory on Travel adventure photography

There isn’t any shortage of festivals

Antwerp is in the Flanders region of the country and is currently promoting itself as a festival destination with the slogan “Flanders is a Festival“. There is evidence of this everywhere, on the way to my own particular festival, I passed another two, one of which incidentally is a beer festival. Not sure there will be enough time to fit that one in.

On the train journey to, and now making my way through the city there is a healthy population of street artists. Many walls providing the canvas for the vibrant expressions of the talented. It always seems as if the character of a city is expressed in its graffiti; in this case it’s generally classy.

Street art in the city centre of Antwerp in the Flanders region of Belgium on Mallory on Travel adventure photography

I saw better but the guy texting on his rental bike adds to the scene

There is also a thriving cafe culture here as there are coffee shops strung out along most of the main streets and a few tucked away in the quieter areas. On this occasion I skipped them, but as they probably also sell great pastries, yet another sacrifice that will need making in the interest of research. It seems I might enjoy Antwerp, as first impressions go it’s impressive!

My route skirted around the historic centre of the city which is a slight shame but at least in means I have a plan for tomorrow.

City centre cafe culture in Antwerp in the Flanders region of Belgium on Mallory on Travel adventure photography

Coffee or beer both are available at many watering holes

Beer is culture in Antwerp in the Flanders region of Belgium on Mallory on Travel adventure photography

Major attraction

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Comments 6

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      1. Raf Kiss

        Hi Iain,

        Thanks again for putting my former home country in the spotlight for a change. (I worked in Antwerp for about 25 years)

        You say you found a beer that has 13.2% alcohol, well check this one out: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/15237/56776 (it supposedly has a whopping 26%. I have never seen (or drank) it, so I cannot tell you what it’s like. I wonder why it has a skull on the label 🙂

        My favorites are Leffe bruin (6,5%), Grimbergen dubbel (6,5%); Westmalle dubbel (7%) and Kasteelbier bruin (11)

        Here’s a list of ALL Belgian beers (or at least the 1572 we know of…) http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lijst_van_Belgische_bieren. Take your pick, but it would take a long time to try all of them 🙂

        Cheers
        Raf

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          Author
          Iain

          Wow Raf thanks for the links and that is some amazing beer …… 26% phew! I did try a couple of your suggested beers though 🙂

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      Author
  1. Evan M

    Looks like a nice city to visit, we still kick ourselves that we did not make it to Antwerp or Bruges when we were in Belgium. We love the amount of beer available (we were partial to the fruit beer in Brussels) :).

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