Why you should visit Antwerp on new year’s eve and everything you should know.
Going abroad to visit Antwerp on New Year’s Eve is one of the best decisions I ever made! Antwerp on New Year’s Eve was magical and such a unique experience! But you should know some practical things before visiting Antwerp on this special night.
Make sure to read through to the end of this post, to find out the best spot for watching the fireworks!
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Why visit Antwerp on New Year’s Eve?
Because it’s so worth it! Antwerp is already one of the best cities I’ve ever visited, but on New Year’s Eve, something magical happens. The entire city comes to life! There are super cozy vibes and an amazing fireworks show. There’s a wonderful Christmas market, a Ferris wheel, and so much more!
I must admit, I had some doubts about this evening. I was scared it would be crowded as hell, it was going to rain, or the fireworks show would be canceled. The weather wasn’t particularly good; it was warm but rainy and windy.
But everything proved to be the contrary! This night couldn’t have been better! It wasn’t crowded at all, just cozy and fun! And the weather was very kind to us; we didn’t have rain at all and the wind was gentle, so the firework show could go on!
Practical things for visiting Antwerp on new years eve
Getting to Antwerp
First, you need to get to Antwerp. But things may be a bit different on this unusual day than normal. There are a few options for reaching the city.
Visiting Antwerp by train is the most popular option. This option is often the cheapest and easiest, as the train network around Antwerp is huge! You can easily get there from cities like Brussels, Ghent, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and more!
You will arrive at one of the most beautiful train stations in the world, close to the city center. From the station it’s only a 5-minute walk to the shopping center and a 30-minute walk to the historic town; the place you’ll be spending most of the evening.
You can also take a tram or bus to the historic center.
You can easily drive to Antwerp, the roads are open and there are many parking opportunities in and outside the city.
Inside the city center, there is only paid parking. These are easy if you’re staying the night, but if you are leaving after the fireworks, they aren’t the most practical option.
Outside the city, there are several P+R parking lots. You can park there for free and take the bus, tram, bike, or electric scooter to the city. These parking lots are easy if you want to leave after the fireworks because you won’t have to drive through the chaotic city streets in the middle of the night. You’ll be hitting the road in no time!
These P+R parkings are also an incredible option if you’re staying the night, as they’re free, so you won’t have to pay per hour, because that gets expensive fast.
Extra tips for getting to Antwerp
- Make sure to arrive in the afternoon. The later it gets, the more crowded it’ll be and you may have trouble finding a parking spot.
- Don’t park at the Scheldekaai Zuid. The roads there will be closed between 10 pm and 2 am, so you can’t leave. And I’m not sure if your car will be safe there.
- Book your train tickets in advance, the longer you wait, the more expensive it gets.
Eating in Antwerp
On New Year’s Eve, most restaurants will be open. You can go out for dinner without a reservation.
If you don’t need much food or you’re visiting on a budget, I recommend eating some heavenly Belgian fries at a ‘’frituur’’. There are several of these in the old town, and for less than €5,- you can have a delicious dinner.
Where to stay in Antwerp on New Year’s Eve?
If you plan on staying the night (which is the comfiest option), you should book your accommodation at least a month in advance. Hotels will be fully booked on NYE, so be on time. The cheapest hotels will be full faster than the more expensive ones.
Best hostel: Antwerp City Hostel
Best budget hotel (€): Hotel National Antwerp
Best value (€€): Citybox Antwerp
Best luxury hotel: Hilton Antwerp Old Town
I should admit, we’ve stayed in Antwerp, but not in a hotel, hostel, or any other accommodation.
We took our van and slept on a cheap/free carpool parking just outside the city (Carpool Parking Metro station Frederik Van Eedenplein). In Belgium this is illegal, but on a night like New Year’s, we predicted no one would notice us.
So sleeping in your campervan in the city is possible, but it’s at your own risk. You could get a ticket for sleeping in your vehicle.
When spending New Year’s in Antwerp, there are several winter festivities. You can visit the Christmas market, take a ride on the Ferris wheel, go ice skating, and more!
All these festivities are usually open until 11 or 12 pm, but on NYE, everything will close at 6 pm. You should come to the city early, to experience these Christmas activities to the fullest!
On several squares in the old town, you’ll find Christmas markets. There’s one at Steenplein, de Grote Markt, Groenplaats, and Suikerrui.
On these cozy Christmas markets, you’ll find all sorts of things like nougat, honey, clothes, oils, and so much more! It’s fun to just look at the stands and maybe buy something nice.
The Christmas market is free to visit.
At the Christmas market on Steenplein, you’ll find a huge Ferris wheel, overlooking the entire city. This 55-meter-high wheel will grand you a wonderful view of the Christmas market from above. You’ll see the entire city in all its glory!
An adult ticket for the Ferris wheel costs €9,- and a kids ticket is €5,-.
In between the Ferris wheel and Het Steen, you’ll find the coziest place in all of Antwerp: Bar Den. In this bar, you can enjoy one of the many Belgian beers on the heated terrace or inside. There’s a playground for kids, which makes this bar kid-friendly.
Unfortunately, this bar also closes at 6 pm on NYE. So make sure to enjoy a delicious beer or winter cocktail in the afternoon!
On Groenplaats you’ll find a vast ice-skating rink of 1200 square meters. Again, this rink is usually open til late, but on New Year’s Eve, it’ll close at 6 pm.
Prices skating rink:
- Adults (12+): €9,-
- Kids (12-): €6,-
- Renting ice skates: €3,-
This is the best spot for the firework show
At midnight there’ll be a huge fireworks show, everyone can enjoy. There are several places to admire this show.
The best place to enjoy the show is on the Scheldekaaien. Which is pretty much everywhere near the Schelde. You can stand or sit somewhere on the scheldekaai zuid, but I found that the other side of the river was best for a stunning view over the cathedral tower and Ferris wheel.
To get there from the city, all you have to do is take the Sint-Annatunnel to the other side of the river and find your perfect spot near Simons Park. This place won’t get too crowded as well. I really enjoyed the show from this spot.
Pssst… Take a look at this small clip of the firework show!
The perfect trip to Antwerp for New Year’s Eve
For a trip to Antwerp with the entire winter experience, I recommend going for 3 days; December 30th, 31st, and January 1st.
On the 30th you can enjoy all winter festivities til midnight, on the 31st you can enjoy the rest of the city and go shopping at the Meir and January 1st is great for taking some photos of the empty town.
Because yes, New Year’s Day will be empty, almost everything will be closed, so all you’ll be able to do is enjoy the empty city while it lasts and prepare yourself for going home.
After this trip, you’ll have memories to cherish forever!
Final thoughts on Antwerp new years eve
I hope I’ve persuaded you to spend New Year’s Eve in Antwerp next time because it’s so worth it!
Do you want to visit Antwerp? Let me know in the comments below!
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