Exploring Mechelen: 10 Things To Do and 5 To Avoid
Mechelen is the de facto capital of Flemish Brabant province in Belgium. It is located in Northern Belgium, between Brussels and Antwerp. With its rich history and cobbled streets, Mechelen is a popular destination among tourists. A variety of museums, monuments and cultural sites can be found here. In this guide, you will find 10 great places to visit and explore, as well as a few to avoid. So let’s dive right in.
1. Grand Place (Grote Markt)
Grand Place is the main square of Mechelen, located at the heart of the city. From here, you can explore the many baroque buildings and iconic structures that surround the square. The impressive Town Hall, the Mosterei House, and the Town Church are all impressive attractions located on the same block. Enjoy the tranquility of the area, or find a bar or café to relax.
2. St. Rumbold’s Cathedral
St. Rumbold’s Cathedral is the main church of Mechelen, located in the center of the old city. This Gothic building has a massive bell tower that stands 99 meters tall, and is visible from across the city. Inside, visitors can admire the vaulted ceilings and the many stained glass windows. It also contains numerous religious artifacts, sculptures and paintings.
3. Baroque Pardon Church of St. Nicholas
This 17th-century Roman Catholic church is located in the middle of Mechelen. It features beautiful Baroque designs and details, as well as several unique religious artworks and sculptures. Inside, visitors can explore the church and discover its hidden treasures. Don’t miss the spectacular organ, located directly in front of the altar.
4. Boat Tour on the Dijle River
The Dijle River runs through Mechelen, offering boat tours and various other water activities. Take a leisurely tour along the river and admire the ancient castles and fortresses that dot the banks. You can also join the party and hop on board one of the popular boat-bars. Enjoy some drinks while taking in the beautiful views!
5. Museum Hof Van Busleyden
Housed in a late Gothic building, Museum Hof Van Busleyden offers a glimpse into life during the 15th and 16th centuries in Mechelen. Visitors can explore the exhibition halls and admire the collection of artifacts, which include paintings, sculptures and furniture. There is also a temporary exhibition hall, which displays rotating themes.
6. Lamot Brewery and Cafe
Lamot Brewery and Café is one of the oldest breweries in Mechelen. It has been open since 1998 and is located in a restored 18th-century building. Visit the café for some delicious beer, sandwiches and snacks. The tour of the brewery is also worth exploring, as it provides a fascinating look into the brewing process.
7. De Brouwery Mechelen
De Brouwery Mechelen is a popular craft brewery located in the south side of Mechelen. Here, visitors can discover the process of brewing and sample their unique beers. They also offer a stunning range of food. Visit the brewery to enjoy some family-friendly fun, or attend one of the exciting beer tasting events.
8. Het Bonnefantenmuseum
Het Bonnefantenmuseum is an art museum located in the historic town center. The museum features a variety of Van Goghs, Rubens and other masters from the 19th century. It also contains a large collection of modern art, photography and even fashion. Make sure to explore the roof garden during your visit.
9. De Vismijn Market
De Vismijn Markey is a popular flea market located in the heart of Mechelen. During the weekends, the market comes alive with sellers offering a variety of vintage items, clothes and antiques. If you’re looking for a unique souvenir, De Vismijn Market is the perfect place to hunt for it.
10. Parc de la Demi Lune
Parc de la Demi Lune is a charming park located on the outskirts of Mechelen. It was built in the 18th century and is full of interesting monuments. Explore the quiet paths and take in the beauty of nature. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy it beneath the shade of the trees.
Places to Avoid in Mechelen
Begijnhof is a famous former convent in Mechelen. While it may seem like an attractive tourist spot, the area is known for its high crime rates. Avoid going here alone, especially at night.
2. Mechelse Kleiputten.
Mechelse Kleiputten is an area located Northeast of Mechelen. It is known for its high levels of drug abuse and violence, so try not to visit this place alone.
Geylingstraat is a dangerous street located near the old part of Mechelen. Because of its high crime rate, it is best to avoid this area, especially after dark.
4. Mechelen Train Station.
The train station in Mechelen has gained a reputation for being quite unsafe. Be extra vigilant if you plan on taking a train there and avoid carrying any valuable items with you.
5. Beursplein Square.
Beursplein is usually quite busy, however it has been the site of multiple robberies and muggings in recent years. Visitors should take extra precaution when visiting this square, especially after dark.