Mechelen‘Mechelaars’ talk about their city with great pride and warmth. Visitors are struck by the genial atmosphere as they stroll past monuments redolent with age and pause in courtyards and historic churches. The Mechelaar is proud of Gouden Carolus, the award-winning beer brewed here for centuries. He is proud of Margaret, who put 16th-century Mechelen on the world map. And he has a soft spot for craftsmanship and authentic local products. Come to Mechelen and experience its charms for yourself!
The CityMechelen is situated in the heart of Flanders, mid-way between Antwerp and Brussels and just 15 minutes’ drive from Brussels Airport. From neighbouring countries you’ll be there in no time. So whether you are travelling by plane, train or car, Mechelen enjoys the ideal location. The people of Mechelen take pride in their more than 300 listed buildings and four mentions on the UNESCO world heritage list. The most famous of these has to be St Rumbold’s Tower. Count to 538 and you’ll have Mechelen at your feet. The Skywalk at the top of the tower affords breathtaking views. On the way up, you can stop and catch your breath in six magnificent rooms and admire from close to the tower clock and not one, but two carillons. And with a spot of luck, you’ll be able to exchange a few words with the tower keeper. What better way to start your visit to Mechelen! The city centre boasts no fewer than eight historic churches, each with an intimate but very different interior. Stroll beneath Gothic arches, admire paintings by Rubens and Van Dyck, and in your mind’s eye reach out and caress the baroque sculptures. Tapestry-lovers the world over flock to Mechelen, for the city is home to a world-famous manufacturer. There are also family businesses passed down from one generation to the next and artisanal workshops which will open their doors specially for you, welcoming you into an authentic world where the master artist is your guide! On the edge of the beguinage you’ll find Het Anker brewery, where Gouden Carolus and Maneblusser have been lovingly brewed for five generations. Do as Charles V did in the sixteenth century: allow the beer to roll over your tongue. Cheers!
Nature in and around the city
Lunch cafesCoffee is in! Like other cities, Mechelen is awash with espresso bars, slow coffees and baristas. Whether your preference is for an attractive bar, coffee shop, tea house or a brasserie for a lunchtime or afternoon snack, you’re sure to find what you are looking for in Mechelen.
Do & See
Mechelen has something for everyone and everything is within easy reach of everything else. In the historic centre you’ll find fascinating museums, scores of historic buildings and delightful squares. Below is a list of Mechelen’s top sights. Don’t miss a single one!
Mechelaars love their food and you only really get to know the people when you eat what they eat! In the heart of the vegetable-growing region there is always something to make you lick your lips! But if the Mechelaar might give you a tip, try the city’s most famous speciality: an absolutely delicious ‘Mechelse koekoek’, the native chicken, washed down with the local beer, the Gouden Carolus. Mechelen at its best.
Bars & Nightlife
Part of what makes Mechelen so convivial is its human scale. Rather than packing into large dance halls and nightclubs, in the evenings people tend to gather in the many atmospheric cafés and bars. Many of these provide live music, particularly in the summer months. The area best known for its nightlife is the Vismarkt or old fish market, which abounds in relaxed cafés for all age groups. The dynamism of the Vismarkt spills over into the surrounding Korenmarkt, Onze-Lieve-Vrouwestraat, Begijnenstraat and Melaan. Students tend to converge on the area around the station.
There are any number of reasons for choosing Mechelen as your shopping destination! For one thing, here you escape the hustle and bustle and shop against a backdrop of historic architecture rather than traffic! What is more, the shops are all within easy walking distance of each other. Most are concentrated in the Bruul – Ijzerenleen – Onze-Lieve-Vrouwestraat triangle and side streets where traffic is restricted. High-street chains and chic boutiques stand shoulder to shoulder with traditional specialist shops. So Mechelen has something for everyone: from trendy to classic, from vintage to cutting-edge.