About twenty minutes from Brussels, Mechelen is a city that is still not very popular with tourists but that deserves to be known.
This neighbor of the Belgian capital has indeed many charming assets: a historical center typical of Flemish architecture, a breathtaking cathedral and a museum full of small ones.
So, what to do in Mechelen? How to prepare your visit and what are the must-sees? Here is a practical guide to organize your trip!
Visiting Mechelen: useful information
- How to get there? I advise you not to take the car because Mechelen is best discovered on foot and the traffic jams on the outskirts of Brussels may slow you down if you come from the Belgian capital. Prefer the train: 20 minutes are enough to go from Brussels to Mechelen.
- How to get around? Mechelen is a small city that you can easily discover on foot.
- When to go there ? All year round, in summer to enjoy the quietness of the banks of the Dyle (the river that crosses the city), as well as in winter for the charm of the evenings around a good hot meal.
- Who is it for? For all those who wish to get off the beaten track and discover a charming Belgian city, less known than Brussels or Bruges.
5 must-sees in Mechelen
Stroll through the city
Start your visit to Mechelen by taking a stroll through the city. It’s a small city, so forget about maps or GPS: just go where you want, you’ll easily find your way back!
You will discover the charm of the cobbled streets, the Grote Markt in the center of the city with its typical Flemish architecture, the quays of the Dyle river which are a pleasure to walk along as well as the alleys of the small and large Beguinage which were once home to the beguines, women who lived in a community and provided for their needs together.
Take a flight of fancy
Continue your discovery of Mechelen by observing it from above! Go to the Saint Rombaut cathedral whose tower reaches 97 meters high and offers a breathtaking view of the surroundings. From up there you can even see Brussels!
Be careful though: you have to climb about 500 steps to reach the top, so it’s better to be in good physical condition to go there.
If the access to the tower is not free, the cathedral can be visited freely. Take the opportunity to walk around it, it is magnificent.
Rest near the Dyle
After this tiring climb, take a rest by going to have a drink on the quays of the Dyle which have a lot of charm.
Visit the museum Hof van Busleyden
This museum takes place in a former palace of the Busleyden court. Here you can discover the artistic heritage left by the golden age of Flanders. A dive into the history of the city!
Visit the Het Anker brewery
For centuries, this brewery has been producing the Golden Carolus, a beer that Charles V was a great fan of in the 16th century and that is still very successful today. In 2012 it won the gold medal at the World Beer Awards.
You can also have lunch and sleep here, as this brewery also has a hotel and a restaurant.
The map of the good places in Mechelen
Find on this map all the good places and points of interest of Mechelen indicated in this article.
Continue your journey!
Take advantage of being in Belgium to discover Bruges. Full of charm and easily accessible, Bruges is the ideal destination for a change of scenery. Set in the 16th century, Bruges gives the impression of walking in another era.
Have a nice trip! 😉