23 Best Things To Do In Mechelen, Belgium

Things to do in Mechelen

Mechelen is a lovely city in the northern part of Belgium. Conveniently located between Brussels and Antwerp, it has become a bustling hub for local and foreign tourists. It is famous for its impressive cathedrals and it is home to famous artists like Anthony Van Dyck and Peter Paul Reubens. If you are craving a drink, get a glass of beer at the oldest bar in Belgium, which was established in 1880. Mechelen has a museum and information center to commemorate those who were persecuted by the Nazis, as well as a Toy Museum for those who are young at heart. Use our list below of the things to do in Mechelen, Belgium, for a memorable and fun vacation.

1. Go up the tower of St. Rumbold's Cathedral

When you are visiting Mechelen, remember to see the wonderful architecture of a 13th-century cathedral, St. Rumbold’s. Since its completion, it has been bigger and more impressive than the other churches in Mechelen. It was considered as the archbishop’s church. However, it was plundered and destroyed by the enemies of the Catholic religion. During the second world war, a bomb added to the damage, and in 1972, it was ravaged by fire. The Cathedral survived and now, it is one of the top attractions in Mechelen. Aside from the unique architecture, you can go up the tower and enjoy a view of the city and the neighboring areas.

St. Rumbold's Cathedral

Address: Onder-Den-Toren 12, 2800 Mechelen, Belgium

Website: St. Rumbold’s Cathedral

Opening hours: 9am - 4:30pm (daily)

2. Learn more about science at Technopolis

Wil jij ook aan de slag bij Stad Mechelen? Bezoek ons dan op de jobbeurs in Technopolis op 1 oktober. We kijken er alvast naar uit! #vacature Info: https://jobvillage.be/locaties/jobvillage-mechelen

Posted by Stad Mechelen on Monday, 30 September 2019

If you are having a family trip to Mechelen, Technopolis will provide an excellent learning experience for small children and teenagers. However, the displays can be fascinating for people of all ages. There are hands-on activities for your kids, as well as simulated rides that everyone will enjoy. With state-of-the-art digital equipment, a visit to this science museum would be a great learning experience and a memorable one.


Address: Technologielaan 1, 2800 Mechelen, Belgium

Website: Technopolis

Opening hours: 9:30am - 5pm (daily)

3. See wild animals at Planckendael Zoo


Posted by ZOO Planckendael on Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Visit Planckendael Zoo to get a chance to see hundreds of species of animals from different countries all over the world. It has served as the treatment and recovery place for animals that have been injured or have been sick. Considered as one of the largest zoos worldwide, the 42-hectare (104-acre) animal park is home to red pandas, kangaroos, apes, leopards, lions, giraffes, zebras, and other animals. There are also different birds and fowls. The animal park has a spacious playground where your kids can run and play as much as they want. Have a picnic afterward under the shady trees in the picnic area for some family bonding.

Planckendael Zoo

Address: Leuvensesteenweg 582, 2812 Mechelen, Belgium

Website: Planckendael Zoo

Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)

4. Explore Grote Markt

Goedenavond beste vrienden. Mechelen is steeds in feeststemming, dit weekend Kom op tegen Kanker en Braderij in de binnenstad en binnenkort speeldag op de Grote Markt http://mechelen.your-web-shop.be/

Posted by Mechelen op zijn Best on Friday, 15 May 2015

Explore Grote Markt in Mechelen, a historic square close to the splendid St. Rumbold’s Tower and across the Town Hall. The old houses around the area contrast with modern restaurants, bars, cafes, and shops where you can dine on local cuisines or have a drink and some snacks. Come on a Saturday, which is the market day when the square becomes more alive, with people eager to have a taste of local delicacies as well as fresh fruits, vegetables, and different kinds of bread and pastries. Enjoy the beautiful surroundings, lively music, good food, and ice-cold drinks.

Grote Market

Address:Grote Markt, 2800 Mechelen, Belgium

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

5. Breathe in some fresh air at Vrijbroek Park

Vrijbroekpark - by frank wouters
Source: Photo by user frank wouters fro... used under CC BY 2.0

Breathe in some fresh air and feast your eyes on a wide expanse of thick and verdant vegetation at Vrijbroek Park. Your kids will find the wide playground a great place to play and spend their energy. You can go walking, jogging, and cycling or play tennis, cricket, or hockey. For people who love gardening, you can check the lovely rose, dahlia, and canna gardens. New exhibits are displayed in the park every week. If you feel hungry and thirsty after a game or a workout, there are a couple of restaurants within the vicinity.

Vrijbroek Park

Address: Ridder Dessainlaan 65, 2800 Mechelen, Belgium

Website: Vrijbroek Park

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

6. Learn about the holocaust at Kazerne Dossin

The Holocaust museum Kazerne Dossin is Mechelen is nominated for the European Museum of the Year Award! http://bit.ly/1ien74x

Posted by Visit Flanders on Monday, 30 December 2013

Visit Kazerne Dossin to learn and understand the atrocities that were meted out on the Jews during the Second World War. The building was constructed in 1871 to serve as the barracks of the Austrian soldiers. Later, it was converted into a depot for weapons of war. From 1940 to 1942, Jews that were waiting to be deported were kept here and many of them were executed after their arrival at their destination camps. Find the information about this grim past by reading comic strips and other documents about the holocaust as well as watch film presentations on the same topic. Kazerne Dossin is a museum dedicated to the memory of tens of thousands of Jews and gypsies who suffered and died in the hands of the Nazis during the German occupation. Through the documents and exhibits presented, visitors will learn how the war caused people to suffer and that such a thing must not be allowed to happen again.

Kazerne Dossin

Address: Goswin de Stassartstraat 153, 2800 Mechelen, Belgium

Website: Kazerne Dossin

Opening hours: Sat - Sun: 9:30am - 5pm; Mon, Tue, Thu & Fri: 9am - 5pm (closed on Wed)

7. See ancient architecture of Brussels Gate

Brussels Gate - Mechelen

Posted by Abe Woldeslassie on Sunday, 29 November 2015

See the ancient architecture of Brussels Gate, which was constructed in the 13th century. This gate was the highest of the 12 gates of the city and the only one that remains standing until today. During the time when cities such as Mechelen were fortified, this gate was the only entrance to the city. Brussels Gate has become an important landmark for Mechelen.

Brussels Gate

Address: Hoogstraat 83, Mechelen

Website: Brussels Gate

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

8. View old and modern toys at Speelgoedmuseum

Speelgoed museum Mechelen

Posted by Scouting Bruinisse on Thursday, 18 July 2013

Visit Speelgoedmuseum or the Toy Museum and recall the childhood toys that you used to have such as wooden trucks, tin soldiers, teddy bears, barbie dolls, and replica trains and railroad tracks. If your kids are not keen on viewing the old toys of the past decades, there are lots of modern toys on exhibit. There are interactive activities, which your children will love to join. The young ones can sit in a corner and play with a toy of their choice. If you happen to be here during a Playday, grab the chance to let them have an unforgettable experience. Your child can have a birthday party at the museum with his invited guests. Snacks and drinks are served while they play with the toys of their choice.


Address: Nekkerspoelstraat 21, 2800 Mechelen, Belgium

Website: Speelgoedmuseum

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 5pm (closed on Mon)

9. Discover Flemish Renaissance architecture in Mechelen Courthouse

AARTSBISSCHOPPELIJK PALEIS Wollemarkt 15 Beschrijving De prentbriefkaart toont de zuidelijke vleugel van het...

Posted by Stad mechelen vroeger en nu on Sunday, 24 March 2019

Discover the Renaissance-style built Mechelen courthouse, which is located in Grote Markt. The courthouse is large and is made of either red brick, limestone, or sandstone. It has gables and you can see carved terracotta adorning the exteriors of the courthouse. With its slanted roofs, the building is one great example of the Flemish Renaissance architecture which was popular in Belgium during that time.

Mechelen Courthouse

Address: Schoolstraat 9, 2800 Mechelen, Belgium

Opening hours: Mon - Wed & Fri: 9am - 12:30pm, 1:30pm - 4:30pm; Thu: 1:30pm - 7pm (closed on Sat and Sun)

10. Tour Het Anker Brewery

Tour Het Anker Brewery in Mechelen, a brewery that has gained global recognition as the maker of “Gouden Carolus”, a world-class beer. You will be able to see the rooms where barrels of whiskey are kept until the content has reached the right age. You can go up the roof to see the splendid view of Mechelen while sipping a sample of the best beer in the world.

Het Anker Brewery

Address: Guido Gezellelaan 49, 2800 Mechelen, Belgium

Website: Het Anker Brewery

Opening hours: 10am - 11pm (daily)

11. Have fun at De Nekker recreation park

Open en klaar om de deelnemers aan het zweten te brengen 🤗 @ de Nekker te Mechelen

Posted by O2 run.be on Saturday, 6 August 2016

Spend a relaxing time at De Nekker, one of the most well-equipped and well-maintained recreation parks in Mechelen. The park is ideal for families, sports enthusiasts, and outdoor lovers. There are indoor and outdoor playgrounds, sports facilities, and areas for working out and team-building. This means that the fun must go on regardless of the weather. The cafeteria serves meals, snacks, and refreshments. Go biking and hiking on the different trails and enjoy the natural beauty of the park. If you want to stay for a few days to experience everything that the park offers, there are accommodations on the premises.

De Nekker

Address: Nekkerspoel-Borcht 19, 2800 Mechelen, Belgium

Website: De Nekker

Opening hours: 9am - 10pm (daily)

12. Admire the centuries-old houses at Haverwerf

Haverwerf - Mechelen, Brussels #mechelen #haverwerf #unescoworldheritage #unescoworldheritagesite #prettycity...

Posted by InspireGab on Sunday, 17 June 2018

Travel back in time at Haverwerf where you will see three houses that were built several centuries ago. These houses have names based on the design of the relief or carved scenes on their facade. One of the houses has a relief of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, as well as a scene in paradise, are carved. This house was called “Little Paradise.” Another house was called “Little Devils” from the carved devils on its pillars. The third one is referred to as Sint-Jozef because the relief shows Saint Joseph and the child Jesus. They stand close to the wharf where boats carrying oats and grains used to dock and trade with the people of Mechelen. It offers a scenic view for those who love to take pictures to capture the grandeur of the area.


Address: Haverwerf 20, Mechelen

Website: Haverwerf

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

13. Stroll through Klapgat

Klapgat is a narrow alley where people visiting Saint John’s Church pass through. The place has a historic significance to the people and culture of Mechelen. It was the habit of the townsfolk to gather here after attending mass at Saint John’s Church and talk using the local dialect. In this alley, friendships were formed and social relationships were established and nurtured through the weekly chitchats.


Address: Klapgat, 2800 Mechelen, Belgium

Website: Klapgat

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

14. Go jogging along the Dyle Path

Who would like to take a leisurely stroll along the Dyle River?! This beautiful path leads to a lush botanical garden in...

Posted by Journey By Jacq on Friday, 26 October 2018

Jogging is relaxing and fun, especially when you are passing along the scenic beauty of nature. This is what you will experience when hitting the Dayle Path along the Dyle River. Both sides of the path are lined with thick foliage. You will pass a bridge to the other side of the trail where you can see the back portion of Haverwerf. Despite being in the city, you will be able to breathe in the fresh air and feel the cool breeze as you go about your routine.

Dyle Path

Address: Haverwerf, Mechelen

Website: Dyle Path

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

15. Admire the Palace of the Grand Council

Mechelen City Hall
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ad Meskens used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Treat your eyes to the Palace of the Grand Council, one of the structures that comprise the town hall or city hall of Mechelen, whose construction began in the 14th century. However, because of the troublesome period, some of them were not completed in time. In fact, the grand council was never able to use the palace as it was only completed in the early part of the 20th century. However, the original plan was followed. Today, its facade is one of the attractions in Mechelen. Standing across Grote Markt, the structure’s facade represents the late gothic architectural design of a bygone era.

Palace of the Grand Council

Address: Grote Markt 21, 2800 Mechelen, Belgium

Website: Palace of the Grand Council

Opening hours: Mon - Tue & Fri: 8am - 1pm; Wed: 12pm - 4pm; Thu: 8am - 1pm, 3pm - 7pm; Sat: 9am - 12pm (closed on Sun)

16. View the magnificent Stadhuis

Jaarlijkse traditie in de stad Mechelen is Klokkenwerpen op de Grote Markt. De gewonnen bronzen klokjes werden dit jaar...

Posted by Mechelen op zijn Best on Monday, 11 September 2017

If you have only seen a castle in movies or books, feast your eyes on a real one during your visit to Mechelen. Stadhuis was used as the center of government of Belgium and the Netherlands. Constructed in 1376, it has a Gothic Hall where one can see 19th-century murals, polychrome vaults, and a chamber containing items that are relevant to the city’s history, such as artifacts and documents.


Address: Grote Markt, Mechelen, Belgium

Website: Stadhuis

Opening hours: 9:30am - 5pm (daily)

17. Find spiritual solace at the Basilica of Our Lady of Hanswijk

Posted by Catholic Church on Sunday, 7 June 2009

If you happen to be in Mechelen, visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Hanswijk, which is not only known for its grandeur but also as the home of the statue of the Virgin Mary, which is believed to be miraculous. According to folklore, the statue was unloaded by a passing ship in the Village of Hanswijk, just outside the city of Mechelen around the year 900. A chapel was built in 1913 in the same spot where the statue was left. Every year, thousands of pilgrims come to Mechelen to witness and participate in a grand procession in honor of Our Lady of Hanswijk. Devotees, especially the Catholics, believe that the Virgin Mary will help and protect them from harm and will intercede in all their prayers.

Basilica of Our Lady of Hanswijk

Address: Hanswijkstraat 69, 2800 Mechelen, Belgium

Website: Basilica of Our Lady of Hanswijk

Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)

18. Observe tapestry making at De Wit Royal Manufacturers of Tapestry

De Wit Fine Tapestries (stand 107c) is an esteemed manufacture devoted to selling and conserving fine tapestries....

Posted by BRAFA Art Fair on Tuesday, 29 January 2019

During medieval times, Mechelen was famous for the Flemish tapestries, which are considered to be the best of its kind all over the world. Big ones are used in castles as adornment as well as protection against cold. If you are spending a few days in this city, visit De Wit Royal Manufacturers of Tapestry, which is one of the few makers of the handwoven tapestry that still operates until today. Observe how the weaving is done and how the designs come to life. You will discover that each piece of a tapestry is made with a lot of skills, craftsmanship, and patience.

De Wit Royal Manufacturers of Tapestry

Address: Schoutetstraat 7, 2800 Mechelen

Website: De Wit Royal Manufacturers of Tapestry

Opening hours: 10:30am (Every Sat)

19. Check out the artwork at Schepenhuis Gallery

Source: Pixabay

Discover some of the finest artworks at Schepenhuis Gallery, which is housed in the historic small castle that served as the seat of government for Belgium and the Netherlands for several centuries. One area in the building is used as a gallery, where you will find the best works of art by the local artist Rik Wouters, a talented sculptor, and painter. If you are a fan of impressionist and expressionist art, a visit to this gallery is a must if you are in Mechelen.

Schepenhuis Gallery

Address: Steenweg 1, Mechelen 2800, Belgium

Website: Schepenhuis Gallery

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 10am - 5pm; Sat: 10am - 4pm; Sun: 12:30pm - 4pm

20. Experience endless spring at the Winter Garden of the Ursuline Nuns

Winter Garden of the Ursuline Nuns, Mechelen, Belgium.

Posted by on Thursday, 18 July 2019

Enter the Winter Garden of the Ursuline Nuns and see for yourself the wonderful Art Nouveau or decorative style of architecture. Constructed in 1900, the Winter Garden was considered as the most modern architectural design of the time. The small dome made of stained glass divides the structure into two sides - one side depicts daytime while the other side shows night time. Different kinds of plants and animals are illustrated on the glass panels, making them look like a magnificent garden. All of these are brought about by the play of light on the stained glass. What makes this garden intriguing is that no one knows until now, the identity of the person who designed the Winter Garden.

Winter Garden of the Ursuline Nuns

Address: vzw Wintertuin OLV-Waver Bosstraat 9 2861 Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-Waver

Website: Winter Garden of the Ursuline Nuns

Opening hours: Sun: 2:30pm - 4:30pm (closed from Mon - Sat)

21. Explore the Palace of Margaret of Austria

Mechelen Palace in Belgium, Anne Boleyn's home from early 1513 to late 1514. Margaret of Austria, her patroness wrote that she was very pleased with the charming and intelligent 'la petite Boulan'. - Anna

Posted by The Fly On The Wall on Sunday, 23 November 2014

Make the Palace of Margaret of Austria a part of your itinerary during your visit to Mechelen. The Palace was the first renaissance building in Belgium and the Netherlands. Known as the court of Savoy, it served as the residence of Margaret of Austria, the widow of Philbert of Savoy, who ruled as regent of the Netherlands from 1507 to 1530. The Grand Council convened in this palace, making it a seat of power in the Netherlands. The lovely garden and the impressive facade add to the magnificence of the structure. History buffs and architects come to this place to relish its history and admire its architectural design.

Palace of Margaret of Austria

Address: Keizerstraat 20

Website: Palace of Margaret of Austria

Opening hours Mon - Fri: 7:30am - 4:15pm; Sat: 8:30am - 3:30pm (closed on Sun)

22. Pamper your taste buds at M-Eatery

Discover a new addition to the notable restaurants in Mechelen, the M-Eatery. This restaurant specializes in grilled dishes, which are prepared to perfection using the best and freshest meat and other ingredients. You can choose from among the several kinds of grilled meat, starters, and other meat dishes. For customers that do not eat meat, there are luscious fish dishes that are just as excellent as the grilled meat. The modern and cozy interior of M-Eatery makes a satisfying and unforgettable dining experience.


Address: Koning Albertplein 8, 2800 Mechelen, Belgium

Website: M-Eatery

Opening hours: Mon - Tue: 5:30pm - 9:30pm; Wed - Thu: 11:30am - 2:30pm, 5:30pm - 9:30pm; Fri: 11:30am - 2:30pm, 5:30pm - 10pm; Sat: 5:30pm - 10pm (closed on Sun)

23. Enjoy the nightlife vibes at Barramundo Lounge

Posted by Barramundo Mechelen on Friday, 12 June 2015

Ask a local about the best bar and lounge in Mechelen and you will be told to visit Barramundo Lounge. Considered as the most popular bar in the city and beyond, people come here to hang out and relax after a busy day. The cocktails are excellent and there is a wide selection of whiskey and wine. If you love trendy music, this is the place to spend weekend nights.

Barramundo Lounge

Address: Steenweg 2, 2800 Mechelen, Belgium

Website: Barramundo Lounge

Opening hours: Tue - Thu: 5pm - 1am; Fri: 5pm - 3am; Sat: 6pm - 3am (closed on Sun & Mon)

Explore the historic and beautiful city of Mechelen

Grote Markt, Mechelen, Belgium
Source: Photo by user User: Spircle at... used under CC BY-SA 4.0

A visit to Mechelen will bring you back to the glorious past with the noblemen living in castles and ruling vast lands and their people. There are houses and buildings that display architectural designs from another era. With its growing number of young entrepreneurs, Mechelen is predicted to be the business hub of Europe in the near future. Whether you are taking a trip for business or pleasure, check out our list of the things to do in Mechelen, Belgium, for an unforgettable visit.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Leonora Puno loves to see places where nature abounds. She has traveled to several parts of the Philippines that glorify the beauty of nature. She loves reading about the beautiful places in other...Read more

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