“This was a fantastic swap! Joost and his wife were terrific to communicate with all the way through the process, from first contact until inside each other's homes, and I am certain that they are very nice honest genuine people (unfortunately we haven't met)! Their home in Antwerp is amazing - the house covers four floors (including the basement) with six separate sleeping areas, three separate bathrooms and four separate lavatories. Plus a wonderful big kitchen, lounge-room and dining room joined space. So it is ideal for a group of friends, two families or just one big family! Joost's home is extremely comfortable, cozy, stylish and contains all mod cons. You will very much enjoy staying in this beautiful old renovated home, which is just a few minutes walk from a supermarket + newsagents + pharmacy in one direction and a lovely park with a tram stop on the edge for multiple tram routes (which will quickly take you into the city centre and all over Antwerp) in the other direction. We didn't really know what to expect from Antwerp, but it was a very enjoyable place to spend three weeks. The city is small, so can easily be traversed on foot or by bicycle (or tram) and thoroughly explored. Plenty of interesting museums, galleries, architecture (old and new), bars, cafes, restaurants, live music/dj venues, shops, churches etc. We loved the warm and atmospheric old brown cafes (small bars serving local beers and snacks) and found it hard to stay away from places such as Café de Kat, Pelikaan, De Ware Jacob and Den Engel. We also loved the extraordinary St Pauls Cathedral, just a little north of the main town square, an incredible restored church you can just wander into and even be there alone admiring paintings by Rubens and Van Dyck. Antwerp was a very pleasant surprise for us - so much to see and do in and around the broader city centre (including Borgerhout, a must visit area) and all within such an inspiring and authentic old Flemish European vibe. Then of course, there is so much to explore that is near Antwerp. If you swap cars with Joost (or just use the train) you can easily visit places like Brussels, Bruges and Gent as a day trip - all highly recommended! You can also do day trips to eastern Belgium and the southern Netherlands. Plus of course it is very easy to make longer train trips to nearby cities such as London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam etc, if you are visiting Antwerp from outside Europe. It is just one hour on the train from Antwerp to Brussels, a city which rewards two or three separate day trip visits, as there is so much going on there culturally. In summary, I cannot recommend doing a house swap with Joost & his family highly enough! We had a magical and memorable family holiday in their home (and car), their neighbourhood, their city and their country and I am certain that you will too. ”
Large city mansion with garden in the city center
Large city mansion with garden in the city center
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Where is it?
The house is situated in a quiet street a little off the bustling centre, but within walk/bike/short public transportation distance from it. The trams stop around the corner. At 50 meters (literally on the corner of the street) there is a parc with a playground, while there are supermarkets and all sorts of other shops 300 meters in the opposite direction.
Antwerp is well-known for its shopping area, rich cultural history and its architecture, but we would definitely recommend the new MAS museum (among many many others), the museum of fine arts, the delicacy market on Saturday, about a km from our house, the antique and fleamarket street, the large parks, domains, fortressess and castle routes in and around the city, the hip cafes or beer bars, the less visited art nouveau areas of the city, which are actually quite close to our place, the night life... In case the city interests prove not to be enough for a holiday, Brussels or Gent are about 40 minutes away by train, Rotterdam 1 hour by train, Cologne, Paris and Amsterdam 2 hours by train,London 3 hours, Bruges is a little over an hour and the closest beaches in Zeeland or the lakes in the Mol area can be reached in about 45 minutes as well. For a daytrip (with or without children) we also very much enjoy the large village museum in Bokrijk (+/- 50km). And we will definitely be thinking up more suggestions depending on your interests.
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