Hey everyone! My apologies for my absence of lately, I have had my finals which unfortunately meant I was locked down in my room until exams were over. So now I am finally free, I can go back to my blogging days! jeej!
I don’t know about you guys, but if I am completely honest the end of a study year makes me feel both sad and happy at the same time, Happy due to the fact that you don’t have to be locked down with your nose in a book, trying to cram everything you have seen in a year in your mind. But also sad because now you won’t see your friends that often anymore, due to the fact that all of your friends are on vacation. And then there’s a moment where you are alone at home with all this free time, and you don’t know what you are going to do AKA me a few days ago,yes you read it right, along the way there are moments where you are bored and even though you are as free as a bird, you can’t seem to find what to do. Well this post will maybe change your point of view. So as I said earlier, a few days ago I was in that kind of rut, where I didn’t know what to do. So I went to the place where everybody gets their answers answered: GOOGLE. I came along different site’s and one thing struck me, do I really know what my own city has to offer?
As I tried answering this question, I found out that I know all the shopping places and all the great restaurants and bars, but if I would need to give a tour to a foreigner I wouldn’t really know what I would show them. So I thought to myself why don’t you go on an adventure in your home city and make a list of it and try to deter from real touristy stuff. Instead list what locals would do in the city.
So if you are from Belgium and want to visit Mechelen our if you are a tourist who wants to visit Mechelen and enjoy it like the locals do. Here is my list of lovely things to visit and see in Mechelen.
First I will list a few of my favourite store’s, you can only find in Mechelen/ Belgium
If you are a girl like me or know a girly girl and you need to buy her a present this store is the one you should definitely check out. It is a store where girly meets elegant and vintage. The store itself is little but it is filled with lovely little things from accessories like sunglasses, jewellery, shoes and handbags, home decorations, gadgets and cute stationary to dresses, rompers, trousers, tops and bathing suits. This little store has it all! The prizes vary from item to item, but overall it is not very expensive. I love to go to this store, even if it is just to get some outfit inspiration, but ussually I don’t leave this store without a shopping bag in my hand (I am warning you 😉 )
Location: Onze-Lieve-Vrouwestraat 120, Mechelen
Belgium is worldwide known for his chocolates and Belgians love to eat chocolates. Although I have had many chocolates in my life there is one store who tops them all and you guessed it, it is this one. This Chocolatier makes their chocolates/ pralines themselves and they are delicious! They have a broad variety of flavours like white, dark or milk chocolates with cream, panache, strawberries, cuberdon, praliné,… And that’s not all, the store itself is also super cute. It is decorated like an old school candy house. But I do have to say that although these pralines are heavenly they are not the cheapest ones. But to be fair to me they are money well spent, and definitely worth their price, due to the fact that they are home-made!
Location: Ijzerenleen 3, Mechelen
3) Room for style
Room for style is a recent new store in Mechelen but to me it is definitely worth to go and get a peek at their collection, I always stop and look at the window shop, when I pass by the store. I have recently had a chat with the store owner on my shopping trip and asked her to describe the type of style of her collection. She told me that she would describe it as Scandinavian chic, something that has elegance to it, but is a bit different than the pieces we are used to. I think that perfectly describes this store, the pieces seem different than what we are used to, some with a lot of beautiful graphic lines very strong, bold and sexy. Others are more with unusual prints and others are more with unusual shapes, that give them a kind of haute couture kind of style. To give of a haute couture kind of style, I find the prices reasonable, again prizes vary but I find that the prize quality is really good.
Location: Guldenstraat 3, Mechelen
4) Boekenhandel De zondvloed
In this era of social media and technologie, books are often forgotten, although I love reading books, and everything that has to do with books from the texture of paper to the smell of opening a book. I have to admit, that it has been a long time since I purchased a book, due to the fact that I usually read e-books with an app I found on my previous Samsung galaxy s4 called Play Books where you can download e-books for free when you go to a site called Bookbub. But even though I love hanging around in bookstores and especially this one. Why you may ask? Because this book store has such a great vibe, the staff is really helpful and the store itself is really cosy, you can even go upstairs to the second floor and have nice cup of coffee or tea while enjoying the view of the store from above.
Location: Onze-Lieve-Vrouwestraat 70, Mechelen
5) The Vinyl Touch
If you are a big music fan like I am, and you still have the vinyl of one of your parents, you will love this next store. This tore is all about vinyl’s, you can sell and buy vinyl’s here and the store itself has this amazing vinyl and vintage vibe to it. If you don’t have a vinyl, that’s alright as well, go in and enjoy all the different and beautiful lay-outs of those old vinyl’s. From flower power to graphic line work, you will be surprised how beautiful some covers look, I sometimes find them to be little pieces of art.
Location: Haverwerf 1, Mehelen
Favourite bars and restaurants
Next I’ll give you some restaurants and bars I love to go to when I am in the city
This bar/lounge, is the best cocktail bar of Mechelen, When Friday night rolls around and me and my girlfriends want to have some girl time, you will always find us in here! The only thing I have to warn you about is that this place is well known by a lot of locals, so too find a place in there is sometimes very hard. Especially if you go on a day when the upstairs bar is not open. That’s something I have to explain as well. This lounge has two rooms a downstairs area, with couches and area with comfy chairs in the back and another upstairs room where the theme is totally different and more going for a summer beach vibe as the aesthetic. Other than that, the cocktails they serve are amazing, they have all the well-known favourites like mojito, Cosmopolitan, bloody marry, …. but they also have suggestions which you will find on the little board placed on each table. I would really recommend the sparkling kiss, which is cocktail with raspberry’s and tastes amazing! But If I am honest I don’t think you can go wrong with any cocktails they serve. Just make sure you are 18 years old, because this place does ask your Id if they think you look under 18 (me and my friends get this all the time, although we are like in our twenties) and for people who don’t like alcohol there are also mocktails.
Location: Steenweg 2, Mechelen
2) The cube
This recently new bar, is located near the music academy of Mechelen and has become the hangout place for music lovers and art fanatics. Ass the name already suggests, the bar’s building is in a cube shape and all of the windows are full length glass windows. So it feels like you are in a glass like Ice cube. This bar has a variety of drinks you can choose from, but unfortunately cocktails are not on the menu. Another great thing about this bar is that from time they have little free podiums for music artists and on special days the bar is transformed in to a little club with a dj, wher you can party the whole night long!
Location: Cultuurplein/ Minderbroedersgang 3A, Mechelen
3) De gouden vis
This bar is well known among the youth of Mechelen, it is a bar which is located near the fish market of Mechelen a place where you will find a lot of bars and restaurants along the river “De Dijle” that runs through Mechelen. I particularly like this bar, for their terrace, which is not very big but looks out on the river “De Dijle” and is beautiful decorated with fairy lights and little plants. So it makes a perfect spot for a first date or just a gossip date with a girlfriend if you are living the happy single life 😉
Location: Nauwstraat 7, Mechelen
This Greek restaurant, is a hidden gem in Mechelen, if you like Greek food and want to have a nice and cosy evening Zorba is the restaurant for you. Their food is very good for the price you pay. I love going here with friends, or if you want to have a cosy romantic diner I think this restaurant would also fit nicely. The atmosphere is heart-warming, with a lot of wooden accents and different little spaces to sit. The restaurant itself is not easy to find, due to the fact that it is hidden behind the well-known Cathedral called the Sint Rombouts Cathedral.
Location Nieuwkerk 10, Mechelen
This little tapas bar is amazing if you want to eat something, even though you are not very hungry. The aesthetic is very warm and reminds me of a summery Ibiza kind of place. The tapas bar has 2 floors: downstairs where you can share a long table with other people or sit at the bar or sit in more private in a sort of booth and upstairs where there are a lot of little tables perfect for 2. The place has a choice of two different kind of taps warm or cold. My favourite are the patatas bravas, which are baked potatoes with a more spicy tomato sauce and the chicken wings, which are made in a sort of garlic/olive sauce which accompanies them perfectly. But as I said they have a lot more delicious options. Another thing I have to say is that the portion are not as little as you think sometimes it is better to shar one tapas with two, due to the size of the portion, so my tip for you would be to order a few tapas to share and if you are still hungry order some more afterwards.
Location: Grote markt 13, Mechelen
Lastly I’ll tell you about the different places in Mechelen that I think are really worth a visit, most of them are very near to each other, due to the fact that Mechelen is not such a big city, others are a little bit further away but worth the extra miles 😉
1) de Vismarkt (translated the fish market)
This place, as I already mentioned is really worth a visit in the evening in the summer, it is where all the locals love to hang out with their friends. Why? Because the atmosphere is amazing and everybody loves to be close to the river “De Dijle” that runs past this place. So in the summer you will find a lot of people on the terraces of the little bars drinking and chatting with friends. Furthermore a lot of bars make it extra cosy in the summer by hanging fairy lights, putting candles on the tables and so on. SO you should definitely pay this place a visit in the summer evenings. Another thing I have to say about this place is during the summer break there are a lot of festivals in Mechelen and one of them is called Vispop, where the stages are mainly located around this market. But I will explain all the music and festivals soon in another blogpost.
2) De Grote markt (translated the big market)
This is the pride jewel and as I mentioned before the heart of Mechelen, where you will find the town house and the well-known Sint Romboutstoren. You will also see the statue of Maria Magdalena, who was a big figure in the history of Belgium and lived in Mechelen. This place holds a lot of restaurants and bars, but I would recommend seeing it just to admire it’s beauty. It is the perfect place to admire the beautiful town house and the Sint romboutstoren.
3) het vrijbroeckpark
This is park is located outside the city, but because of its beauty is really worth the visit. The park has different areas who fit together perfectly, for instance you have a rose garden, a playground, tennis courts,… It has multiple entrances and has parking places all around. I love going here to go on a run by myself or with friends or family. The park also has different lakes with sitting area’s and has a really zen feel to it. If you want to there is also a restaurant where you can eat or just drink something after a good run or after a good walk around the park 😉 which is located at the centre of the park, for easy access.
4) T’iles malines
This is a place, again located outside the centre of the city, but known by all the locals. It is located behind the industry park of Mechelen, where their used to be a swimming pool. It is a summer bar, which regularly does events like a masked ball, a food truck festival,… the place has a bar and al lot of ground around where you will find tables and chairs to lounge around in. But if it is really to crowdy you can also sit on the grass if you want to enjoy the view on the river “De Dijle”. Even outside of the events it is a bar where you can relax with friends or family outside the crowdness of the city.
5) River walk
As I already mentioned there is a river going through Mechelen, which is called De Dijle. The city has done something amazing over the couple of years and made a path alongside the river with wooden planks, you can walk on. I would really recommend taking this walk you can start at the beginning at the vismarkt and walk it through to the exit where you will find yourself at the end of the Bruul (the well-known shopping street of Mechelen with all the big stores like Zara, H&M,…) from here you should also have a look in the little park who is not far away called de kruidtuin, which is a nice little park to stroll arround in and if you want you can go through the parkt to go to the other end of the city where the big high school called Thomas More is located on the other side of the big road.
There you have it my list of lovely things to visit and see in Mechelen, I hope that if you visit Mechelen sometime you’ll love these places as much as I do, there are a lot more things to see and visit but this is already a very long post so I will have to keep those for some other time.
I Loved making this list, And I would love to know which places you love in your city!, tell me in the comments! And maybe I’ll visit them one day to!
XOXO Little red