The stunning main hall at Antwerpen-Central

Antwerpen-Centraal (Antwerpen / Antwerp / Anvers)

This guide to using Antwerp's main station explains what to look out for when departing and arriving by train.
It also includes info on how to travel between Antwerp Central station and the city centre, which quality hotels are nearby - and why using Antwerpen Berchem station can be an option worth considering.

Share

At a Glance

Services

Left Luggage
Travel Information Desk
Local Tourism Information
Onward Travel

Bus Station
Car Hire
Taxi Rank
The exterior of the front of Antwerpen-Central station The exterior of the front of Antwerpen-Central station
Trains use three levels, this train is on level -1 Trains use three levels, this train is on level -1
The Thalys hi-speed trains use level -2 The Thalys hi-speed trains use level -2
Level 0, which is above the yellow lights, is the retail area Level 0, which is above the yellow lights, is the retail area

Antwerpen-Centraal train station is among the architectural wonders of Europe.

When the Thalys train service started operating the station had to be rebuilt because these trains pass through the station and don't terminate in Antwerp, but the magnificent main station building at street level was perfectly preserved.
That was able to happen because the new platforms at the station were constructed at lower levels; a comparatively long way down from the entrance hall.

Therefore the trains depart from three different levels; +1, -1 and -2, none of which are on the same level as the main entrance hall (level 0), so accessing the trains requires passengers to ascend or descend within the station.

Think of the station as a our layered cake, then having taken a slice:

  • level +1 is the top layer beneath the frosting and it's used by some of the trains to and from other destinations in Belgium;
  • level 0 is at street level and this is where the entrance hall is located, so it has step free access from the street and it's also where the food/drink outlets and shops are to be found, on the other side of the entrance hall
  • level -1 is used by other trains to and from Belgian destinations;
  • level -2 is used by the trains to and from The Netherlands, so the Thalys and InterCity Brussels trains leave and arrive from here.
The escalators connect level 0 to levels -1 and -2. The escalators connect level 0 to levels -1 and -2.
The upper level from what had been the main concourse The upper level from what had been the main concourse
The train at the top is on level +1, while the train below is on level -1 The train at the top is on level +1, while the train below is on level -1
One route to the upper concourse is to use the doors in the arch on the staircase One route to the upper concourse is to use the doors in the arch on the staircase

Departing by train:

Taken from level 0, the grey square area is at level -1 Taken from level 0, the grey square area is at level -1
The view from that level -1 area, from there the escalators and lifts go down this level -2 The view from that level -1 area, from there the escalators and lifts go down this level -2

Some trains, including those to/from Gent and beyond usually depart from/arrive at the upper level platforms; level +1.
The rear of the entrance hall, which houses the ticket desks is dominated by a grand staircase, which leads to what was once the main concourse at the station.
Antwerpen Centrall used to solely be a terminus station and this part of the station (+1) still has this arrangement; so it's used by some of the trains to/from destinations to the south, which don't travel beyond Antwerp.

You won't need to use that staircase to access those trains, because when facing away from the street entrance, on the right of the entrance hall is a passage which leads to the main circulating area of the station and it houses the escalators and elevators, which give the access to (and from) all of the trains.
Though something to look out for is that a separate escalator connects to the upper level from here

That passage way also links the entrance hall to the retail areas of the station, the food/drink outlets and the stores within the station are beyond the escalators on level 0.

The Belgian IC trains to Bruxelles/Brussel and beyond usually depart from level - 1, though you'll obviously need to be guided by the info on the departure screen screens

The Thalys trains and the international 'Intercity Brussels' services are among those that use the platforms at the very lowest level, -2
Flights of escalators and elevators link these lower level platforms to the main concourse, but if you will taking a Thalys or Intercity Brussels train, then aim to be at the station at least 5 minutes before departure.

If you will be taking a Thalys train something else to be aware of is that unlike French or German stations, the platforms/voie at Antwerpen Centraal aren’t split into zones.
As a result there’s no way of ascertaining where to wait on the platform, for direct boarding into the coach on the Thalys train in which your reserved seat is located.
On Thalys trains heading to Paris the 1st class is usually towards the front of the train, while on trains heading to Amsterdam, it usually towards the rear.

It can be worth checking the train formation at the information desk, the Thalys trains will be 8 coaches long, so if need be, board by the nearest door and walk through the train to find your seat.

Arriving By Thalys or Intercity Brussels Trains

The flights of escalators which link level -2 to the main hall, which is under the arch The flights of escalators which link level -2 to the main hall, which is under the arch

In Antwerp's main railway station, the sporen/voies (platforms/tracks) that the Thalys trains and the InterCity trains to and from The Netherlands arrive at are on the lowest level (level - 2) of a four storey station.
Though when you step off the train and look up, the route up to the exit by escalator is fairly obvious.
However, if you want to use the lifts (elevators) you may need to seek them out.

The main hall at the station, which has street level exits leading to the taxi rank and most of the tram stops at the station, is on level 0, when you reach the top of the flights of escalators walk straight ahead to reach it.

Connecting between trains at Antwerpen Centraal station:

If you will be changing trains at Antwerpen Centraal  seek out the train departure posters before ascending from the platform/track that your train has just arrived at.
Avoid ascending up to the main concourse to check the departure screens only to discover that you need to go back down again in order to take your onward train.

If you will be connecting into an IC train on to Gent/Gand, Brugge, Lille or Oostende, it will USUALLY be departing from the very upper level of the station.
If it is when you reach the top of the main bank of escalators don't go ahead of you into the main station buildings - use the other escalators up to the top level concourse, which you will see to the left and the right.

Using Antwerp Berchem Station as an alternative to the Central Station

Antwerpen Berchem station is one kilometre south of Antwerpen Centraal and apart from the Thalys trains, all trains from and to destinations to the south of Antwerp also call here.

If you will be connecting in Antwerpen to or from an Intercity Brussels train service, then it’s usually easier to make the connection at Antwerpen Berchem, station.
At this station all the platforms are on the same level.

If you are heading to the city centre, take care not to leave the train here, remain on the train until it arrives at Antwerpen Central station.

However, if your final destination in Antwerpen is in the Diamant, Theaterbuurt or Sint-Andries areas of the city it’s usually a quicker journey to leave a train at Antwerpen Berchem and take a tram from its tram station.

Onward City Connections From Antwerp Berchem Station:

Tram Line 4 heads towards Theaterbuurt and Sint-Andries, while tram lines 9 and 32 link Antwerpen Berchem with central Diamant.

However, when taking trains from Antwerpen to destinations to the south, then joining trains at Antwerpen-Centraal is usually the better option.
There are no reservations on Belgian trains and at busy times trains can fill up with passengers at Antwerpen Centraal, so seats can be hard to find when boarding at Antwerp Berchem.

Accessing Antwerp City Centre from the Central Station

Antwerpen-Centraal station is located on the eastern edge of the city centre.
The shopping area centred on the street named 'Meir' is a 10 min walk away.
To access it use the exits on the left side of the main concourse (don't exit through the front of the station) and follow the pedestrianised route along a street named De Keyserlei.

The old town is situated at the other end of 'Meir' so to reach it on foot you can initially head down De Keyserlei - it is a 20 - 30 min walk in total.

Onward Connections Summary from Antwerpen Centraal

The old town and cathedral in Antwerpen/Anvers have a tram connection with the station.
Take tram lines 10 or 11 from the street level tram stops on Carnot St.
To access this tram stop exit from the front of the station and cross the square to the tram stops in front of the Radison Hotel.

By the tram stops is an electronic departure board that will tell you which stops trams 10 and 11 (direction Melkmarkt) will depart from.

Or from Antwerpen-Berchem railway station:

If your final destination in Antwerpen is in the Diamant, Theaterbuurt or Sint-Andries areas of the city it’s usually a quicker journey to leave a train at Antwerpen Berchem station (if you're not heading to the city on a Thalys train) and take a tram from its tram station.
Tram Line 4 heads towards Theaterbuurt and Sint-Andries, while tram lines 9 and 32 link Antwerpen Berchem with central Diamant.

Conveniently Located Hotels/Hostels

Antwerpen-Centraal station is located on the eastern edge of the city centre, but it’s not the smartest part of town, hence there being comparatively little quality accommodation in the vicinity.

Therefore a good option can be seeking out quality places to stay located adjacent to tram stops on lines that serve Antwerpen-Centraal or Antwerepen-Berchem stations.

Hotels within an 8 min walk of Antwerpen-Central Station:

Luxury:
Radison Blu Astrid

Hyllit Hotel

Mid-Range:
Park Inn By Radisson Antwerp

Budget:
The Bohemian B&B

De Baron B&B

B&B Antwerp

Antwerp Student Hostel

Highly rated Hotels with direct and easy public transport links to Antwerpen-Central Station:

Hotel Matelote (5 min walk from Groenplaats tram stop)

Hotel Julien (3 min walk from Sint-Katelijne tram stop on lines 10 and 11)

Firean Hotel (1 min walk from Provinciehuis tram stop on lines 2 and 6)

The Plaza Antwerp (3 min walk from Lange Leemstraat tram stop on lines 2 and 6)

Guesthouse Bernadin (2 min walk from Sint-Jacob tram stop on lines 10 and 11)

Journeys

# Jump to a direction
Journeys to Antwerpen-Centraal
Jump to directions
Amsterdam to Antwerpen / Antwerp / Anvers by train
Bruxelles / Brussels to Antwerpen / Antwerp / Anvers by train
Lille to Antwerpen / Antwerp / Anvers by train
London to Antwerpen / Antwerp / Anvers by train
Paris to Antwerpen / Antwerp / Anvers by train
ShowMeTheJourney

This is one of more than 300 station guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.