Things to do in Mechelen

About Mechelen

The historical grandeur of St. Rumbold's Cathedral, the reflective beauty of the beguinages, and the picturesque Fish Market are must-see attractions in Mechelen. Make sure to explore the Ijzerenleen for its bustling atmosphere and local shops.
Engaging children in Mechelen is effortless at Technopolis, an interactive science center, Planckendael Zoo for wildlife adventures, and the Toy Museum, which both educates and entertains young minds with history's playful tools.
Outdoor activities include strolling along the Dijlepad, exploring Tivoli Nature Park, and wandering through the many historical sites that offer open-air insights into Mechelen's past.
Top indoor activities feature touring the Carillon School, exploring the rich tapestries of history at the Hof van Busleyden Museum, and savoring the traditional flavors on a brewery tour at Het Anker.
Discover the city's heritage with the best Mechelen tours, which include audio-guided walks through Grote Markt, the Anker Brewery tour for beer enthusiasts, and a historical dive into the City Palace Hof van Busleyden.
The most popular museums are the Hof van Busleyden Museum, telling tales of the Renaissance; Technopolis, with its futuristic exhibits; and the emotive Kazerne Dossin, dedicated to Mechelen's WWII history.
For rainy days, explore the city's religious and artistic heritage indoors at St. John's Church or embark on a self-guided tour through the culturally rich Museum Hof van Busleyden.
Short yet satisfying tours in Mechelen include a leisurely but informative audio tour of the Mechelen Old Town and a quick, immersive experience at the city's modern art installations and historic facades around the center.

Best Things to Do In Mechelen

Explore the historic and scenic city of Mechelen with a captivating selection of things to see and activities to embark on.

Mechelen: Planckendael Zoo

What is it?
A sprawling animal park offering encounters with wildlife from around the globe.
Why you should go?
Just a stone's throw away from the city center, Planckendael Zoo is a family-friendly destination where visitors can meet animals from all continents. As an acclaimed center for conservation and research, it provides insightful information about species and their habitats. Guests can observe the lively antics of monkeys, gaze at the grace of giraffes, or marvel at the majesty of Asian elephants. With its lush landscapes and interactive exhibits, the zoo promises a day of education and fun, solidifying its status as one of the best things to do in Mechelen.

Mechelen: Ijzerenleen

What is it?
An iconic street known for its historical buildings and charming boutiques.
Why you should go?
Ijzerenleen, with its picturesque facade and lively atmosphere, serves as a delightful artery through Mechelen's rich urban landscape. This historic street hosts a variety of shops that entice visitors with Belgian chocolate, local fashion, and unique souvenirs. Architectural enthusiasts will appreciate the ornate guild houses that line the sidewalks, while those seeking a gastronomic treat can savor the flavors offered by the cafes and bakeries present here. A stroll down Ijzerenleen is quintessential to experiencing what to see in Mechelen.

Mechelen: Hof van Busleyden Museum

What is it?
A Renaissance-era palace turned museum, showcasing Burgundian history.
Why you should go?
Hof van Busleyden Museum invites visitors to step back in time into the age of the Burgundian Netherlands. The exhibits within these historic walls present a fascinating collection of art, artifacts, and stories from the Renaissance period. Guests are invited to ponder the European humanistic spirit and explore the tales of power, culture, and politics that shaped Mechelen and beyond. The museum, an epitome of cultural enrichment, stands out amongst places to visit in Mechelen for its immersive historical appeal.

Mechelen: Botanical Garden

What is it?
An enchanting botanical garden featuring a diverse range of plants and tranquil spots.
Why you should go?
The Botanical Garden of Mechelen, a green gem in the urban fabric, is a serene sanctuary for nature lovers. Visitors can discover an array of plant species, both native and exotic, meticulously arranged in thematic sections. It's a place conducive to peaceful reflection or a leisurely walk among blossoms and foliage. Seasonal colors transform the landscape, offering a fresh experience with every visit. For those seeking respite amid natural beauty, the Botanical Garden provides a picturesque departure from the energy of city life.

Mechelen: Het Anker Brewery

What is it?
An ancient brewery that offers an insight into the authentic Belgian beer crafting.
Why you should go?
Delving into the rich tradition of Belgian brewing is an indispensable experience in Mechelen, and Het Anker Brewery stands as one of the best Mechelen activities for beer aficionados. The brewery, dating back to the 15th century, affords not only tastes of award-winning local beers but also educates visitors on the brewing process that has been perfected over centuries. Guests are regaled with fascinating stories of the brewery's history as they explore the cellars and brewhouse before settling in the cozy on-site tavern to sample the renowned Gouden Carolus beer.

Mechelen: St. Rumbold's Tower

What is it?
A towering Gothic-style bell tower part of St. Rumbold's Cathedral.
Why you should go?
Ascending St. Rumbold's Tower provides a unique opportunity to witness Mechelen from above. Visitors can climb the 538 steps to be treated to a breathtaking panoramic view of the city and its surroundings. The tower, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is not only a feat of medieval architecture but also holds an impressive carillon that adds a melodic dimension to the city's atmosphere. Historical exhibits along the climb add context to this multisensory experience.

Mechelen: Kazerne Dossin Memorial

What is it?
A museum and memorial dedicated to the Holocaust and human rights.
Why you should go?
The solemn Kazerne Dossin stands as a powerful testament to the history of World War II in Belgium. Its detailed exhibitions provide an educational narrative on the Holocaust, exploring themes of mass violence, racism, and genocide. The memorial is a place of reflection and remembrance, urging visitors to contemplate the importance of human rights. It's not just a tour; it's an emotional, thought-provoking journey through time.

Mechelen: Mechelen Toy Museum

What is it?
An extensive collection showcasing the evolution of toys and games.
Why you should go?
The Toy Museum of Mechelen charms with nostalgia and joy, offering a dive into the whimsical world of play. From antique dolls and trains to modern board games, the museum caters to the curious minds of both the young and the old. Interactive exhibits encourage playful exploration and discovery, making it one of the most fun things to do in Mechelen. The museum's creative displays ignite imagination and provide a delightful respite from the conventional.

Mechelen: Grote Markt

What is it?
The main city square surrounded by historical buildings and bustling cafes.
Why you should go?
Grote Markt is the pulsating heart of Mechelen, where past and present converge. This vibrant hub is lined with grand old buildings that articulate the city's rich history, including the remarkable City Hall. The square's lively atmosphere is amplified during market days and public events. Visitors can indulge in Belgian cuisine at quaint eateries or simply enjoy the scene with a leisurely cup of coffee, embracing the local culture and lifestyle.

Mechelen: Vrijbroek Park

What is it?
A sprawling green oasis perfect for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Why you should go?
Vrijbroek Park is an idyllic retreat from the urban rhythm of Mechelen. With beautifully manicured gardens, walking paths, and sports facilities, it's an ideal spot for recreational activities or a peaceful stroll. Each season casts a new light on the park's flora and fauna, inviting visitors to relax or partake in the pleasant Mechelen activities available throughout the year. The park offers a breath of fresh air and a touch of nature’s tranquility.

TOP-5 Tours in Mechelen for First Time Visitors

  • Delve into the cultural heart of Mechelen with an audio tour around the vibrant Grote Markt, offering insights into the city's storied past and dynamic present.
  • Experience what to do in Mecheling with a serene walk along the Dyle Path, enriched by narratives of the river's influence on the city's development.
  • Take in places to visit in Mechelen on a journey through St. Rumbold's Cathedral, featuring architectural history and panoramic views from its towering skywalk.
  • Learn about the best things to do in Mechelen while exploring Het Anker Brewery, where the story of traditional Belgian beer brewing comes to life.
  • For fun things to do in Mechelen, join an investigation of the Toy Museum, a tour that weaves the tantalizing tales of historical and modern playthings.

Discover More Things to See and Mechelen Activities

Connect with the essence of Mechelen through a spectrum of activities that offer an authentic taste of local life. Embark on Mechelen tours that uncover the secrets held within the city’s historic landmarks and cobblestone streets. Engage with Mechelen activities that showcase the traditional crafts, music, and festivals unique to this charming Belgian haven. Let each narrative guide you through things to see in Mechelen, augmenting the visual splendor with rich historical and cultural context. Select from a variety of what to see in Mechelen tours that promise to enrich one's travel experience. To ensure a memorable visit, consider joining the best Mechelen tours that cater to diverse interests and offer comprehensive excursions into the heart of the city’s heritage. This is the ultimate gateway for those looking to immerse themselves in the true spirit of Mechelen.

Fun things to Generalized Query in Mechelen with kids

Exploring Mechelen with children opens up a world of wonder and excitement, catering to little adventurers with a variety of engaging activities. At the top of the list is Technopolis, a science center where interactive exhibits make learning about technology, science, and the universe an absolute blast for curious minds. Kids can conduct experiments, enjoy live demonstrations, and discover the principles of physics through play. The Animal Park Planckendael, only a short distance from the city center, offers another enchanting experience as families embark on a global wildlife adventure. Meandering paths lead to different continental zones, where children delight in meeting exotic and native animals alike and learning about conservation. Lastly, the city's Toy Museum is a treasure trove of fun, brimming with toys from various epochs. It's a captivating trip through history where children and parents alike can reminisce over beloved playthings and explore the evolution of toys. Interactive stations throughout the museum invite kids to engage directly, ensuring an experience filled with joy and discovery.

Things to do in Mechelen with family

Mechelen beckons families with its blend of historic charm and entertaining attractions for all ages. The city's pride, Technopolis, offers an educational escapade where interactive exhibits illuminate the wonders of science and technology. It's a hands-on experience that captivates children and sparks the imagination of adults. For families looking to connect with nature, Planckendael Zoo provides a thrilling journey through exotic animal habitats set in extensive gardens — a perfect setting for a delightful picnic and wildlife exploration. Another family gem is the Mechelen Toy Museum, presenting a vast collection that chronicles the history of toys. Kids can immerlyze contemporary gadgets, igniting intergenerational conversations and nostalgic moments. Each attraction stands out among the things to do in Mechelen, promising cherished memories for families exploring this quaint Belgian city.

Free things to do in Mechelen

Embracing the beauty and culture of Mechelen doesn't have to come with a hefty price tag, as the city boasts plenty of free attractions that promise to delight. A walk through the historic city center allows families to marvel at the medieval architecture and picturesque squares like the Grote Markt, where the rhythms of local life can be observed. Additionally, Mechelen's Vrijbroek Park is an ideal spot for a leisurely stroll or a family picnic amidst its well-maintained gardens and lovely ponds, offering a tranquil escape within the city. Art enthusiasts can admire contemporary works at Mechelen's Cultural Centre, where rotating exhibitions provide glimpses into the vibrant art scene. Each of these attractions highlights the charm and character of Mechelen, making them must-visit spots on the itinerary of budget-conscious travelers.

Cheap things to do in Mechelen

Discovering Mechelen on a budget is an enriching experience, with a multitude of affordable attractions. The city's heart is the Grote Markt, where one can absorb Flemish culture and history without spending a cent. Architectural enthusiasts will revel in the surrounding Renaissance-style buildings at no cost. Meanwhile, embracing nature at the lush Vrijbroek Park, with its picturesque paths and themed gardens, offers an inexpensive way to unwind and spend quality time with loved ones. For those with a penchant for art, the Ijzerenleen street doubles as an open-air gallery, featuring stunning facades and sculptures that highlight Mechelen’s dedication to public art. These attractions not only allow visitors to explore Mechelin's charm but also ensure that the experience remains easy on the wallet.

Things to do in Mechelen for couples

Couples seeking romantic experiences will find Mechelen brimming with intimate and memorable activities. Commence your journey with a beguiling boat trip along the Dijle river, where the gentle waters offer a serene backdrop to the city's medieval architecture. This tranquil voyage provides a unique perspective of Mechelen's charm. Continue with a visit to Anker Brewery, one of the oldest breweries in Belgium, to savor the taste of traditional Belgian beers and uncover the secrets of beer crafting. It's an ideal place for cozy conversations and warm laughter. For a dose of culture, conclude your evening with a performance at the city theater, which boasts a repertoire of compelling plays and musicals. Each of these attractions adds a layer of enchantment to a couple's retreat in the vibrant city of Mechelen.

Things to do in Mechelen at night

Mechelen transforms as the sun sets, with a plethora of nocturnal activities to entice visitors. The nightlife in Mechel is vibrant and varied, beginning with the Grote Markt, where restaurants and bars buzz with energy. Couples and friends can indulge in divine Belgian cuisine or sip on local beers while basking in the illuminated view of St. Rumbold's Cathedral. For music enthusiasts, Ijzerenleen Street becomes a live soundtrack of the city, with venues hosting everything from jazz to electronic beats. Catch a concert or simply enjoy the melodies that fill the air. And for a dose of evening culture, the Mechelen City Theatre often stages enthralling performances that draw in audiences with their artistry and storytelling. These attractions promise an unforgettable night out, capturing the essence of Mechelen after dusk.