Antwerp is generally an easy city to navigate as it’s a compact metropolis. De Lijn, the public transport company, operates a comprehensive network of buses and trams. Walking around Antwerp is also pleasant. Much of the picturesque city centre is demarcated as pedestrian zones. Expats wanting to travel out of the city can catch a train operated by the national railway service.
Public transport in Antwerp
Those who plan to use buses and trams frequently should consider getting a multi-ride Lijnkaart card. It works out cheaper than paying for individual rides. It can be bought at stations, supermarkets and newsagents. If buying tickets, it's cheaper to purchase them ahead of time rather than while boarding. Single tickets are valid for an hour at a time, so passengers can swap between modes of transport.
Trams and pre-metro
The pre-metro, which runs underground as well as on surface lines, is part of the tram system that covers Antwerp and its surrounding suburbs. All trams use the same tickets as buses. The most prominent stops are Diamant station, below the central train station, and Groenplaats, from where the line continues west under the Scheldt River to the Van Eeden station.
The city’s main bus station is the Franklin Rooseveltplaats, acting as a hub for both local and regional buses. The bus is useful for getting to places that aren't reached by the tram.
Taxis in Antwerp
Tariffs are determined by the city authorities and should always be shown on the meter. At the end of a journey, the driver must print out a ticket bearing the company’s name and telephone number for queries or complaints. Taxis with an official taxi permit have an illuminated sign on the roof and a red licence plate.
Ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft are readily available throughout the city and are a good alternative as they allow passengers to see prices upfront.
Cycling in Antwerp
The city has a large network of cycle lanes as well as the Velo public bicycle hire scheme. The first half hour is free. Various passes can be bought from the Velo website, with longer-term passes being cheaper. Once registered, people can take a bicycle from stations across the city before dropping it off at another station closer to their destination.
Driving in Antwerp
Expats with a driver’s licence from a non-EU country can legally drive in the country for six months. After six months, the home licence becomes invalid and expats will have to obtain a local licence. Some countries have exchange agreements with Belgium, meaning the foreign licence can be swapped for a local one, but nationals of countries without such agreements will have to pass a driving exam at their local municipality to get a Belgian licence.
Parking in Antwerp is limited and is managed by the local parking authority. The city is divided into different parking zones, some of which require permits that can be bought from district council offices or the parking authority. Multi-level garages are easy to find, though they can be a bit pricey. To avoid being fined or having their car towed away, expats should not park on yellow lines, at bus stops or in front of driveways.