Top Best Things To See Around Mechelen
Many visitors prefer Mechelen to other prominent Belgian cities like Antwerp and Ghent due to a less bustle, fewer tourists and plenty of attracting historical monuments. The city is compact, so strolling around its inner center would be a toilless pleasure.
The best-known landmark of the city is St Rumbold’s Cathedral. It is located in the very heart of Mechelen, at the Grote Markt Square. The silhouette of the cathedral is easily recognizable because of nearly 100 meters high tower dominating the surroundings. The cathedral boasts some notable works of art from the 15th and 16th centuries including wooden carvings and glass paintings. The tower owns the typical musical instrument carillon – a set of 98 bells weighing around 80 tonnes. The carillon school of Mechelen located in the neighboring rococo house is one of the oldest and biggest in the world. Ascending the viewpoint of the St Rumbold’s tower is one of the top things to do in Mechelen because of its spectacular panoramic scene.
The area around Grote Markt houses the main shopping streets Bruul and Ijzerenleen with traditional workshops, souvenir and specialist shops. The latter include comic strip gallery and shop De Stripkever, a confectionary Sjolaa offering the finest truffles and pralines, the cheese shop Schokaert with huge range of flavors and the flagship Mecheleir cheese.
Among the architectural landmarks of Mechelen are the churches and beguinages. Sint-Janskerk church exhibits an impressive Rubens triptych ‘Adoration of The Magi’. Groote Begijnhof or the Large Beguinage was once a small town within a town run by the religious women who lost their fathers, sons and husbands in wars and the Crusades. This complex is enlisted to UNESCO world heritage sites due to its typical Flemish ambiance and unique architecture. A walk through the narrow and picturesque streets of the beguinage is a trip to the past and unavoidable Mechelen experience.
The city has a number of museums attracting mostly the young audience, however the visitor of any age might find the expositions intriguing. The Toy Museum contains a selection of toys from various epochs, Technopolis is a science space, Horlogeriemuseum tours the exhibition of clocks and watches.
There’s one more notable place – The Mad Art Museum. It houses a permanent collection of 16th century paintings depicting what the medieval artists referred to as ‘madness’. The exhibits are extraordinary and symbolic.
A Mechelen must-visit is De Wit Royal Manufacturers. The former refuge of the Abbey of Tongerlo, it is now a tapestry manufacturer that boasts an impressive collection of this state-of-the-art handwork. The attendance of the Royal Manufacturer is possible on Saturdays.