Mechelen is not a large city. Try to walk into some small streets and discover the beauty of it. As the city is not too large, you will easily end up at a familiar place. But maybe it is wise to take a map, you can get one at the touristoffice for 0,50 Euro.
There are also a few nice citywalks, signposted but you can also get a paperguide at the touristoffice.
In the vicinity of Mechelen, Animal Park Planckendael can be found in the town of Muizen (which is Flemish for "mice"! What's in a name , right?). Originally having been conceived as a quarantaine and breeding facility for the Antwerp Zoo, it is now a semi independent animal park. In contradiction to its larger and more known cousin, the Antwerp Zoo, which is limited in space due to its location in the middle of the city, its occupants have larger exhibits at their disposal. The general atmosphere is more that of a park indeed. Besides the many animals the park also holds several play area's and an adventure course which will no doubt attract children of all ages. Throughout the park dwellings from around the world can be admired such as African villages or Native American teepees. Regularly temporary exhibitions on a multitude of subjects are offered to the public. Special permanent features are among others "the walk among the treetops", a bridgelike consruction which will offer the visitor a bird's eye perspective of the top layer of a forest. Along the way several panels and stuffed animals portray the life and workings of trees as well as their occupants. NOTE: all the animals on display here were either traffic victims or died from crashing into windows etc.
2812 Muizen - Mechelen
Planckendael is a large green zoo. Not a conventional one. They don't have giraffes , elephants....
They are famous for their scientific research with the Bonobo's who live on a large island.
Beautifull herds of a lot of animals...a lot of waterbirds. Also quit some attention for local wildlive. (fox , storck , ....) beautifull Indian Rhinos , asiatic otters are so funny ...snowleopard , gnoe , koalas....
The parc is divided in continents
A great opportunity for a day out to relax and learn
Watch out....theirs nothing there for you when the weather is bad. From friends with experience it's a drag with very small children because of the long distances between the animals...on the other hand Planckendael has won a few prices for their excellent playgrounds.
Anyway have a look at my muizen page. Completely dedicated to this zoo.
'Muizen' is a part of Mechelen....you can easely get there by bus from the central station...more fun during the summer time is taking the boat behind the station.
If you go by train from another city it is easy to ask for a 'B-dagtrip'. A package made by the belgian railways , train , boat and entrance fee included.
This isn’t at all a tourist destination and probably shouldn’t be featuring here as a tip for visitors to the city, but I was so impressed by this youth centre and the work that goes on here that I wanted to share it with you. What struck me particularly was the fantastic relationship the staff here have built up with the young people who use the centre. Many of them come from disadvantaged homes and all are from varied cultural and ethnic backgrounds which have in the past found it hard to mix with each other and to integrate with Belgian society. Here at H30 they are free to be themselves, and the projects and activities are shaped around their needs and interests. We saw a DVD of a musical production which had brought together a very diverse group of young people; a mixing studio which they were encouraged to use and in return were sharing their expertise with other local groups; a “skate bar” (photos 2 & 3) which had been completely designed and built by them for a very modest sum. Most impressively of all, the staff are able to trust some of the longer-standing members of the group with the keys to the centre – a trust which has never been abused.
You probably won’t have a chance to visit here as we did, unless you work with young people yourself or in a related field (in which case I highly recommend that you arrange to visit), but I wanted everyone to know about it nevertheless. Please don’t rate this tip – as I said, this isn’t a tourist sight!
Hanswijkstraat 30, 2800 Mechelen
If you feel you’ve seen all that Mechelen has to offer, or just fancy a change, it’s very easy to get from here to Brussels or Antwerp by train. We made a visit to the latter as part of our conference programme. Trains are very frequent and take just 25 minutes to reach Antwerp’s beautiful central station. Indeed this station might justify the journey on its own, it is so spectacular – and will be even more so I’m sure when the current restoration work is completed. I have a particular fondness for buildings which succeed in combining historic architectural elements with very modern ones, so I loved ascending the escalators from the very 21st century platforms where we alighted from our train and finding myself in this stunning 19th century monument to the great age of the railways. You can read more about it, and see some pictures, on this website.
We didn’t really have time to explore Antwerp itself as we were there to tour the new public library – not everyone’s idea of a tourist destination, I know, but it’s my job! I did see enough glimpses to make me think that it’s a city I’ll return to one day, and in particular I loved the ornate entrance to the city’s zoo, right next door to the station – check out photo 2 to get a glimpse of what I mean.
I found myself walking along this road several times a day on my visit to Mechelen, as it lay on the route from my hotel to the conference centre, and I developed a great fondness for it. It doesn’t have any obvious tourist attractions apart from one small church, although it does lead to the large and small Beguinage (which sadly I never found time to visit), nor have its old buildings been restored or “prettified”. But for me its charms lay in the many small details on the buildings. Each time I walked along here something new caught my eye and made me pause to whip out my camera.
There are also some interesting shop windows with an eclectic range of delights such as old prints of the city, bizarre fancy dress outfits and tempting bread rolls. So do wander away from the obvious attractions of the Grote Markt and cathedral to explore this little backwater.
Head west from the Grote Markt and follow the road as it turns to the north past the cathedral
This shrine caught my eye as we walked the back streets. It’s at the southern end of the small side street known as the Klapgat (or Gossips’ Alley) and consists of a group of religious statues protected by glass. Unfortunately the glass that protects them also makes it very hard to take a photo, as you can see from my attempt here – the murky shape on the right is my reflection!
Between Sint Jan’s church and the Klapgat
If you stop just for a short visit to this wonderful small town, after seeing the Cathedral, the Market Square, the Town Hall and all the other renowned attractions, allow yourself a short moment of peace and relaxation and take a walk on the narrow streets of Mechelen.
You will really enjoy it!
Mechelen is worth a visit also for enjoying its typical Flemish atmosphere.
The Market Square is the perfect place to spend some time, while the shopping streets around it are famous among the tourists.
The convent of archbishop is an original old large beguinagehouse. It is built in 1620.
It is located in the Hoviusstraat. this street has some more interesting buildings and is certainly worth a visit. The street used to be part of the large beguinage.
The IJzerleen is a street with distinguished houses. Many of them are shops. But instead of looking in the shopwindow, look up and enjoy the great sight of beautiful facades.
This elongated square used to be the fishmarket. And that can be seen in the small art fountains along the square. In the middle it used to be water (De Vliet). In the 19th century the water was vaulted. The name IJzerleen refers to the old 16th century railings along the water.
This building is an old religious building Baecx Convent, dating back to 1547. The building is in the Nonnenstraat. It is a traditional brick and sandstone building. The name of the building is Doornekroon.
Virtual off the beaten path; but so important for the emperor Charles himself. He was born in the year 1500 at "Prinsenhof" in Ghent - and reigned till 1558. It has always been a quarrel between flemish cities to state where this great emperor,influencing politics and religion half over Europe, was born excactly !
His parents and aunt ruled over Mechelen, but Charles himself, rearly visiting Mechelen was dedicated to Ghent.
People of Ghent and definatly the guildes paid a lot for HIS glory and THEIR freedom in East Flanders.
Picture taken in the town hall of Mechelen
A stainless glass, near the one of Ghent you will find a glass mirror of Antwerp, but the sun will poorly shine through it.
In the Adegemstraat, close to Korenmarkt, there is an old Lamot sign, referring to the last large brewery in the city. The sign was reinstalled and is supposed to work at night, so it gives some sort of a retro look to the otherwise cramped Adegemstraat.
The 'Vrijbroekpark' is located in Mechelen on the brorder with Hombeek (from the centre of Mechelen, go towards the Brusselpoort, pass over the water and take the street right in friont of you after crossing the bridge: you'll drive right into the parc. Its an excellent place to go for a walk, visit the rose-garden and the other beatuifull natural elements.