How to spoil yourself in Mechelen
We are always really happy to advise our customers around our city, Mechelen. It's because there is so much to see and experience here. It is really worth a visit and a perfect destination for a relaxed weekend away to... to spoil yourself or that special someone. If you think we are biased, read Volkskrant, which published an article about Mechelen titled 'Belgian Berlin'. There is something unlike Berlin though, and that is - everything is pretty close by to reach by foot or by bike.
COFFEE & CO
Our favourite place to start the day is Kaffee-ine in Onze-Lieve-Vrouwestraat 6. The key here is excellent coffee and cosy atmosphere. The owner Yves can fill your KeepCup here, if you are in a hurry. Good to know: Yves serves customers tap water, which is more ecological and economical than bottled water, also Sava (more info below) in Grote Markt joined the tap water initiative by the local young greens.
For a good breakfast or cup of coffee you should try Sister Bean in Vismark. Try the nice bio-limonades and quiches.
Sister Bean, Paté du Chef (see shopping)
In Ijzerenleen you can find two great places - Beans and Le Pain Quotidien to have breakfast or lunch, and they both have a terrace in front. Beans does tasty bagels and smoothies. Le Pain Quotidien sells excellent yeast bread also to take-away, and uses a lot of organic ingredients.
Left Beans, right Le Pain Quotidien
Go for breakfast or brunch to a new bicycle bar Peloton de Paris in Hoogstraat 49. On thursdays you can participate to an organised bike ride. They will also fix your bike if needed and help you with the needed accessories. This is the place to follow Tour de France and other races.
Peloton de Paris
LUNCH - NEWCOMERS AND VISMARKT
A newcomer which has become very popular in Mechelen is Noen in Leermarkt 24. We have it here in the lunch list, but you can get a very good breakfast there too. Jolijn and Bart have an eye for detail both in the menu and in the deco. It is definitely the place to try, and quick.
Il Cardinale in Wollemarkt 24 is another recently opened must-try restaurant in Mechelen. The concept is burgers, but these burgers are made with high-quality ingredients and with fresh ideas. It ain't your usual fast-food. Vegetarians: veggie burgers are available. Good destination also for dinner. Next to the Sint-Romboutskathedraal.
Vismarkt is a good bet for lunch if it is sunny. Get a table at Le Cirque, or try a tajine at Ronda.
DINING & WINE
There are three reasons to find the small Begijnenstraat between Vismarkt and Sint-Romboutskathedraal. First is Unwined, an outstanding wine bar and shop, with cosy small terrace in the back. Test your knowledge by trying the surprise wines. The second reason to find this street is Graspoort, a hidden jewel which you can find in the end of a small alley leaving from Begijnenstraat. The third is the new excellent italian restaurant L'Artista.
And do visit Sava, a tapas bar in Grote Markt with a beautiful deco, including our Statthocker stools. Included is the wonderful view to the historical market place. Best option in Grote Markt. Try the tortilla.
If you love tapas or tajines and couscous, try also La Boya, close to Onze-Lieve-Vrouwestraat at Gebroeders Verhaegenstraat 16.
But let's go back to Vismarkt and Mille - dinner, tapas, culture, drinks. You name it. Mille has a play corner for kids too. And the food is tasty.
SHOPPING AT VIJFHOEK
Let's start with Vijfhoek, the corner of Bruul and Onze-Lieve-Vrouwestraat.
Of course you will first head to find eco+fair clothes, accessories and deco objects at our shop Supergoods. We offer you the best green minded brands. Classics, such as Freitag, TOMS, Komodo or Knowledge Cotton Apparel, but also newer brands such as Wunderwerk or ArmedAngels, both brands that are expanding quickly in Europe. We also do kids fashion and toys.
2015 preview by Wunderwerk
Our neighbour Lily promises you life's little luxuries and does not let you down on this. Kelli, Johan and Ellen are eager to introduce you to the newest collection of French Connection and Selected, among others, and serve you with a smile. You can drop in at Lily also in Oostende.
Talking about luxuries and spoiling yourself, just across the street there is the most charming candy store you probably have ever seen - Zoet. You can order online too, and they do have sugar-free candy and other specials as well.
EXPLORE ONZE-VROUWESTRAAT AND BEYOND
While you continue Onze-Lieve-Vrouwestraat, you will come to one of the best bookstores in Belgium. De Zondvloed organises events and has a coffee bar upstairs. Do pop in here! Selection of books in english are available.
Other tips in Onze-Lieve-Vrouwestraat are women's clothes store Harlekijn where you can get very good service and we really mean it, and Rose Mamuze which specialises in scandinavian deco, gifts and baby articles - even if you do not need anything, do go and check the beautiful interior of the shop.There's a sewing shop too, Stitch & Co, where you can buy fabrics and other necessities and take part in workshops.
Harlekijn, Rose Mamuze
Stitch & Co
Other good spots for shopping are Calla Lila for women's clothes in Schoenmarkt 2, just next to Grote Markt. If you love sneakers, do go to the Fast Forward shop in Borzestraat 38.
Calla Lila, Fast Forward
In Vismarkt a must is Paté du Chef, where one finds lovely unusual gifts and accessories, such as bags.
Visit also a unique feminist sex toy store Loveware in Bruul 79, inside the small Shopping Center, and go browse through a wide collection of vinyls at The Vinyl Touch at Haverwerf 1.
THE NEW DESIGN MECCA
Design-lovers will not be disappointed in Mechelen, quite the contrary. Interieurkabinet has just opened the first Muuto shop in the world. But they do many more interesting brands in Drabstraat 8c.
Simple has also recently opened a big design store in Vismarkt. Really a must see too while having a drink or lunch there. They offer Hay and other interesting brands in a former fish shop.
More scandinavian labels such as Iittala and Marimekko can be found in Domus.
There is always several interesting pop-ups and temporary galleries, ask the locals and keep your eyes open.
Weekly market takes place on Saturday around Grote Markt. Buy veggies, cheeses, fish or flowers.
So here's our tips for your Mechelen visit, and maybe they can be useful to Mechelaars to. Mechelaars are the inhabitants of Mechelen. But a maybe a more known term for the local is Maneblusser. You should ask a local tell you the story behind this name. You can also get a Maneblusser beer, which you should taste too, preferably at Gouden Vis, Nauwstraat 5 or the neighbouring Den Akker.
De Gouden Vis
yes! yes! yes! More Mechelen! Would be perfect with a little more Scandinavia in our citizenship, but without losing the Burgundian joie de vivre. :-)