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Going out in Mechelen

Mechelen is one of Belgium’s biggest cities and the most central one in Flanders. It is located right between Brussels and Antwerp, at only 20 minutes from both.

copyright - Toerisme Mechelen

As one of Belgium’s exemplary cities, Mechelen enjoys the urban cosiness typical of Flanders. Its historic centre is a picturesque pearl. Eyecatcher is Saint-Rumbold’s Cathedral towering over the city with its unique silhouette. Adjacent to it is the main square, Grote Markt, surrounded by the town hall and other 16th and 17th century buildings.

Mechelen has played an important role in the history of Belgium. The city lived its heyday in the 15th and 16th century. In 1507, Margaret of Austria had a palace built in Mechelen (Hof van Savoye) from where she ruled over the Netherlands until her death in 1530. During that time, the city was renowned for its broadcloth production. Today, Mechelen counts four UNESCO World Heritage listings and over 370 heritage buildings.

But enough about culture. Here are some restaurants, food places and bars in Mechelen.


Drinks in Mechelen can be had at dozens of different places in dozens of different locations, but most people go to the Vismarkt. Located in the centre of town, next to the river Dijle, Vismarkt is a charming square lined with nothing but bars and restaurants. The most popular places at Vismarkt are:

  • De Gouden Vis (perfect for talks over a good Belgian beer in an 18th century Art Nouveau-style house; also perfect for late-night dancing)
  • Bar Popular (perfect for cocktail fun and upbeat contemporary music)
  • D'Hanekeef, 8 Keizerstraat (Mechelen's oldest café and that's exactly how it feels, too)
  • Kafee Zapoi, 115 Onze-Lieve-Vrouwestraat (a 'brown bar' par excellence, as the Belgians like to call them; cosy, democratic and with a lot of character)

Recommendable bars off Veemarkt are:

  • Barramundo Lounge, Steenweg 2 ( a cosy lounge bar with trendy music and chill-out sofas right under the St. Rumbold's Cathedral)
  • Honoloeloe, Grote Markt 11 ( right at the center of Mechelen, drinks and food in an adventurous atmosphere)
  • O'Flach's, Grote Markt 24 (the most popular Irish bar in town)



There are several hotels and B&B's and even a big hostel in Mechelen. We do advise you to book sooner rather than later.

!! IMPORTANT !! The hotel underneath offers reduced prices for participants during the Dataharvest Conference.

Mercure Mechelen Vé, Vismarkt 14, Mechelen -- Email the hotel with this code: G54581