By | 16th January 2018

Do you need a car in Antwerp?

Do you need a car in Antwerp > Should you rent a car in Antwerp Belgium > Antwerp ( ANR ) Do you need a car in Antwerp? Is it worth hiring a car in Antwerp? Should you rent a car in Antwerp?

Antwerp Car hire summary

Overall drive rating

Based on a weighted score across all cost and quality factors. [Full notes - drive rating]


  • Price alone isn't the only factor in determining whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Antwerp but clearly it's an important one. See our "why" section for more figures.
  • Cost factors include - price of car hire (peak and off peak season), car hire extras, fuel, tolls and parking costs.
  • Quality factors include - scenic drives, road quality and upkeep, general safety and congestion levels.
  • A complete index of all 10 factors will be uploaded shortly.

Cheapest rate for one week

Based on cheapest economy car hire deal with no added extras. [full notes - basic costs]



  • This is the very lowest price we could find for a one week car rental period in Antwerp during the quiet season.
  • You will almost always end up paying more than this figure, but any extra costs or supplementary charges are usually determined by the renter, so we cannot easily compare like with like.
  • In many cases, rental companies will offer a cheap rental and then expect you to take out expensive insurance waivers. There are always ways to avoid this!

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

Based on cheapest deal during the summer holiday season. (Unless otherwise noted) [full notes - seasonal variations]



  • During the peak holiday season, public transport is often better value, as many train and bus fares are fixed throughout the year. See our "why not" section for more suggestions.
  • For most featured destinations, the peak season will be during the summer, typically July and August for northern hemisphere destinations. However, peak demand might occur at different times, for example in some ski resorts or winter sun destinations etc.

Free parking score

Based on the number of hotels which offer free parking. Total 149 - of which 32 have free parking. [full notes - parking]



  • Free hotel parking is very useful to have when you are hiring a car, and it's always worth checking ahead beforehand.
  • If free hotel parking is not available, you might want to consider renting a car for a single day, rather than for your whole trip.
  • The availability (or lack of) free hotel parking can be a really important factor in determining whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Antwerp, as it can be a significant extra daily cost which you won't usually be paying at home!
  • Parking costs play a very major part in our consideration of whether or not it's worth hiring a car in each destination.
  • By using public transport, walking or hiring a bicycle, you can avoid having to worry about parking charges altogether! See our "why not" section for more suggestions.

Antwerp public transport quick facts

Train score

Higher scores go to the systems which don't just take you to the most amazing places, but also to the ones which are easy to use, fast, reliable and frequent. A good train system on its own is usually enough to determine that you don't need to hire a car in many destinations.


  • [full notes trains]
  • Trains include all kinds of urban rail system from trams up to metro and suburban networks.
  • Trains also include mountain railways and cable cars.
  • Generally, places with a good rail network will automatically mean that you don't "need" to hire a car, but you can still might find that on balance you are better off by having one.

Water travel score

This is a general rating for all types of water travel, including scheduled ferries, sea / rivers cruises and excursions in Antwerp


  • [full notes - water score]
  • The water score looks at means of transport on water - it does not consider water based activities like surfing or kayaking.

Overall public transport score

This is a more practical rating based on bus and rail travel, and also including ferries and other boat services, where they are part of the public transport network.


  • [full notes - overall transit] buses | trams | metro | local & regional rail | national rail
  • Is public transport in Antwerp good value, or is it worth hiring a car just because it is cheaper overall?
  • Even if public transport is cheap and reliable, you might still feel that you should hire a car in Antwerp because it will still give you more flexibility to reach out-of-the-way places, especially in rural areas.

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

This overall rating considers walking and cycling in and around Antwerp. It includes factors such as the quality of the street environment, and whether you are likely to feel safe walking or cycling, together with the availability of bicycle hire and the ease of linking walking or cycling routes with public transport.


  • [full notes - active score] walking (city) | hiking | cycling (city /  country).
  • A high active travel score means that you might not need a car in Antwerp, because you can see everything you need to see using a combination of your own two feet and the public transport system.

Car rental in - Antwerp Need v worth & should!

Whether you have come here asking "do I need a car in Antwerp", "is it worth hiring a car in Antwerp", or whether or not you "should" hire a car here, these are all slight variations on a similar theme. Here we break each one down according to the criteria we use for each question. This is a weighted score based on the values above. These are explained further in the text which follows - [#why] [#whynot]. Do you need a car in Antwerp?

Do you need a car in Antwerp?

This is essentially based on whether or not public transport and other "non car" options are good enough to get around and beyond the city. For the lowest "need" score, the destination should have a combination of excellent all-round public transport, great opportunities for walking and cycling, together with poor value car hire or generally poor quality roads. 
  • In destinations where both public transport and car hire options are excellent, the verdict for "do I need a car in  Antwerp " will swing towards a strong no, because you can do absolutely fine without one).
Is it worth hiring a car in Antwerp?

Is it worth hiring a car in Antwerp?

Is car hire good value, especially during the peak season? How does this compare with transit fares? This question mainly looks at issues of cost and practicality.
  • In destinations where both public transport and car hire options are excellent, the verdict for "is it worth hiring a car in  Antwerp" will swing towards whichever option offers the lowest overall cost for a group of 2-4 people travelling together.
Should you rent a car in Antwerp?

Should you rent a car in Antwerp?

Weighing up the above questions, if you are here for the first time AND asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
  • The final "carometer" swing is much more opinion based, and it takes into account which options will give you the truly best travel experience (n our humble opinion of course). Where a destination offers an excellent score with or without a car, the swing will go towards whichever option we feel gives the most truly unforgettable experience.
  • Ultimately, it's your choice whether or not you rent a car here. We're trying to give you something that's sufficiently far enough away from a "maybe" to help you make that choice. Ultimately, people only come to us because they are uncertain, but we don't really know what each person's preferences are. Whether we say you should or you shouldn't rent a car in  Antwerp, you might also want to look up some of our other cities to see how  Antwerp compares with other destinations in  Belgium or  Europe.
  • By using public transport, walking or hiring a bicycle, you can avoid having to worry about parking charges altogether! See our "why not" section for more suggestions.

What does everyone else do?

Do most people hire a car in Antwerp?

This is based on our observations of (a) car rental facilities and (b) what we think most people will do here. It's not an exact figure, just an estimate of how likely people are to get hold of a rental car here.
  • his is based on the percentage of people "in the market" who we think are likely to hire a car. This includes anyone arriving on holiday here who would usually hire a car on their travels, so it doesn't include people who don't usually drive (or don't drive), people staying with friends etc.


Visitors per year (million)

  • Cities with more visitors are more likely to have more complex airport car rental arrangements, and generally they will also have better public transport, but this is not always the case, especially in North America.


  • [full notes - do as everyone else does?]
  • You may wish to go with the flow, or you might prefer to avoid doing the most popular or obvious option. This will vary according to the range of choice available. This tends to be much higher in destinations which are closer to the middle of the car or no car scale.

Who is travelling?

Your group size and travel budget has a major impact on whether or not getting a rental car is good value compared to using public transport as your main means of getting around. Ultimately, these are all "worth" questions:

Is it worth renting a car in Antwerp if I am a solo / budget traveller?

Generally, hiring a car is not good value for solo travellers for multiple reasons, especially as most of the costs of renting apply to the car, not the occupants. With public transport, the reverse is usually true! However, there are always some places where you will need a car, simply because they are almost impossible to reach using public transport.

Is it worth renting a car in Antwerp for 2 people travelling together?

A rental car can be good value for couples or for friends travelling together, but since most cars come with at least four seats, it's often still better value to use public transport. However, if you prefer to keep yourselves to yourselves, then you might still want to rent.

Is it worth renting a car in Antwerp for families?

Families of groups of 3-4 people travelling together will always get the best value from a rental car. However, you may also be burdened with extra costs for car seat hire, and you well also prefer to use local trains and buses, if they are quicker than getting stuck in heavy traffic.

Where are you staying?

The place you are staying, together with the sort of places you want to see, will have a large impact on whether or not you "need" to rent a car:

Do you need a car in Antwerp if we are staying in the city centre / main resort area?

Most large towns or purpose built holiday resorts will have some kind of public transport, whereas parking provision will vary greatly from one place to the next. 

Do you need a car in Antwerp if we are staying on the edge of the urban area?

Typically you may be staying in an apartment or hmall house on the edge of a resort or urban area. These places usually have some level of public transport, but not as much as city / resort centres.

Do you need a car in Antwerp if we are staying in a rural area?

Rural proprties might include larger villas or apartments, but they can still be within a short walk of a bus stop or local railway station, and the opportunities for hiking and cycling might also be substantial, depending on the destination.

What is your attitude towards driving?

We can give you suggestions based on whatever we consider to be a "typical" visitor to Antwerp, but ultimately your decision is also going to be influenced by whether or not you ususally prefer to hire a car in the first place.

Should I hire a car in Antwerp if I prefer not to drive?

This is especially the case when there is only one main driver in the group, and it's based on the attitude of the driver rather than their passengers! The main driver may also simply prefer to use public transport, or they may prefer to take scenic train journeys where available.

Should we rent a car in Antwerp if we are easy either way?

This is more aimed at the typical visitor who isn't that bothered about how they get around, as long as it is the most convenient / best value option.

Should I rent a car in Antwerp if I prefer to drive?

For people who usually prefer the freedom and flexibility of having a hire car. Is it still best to rent a car in Antwerp, or are there good reasons not to?

If Bruges represents chocolate box cuteness, together with the summer hordes that go with it, and if Brussels represents all the pomposity that goes with having that extra special kind of capital city feeling, then if almost by default, the massively underrated charm of Belgium is perhaps best represented in cities like Antwerp.

Do you need a car in ? Introduction

When someone asks "Do you need a car in ?", this often breaks down to two key questions:

  1. Can you actually get around using public transport, or is a car all but essential?
  2. Is it worth hiring a car in ? Is it good value for money, compared with non-car options?

Over the next few sections, we wil look at the pros and cons of driving in as a tourist, and ultimately weigh these up, so we can answer the key question of Should you rent a car in ?

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

So what particular delights await the visit the first-time visitor to Antwerp? What about that key question of getting around?

Why should you rent a car in Antwerp?

What are the main reasons for hiring a car here? Do you just want to drive locally? Do you want to go further afield, or should you even look at taking a road trip? In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Antwerp?

Reasons why you might need a car in Antwerp

  • In all honesty, we can’t think of any particular reason for wanting to rent a car in Antwerp. If this is your first point of arrival on a brief city break, you’ll do fine without one.
  • Congestion in Antwerp is a problem, as it is in any other city of this size. A car can still be useful for visiting smaller towns and villages outside the city.

That’s not to say that Belgium is a particularly bad place to want to drive a car. Driving conditions are very similar to any other northern European country. It’s simply that if you do want to do a driving tour around Belgium, then it’s much more likely that you’ll be flying into Brussels in the first place. Failing that, you’ll be coming with your own car anyway!

Arriving by train or plane?

If you are coming into Belgium by train, you are probably still more likely to be connecting through Brussels for that as well. There’s little point in changing again to reach Antwerp, when you could pick up a rental car in Brussels Midi Station.

Needless to say, with the airport in Antwerp being well connected to the national road network, you won’t find any problem renting a car here. Since it’s a much smaller facility, the range of available cars is unsurprisingly much smaller than you will find at Brussels National Airport. National airport is still less than one hour by car away from Antwerp.

If you are arriving by train, then car-rental facilities are available at Antwerp Central Station. However, you will be dealing with an even smaller choice than you will find at the airport.

Arriving from Brussels?

Belgium is one of Europe’s most densely populated countries, and it has a well developed commuter rail network. This is particularly geared up for commuting in and out of Brussels. It’s also good for other major cities. Some of the more rural connections are a great deal slower. They are also considerably less frequent than the Brussels shuttles.

For more general suggestions on driving in Belgium, please see our Brussels car hire advice page.

Why should you rent a car in Antwerp?

What are the main reasons for hiring a car here? Do you just want to drive locally? Do you want to go further afield, or should you even look at taking a road trip? In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Antwerp?

Reasons for visiting Antwerp without a car

  • By far and away the biggest appeal of visiting Antwerp without a car is the sheer delight of visiting the city itself.
  • If you are flying into Antwerp’s small city airport, then it’s only a very short bus or taxi ride into the city centre.
  • This advice is written on the general assumption that you are arriving by train, since this is much more likely here.
  • In an historic city where through traffic is limited, driving around narrow streets in a hire car doesn’t really make much sense.

Is this Europe’s finest station?

Railway stations in many cities are simply mundane and functional places. The triple deck Antwerp Central is an entirely different matter altogether! Following the construction of the new railway tunnel which allows high-speed north to south trains to pass directly through the city, the station is now rated by many rail pundits as being amongst the finest in Europe, if not the world.

If, like many passengers, you are arriving here either via Brussels or via Rotterdam in the Netherlands, then you will alight at the lowest level of this vast cavernous station. You then proceed upwards through to the dramatic Beaux Arts main hall. You may or may not recognise from various flash mob YouTube videos.

Getting Around Locally

  • The best means of getting around the city is to hire one of the ubiquitous Raleigh chopper type bicycles.
  • Even if you don’t consider yourself a particularly confident cyclist on the streets of a city like London or New York, then Antwerp is quite different.
  • Antwerp might be one small step below Dutch standards, but there are plenty of designated cycle paths.
  • Historic central streets have extensive limitations on through traffic, putting the city giant leaps ahead of typical North American or British cities.
  • The street design also makes walking a delight in Antwerp.
  • You can also pick up a tram at Central Station to go to most parts of the city.
  • Take tram 6 to Luchtbal to visit the striking new Port House, one of the last buildings designed by the late architect Zaha Hadid.

Just how Central?

Don’t be deceived by the name – Great Market Square (Grote Markt) is still around a mile / 1.7 kilometres away from the central station, but it still makes for a perfectly pleasant walk.

If you do decide to pick up a rental car at Antwerp station, then the chances are that you will just be driving it into a parking garage. You’ll then leave it there as you explore the city on foot. If you just want to hire a car in Antwerp for a day or two, then this might make a lot more sense than having one for the whole duration of your stay. That way you are cutting down on rental and parking costs – a natural win-win in a city that is so well connected.

Beyond Antwerp by public transport

Even if a hire car might be useful for having the flexibility to drive to smaller towns and villages beyond Antwerp, it is still by no means essential.

Local trains and buses will still take you where you want to go, and they aren’t just useful for travel within Belgium. Why not also consider popping across the border into the Netherlands. In particular, why not visit the massively misunderstood and underrated gem that is Rotterdam? Cross-border driving in a rental car from Antwerp shouldn’t be a problem, but always check the small print first. Rotterdam was so extensively rebuilt in the post-war motor age, but it’s far nicer just to pop across their by train and then pick up a rental bike in Rotterdam central station.

The same applies to almost any other Belgian town as well. If it’s large enough to have a manned station, then there’s a pretty good chance it will have bike rental as well.


Our slider ratings range from 0 (it isn't even possible to hire a car, e.g. Hong Kong) through to 10 (you really must rent a car here, e.g. Phoenix, Tampa). However, most places are somewhere inbetween these extremes, and this is where it gets more interesting! Further ratings breakdowns, including a much more detailed public transport rating, are currently being added. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.


What is our final score for Antwerp on the Carornocar scale?

Remember, this isn't so much a rating of the road network, or a score for what we think of the buses or trains, but it's simply a scale showing the swing between whether or not we think a rental car is a good idea here.


So, do you need a car in Antwerp? Based on specifically arriving direct into Antwerp by air or rail, then our advice here is about as clear as it can be: Antwerp is very much a destination where you are better off using public transport or hiring a bike. The same goes for most of the places you might want to visit nearby.

It’s also somewhere that you’ll be perfectly happy getting around using nothing other than your own two feet, with or without pedals.

This makes the overall Carornocar verdict a very strong no.

Would you hire a car in Antwerp?

Have you driven in Antwerp? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Antwerp}? Do you need a car in Antwerp? For some or all of the time? Tell us what you think using the comments section below:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *