The 7 Must-See Attractions of Willemstad

The 7 Must-See Attractions of Willemstad

Article written by Jessica Gallant

Welcome to Willemstad, the vibrant and picturesque capital city of the island of Curacao! This Caribbean destination is an inspiring blend of Dutch heritage, stunning architecture, and an explosion of colors that will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a real-life painting. Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, or someone looking to connect further with the local culture, Willemstad has something for everyone.

The Architecture

As you stroll through Willemstad’s streets, you’ll be captivated by its stunning architecture. Influenced by Dutch colonial concepts and the different regions of the Caribbean, this UNESCO World Heritage Site showcases a rainbow of bright colors. Make sure to capture a memorable selfie in front of the iconic “Handelskade” waterfront for a truly picture-perfect postcard moment.

The Street Art

Willemstad is a canvas of creativity, with meaningful street art adorning walls throughout the city, from Scharloo to Punda and Otrobanda. Be sure to capture an Insta-worthy picture at the colorful steps in Otrobanda, designed with flamboyant geometric patterns, and keep an eye out for the murals that narrate rich stories of culture, history, and the enduring spirit of Curacao.

The Floating Market

After being closed for 4 years, you can now once again savor Caribbean and South American flavors at the Floating Market! Since May 2023, boats from neighboring Venezuela have been docking to offer fresh fruits and vegetables, while locals provide fresh fish and souvenirs. Sample tropical delights such as luscious mangoes and sweet pineapples while getting a unique glimpse into the island’s culture and trade connections.

The Queens’ Bridges

Connecting Punda and Otrobanda, the iconic Queen Emma Bridge, the “Swinging Old Lady,” is one of the most important attractions of the island. This pedestrian pontoon bridge swings open for ships, becoming a floating sensation. Next to it, the Queen Juliana Bridge rises above St. Anna Bay, freshly painted in vibrant flag colors, proudly shining once again. Not only does it offer a convenient route for vehicles but also provides breathtaking panoramic views of both sides of Willemstad.

The Curacao and Dushi Signs

No trip to Curacao would be complete without a stop at the “Curacao” sign! Located at Wilhelminaplein, this sign is perfect for fun souvenir pictures. Right next to it, you can also

discover the “Dushi” sign, a charming Papiamento term meaning ‘sweet’ or ‘nice,’ beautifully embodying the warm and friendly spirit of Curacao.

The Historic Forts

Explore Renaissance Mall & Rif Fort, a 19th-century fort where you can browse boutiques for souvenirs, enjoy a meal, or simply soak in the historical atmosphere. You could also visit the important Fort Amsterdam to get a look at where the government sits and where the first church on the island was built.

Punda Love Heart

Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or exploring Curacao with a loved one, you can lock your love at one of the heart-shaped structures in Punda. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima even hung their own lock during their stay on the island in February 2023. Would you be able to find it?

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