8 Best Sights in Willemstad, Curaçao

Art Cave Francis Sling

Fodor's choice

Local artist Francis Sling is a man of many talents---painter, outdoor muralist, sculptor, musician, and poet. He documents his creative journeys in videos and online multimedia presentations to help you follow his process; his most famous installation in Scharloo was the building-wide mural he created on his own home. His passion to bring more creativity to his neighborhood also spawned local group Street Art Skalo who is now turning the bario into a little Wynwood (Miami) with their own outdoor art---the group was invited to the Miami art festival to create their own mural tribute to their island home. You'll recognize Sling's inimitable style popping up all over Curacao, but now he has a permanent gallery where you can purchase his art, and if you're lucky, watch the artist at work. 

Cathedral of Thorns

Fodor's choice

This surreal, building-sized art installation was painstakingly (and literally) created out of some 30 million thorns over a five-year period by award-winning artist Herman van Bergen. Each section is dedicated to a world religion; the nooks and crannies contain a rotating series of art objects by guest artists. It’s on the grounds of Landhuis Bloemhof (a museum, art gallery, and historic plantation), but it can be visited on its own, and special cultural and musical events are often held there. It’s an incredible sight when illuminated at night but just as impressive to see up close during the day.    Wear sturdy shoes, errant thorns can pierce your flip-flops!

Pietermaai District

Fodor's choice
An incredible transformation has taken place in this historic district over the past few years; it has morphed from a decrepit neighborhood to a colorful seat of culture and happenings. New boutique hotels, fine dining, and trendy cafés have taken hold in restored mansions and new enclaves. It has its own security force and designated community organization, which hosts many special events and artistic projects. Hosted photo walks are also offered with a side of history.

Recommended Fodor's Video

Children's Museum Curacao

This museum's hands-on, interactive, and multisensory exhibits—indoors and out—cover several educational themes, including nature, language, culture, and arts. Special seasonal events are held throughout the year.  School groups often visit in the mornings, so plan your visit post-lunch for better access to the experiences.

Floating Market

Originally called the floating market because it was made up of dozens of Venezuelan schooners, the market has morphed into a more stationary local farmer’s market with the majority of stalls crammed tightly together on terra firma. Though there are still some South American fishing boats selling the catch for the day, most of the wares are fresh fruit and produce and the vibe is lively and fun. Get there early morning for the best and freshest finds.

Plasa Bieuw (Old Market)


The Old Market is a popular lunch stop for locals working downtown. Visitors also appreciate the hearty, simple authentic fare and good prices. Enjoy such Curaçaoan specialties as funchi (polenta), goat stew, fried fish, stewed okra, fried plantains, and rice and peas—all prepared right in front of your eyes in open kitchens by local cooks.



The Wilhelmina Drawbridge connects Punda with the once-flourishing district of Scharloo where the early Jewish merchants built stately homes. It was a tight-knit community and the architecture along Scharlooweg (much of it from the 17th century) is magnificent. Some of the neighborhood has been restored as part of the UNESCO heritage site and the Curaçao Monuments Foundation will be restoring more old mansions in the future. This neighborhood is also home to the island's most photographed building, a light-green mansion dubbed the "Wedding Cake House" since it looks like it's been frosted with white icing. Kleine Werf—the little wharf cresting Scharloo—has now become a venue for large-scale outdoor concerts. New nightlife corners such as District 1850 are popping up there as well .

The Curaçao Museum (Het Curacaosch Museum)


Housed in a restored 1853 plantation house that later served as a military hospital, this small museum is filled with artifacts, paintings, and antiques that trace island history. This is also a venue for domestic and international art exhibitions, and there's a sculpture garden that features work by local artists.