Enterovirus 71 (EV-71) is the main etiological agent of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD). Recent EV-71 outbreaks in Asia-Pacific were not limited to mild HFMD, but were associated with severe neurological complications such as aseptic meningitis and brainstem encephalitis, which may lead to cardiopulmonary failure and death. The absence of licensed therapeutics for clinical use has intensified research into anti-EV-71 development. This review highlights the potential antiviral agents targeting EV-71 attachment, entry, uncoating, translation, polyprotein processing, virus-induced formation of membranous RNA replication complexes, and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. The strategies for antiviral development include target-based synthetic compounds, anti-rhinovirus and poliovirus libraries screening, and natural compound libraries screening. Growing knowledge of the EV-71 life cycle will lead to successful development of antivirals. The continued effort to develop antiviral agents for treatment is crucial in the absence of a vaccine. The coupling of antivirals with an effective vaccine will accelerate eradication of the disease.