- Location: In northern Belgium
- Attraction Type: Historic City
- Significance: Second largest port of Europe; largest diamond market of Europe
- Best Time to Visit: May to October
- How to Reach: By flights from London, Manchester, Liverpool, and Jersey in UK; Alternatively by train from France and Netherlands or by Eurolines bus from all of Europe
- Nearest International Airport: Antwerp Airport
Antwerp city in Belgium to describe in two words is ‘totally adorable’. With streets virtually paved with diamonds, vibrant fashion shows, buoyant cafíé culture, and unmistakable art forms Antwerp port has a sublime eternal appeal which makes it one of the most tempting destinations in Europe.
Antwerp, the most dynamic representation of all Belgian cities, handles 50% of all diamond trade of the world. This Flanders city in northern Belgium has an envious heritage of historical buildings built over seven centuries from 13th till the 19th. From imperious structures to pedestrian only shopping avenues, unworldly beer served from 1600 pubs, and more than 800 restaurants specializing in the choicest cuisine from all parts of the world, Antwerp is outright irrepressible.
Begin your Antwerp tour with a visit to Steen Castle, the oldest building of this port city dating back to 1200. Antwerp Cathedral of Our Lady a masterpiece in Gothic architecture and lace work dominates the entire skyline of this city. Rubens Museum, the palatial house of iconic artist Peter Paul Rubens where he lived and worked from 1616 to 1640 is another illustrious place to visit. The City Hall, a fantastic edifice in Renaissance architecture was constructed between 1587 and 1561. Plantin Moretus Museum, dedicated to printing is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a worthwhile visit.
At Zurenborg District you would be stupefied by the unbelievable architectural forms of different buildings. Buildings in neo-Gothic, neo-Classicist, neo-Renaissance, and Antwerp’s endemic Art Nouveau styles gloriously exist all together. The Diamond District and Antwerp Diamond Exchange are the must visits on a Antwerp tour.
Antwerp remains active throughout the year with fashion, music, film, and art festivals. There is not a single month when there is no large scale event being held in Antwerp city. Fashion shows are a regular feature of this city. Many internationally acclaimed fashion designers have their boutiques from where you might buy dress materials of your choice. Dries van Noten and Walter van Beirendock are some such designers. Armani, Cartier, Scapa, Harmai et al have their outlets in Meir, the main shopping area in Antwerp.
You could never escape the tempting nightlife of Antwerp. At Sportapaleis concerts and performances are held through out the year. Leonard Cohen, Lenny Kravitz, Anastasia, James Last, and Neil Young all perform here. De Muze is a jazz cafíé well known for its relaxed ambiance and typical Belgian beer. Noxx and Petrol are the most happening clubs with lively music played every evening.
Staying in Antwerp
While visiting Antwerp in Belgium you could choose your accommodation as per your preferences and budgets. Among the high end hotels there are Radisson SAS Park Lane Hotel, Ramada Plaza Antwerp, Scandic Hotel, Prinse Hotel, and De Keyser Hotel. Among the mid range value hotels you might select from Novotel, Alfa Empire, Best Western Docklands Hotel, and Park Inn Antwerpen. For budget accommodation you could select from Antwerp Mabuhay Lodging, Ibis Hotel Antwerpen Centrum, Acoutel, Elzenveld, and Vogelzang Camping.
Food in Antwerp
Beer locally termed ‘bolleke’ is the favorite drink of Antwerp inhabitants. ‘Elixir d’Anvers, a plant based liquor is a specialty of this city. Chocolates and little biscuits in the shape of hands, called ‘Antwerpse handjes’, is a savory you must have in Antwerp. In this Belgian city you might taste cuisines from all parts of the globe. Sombat specializes in Thai recipes, while Da Giovani is a specialty Italian restaurant. For kebabs, Wok & Tandoor is the best place, whereas Tropicos serves exceptional Latin American cuisine.