The Belgium city of Antwerp is one of the biggest port cities in the world and the capital of cool fashion, art and clubs. The city dates back to the Middle Ages, with many towering cathedrals and quaint cobblestone streets to explore. It is perhaps best known for its centuries old Diamond District at its centre where literally thousands of diamond traders and cutters reside.
Sights to See
If you love art, architecture or history – or all three – you can’t go past the Museum Plantin-Moretus, which is a Unesco World Heritage building. This medieval building has been a museum since 1876 and houses the world’s oldest printing press, priceless manuscripts and a library from 1640 to name just a few gems.
The Antwerpen-Centraal train station, built in 1905, is one of the city’s great landmarks and is considered one of the world’s most beautiful stations.
If fashion and shopping is your thing then you’ll love the gorgeous Stadsfeestzaal shopping centre, fitted with a grand marble staircase, gilded facades, gold-leaf detailing, a mosaic floor and huge glass dome.
What’s For Lunch
Belgians are very proud of their frites – fancy potato fries – and maintain that it was indeed them, and not the French, that invented them. You can’t leave Belgium without trying them for yourself at a classy frites cafe such as Café Haute Friture.
If You Only See One Thing
One of the symbols of Antwerp is the gothic-style Antwerp Cathedral. More than just towering spires and stained glass, this cathedral houses the paintings ‘The Descent from the Cross’ and ‘The Elevation of the Cross’ by Rubens – Antwerp’s most famous and beloved architect and artist.
Those in south Belgium speak French while those in the north (like Antwerp) speak Dutch. If you need a little help on your travels, try Spreekt u Engels – do you speak English?
Belgium is famous for its delicious chocolate that it exports around the world. Buy the best from the famous chocolatier Pierre Marcolini, a chocolate perfectionist who selects his own cacao beans and travels the globe to discover the best spices to combine.