Antwerp is not only the biggest port of Belgium and its second city. It became a trendy, original and Europeanly beautiful stop for everyone’s travel itinerary. Fashion, art, diamonds and modern hype are only some of the aspects that define it. Take a look at our suggestions on how to discover Antwerp.
Venerable history of Europe makes a lot of regional train stations remarkably beautiful. However, Antwerp Central Station deserves a separate attention as it is perhaps one of the most alluring ones that you have ever seen. Its graceful architecture can be rather associate with a monumental opera house or basilica rather than a departure point. Therefore, we would strongly recommend you to grab a cup of coffee and spend few hours in the station simply gazing at its refined architecture and imagining glorious times of romantic railway travel.
Secondly, we would really advise you to spend few hours in the Antwerp Zoo. It is acknowledged as one of the oldest and best-known zoos in Europe! However, it is not without a reason. It has over 950 different species with a total of 5000 animals that are taken care of in exceptional conditions. As a result, Antwerp Zoo is a perfect option for a relaxing walk with your beloved one or kids.
Grote Markt is Antwerp’s main square and it represents a perfect example of European traditional architecture. Delightful small buildings look like traditional gingerbread houses on a Christmas dinner table, whereas its 16th-century city hall has a vast history to retell for attentive travellers.
Moreover, on the Grote Markt, you can find a Brabo fountain, which has an interesting legend. According to an old Belgian legend, two thousand years ago, a giant Druon Antigoon has built a large castle on the river Scheldt. Every passing ship had to hand over a toll. However, the giant would cut off the hands from every sailor who was unable or unwilling to give away half of their cargo. One day a Roman soldier Silvius Brabo sailed to the castle and refused to pay, challenging Antigoon to a duel. Silvius Brabo has won the battle, whereas cut off hand became one of its iconic symbols. In fact, in Antwerp, you can find a local chocolate delicacy ‘handje’ created in the shape of a hand to commemorate this legend.
For another stop of admirable city architecture, we would suggest making a stop near the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp. The fine gothic building is not similar to other cathedrals due to its asymmetrical look and throughout the ages, it remains to be a gem of this Belgian destination.
As we speak about glorious city’s artistic heritage we must place Rubens house on the itinerary. Besides a permanent presentation of Rubens work in the gallery, you can also admire temporary exhibitions and see with your own eyes masterpieces that became world famous examples of a great talent.
For many years Steen castle was a home to Maritime Museum, but once the collection was moved, it recovered its glorious past. Today Steen castle is the oldest building of Antwerp and a perfect destination for an entire family. Kids can enjoy the workshops organised in the castle, while parents can have a rest in its summer bar.
As we have mentioned before, Antwerp is a truly trendy city and it even has its own fashion museum MoMu. This museum is an iconic destination for all fashion lovers and with a new exposition opening twice a year it is bound to constantly impress. You can learn about a particular designer, admire a specific collection or learn a new aspect of fashion industry itself.
Royal Academy of Fine Arts
Perhaps MoMu museum or glorious architectural heritage of Antwerp will inspire you to visit or even take a course in the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. An institution that is famous for its notable alumni can motivate you to create your personal masterpieces.
In fact, academy even holds a story about the famous ‘Antwerp Six’. ‘Antwerp Six’ refers to a talented group of fashion designers who graduated from Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. It is thanks to them and their radical ideas made that Antwerp into a notable destination for fashion design.
Port of Antwerp
Port of Antwerp is the third-largest Seaport in Europe and the main one of Belgium. It can show you a relatively different side of the city. Making it not only an important artistic destination but actually a very important location for international trade. Therefore, Antwerp is not only a must visit destination for art lovers but also an important economic center of Belgium and one of the largest Diamond trade centers in the world.
Belgium is a democratic capital of Europe and therefore a home for numerous other cultures of the world. That is why we would suggest you spending some time in ethnic districts of Antwerp. In fact, one of the largest Belgian cities allows you to experience Brazilian, Jewish, Italian and many other cultures in one place. Therefore, you can evaluate how different cultures managed to adapt under Belgian system and how they influenced local development in exchange.
Antwerp is an amazing destination for travellers of different backgrounds and interest. Art, fashion, finance, and history are only some of the aspects that can define the city, yet each one of the travellers will discover his own Antwerp after the visit.