This beautiful city in Belgium is home not only to the largest port in the country but also home to some amazing sights and sounds. The European city has a lot to offer – architecture, history, art, jewellery, fashion, food and other endless charms.
If you’re travelling to Antwerp, here are some of the things you absolutely must experience:
Central Station, Antwerp
No list of travel suggestions in Antwerp ever omits the Central Station. Its imposing gothic exterior and its massive main hall will forever change how you feel about train travel. In fact, this station is one of the most iconic and gorgeous ones of its kind anywhere in the world. Don’t be fooled by its old-looking façade – this is a station that’s well-equipped to handle the pressures of modern day travel.
The old town side of Antwerp is home to spectacular buildings, including the Grand Place, or Grote Markt. This building forms the nucleus of this region that abounds with various guild houses. Grote Markt however, comes with its own town hall as well. There’s a lot to see inside – priceless 19th century paintings for one. Outside, the impressive Brabo Fountain draws the eyes and mind. While you’re here, go visit the other guild houses too, including the Folk Museum.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a tribute to the history of the printing press – it used to be a printing press in its early days. A museum for over a century, it houses precious works of art, immensely important books and prints, all of it housed in a fabulous building. Make sure you gaze upon the splendid Gutenberg Bible, a marvel like not much else.
Go not just for the animals (which are amazing and well looked after) but because of the buildings. Art Deco greets visitors at the entrance, and the buildings that house the animals are sights worth visiting by themselves. This zoo is one of the oldest in the world and has been in existence since 1843. You can spend an entire day looking at and learning about the over 900 species of animals that call the zoo, home.
Antwerp is also known as the ‘diamond capital of the world,’ and it’s not hard to see why. After all, diamonds have never been too far away from the growing economy of the nation. Antwerp is also the biggest diamond district in the world. The district is right next to the Central Station and close to the Zoo. The District is geared for shoppers, comes as it does, equipped with bars, pubs and restaurants. The Diamond Square Mile, as it’s popularly known, is a melting-pot of countries and people, all involved in finding the perfect stone. Most of them will at least buy a 1 carat diamond when they are here as a souvenir rather than the usual fridge magnets and key chains.
Cathedral of Our Lady
Antwerp is home to the largest Gothic church in the country. The Cathedral work went on for close to two centuries, (1352-1521) and didn’t stop even then. Restorations and repair work continued well into the 1980s. From the stonework on the outside to the art on the aisles and the nave, this is an artistic place of worship.
From other museums to famous residences, tours of the port and trips to the parks, Antwerp offers many hours of enjoyment and awe.