Antwerp is known as the “Paris of Belgium”, an intriguing mix of cosmopolitan energy, high fashion and Baroque-influenced culture. Some of Europe’s most acclaimed fashion designers have put Antwerp on the haute-couture map, complemented by a diamond industry showcased in the Diamantwijk showroom. From cafe-lined cobblestone streets to medieval museums and pop-art galleries, Antwerp appeals to visitors from all walks of life.
Things to do in Antwerp
The central gathering spot of Grote Markt Square gives a glimpse of Antwerp’s legendary past, highlighted by the Baroque Brabo Fountain, towering guildhalls and Renaissance-style stadhuis town hall built in the 1500s. Take a stroll past the grand Cathedral of Our Lady to reach Vlaeykensgang lane, filled with centuries-old stone cottages and the Axel Vervoordt Gallery, a centre for contemporary art. Take the urban art-spotting challenge of finding comic-culture murals splashed on city walls near Groenplaats, Oever plaza and the ultra-hip Zuid district.
Like most cities in Belgium, Antwerp embraces the native beer-and-cheese culture made famous by local brewers such as De Koninck Brewery. Get hands-on at the 10 interactive brewery rooms, where you can take a 90-minute tour and sample fresh Van Tricht cheeses.
Shopping in Antwerp is segmented into several major districts, including the Historic City Centre, Meir, Quartier Latin and the Fashion District. Be sure to visit Museum Plantin-Moretus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, harbours the world’s oldest printing presses and collections from 16th-century printers.
Getting around Antwerp
Antwerp’s central railway station is a connecting point for travellers all over the city. Taxis congregate outside the station as well as at Groenplaats and on Koningin Astridplein. Buses, trams and underground trams, known as premetro, operate late into the evening, with one ticket covering all lines.