22 Jul Antwerp – Diamond Capital
Welcome to Antwerp
Situated in Belgium’s Flemish region, Antwerp Diamond is known for being a powerhouse in the diamond industry and its historic harbour. While you cannot tell from looking at it now, the city was once an essential stop on the Spanish Road – a trade route connecting Spain and the Low Countries. Today, diamond capital Belgium is one of the largest cities and an excellent destination for art lovers and history buffs.
We remember our first trip to the gorgeous city of Antwerp; from the moment we arrived, how we fell in love with the town. The cobbled streets, the riverfront, the Cathedral – everything about it called us. We spent days wandering through the city, taking it all in, and we adored the beautiful architecture, the fantastic food, and the friendly people.
How to Get There
There are a few ways to get to Antwerp: fly to the airport, take a train, or drive. The airport is about 10 miles outside Antwerp if you’re flying in. Several bus and train options will take you to the city centre. The train is a little faster, but the bus will drop you off closer to the city.
For those who want to take the train, there are a few main train stations in Antwerp – namely, Centraal Station, Antwerpen-Luchtbal, Antwerpen-Centraal and Berchem Station. Be sure to get off at the right station! Centraal Station is centrally located and closer to most tourist attractions, while Berchem Station is further out and primarily suburban trains.
Places of Interest
As mentioned earlier, Antwerp is home to one of Europe’s busiest railway stations, the Antwerpen-Centraal. The majestic Art Deco structure, built in the 1930s, welcomes around 190,000 passengers daily. It is also a world-renowned tourist attraction, featuring a large open square with a beautiful stained-glass ceiling and several restaurants.
You should also visit The Cathedral of Our Lady, often called the Antwerp Cathedral. It’s a Roman Catholic Cathedral consecrated in 1521 with beautiful Gothic architecture decorated with stunning stained-glass windows. Upon entering, be inspired by magnificent works of art by masters such as Peter Paul Rubens and Jheronimus Bosch. It also contains several critical religious relics, including a piece of the cross on which Jesus was crucified.
Another popular attraction is Antwerp’s Great Market Square or the Grote Markt. Ornate guildhalls surround the square, and in the centre, you’ll find a towering statue of Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck – two of the city’s most famous historical figures. The Grote Markt is also home to several festivals and events, and if you’re feeling hungry, there is no shortage of great restaurants and cafes around the square.
If you want to learn the history of Antwerp, the Museum an de Stroom is a must-see in your Antwerp visit. It’s home to an extensive collection of paintings, sculptures, and other works from the 16th century to the present day. We would recommend going to the great rooftop while you’re here. The views of the cityscape and the river are spectacular.
The Rubenshuis is another noteworthy attraction in Antwerp. It’s the house where Peter Paul Rubens lived and worked for most of his life. We were pretty mesmerized by the beautiful paintings by the master himself. Plus, the architecture of the building is unique.
Where To Stay
One of the 5-star hotels in Antwerp we recommend is the Raphael Suites by Smartflats. It’s a short distance from the city centre and has all the amenities you could need, from Wi-Fi to a kitchenette. Plus, a grocery store is just around the corner, so you can easily stock up on snacks and drinks.
Another luxurious accommodation for travellers is the Hilton Antwerp Old Town, a 4-star hotel in Antwerp located at the heart of the historic place. The rooms and suites are spacious and elegantly appointed, with all the modern amenities. If you want to dine in style during your stay, the hotel’s on-site restaurant offers an exquisite dining experience.
The Astoria Hotel Antwerp is also an excellent place to stay while visiting this beautiful Belgian city. his 3-star hotel in Antwerp is perfect for business or leisure travellers, located within walking distance of all the main sights. You can easily reach some of the best shops, restaurants, and transportation while you explore the city.
Where To Eat
There are many places to eat in Antwerp, depending on your taste. From Michelin-starred restaurants to ethnic eateries, there’s always something for everyone.
One of our favourites is The Hard Rock Cafe, a fantastic eatery with a great atmosphere, featuring elegance, history and memorabilia.
Invincible also offers a delicious and unique dining experience. The restaurant is nestled in a beautifully restored 16th-century mansion, featuring creative dishes made with fresh, seasonal ingredients. They also have a great wine list – perfect for oenophiles like us!
For the lovers of fries, Frites Atelier is waiting for you!
Indulge in delicious Belgian fries, mussels and steak or try the Waterzooi (a traditional chicken stew) or the Boerenkoolstamppot(mashed potato with kale). And, of course, if you have room for dessert, you should not miss their Belgian waffles!
Have a sweet tooth? Look no further than Chocolate Nation. This Antwerp institution offers some of the best chocolates in the world, with 100 different flavours. Also, try the signature “I love chocolate” drink- a delicious mix of hot chocolate and whipped cream. Heavenly!
Antwerp is an excellent option worth visiting if you want a little bit of everything. It’s got history, culture, art, and all the modern amenities. From its world-famous Diamond District to the lively bars and restaurants, you can never go wrong in adding this vibrant diamond capital Belgium to your next off-the-beaten-path European vacation!
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