When you hear the word Antwerp, only one word might come to mind: Diamonds. It is indeed the diamond capital of the world but there is much more to this charming city than precious stones. It is only 30 minutes away from Brussels and you are bound to experience an interesting cultural contrast fueled by breathtaking architecture, vibrant shopping, and delicious chocolate!
1- Museum Aan de Stroom – MAS Museum
Located in the most hipster and artsy district of Antwerp, this museum has become a landmark of the city and it is definitely a must see! Perfect for modern art lovers, its roof offers you a privileged panoramic view over the yacht harbor of the city. We went during sunset time and it was breathtaking. After your visit, you can have a coffee at Café Storm on the top of the Museum or simply have dinner or drinks in any of the cool restaurants and pubs around the neighborhood.Address: Hanzestedenplaats 12000 Antwerp tel. +32 3 338 44 00
Other museums in Antwerp:
- Red Star Line Museum Address: 3 Montevideostraat, 2000 Antwerp+32 3 298 27 70
- Rubenshuis Address: 9-11 Wapper, 2000 Antwerp+32 3 201 15 55
- ModeMuseum (MoMu)
2-Antwerp Central Station
It is the city’s main railway station and a piece of architectural art.Once you arrived there, you can understand why it is known as one of the most beautiful railway stations in the world. Its architectural mix and its impressive dome will leave you in total awe.
3-Grote Markt (Town Square)
In the center of the old town, you will find the city hall and the charming guild houses decorated at the top with gold statues. Here you will also find the Stadhuis, a beautiful 15th century Renaissance and Baroque building that is listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. In the middle of the square there is the Brabo Fountain paying tribute to the legend of Antwerp:
There used to be a cruel mythical giant named Druon Antigoon who guards the bridge on the Scheldt river (he asks for a toll for anyone who wants to cross the river; whoever refuses will have their hand cut and thrown into the river). One day, a young Roman soldier named Brabo, did not only kill Antigoon but he also cut off the giant’s hand and threw it to the river. This folklore is where the name of ‘Antwerp’ or ‘Antwerpen’ had originated from which means ‘hand werpen’ in Dutch with the word ‘werpen’ being similar to the Old English ‘wearpan’ which means ‘to throw’.
It is the main shopping street in Antwerp connecting the Antwerp City Hall and the Antwerp Central Station. You will find many local and international shops. You should not miss the Royal Palace, the Stadsfeestzaal, which is a glamorous shopping center hosting around 50 shops. Thanks to all these shops, the MoMu Antwerp’s Fashion Museum and the Antwerp Fashion Department of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, the city retains its reputation for being a fashion and shopping destination. A few minutes from Meir, you can reach the Antwerp’s diamond district, also known as the Diamond Quarter in case you want to do some jewelry shopping. Around this zone, you also have many restaurants, bars and cafes.
5- Eat chocolates, waffles, and Belgian fries
Once you are walking in the streets of Antwerp like in most of the cities in Belgium you can smell the chocolate coming out from all the little shops. They certainly have one of the best chocolate in the world. The waffles will take your breath away. Our advice is to try as many as you can and each time in a different place since the flavor and texture may differ from one place to another. Last but not least try the Belgian fries. We recommend you to try the Frituur No. 1 Address: Hoogstraat 1 | Old City Centre, Antwerp 2000, Belgium
6-Drink Belgian Beer
Belgium is known for having around 180 breweries around the Country. In 2016 the Unesco added the drink to its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. You will encounter wide arrays of tastes and colors in the many ‘brown cafes’ that the city offers. Each type/brand of beer has its own particular type and style of glass. It is said that using the right glass enhances the flavor. For a beer experience in Antwerp visit: De Koninck – Antwerp City Brewery.