Without a doubt, Antwerp is a beautiful city. It's the city of fashion, diamonds and boutique beers. You can’t help but notice that Antwerp is creative and relaxed, it almost feels like a village. It's almost impossible not to feel at home here.
Anvers, as the French-speaking Belgians say, is synonymous with warm-hearted hospitality. Antwerp is the ultimate city for foodies and gourmets, which goes much further than just having a drink at one of the many pavement cafes on the square, watching the world go by. Food and drink make a city trip complete. So, when you’re in Antwerp, be sure to make plenty of time for all the culinary delights this city has to offer: check out one of the many chocolate shops, taste Antwerp hands (traditional butter biscuits with almonds), order a ‘Bolleke’, one of Antwerp’s finest beers, and feast on a bag of big fat Flemish chips with mayonnaise.
Allow plenty of time to soak up Antwerp’s culture. There’s lots to see in the narrow streets of the old city. Historic houses with beautiful façades, bijou boutiques and plenty of old traditional bars. You’ll find the old market square (Grote Markt), here in the heart of the city. The magnificent City Hall (Stadhuis) dominates the square, but don’t forget to look up and around the square to admire the other old buildings with their characteristic stepped gables. Another reason for visiting the old city is to admire the imposing gothic Cathedral of Our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal) with its 123 m tower. It is not only a beautiful building, it also houses a treasure trove of magnificent art, including works by Rubens, one of the most famous Belgians. The Rubens House, where the artist lived and worked, is now a museum and is also located in this area.
Be sure to cross the road to the secret, charming passageway, Vlaeykensgang, in which you will find picturesque houses and courtyards dating from the Middle Ages. You can easily spend a whole day exploring Antwerp’s old town, so why not book a hotel so you can spend longer in the best part of Belgium's finest city.
Many would agree that Antwerp is one of the world’s best cities for shopping! You will find mostly well-known chains on Meir, Antwerp's famous shopping street. Be careful not to miss the narrow side streets so you can take a closer look at all of what historic Antwerp has to offer. Another building on Meir you should not pass by is the City Festival Hall (Stadsfeestzaal). Even if you don’t want to buy anything in there, it’s really worth going in just to view the inside of this neo-classical building which is more than a hundred years old. Remember to look up to admire the gigantic glass dome with gold leaf, it’s very impressive.
As its name implies, the Fashion Quarter is the creative fashion heart of the city. Here you will find Antwerp’s Fashion Museum (MoMu) which is home to a never-ending show of Belgian fashion. If you are looking for fashion for yourself, visit the Schuttershofstraat, and Hopland, the Kammenstraat and the Korte Gasthuisstraat; this is where many boutiques are located. But the smaller streets in this area are also full of lots of unique little shops. If you are planning a weekend in Antwerp and you want to go shopping too, bear in mind Antwerp’s shops are usually closed on Sundays, except the first Sunday of the month, when they open in the afternoons.
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Note! The centre of Antwerp is designated as a so-called low emission zone (LEZ). Check here whether your vehicle is permitted to enter the LEZ or whether you need to register your vehicle and/or purchase a low emission zone ticket.