A few days in Antwerp, Belgium
Most people considering visiting Belgium tend to stop by and visit the ever so popular Bruges and Brussels. However, you will find some (not so) hidden gems in the country, if you look close enough. The city of Antwerp is most definitely one of them.
Located along the shores of the Scheldt River, Antwerp is one of the oldest cities in Belgium, boasting origins that can be traced back to the Middle Ages. The long history of the city, as well as its urban geography and eclectic cultural background helped turned Antwerp into a charming and attractive destinations for tourists from all over the world.
The city’s intimate relationship with the arts can be traced back to the 1600s when the Royal Academy of Fine Arts was founded, leading to an ongoing reputation that rightfully portrays Antwerp as an artistic city. Such reputation lives on to this day, as the city is a cradle for avant-garde artists, music and more.
Antwerp is a relatively small city, which makes it a perfect candidate for a short visit. It’s possible to walk around the city and see a lot in a single day, so with a few days at your disposal, you should be able to experience the best of the city. We are here to help you with some tips and suggestions. Of course, no such guide could ever be complete, considering the many and diverse attractions the city offers. However, these are some of the fundamentals, as well as some of our favourite things to do in the city.
Hop on a train
Also known as the “Railway Cathedral”, Antwerp’s central station will certainly make for a stunning welcome to the city if you visit by train. It takes about 40 minutes to reach Antwerp from Brussels, so you can hop on a train from the capital for a quick tour of the town.
Get your art fix
As mentioned earlier, art plays a very important role and it is historically very deeply rooted within the social and cultural fabric of Antwerp. The city is home to many stunning museums, where you can admire paintings and visual art masterpieces from world-class masters. Among the best museums in the city, don’t miss the iconic M HKA, an institution with a fresh look on exciting and thought-provoking contemporary arts.
Along the lines of art, fashion is also a defining expression of the people of this city, and not only the younger generations. The local fashion academy attracts students from the whole world and it certainly raised the bar higher when it comes to the fashion offerings in this city. If you are a fashion enthusiast, you should check out the Graanmarkt 13, a haven for fashionistas and trendy visitors who are always on top of worldwide fashion waves.
Visit Grote Markt
This large and spacious square owes its name to its origins as a popular marketplace, not unlike many other main Belgian squares, which started out as street markets due to their ample spaces. Such squares moved from being meeting places for the people to becoming upper class neighborhoods through history. The area is now considered one of the most luxurious in the city, attracting the main tourist buzz with its monumental buildings, beautiful sculptures and interesting attractions. If you are looking to take home a classic piece of Antwerp, don’t miss one of the true hearts of the city.