Holidays to Antwerp
It’s the world’s leading diamond city and the capital of European cool. Holidays in Antwerp in northern Belgium attract an eclectic mix of people, from party people to art lovers. Seventy percent of all the diamonds in the world are traded in Antwerp, and there is also a thriving fashion industry. The historic city centre is a reminder of Antwerp’s powerful past, while the economic centre is a current major player in Europe. The creative buzz of Antwerp from the young community of artists, writers, intellectuals and actors is reflected in the abundance of trendy bars and boutiques.
Taking a walking tour is a good way to start your Antwerp holiday, and many are available for free. The medieval maze at the heart of the city is home to winding cobbled lanes and an imposing riverside fortress. This is where you will also find the Gothic Cathedral of Our Lady, with its striking spire and late-Baroque ornamentation. Inside, there are also four canvases by Rubens, one of the city’s proudest alumni. Cross the river via the 572-metre Sint-Annatunnel, featuring exquisite original 1930s tiling and escalators, to get a unique view of the city centre. For the best shopping in the city, check out the Meir, one of the most famous shopping streets in Belgium, where exclusive stores and interesting boutiques rub shoulders.
Arts and culture
The artistic culture of Antwerp is strongly rooted in the city’s history, but innovative artists are building on this legacy all the time. All holidays to Antwerp should include at least a little culture. The riverside MAS complex is a palatial museum-gallery, with ten floors of big ideas explored through various mediums and art forms. The Museum Plantin-Moretus is also worth a visit, as much for the painting collection and stunning architecture as for its fascinating insight into the world’s first industrial printing press. A diverse range of theatres and music venues ensure there is something for every taste.
Nightlife and entertainment
Almost every cuisine is on offer in the centre of Antwerp, with plenty of options to suit every budget. From cheap eats in Chinatown to fine dining in an old theatre, eating out in Antwerp is often a unique and surprising activity. Vegetarians will feel welcome, with many dedicated vegetarian and vegan restaurants and a vegetarian option on almost every menu.
Antwerp has the highest number of pubs per capita of any city in the world, so you are never far from a cosy and traditional pub or a chic, modern bar. Thanks to its young population, the city is also well-appointed with late night venues. Be sure to head to Petrol for a trendy night or to IKON for an exclusive feel and world-famous DJs.