World’s leading Diamond capital, Belgium’s biggest port and an exemplary of opulent guild houses – Antwerp has allured tourists, fashionistas and art lovers alike. Brussels the Belgium capital has a good frequency of trains to Antwerp with a travel time of around 40 mins. The Belgian city will bewitch you with its charm as soon as you disembark at the train station.
One of the world’s most beautiful train stations the central station of Antwerp has a sumptuously decorated interior as well its neo-Gothic facade with a colossal dome. The station has three levels of tracks and a shopping arcade with a plethora of diamond shops.
Exit to the west of the central station and stroll through the popular Diamond district to be overwhelmed by the abundance of diamond shops. Antwerp being the largest trader of diamonds is the heart of the diamond industry.
Meir is the main shopping street lined with buildings with elaborate architecture most of which were built by wealthy merchants who once ruled the diamond district. Fashion brands and designers’ boutiques are accommodated in the architectural charm of the Rococo-styled historic buildings. The trendy shops and cafes and the grandiose of the buildings make the shopping a splendid experience.
Groenplaats once Antwerp’s main cemetery is today a lively square popular with tourists and locals for the outdoor cafes and is dominated by the statue of famous Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens with magnificent Cathedral of Our Lady in the background.
Pieter Appelmans Monument
On the way to the church entrance from Groenplaats, one can find the monument of Pieter Appelmans which is dedicated to the architect and builders who build the imposing Cathedral of Our Lady.
Rising through the city’s skyline is the Cathedral of Our Lady. The Roman Catholic cathedral from 16th-century with remarkable exterior houses some of the exceptional artworks and stained glass windows.
Located in the heart of the city is the popular town square Grote Markt (“Great Market Square”) surrounded by many exuberantly decorated guildhalls from 16th-century.
Antwerp City Hall
Build in the Flemish Renaissance style is the Majestic 16th-century City Hall. The facade is bedecked with 87 flags that represent countries that are a member of the European Union and interior with famous paintings.
The gorgeous statue of Brabo fountain dominates the square. Brabo is believed to be the legend who slayed the hand of the giant who charged excessive tolls to those wanting to enter the city by water. The statue depicts him throwing the giant’s hand into the river Scheldte.
The quaint cobblestoned alleys around Grote Markt have some of the great Cafe and ice cream shops where a stop is definitely recommended to devour on some local specialities waffles, chocolates, fries and ice creams.
Antwerp is Belgium’s largest and Europe’s second-largest port. Take a walk along the waterfront for wonderful views of the harbour and the Scheldt river.
Het Steen Castle
Het Steen is a medieval fortress that stands on the bank of the Scheldt river and once served as the gateway to the city.
Have you been to Antwerp? Which is your favorite part of the wonderful port city? Do share with us in comments.
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