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. The good train connectivity from the Belgian capital Brussels to Antwerp and the good frequency of trains makes a day trip easy and convenient. Antwerp can easily be reached from Brussels with a travel time of around 40 mins. The Belgian city Antwerp 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.
Walk further to be amazed by the wonderful architecture of the buildings which house some of the popular brand boutiques. Statue of Flemish Painter David Teniers II stands facing the Antwerp station amidst the bustling square.
Diamond District Antwerp
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 Shopping Street
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 punctuated with remarkable sculptures make shopping a splendid experience.
Groenplaats and the Pieter Appelmans Monument
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. Walk past the square towards 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.
Cathedral of Our Lady Church
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 specialties waffles, chocolates, fries and ice creams. We found some more wonderful buildings at the end of the street.
Antwerp is Belgium’s largest and Europe’s second-largest port. Take a walk along the waterfront for wonderful views of the harbor and the Scheldt river. When we visited there was a Food Truck Festival being held along the waterfront.
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? What is your favorite part of this wonderful port city? Do share with us in comments.
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