This Neo-baroque court station was built under the orders of Leopold II. Its elegant lobby and marble stairs make it a very glamorous station. I was impressed when I got off the train, but was a little disappointed by the construction that was happening once I went outside, so I missed out on the exterior. It's right next to the diamond district and the zoo, and a 10 minute walk to downtown.
Like Antwerp and Bruges, I fell in love at first sight. It is a beautiful town, with the melancholy from the medieval centuries. It has great spaces and extraordinary posts, where you can imagine yourself in a long dress with a shawl covering your shoulders. Both are Central European cities that you must visit.
Without doubt, this is one of the most imposing buildings in Antwerp and even in Belgium. The Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is noted for its imposing Gothic figure. Inside you can find priceless paintings, especially occasional Rubens, an artist born in the city and is remembered as a hero. The front, by the way, is gorgeous late in the afternoon during the evening light.
One of the busiest areas for tourists is the main square, or Grote Markt. This square is situated behind the cathedral and there you find buildings like Antwerp's Town Hall or its Union House. If you can be there on a Sunday, there is the great flower market, much visited by tourists and locals themselves.
The port of Antwerp is the city's most interesting sight. It often goes unnoticed because it is a bit far from the centre, but in recent years it has become the typical new neighbourhood in which the best buildings are being renovated. They create the best restaurants and the streets are filled with trendy shops. For all these reasons, and because it seems that the locals are now eager to own a house in the area, the port has become a place with a great atmosphere for tourists. It's truly worth a visit.
One of the most important highlights of the city of Antwerp are the guild house buildings. From the Grote Markt itself to the river, within, you can immerse yourself unwittingly walking on a walk through the past surrounded by ancient houses with unique buildings. Their colors, their shapes, their ornamentation ... Everything is striking in that ride that stops time for a moment and you never want it to end.
I think that Handschoenmarkt is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my life, and it's a little forgotten about because most tourists in Antwerp are looking for the main square, which is adjacent to this. It is very central and quiet, especially for the amount of people and tourists visiting this place. It is a triangular square facing the cathedral. Handschoenmarkt is named after the old market where they sold gloves, which was certainly needed during the area's cold winter in January. There is an iron-detailed well in the square attributed to Quentin Metsys. The houses surrounding the square are charming and there are also lots of cafes and shops within the square where you can enjoy a delicious drink in the warmer months surrounded by its beautiful environment.
This pedestrian plaza may make you believe that you are deep in Italy, especially the baroque church, built by the architect Rubens, that is found here. Just opposite is the library, with a statue of Hendrik Conscience, the Belgian novelist. The place is very cozy and everywhere inside is worth seeing.
It is impossible to visit Antwerp and not walk around Meir. It's like you're walking with the flow of a river, because everyone is going in the same direction. But it is borne out of necessity. There are many interesting places in this city. Near the station, is the diamond centre. If you go down to the river, you will reach the historic center, the Grote Makt and the shopping area. This is a typical shopping street but with a special charm because of its width and the fact that there is no traffic passing through.
Most European cities have their courthouses in classical buildings, but not Antwerp. We found this building to the south of the city. It's controversial, with some people loving it and others - including me - having the opposite opinion! But whatever you think it's still interesting because of its unusual shape. Richard Rogers, the architect, is said to have been inspired by a butterfly. But the citizens of Antwerp have other theories, and known the building by different names: "The six dwarves of Snow White," "The Shark", "devil horns", "The Hedgehog", "The inverted pool table" "The bag of chips" ... To me it looked most like shark fins.
The Grote Markt in Antwerp is full of charm and part of it due to the town hall which is a beautiful building itself but even more so when you decorate with colorful flags. Its construction, completed in 1565, was in charge of Cornelis Floris, making it one of the oldest Renaissance buildings in the country. In 1576 it suffered a fire during the looting in Antwerp known as the "Spanish Fury" ... The interior was restored in the 19th century. A set of pictures which shows the history of Antwerp are showcased. Today you can visit the interior of this beautiful town hall. And if we add this council, Bravo Silvio Sculpture, and Guild Houses, it forms a perfect square why it's worthwhile visiting the city. ..
When you first arrive in Antwerp, after passing Meir Boulevard, you find this huge square, and the first thought you have (especially if you have visited other Belgian cities) is: "Aha, here's the Grote Markt". However, it's not. This is a different square. In fact, the other square is much more open. Actually, this is a typical meeting place for locals and, of course, for tourists. In the centre, there is the ubiquitous statue of Rubens. On the sides, there are terraces. And in the background, the cathedral presents itself as the building that you will remember the most out of everything in the whole city.
Just get off the Antwerp train, near the station exit and I noticed a Chinese door that caught my attention on the other side of the square. It is across the square and you can take the path to go to the Meir Street, in the center of the city. He had discovered what is known as the Chinatown of Antwerp. The truth is that it caught my attention because of the strong resemblance to London's Chinatown. You can imagine the type of stores: Chinese Hairdressers, electronics stores, etc.. The truth is that when we strolled through, the streets seemed very quiet. What caught my attention was the dragon-shaped lanterns, which I did not hesitate to photograph.
This impressive building was built in the early twentieth century as a great room to celebrate numerous festivities. It was commissioned to the architects Hargot and Hennebiques. This room stands out for its impressive glass and iron dome, a marble staircase and golden decorations on the walls.
In the year 2000 a major disaster occurred during the annual Christmas market, and after a serious fire, the once-great room became nothing more than an iron skeleton. The decision was made to rebuild it and adapt it as a luxury shopping center. Construction on this revitalizing project began in 2004 and ended in 2007, when this impressive mall opened to the public. When I saw it from the street I did not know what it was and I could not avoid entering ... When I was inside my mouth fell open, a mall like a palace! It's a wonder lol.
No, this is not the Empire State Building - but it is a skyscraper reminiscent of those in New York. In fact it was built and financed by a farmers' union, eager to demonstrate their strength and power. Locals say it was the first European skyscraper, and the name Boerontoren means farmers' tower. Sadly, it now houses a shopping centre, and you can't climb to the top to admire the view.
Antwerp is a city with a river and a harbour. Centuries ago, it was a meeting place for people of different nationalities. Today the MAS (Museum Aan de Stroom) traces its unique history. Much more than a museum, the MAS is a sum of experiences. It includes the Ethnographic Museum, the Maritime Museum and the Folklore Museum, as well as the 470,000-object Vleeshuis Collection. Entrance is free, and iPod guides are available.
If you've got your tickets book, it's time to start making your list of what to do in Antwerp. The city has an impressive cultural heritage with monument from many eras and styles, so you'll have plenty of interesting things to see!
One of the first things to see in Antwerp the Grote Markt, an imposing square in the center of town. With its white, brown and gold facades, you'll feel like you're in the middle of a fairy tale. The weekly flea markets, one of the most popular Antwerp activities, is held there during weekends.
The square is also home to two of the best things to do in Antwerp: City Hall and Brabo Fountain. You also can't miss out on the Cathedral of Our Lady, another of the best places to visit in Antwerp, and home to three of the most famous paintings by Rubens. Another of the most interesting historical attractions in Antwerp is the medieval-style castle with its battlements and ramparts.
You can continue by visiting the old town and the Zurenborg neighborhood, where you will find many of the most important things to see in Antwerp like the Rubenshuis and the Museum aan de Stroom. Finally, you can end the day on the bank of the River Scheldt, a quiet place to stroll and enjoy the charms of the city or to sit quietly and dine at one of its restaurants. For more great stuff to do in Antwerp, check out this great tips and recommendations from the minube community.