Belgium’s second city and biggest port, Antwerp (Antwerpen/Anvers in Dutch/French) is the country’s capital of cool, a powerful magnet for mode moguls, club queens, art lovers and diamond dealers. In the mid-16th century it had been one of Europe’s most important cities and home to baroque superstar artist Pieter Paul Rubens, as you’ll be so constantly reminded. Despite many historical disasters thereafter and severe WWII bombings, the city retains an intriguing medieval heart with café-filled cobbled lanes, a riverside fortress and a truly impressive cathedral. Today Antwerp’s top drawcards are its vibrant fashion, entertainment scene and startling architectural and cultural contrasts.
Best places to stay in Antwerp
Pocket Bruges & Brussels
Romantic, canal-woven Bruges and buzzing multinational Brussels are both, in their different ways, unmissable. While Brussels dwarfs Bruges in size, both feature boats plying the waterways, serene parks, a web of cycling trails, jumbled market...
Belgium & Luxembourg - Antwerp & Eastern Flanders (Chapter)
This region’s undisputed centre of gravity is dynamic Antwerp, a historic port and diamond-trading city. Historic cities on a more manageable scale include Mechelen, Lier and Leuven. And as always, there are scattered castles to be found...
Antwerp destination guides
Brussels to Amsterdam Cycle
Experience the delights of barging and cycling through Belgium and Holland