Antwerp-Grote-Markt

For the Love of Antwerp

Antwerp

If you have paid attention to my Instagram feed lately, you probably noticed that I’ve been posting a lot of Antwerp images this week. The Belgian city that is located merely 40 minutes from my hometown in the Netherlands.

While many of you know Brussels and Bruges from their Europe trips, I think it’s a real shame that many people skip the city of Antwerp. Of course there is the yearly Christmas Market and the Antwerp Zoo, but the city has so much more on offer. Need some suggestions to get you started? Well, let’s go then!

Antwerp-City-Hall

City of squares

Real eye-catching are the two main squares in Antwerp: Grote Markt and the Groenplaats. Here you can find the impressive Cathedral of Our Lady, City Hall, Guild Houses and ample of cafes and restaurants. This is the heart of the city, and always busy and bustling.

Cathedral-of-Our-Lady

Antwerp-Grote-Markt

City of the most beautiful railway station in the world

In 2014, Mashable awarded Antwerpen-Centraal the most beautiful railway station in the world. Its late 1800 architecture is a real treat, drawing people from all over the globe.

Antwerpen-Centraal

Antwerp-Central-Station

City of shopping

In need of some retail-therapy? Then Antwerp is the right place to be. From the high street shops on Meir to  exclusive and vintage shops in Fashion District, Theatre District, Wilde Zee and South District – it’s all there. Getting lost in these latter areas is a hobby of mine, as I always tend to find a new shopping gems.

Personally I rather avoid Meir, due to the fact that the amount of people present is usually a bit Oxford-Street-like. However, I rarely skip a visit to Stadsfeestzaal: the neoclassical building on Meir that now houses over 40 shops.

Stadsfeestzaal-Antwerp
Stadsfeestzaal back in 2012

More a market stroller? The most famous one in Antwerp is the Vogelenmarkt on Theatre Square. Salesmen used to sell mostly animals here (my mum got a puppy dog from here when she was a kid! 🙂 ), but with animal rights having a more prominent place in modern society, most animals are now gone. Today, the market is more of a generic one where items such as clothing, household goods and accessories are being sold.

More in for some bling bling? Then head over to Diamond Quarter: world’s largest diamond district.

City of beautiful architecture

There’s a lot to see in Antwerp when it comes to architecture. Personally I’m an absolute fan of the 15th and 16th styles.

Antwerp-architecture

Thanks Antwerp. You were fab as always! Will be back soon!

Een bericht gedeeld door Maaike van Kuijk (@travellousworld) op

City of chocolate

Okay, maybe not ‘city of chocolate’ as such, but definitely part of the ‘country of chocolate.’ That the Belgians are proud of their delicious delicacy may be clear when visiting The Chocolate Line on the Meir. This store has the best ‘pralines’ in town and there’s even some chocolate art on display.

Chocolate-Line-Antwerp

City of hidden gems

You know I’m a big fan of hidden gems, and I keep discovering more and more of them in Antwerp. From amazing (free!) city views from the rooftop of MAS (Museum Aan de Stroom), to converted buildings like Felix Pakhuis (Felix Warehouse).

From the rooftop of MAS, you can enjoy a stunning view over Antwerp. The best bit: it’s free to visit!

Een bericht gedeeld door Maaike van Kuijk (@travellousworld) op

Or what about the cafe that is filled to the brim with religious statues: ‘t Elfde Gebod (The Eleventh Commendment)?

T-Elfde-Gebod-Antwerp
T Elfde Gebod

And for some peace and quiet I love to hang out at the Antwerp beguinage, with its lovely secret garden and beautiful houses.

And finally, I love to have a cuppa at the amazing restaurant of Bourla Theatre. Just look at that dome ceiling!

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