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Visit Antwerp

Antwerp – city on the Scheldt, city of Rubens, of diamonds, of fashion, a port city... The sum of all these different aspects is what makes Antwerp into a real city: a vibrant, welcoming metropolis, which is also great fun and heart-warming, with green areas where you can relax and peaceful corners. Antwerp is a veritable cultural capital, which prides itself on its impressive architecture and splendid art. Moreover, Antwerp is a fashionista's dream destination thanks to the stores of its world-renowned designers. The cafes only serve the best beers and foodies can enjoy the most delicious traditional and multicultural cuisine in the city’s restaurants. Antwerp: a pocket-sized metropolis which is sure to conquer anyone’s heart in no time at all



Top things to do in Antwerp

Cogels Osylei

Cogels-Osylei (1881–1914) is the architectural showpiece of the Zurenborg neighbourhood in the district of Berchem. It was named after Senator John Cogels and his wife, Josephine Osy, who owned most of the land in the street. The Antwerpers used to call it 'de Meir van Zurenborg' after the majestic promenade in the centre of the city. The variety of building styles in the neighbourhood is unique in Europe. Several renowned architects, including Joseph Bascourt, Jacques de Weert and Jules Hofman designed and built these gigantic town houses. In addition to Art Nouveau or Jugendstil this street includes examples of every possible neo-style, from neo-Gothic to neo-Byzantine. And yet, somehow, this amazing architectural patchwork seems to form one whole. In the 1960s there were plans to demolish Cogels-Osylei and the neighbouring streets and replace it with an office and apartment building. Luckily these plans never came to fruit. The entire neighbourhood has been listed since 1984 as a cityscape, as have most houses. All the houses have Flemish names: Huize Zonnebloem (The Sunflower House), De Sterre (The Star), De Mane (The Moon), De Sonne (The Sun), etc. One of the exceptions in this street are the four, almost identical neo-Baroque corner houses on the roundabout, also called 'white palaces', for which the architect drew inspiration from the Castle of Chambord in France.

 

Cathedral of Our Lady

The Cathedral has been dominating Antwerp's skyline with its northern spire for five centuries. Over time, however, the cathedral's appearance and interior regularly changed. As a result, this monumental edifice reflects many different styles including Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo. From the ninth to the twelfth century there was a small Chapel of Our Lady in this location; in the twelfth century a larger Roman church was built here. In 1352 the city commissioned the construction of a new church which was to be the largest Gothic church in the Low Countries. In 1521 the Church of Our Lady was completed. The intention was to build two identical spires, but after the new church largely burned down in 1533 all energy and resources were focused on restoring it in all its splendour. The completion of the second spire was thus postponed, and finally it was never built. In 1559 the Diocese of Antwerp was founded and the Church of Our Lady became a Cathedral.During the iconoclasm of 20 August 1566 the Protestants destroyed a large part of the cathedral's valuable interior. In 1794 French revolutionaries pillaged it. But the cathedral managed to rise from its ashes time and again. In 1816 several important works of art, including three masterpieces by Rubens, were returned from Paris. The cathedral's spire is 123 metres high, the tallest spire in the Benelux countries.

 

Grote Markt (square)

Grote Markt is the actual heart of the medieval city centre. Antwerp has had a 'Merckt' since 1310. It only became 'groot' or large in the sixteenth century when it was deemed to small as a space for trade. The vegetable sellers were allocated their own market, called 'Kleine Markt' or small market, to distinguish it from the oldest and most important market. Grote Markt is surrounded by several stunning sixteenth- and seventeenth-century guild houses. These authentic houses have been carefully restored. The other houses are nineteenth- and twentieth-century reconstructions, based on paintings and testimonials. The combination of Flemish Gothic and Italian Renaissance is typical of the Netherlands. The opulent decorations of the houses are largely due to the guilds, which expressed their wealth or power among others through their façades. The town hall, which was built between 1561 and 1564, is the most resplendent building in Grote Markt. This magnificent 'palazzo' is considered a Renaissance masterpiece. The marble façade has several pillars between the windows, statues in the niches, coats of arms and a loggia under the roof. It is a veritable treasure trove with several art treasures inside.

 

Central Station

In 1835 the first train from Brussels to Antwerp arrived in Antwerp in a wooden station outside the city walls, in Koningin Astridplein. This structure was replaced in 1854 by a new wooden station building near the Antwerp Zoo's current entrance: East Station. But King Leopold II felt that Antwerp deserved a more prestigious station. In 1895 Bruges-born architect Louis dela Censerie set to work. Ten years later Antwerp's Central Station was officially inaugurated. The station consists of an elevated railway bed, a covered steel platform hall and a monumental station building for services and ticket hall.Antwerp's Central Station is considered one of the most beautiful stations worldwide. Between 2000 and 2009 the monumental building was completely modernised and expanded to accommodate the high-speed rail line. More platforms were opened on two additional underground levels, an additional entrance with station hall was built in Kievitplein and space was created for shops and restaurants. The unique metal platform roof had previously been restored. In the past Antwerp Central Station was a terminus where trains had to turn around. But since 2007, trains can continue their journey thanks to the railway tunnel between Antwerp Central Station and the north of the city.

 

Museum Plantin-Moretus/Prints Room (interior)

Plantin-Moretus MuseumThe museum is located on the picturesque Vrijdagmarkt in the historic centre of the city. A real must see – and certainly not only restricted to visitors who have an interest in the development and the history of book publishing. Sightseeing tourists invariably put this museum at the top of their list of places to see in Antwerp.The Plantin-Moretus Museum is the continuation of the Officina Plantiniana, founded by Christoffel Plantijn in 1555, as the first industrial printing works in history. Today it constitutes the only fully equipped printing works-publishing house, which dates back to the Renaissance and Baroque Period. In 2001 Unesco granted the old company and home archives and the oldest printing presses world heritage status. This magnificent patrician house, the unique typographical treasury and the resplendent book museum were added to the World Heritage List in 2002.It is here that the Masters of the Gulden Passer (The Golden Compass) lived and worked. Visitors can still admire the original interior of the house, decorated with tapestries, gilded leather walls, paintings and sculptures. The museum also gives an educational overview of the whole book production process from the 15th to the 18th Century. End your visit in one of the many libraries of the museum or take a breath of fresh air in one of the gardens of the inner courtyard.

 

Recommended hotels in Antwerp

Hotel 't Sandt

Hôtel 't Sandt is a luxury first class hotel in the centre of Antwerp, Belgium, reflecting the historical elegance of Antwerp Old Town. Housed in a magnificently restored neo-roccoco mansion, the Hôtel 't Sandt is located directly around the corner from most of the stylish design stores, funky restaurants and the trendy South quarter. This Antwerp accommodation is perfect as a base from which exploring the numerous sightseeing attractions Antwerp has to offer: Antwerp City Hall at the Grote Markt main square, the fascinating Guildhouses, or the Het Steen Fortress are just some examples of the enchanting things to see in Antwerp. Guests booking Hôtel 't Sandt may enjoy the beautiful Italian courtyard and the Summer terrace which offers an appealing view of the Cathedral. Weather permitting it is possible to have breakfast here. An attentive staff will make sure that your stay in Antwerp will be even more unforgettable than expected. Leave your car in the on-site garage and discover on foot this incredibly beautiful city.! Wireless Internet access is included in the price. Parking is not included in the price and costs €16,00. Breakfast is included in the price. Hôtel 't Sandt is a luxury first class hotel in the centre of Antwerp, Belgium, reflecting the historical elegance of Antwerp Old Town. Housed in a magnificently restored neo-roccoco mansion, the Hôtel 't Sandt is located directly around the corner from most of the stylish design stores, funky restaurants and the trendy South quarter.
 

Holiday Inn Express Antwerp City-North

Location. Near the airport, Holiday Inn Express Antwerp City-North is located in Antwerp's The Islet neighborhood and close to Museum Aan de Stoom, Antwerp City Hall, and Antwerp Expo. Nearby points of interest also include Vleeshuis and Antwerp Market Square. Hotel Features. Holiday Inn Express Antwerp City-North features a restaurant and a bar/lounge. The hotel serves a complimentary breakfast. This 3-star property offers a meeting/conference room and business services. Complimentary wireless Internet access is available in public areas. Guest parking is limited, and available on a limited first-come, first-served basis (surcharge). Additional property amenities include multilingual staff, currency exchange, and dry cleaning/laundry services. Guestrooms. 140 air-conditioned guestrooms at Holiday Inn Express Antwerp City-North feature coffee/tea makers and safes. Furnishings include desks and sofa beds. Bathrooms feature hair dryers. Wireless Internet access is complimentary. Guestrooms offer direct-dial phones with voice mail. Televisions have satellite channels and pay movies. Rooms also include windows that open. Guests may request irons/ironing boards.
 

City Inn Luxe Hotel

Location. Connected to the airport, City Inn Luxe Hotel is located in Antwerp's Ring Road neighborhood and close to Antwerp Zoo, Antwerp City Hall, and Antwerp Expo. Nearby points of interest also include Rubens House and Museum Mayer van den Bergh. Hotel Features. City Inn Luxe Hotel features laundry facilities and an elevator (lift). A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Guest parking is complimentary. The front desk is open 24 hours a day. Guestrooms. 92 guestrooms at City Inn Luxe Hotel feature windows that open and blackout drapes/curtains. Beds come with down blankets. Bathrooms feature shower/tub combinations with handheld showerheads, and hair dryers. Wireless Internet access is available for a surcharge. Guestrooms offer direct-dial phones. Televisions have cable channels. Housekeeping is offered daily and guests may request irons/ironing boards.
 

Astoria Hotel

Location. Located in central Antwerp, Astoria Hotel is within walking distance of Diamond Museum Province of Antwerp and Antwerp Zoo. Nearby points of interest also include Rubens House and Museum Mayer van den Bergh. Hotel Features. This 3-star property has a business center. Complimentary wireless and wired high-speed Internet access is available in public areas. The hotel serves a complimentary breakfast. Guest parking is limited, and available on a limited first-come, first-served basis (surcharge). Additional property amenities include multilingual staff, laundry facilities, and complimentary newspapers in the lobby. This is a smoke-free property. Guestrooms. 66 air-conditioned guestrooms at Astoria Hotel feature safes and windows that open. Bathrooms feature bathtubs, complimentary toiletries, and hair dryers. Wireless Internet access is complimentary. Guestrooms offer direct-dial phones with voice mail. Televisions have cable channels and pay movies. Guests may request irons/ironing boards and wake-up calls. The recreational activities listed below are available either on site or near the hotel; fees may apply.
 

Novotel Antwerpen

Location. Novotel Antwerpen is a business-friendly hotel located in Antwerp, close to Port of Antwerp, Museum Aan de Stoom, and Vleeshuis. Additional points of interest include National Maritime Museum and St. Pauluskerk. Hotel Features. Novotel Antwerpen features a restaurant and a bar/lounge. Room service is available. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool. This 3-star property offers a meeting/conference room and audiovisual equipment. Wireless Internet access (surcharge) is available in public areas and the hotel has an Internet point. This Antwerp property has 175 square meters of event space. Guest parking is complimentary. Additional property amenities include a rooftop terrace, a terrace, and barbecue grills. Guestrooms. 120 air-conditioned guestrooms at Novotel Antwerpen feature minibars and safes. Accommodations offer pool or courtyard views. Bathrooms feature hair dryers. Wireless Internet access is complimentary. Guestrooms offer desks. Televisions have satellite channels and free movie channels. Also included are windows that open and clock radios. Guests may request irons/ironing boards and wake-up calls. The recreational activities listed below are available either on site or nearby; fees may apply.
 



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