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If you're planning a citytrip to Antwerp, here's the place to start
Antwerp â€“ 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 cityâ€™s restaurants. Antwerp: a pocket-sized metropolis which is sure to conquer anyoneâ€™s heart in no time at all
Tourist favorites in Antwerp
Cogels-Osylei (1881â€“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 faÃ§ades. 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 faÃ§ade 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.
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 â€“ 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.
HÃ´tel '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 HÃ´tel '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 HÃ´tel '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 â‚¬16,00. Breakfast is included in the price. HÃ´tel '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 HÃ´tel 't Sandt is located directly around the corner from most of the stylish design stores, funky restaurants and the trendy South quarter.
The TOP CityLine Hyllit Hotel is ideal for those in Antwerp on business or couples and leisure travelers on holiday in Belgium. If you are looking for a 4 star Antwerp hotel, the TOP CityLine Hyllit Hotel is the perfect choice. If arriving in Antwerp on business, TOP CityLine Hyllit Hotel features nicely appointed 365 square meters meeting facilities that can accommodate 2 to 120 participants with a variety of rooms and seating arrangements available. TOP CityLine Hyllit Hotel also offers the Emerald Bar which is a contemporary and stylish lounge bar to enjoy a cocktail as well as the fine-dining Gran Duca Restaurant recognized as one of the best restaurants in Antwerp, serving Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. To relax and unwind during your stay, TOP CityLine Hyllit Hotel has a spacious indoor swimming pool in addition to a dry heat sauna and fully equipped fitness center. Access to the fitness center is complimentary. Connected to the hotel is a luxurious beauty salon and spa.
Hotel Le Tissu
Hotel Le Tissu is a bed & breakfast in Antwerp situated in the city center. There are many great attractions near this bed & breakfast, including Plantin Moretus Museum, Antwerp Market Square, Vleeshuis and City Park. Also nearby are Diamond Museum Province of Antwerp and Diamond District. This Antwerp bed & breakfast offers a safe deposit box at the front desk. Guests can also enjoy drinks as there is a bar/lounge.
Situated on the Haarstraat street of Antwerp, the 3-star hotel Matelote has a unique blend of 21st century luxury and 16th century architecture, that will captivate even the most demanding guest travelling to Belgium. The Matelote hotel of Antwerp enjoys the best location in Antwerp, just steps from the famous Grand Place with its stunning town hall, from the Antwerp Cathedral and the River Scheldt. This design hotel in downtown Antwerp, is surrounded by the most exclusive fashion and diamond studios. Also just a short walk from the Rubens House and the central train station, the Matelote is the ideal base for business travellers and tourists looking for a central Antwerp accommodation. Among the first class and worth to be mentioned services of the Matelote are free coffee and tea facilities, as well as a wonderful design breakfast restaurant.
The COCO-MAT Residence is situated in the centre of Antwerp at 250 metres from Antwerp Central Station and 200 metres from metro station Opera. The Residence offers nine splendid design-apartments. Each one of which consists of a living room, a kitchen, one or two bedrooms and a bathroom. And offers free WiFi!Each design-apartment has beautiful oak floors and is furnished with eco friendly materials and COCO-MAT furniture. And has a modern kitchen with oven, fridge, dishwasher and coffee and tea making facilities. In the living room you can relax in front of a flat screen television with cable channels and a DVD player. In the bedrooms you will find large, very comfortable COCO-MAT beds. The modern bathrooms have a bath, a shower and a toilet, and there you will also find a washing machine and dryer.At night the apartments offer a spectacular view over the nicely lit old city of Antwerp.Hotel facilitiesGeneral non-smoking rooms, rooms/facilities for disabled guests, elevator, heating, allergy-free room available, sun terrace. All public and private spaces are non-smoking. InternetFree Wi-Fi is available in the entire hotel.ParkingPublic parking is possible at a location nearby (reservation is not needed) and costs 15 euroâ€™s per day.Free parking is possible just outside the centre area near cinema complex Metropolis â€“ Luchtbal, at the Groenendaallaan 394, 2030 Antwerp. Tram 6 brings you into town, exit at stop Astrid (Central Station).