Main Square of Antwerp in Flanders in Belgium
One of the alternatives when planning your first trip to Flanders in Belgium is to include or not the city of Antwerp.
The great tourist attraction of some of the Flemish cities, such as Witches or Ghent, and even Leuven, conditions the inclusion of Antwerp on a route where you will surely also have to Brussels as one of the goals of the trip.
Therefore, to make the decision you should know what to see in Antwerp, although I anticipate that it is worth visiting.
Corner of the central Groenplaats in Antwerp
Because of its population, with its 500,000 inhabitants, it is the Belgium's second city, but although it is an extensive city, I will tell you that the tourist visit is very concentrated in the historical Center.
In addition, by its characteristics you can perfectly visit Antwerp in one day, of course, seeing the most important corners and monuments.
How to get to Antwerp
Antwerp is only 55 kilometers by road from Brussels, and an hour by train from the Belgian capital.
Therefore, it is very easy to include this city in a Flanders travel route, more taking into account the above, that with a full day it may be enough for your visit.
Antwerp Central Station
Curiosities history of Antwerp
Antwerp It is a city historically marked by its membership in the Spanish Netherlands, which conditions many aspects of their culture,
Among them, the preeminence of the Catolic religion, which you will be able to verify when you visit its cathedral and its churches.
Its economic development occurs from the fifteenth century and has always been one of the most important commercial cities in northern Europe, largely due to its activity as a river port.
In this regard, what will attract your attention today is knowing that Antwerp is considered as the world diamond center.
This you will see during your walk through the little one Jewish Quarter located next to the Central Station where numerous companies and diamond stores are concentrated.
Store in the Diamonds district of Antwerp
ThusAntwerp It is now one of the European cities with more Jewish population, which will be very easy to see both in the neighborhood and its surroundings, which have become the residential area of that community.
Transport in Antwerp
As I commented, Antwerp It is an easy city to visit, so you may hardly need to use public transport.
Of course, if for example you are staying in a hotel near the aforementioned Central Station, although you can walk to the historic center, you will save time if you use the Subway.
Now, don't expect a suburban like that of big cities like Paris, London or Madrid.
Meir Avenue in Antwerp
In Antwerp is called Subway to the trams that on the central axis of the city, which is the Meir street, they circulate through an underground tunnel as if they were a meter, although when they move away from the city center they already surface.
As in other Belgian cities, you also have the option of visit Antwerp by bike.
In the underground parking of the Central Station, in Fietshaven, you can rent a bike for the whole day, which will only cost you 13 euros.
Of course, you also have the option to sign up for a guided tour of Antwerp, or if you are a family or friends group, to a private tour of Antwerp, both made with Spanish guide.
What to see and do in Antwerp
Facing you tourist day in Antwerp, it's easy to assume that you can start it in it Central Station, an already interesting building.
Antwerp Zoo in Belgium
Antwerp Central Station
Reformed about ten years ago, now the train station is also a Mall With several plants.
As you leave the station through the main gate, on the right you will see the entrance of the Antwerp Zoo, ideal visit in a trip to Antwerp with children.
Neighborhood of the Diamonds in Antwerp
To the left extends the aforementioned diamond neighborhood, with numerous stores, many security measures, and where you will see that next to the Jewish community, there is a lot Hindu population which also runs this type of business.
From the station you have a great avenue, the aforementionedMeir, which will take you directly to the historic center.
Boerentoren Tower skyscraper in the center of Antwerp
When traveling this avenue you will check the great cosmopolitan and commercial environment of the city of Antwerp, with a style very different from other Flemish cities such as the aforementioned Bruges and Ghent.
In this area you will see several commercial areas with numerous brand stores.
Royal Palace in Antwerp
You will also go through the former royal palace, now known as the palace of the Meir.
It is a rehabilitated building, with a long history behind it, which in its time was owned by Napoleon and of King William I of the Netherlands.
Inside is now the Line chocolate shop, owned by a famous chocolate maker from Antwerp, whose production workshop is located in the room that was the kitchen of the palace.
Shopping street in the center of Antwerp
On this commercial avenue it will be easy to distinguish the Boerentoren Tower. which after being built in style art deco behind the First World War, became the Europe's first skyscraper.
Rubens House Museum in Antwerp
Before you can see (and visit if you want; entrance, 10 euros) the Rubens House Museum.
This is the house that the famous artist Pedro Pablo Rubens He lived with his family during his 25 years of residence in Antwerp.
Corner of the main square of Antwerp in Belgium
At present in this Flemish city, up to 52 works of art are exhibited, both in the house and in various churches and museums. Rubens.
Groenplaats in Antwerp
You will soon arrive at historic center of Antwerp which has as main axes two large squares.
First, the Groenplaats, in whose center you will see a statue of Rubens, and from where behind a beautiful front of facades you can already see the towering tower of the Antwerp Cathedral.
Gothic cathedral of Antwerp from the main square
One of the must-sees in this Flemish city, this cathedral is considered the largest Gothic church of the Netherlands, and inside you can also see important Rubens works.
You will already be in the most tourist area of the city.
Town Hall and Guild House in Main Square of Antwerp
After passing through the charming square where the entrance porch of the cathedral, you will reach the Main Square of Antwerp, the true heart of the old town.
There you will see the renaissance town hall building, although without a doubt the most charming corner is the front of guild houses of the 16th and 17th centuries, with an almost twin image.
Antwerp City Hall in the Plaza Mayor
And in the center of the great Main Square, the statue dedicated to the Brabo, whose legend says that he was the founder of the city of Antwerp.
San Carlos Borromeo Church
Near the Main Square you have the church of San Carlos Borromeo, a good example of Baroque in the seventeenth century, where you can see numerous paintings and sculptural works of Rubens.
Although if you like Baroque, you should get away from the center and go to the Mariners neighborhood to se her St. Paul's church.
Built in 1571, in its bright interior you will see sumptuous baroque altars with more than 200 sculptures and works of Jordaens, Rubens or Van dyck.
T Steen, castle of Antwerp
Castle T Steen in Antwerp
When you get to the edge of the Scheldt river, you will find a historic monument known asT Steen (the stone), a 13th-century castle that was rebuilt by the Spaniards during their occupation of the Netherlands.
As a curiosity, when you are in this area do not stop going down the very old and curious escalators that will allow you to see a very long Underground tunnel which leads to the city area located on the other side of the Scheldt river.
I will also tell you that from this area of the pier, cruises depart on tourist boats that sail through the port area.
Vlaeykensgang alley in the historic center of Antwerp
In the streets around the historic center you also have some other corner to see, such as the alley Vlaeykensgang, whose image will take you to the atmosphere of the 16th century.
It should also be noted the Plantin-Moretus museum, a 16th century mansion where you can see what is considered as the oldest printing press in the world, over 400 years ago, declared World Heritage by Unesco.
Underground tunnel under the Scheldt river in Antwerp
MAS Museum in Antwerp
I can't finish the review at Antwerp tourist attractions not to mention the MORE, a new museum that has become a favorite attraction of tourists and the inhabitants of Antwerp.
The truth is that in my trip due to lack of time I could not visit it, so there is a new opportunity.
He MORE, whose main theme is the city of Antwerp and its history, is located in the new area of the port, in a modern building with an original design that combines reddish stone and glass.
Enjoy your visit of Antwerp!