Antwerp is just perfect for a weekend or a short city trip! Whether you like museums, shopping, Belgian beer, chocolate or are interested in the cultural heritage of the city: Antwerp has it all. During our visit, we stayed at the Hilton Antwerp Old Town Hotel, which is perfectly located on the ‘Groenplaats’, a vibrant square with lots of nice places to have dinner or drinks. Park your car in the Groenplaats garage and you won’t be needing it anymore for the weekend. Let’s take a look at some hotspots:
The Groenplaats is one of the most important squares of Antwerp. Besides a statue of the painter Rubens, you will find lots of nice cafe’s and restaurants here. When we visited Antwerp, is was almost Christmas and the Groenplaats was turned into a Christmas Market.
The Grote Markt
The Grote Markt is the other important square of Antwerp. Here you will find the city hall and right in front of it a statue of Brabo, the official symbol of Antwerp.
Cathedral of our Lady
Right between the two markets you will find the Cathedral of our Lady, a Roman Catholic cathedral.
Het Steen is a medieval fortress in the old city centre, one of Europe’s biggest ports. Built after the Viking incursions in the early Middle Ages as the first stone fortress of Antwerp, Het Steen is Antwerp’s oldest building and used to be its oldest urban centre. Het Steen is open for public and focusses especially on small children.
There are lots of shops in the old city center, around the Groenplaats and the Grote Markt. Looking for the big brands? Try the Meir, where you will also find a big shopping mall. Antwerp is also famous for its diamonds. When you walk towards the end of the Meir, cross the street and continue on the Keyserlei, you will find yourself in the diamond area of Antwerp.
Antwerp of course has a lot of nice pubs. The place we enjoyed the most was Gollem, where the friendly staff serves over 400 different kinds of beers. You can also enjoy lunch or dinner here. A great place to hang out after a busy day!
The Rubens house
Rubens is considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time. His works can be found all around the world.In the Rubens House, you will get acquainted not only with Rubens the master painter, but also with Rubens the family man, the architect, the manager, the collector, the graphic artist and the society figure. Antwerp also has lots of other museums, check out this webpage to get an overview.
The Chocolate Line
Getting hungry after so much cultural heritage? Don’t worry: Dominique Persoone’s the Chocolate Line is just around the corner. What you can expect? One of the best chocolate shops in the world, and a sneak peek into the kitchen where true chocolate art is being created.
Right next to the railway station, you will find the Antwerp Zoo dating from 1843. It is the oldest animal park in the country, and one of the oldest in the world.