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Antwerp Adventures: A Friendly Guide to Must-See Gems

Updated: Mar 22

Hey there, fellow traveler! If you're planning a trip to Belgium, Antwerp is a city you want to include in your itinerary. This vibrant, welcoming, and picturesque city is a treasure trove of sights and experiences waiting to be explored. The Scheldt River in Belgium is home to Antwerp, a city that draws travelers from around the world due to its mix of old-world charm and modern amenities. Although not as popular as the nearby Bruges, and of course the capital of Belgium, Brussels, which usually takes all the credit, popularity and tourists, it is still nonetheless a worthwhile visit, in which a more traditional and authentic Belgium can be seen. More and more tourists are starting to add this city to their must see lists in Belgium, so take a look and see what it can offer before the crowds go. With its impressive architecture, culinary offerings, and reputation as the diamond capital of the world and one of Europe's fashion capitals, Antwerp is a city with thriving cultural activities. With its cobbled streets and canals, as well as lively markets and world-class museums, the underrated city is a place that fascinates visitors with its charm. With its iconic buildings, vibrant art scene, and thriving arts and fashion scene in Antwerp, you're sure to find yourself lapping up the city's creativity, diversity, and become immersed its cosmopolitan vibe. So, grab your walking shoes and sense of adventure, because we're about to embark on a journey through Antwerp's most delightful attractions. Antwerp Central Station: The Railway Cathedral

First, when you arrive in Antwerp, you'll likely enter the stunning Antwerp Central Station. This architectural masterpiece often earns the nickname "Railway Cathedral," and you'll understand why the moment you step inside. Don't forget to look up at the impressive dome ceiling, and if you're a bookworm, explore the railway cathedral's hidden gem: a lovely little bookshop in the middle of the station.

Antwerp Central Station

Antwerp Zoo: Roam with the Animals

Calling all animal lovers! Antwerp Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the world and a delightful place for visitors of all ages. From majestic elephants to playful penguins, this zoo offers a captivating experience. Located in the heart of Antwerp, the zoo's impressive Art Nouveau and Belle Époque styles are alluring to visitors, who can enjoy a stunning environment with 5,000 or more animals representing over 700 species. Antwerp Zoo's impressive animal collections are complemented by its rich history, natural landscapes, and vast animal parks. The zoo's emphasis on conservation and education is what makes it so special, as it helps conserve endangered species and protects their diversity. Stroll through the lush, green pathways, and don't forget to visit the butterfly garden, a true oasis of tranquility.

Antwerp Zoo

MAS: Mixing History and Modernity

The Museum aan de Stroom, or MAS, is a remarkable architectural gem on the waterfront. This museum is a journey through Antwerp's rich history and culture, but the views from the top are equally mesmerizing. It is known for its innovative approach to exploring the city's history and culture. Neutelings Riedijk Architects' design for the museum's striking stacked structure creates a unique silhouette along the waterfront and it can't be missed when walking along the waterside. Visitors can explore a range of displays that cover maritime history, cultural heritage, and international relations. The museum also boasts a rooftop terrace that provides sweeping views of Antwerp's skyline and iconic buildings. Climb to the roof and take in the panorama of the city and the river, and don't forget to snap a few pictures to remember your adventure.

The Museum aan de Stroom

Grote Markt: The Heart of Antwerp

For a classic taste of European charm, head to Grote Markt (Great Market Square). It is arguably one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. This bustling space is surrounded by stunning guild houses and the majestic City Hall. It's the perfect spot to people-watch, enjoy a café terrace, or simply bask in the city's vibrant atmosphere. The square is adorned with charming guild houses from the Renaissance era, exuding an old-fashioned and grand vibe. The City Hall, a magnificent Flemish Renaissance building with intricate designs and ornate facades, is situated at the center, towering over visitors and locals enjoying the architecture and outdoor city space. The Grote Markt is a popular spot for locals and tourists to shop, dine, and socialize. Street performers, outdoor cafes, and seasonal events make the square a lively place with its vibrant atmosphere.

Grote Markt

St. Paul's Church: An Architectural Marvel

A short walk from Grote Markt, you'll find St. Paul's Church. This remarkable church boasts a stunning baroque facade, and the interior is just as impressive. It's a serene place to reflect and admire the intricate artwork that adorns the walls and ceilings. An impressive place with ornate marble altars, intricate woodcarvings and magnificent artwork. This lavish interior, features pieces by artists such as Peter Paul Rubens and Jacob Jordaen. The tranquil cloister garden also is worth a visit to escape the hustle and bustle of the city centre.

Het Steen Fortress

End your time in Antwerp by visiting the medieval Het Steen, the city's most ancient building. This ancient fortress, located along the Scheldt River, provides a glimpse into Antwerp's past as primarily strategic port city, featuring displays on maritime trade, defense, and urban growth. Walk along the riverfront promenade and admire the picturesque harbor.

Antwerp is a city of rich history, diverse culture, and a welcoming spirit. Whether you're a history buff, an art enthusiast, or just looking for a fun and relaxing getaway, you're sure to find something to delight your senses in this charming Belgian city. So, pack your bags, embrace the adventure, and prepare to make memories in the heart of Antwerp!

We've reached the end of the article on one of the most unique and beaitful cities in Europe. In case you want to explore more cities full of history and character, and are traveling to Portugal or Poland in the future, you should try out our tours in Porto, Lisbon, and Warsaw. Remember to follow us @thewalkingparrot to be continuously updated on the new releases. We will be back soon with a new article!

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