Antwerp...A 2009 Lonely Planet
'Top 10 City To Visit'
Our friend Agnes has a Site Build It website featuring Antwerp tourism. We've asked her to give us a whirlwind tour of this port city of Belgium. Below is her expert opinion on what to do, where to stay and where to eat in this city known for diamonds, fashion and historical significance.
The city was named one of the top 10 cities to visit in 2009, as chosen by editors of Lonely Planet. It is famous for chocolate, Jenevers, and a special selection of Belgian beers.
In addition, it is the world Diamond Center, the home town of Rubens and the famous 6 Fashion Designers. It has striking architecture, excellent restaurants and is the mecca for shopping in Belgium.
Below is a sample of some of the great places to eat and the many things to do and see. Check out The Antwerp Tourist Guide - the ultimate guide to Belgium's famous city for more information and useful travel hints from Antwerp locals.
Antwerp Tourism...Sites To See
We recommend visiting three sites listed on Unesco's World Heritage List:
Belfrie tower of Our Lady Cathedral
The Cathedral is the largest Gothic church in the Low Countries. It was finished in 1521 after about 170 years of construction. The interior is mostly Baroque and a few of Rubens most known paintings are adorning the walls. Among them are the Raising and the Descent of the Cross - cultural heritage of a worldwide scale.
It is seldom visited by tourists - maybe because it’s easy to miss - you’ll have to look for it in the student’s area.
The 16th-century Beguinage or Begijnhof was a medieval housing complex for women who devoted themselves to prayer and charitable works, but did not care for the constrains of a convent. The “nuns” no longer live here anymore, but the atmosphere is still very particular.
Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex
This is one of the most exceptional of all museums in this port city. Both a home and a shop it chronicles more than 300 years of printing activity. it hosts the oldest surviving print press in the world together with complete sets of dies and matrices. It’s amazing to see that even today, the equipment still could be used. The MOMU has no permanent collection – only changing exhibitions usually creations of temporary fashion designers, especially those who took courses in the Royal Academy of Art. The exhibitions are very dynamic, creative and intuitive using various media.
Other popular attractions...
Not as big as the 'Grand Place' of Brussels, but definitely just as grand is the 'Grote Markt' - the market square. It is surrounded by guild houses and the 16th century Stadhuis (City Hall). the 16th century Stadhuis (City Hall). Most of these guild houses are replicas of what used to stand here in the 16th century. Although these are not the original structures, it’s still quite impressive.
Cogels Osylei is the most remarkable street of Belgium and maybe even Europe. You might think you’re walking on a film set they forgot to take down. What you see though is the fin-du-siècle feeling of the 19th century. People that lived here liked to show off their power and wealth.
Central Station is the terminal station of the oldest railway line in Belgium and is often referred to as the Rail Road Cathedral. The complex consists of 3 parts: the station building, the metal and glass vault and the elevated rail track.
Five Best Museums...
The most impressive Belgium art museum is Royal Museum of Fine Arts. The museum's permanent collection ( Over 7000 works) is one of the most important collection in Europe. It has unique paintings by Flemish Primitives such as Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling as well as the work of Quinten Metsijs, the founder of the Art School in the city.
The MoMu - Modemuseum Provincie Antwerpen:
This is the new, trendy fashion museum housing contemporary fashion and historical collections. The MoMu has already gained international fame for the beautiful, new way of making successful exhibitions.
The Rubens House Museum:
Rubens lived here most of his live. This is the place where most of his paintings (around 25000) were created by him and his students. You will see how top class people used to live in the 17th century. You can also admire the office of the master himself as well as the atelier where the actual work was performed.
Provinciaal Museum voor Fotografie
Since recently housed in an old warehouse, the Fotomuseum is a real treat. A wide range of national and international photographers and artists exhibit their work in the photo galleries and at exhibitions.
The largest diamond museum in the world with interactive displays showcasing mining and cutting processes, and polishing demonstrations take place Saturday afternoons. You can view items dating from the 16th century to the present.
Best places to Eat
A budget restaurant right on the Groete MarktThe staff is very friendly - although sometimes there are not enough waiters to take care of the large crowds.
Pasta (Wine bar)
An Italian restaurant with a french flair and a fantastic selection of international wines. The house is gorgeous and the inside is spacious with great wooden tables. Free live jazz concerts on Sundays (check timetable)
A budget restaurant located in an old glass factory. Features a lot of colorful glass in the interior. A great authentic kitsch interior and all you can eat ribs, baked potatoes and salad.
A fancy restaurant a bit out of the way but you will definitely be happy you made the trip. Fantastic food and service for a surprisingly reasonable price.
Drie Koningenstraat 72
Budget hotel in front of the Central Station
De Keyserlei 59
Hotel Agora A 3 star Budget category hotel.
Koningin Astridplein 43
This 4-star hotel is ideally situated in old town. Bus number 16 runs every 20 minutes from the airport to the city centre. A taxi should cost approximately 10 EUR.
2000 Antwerp Belgium
Radisson SAS Park Lane Hotel Antwerp
The only Hotel in Antwerp with 5 Stars. The location is very decent – it is right in front of the city park. It’s a comfortable, modern hotel with all the amenities you can expect from a luxury hotel of this category.
Van Eycklei 34
B&B usually represent excellent value. Compared to a hotel room of the same price, you'll get a spacious room full of character and individuality, amazing breakfasts and great hosts that love what they are doing.
Artemis Bed & Breakfast
A great solution to stay in the city on a budget. Convenient location - 200 meters from the central station. Starting from 30 EUR a night.
Willem Linnigstraat 11
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