Under-the-Radar Destination: 5 Reasons to Visit Antwerp While in Belgium
Antwerp is Belgium's second largest city, but it undeservedly sits in the shadows of tourist-friendly Brussels. Brussels may get all the glory, but those that opt to visit Antwerp immediately fall in love with this chic and elegant city.
One of the largest diamond markets in the world and a fashion capitol in its own right thanks to The Antwerp 6 (a collective of designers that came out of the famous Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts in the 1980s), Antwerp is primarily known for its cutting-edge style and its impact on the fashion world. There's more to Antwerp than clothing and jewels though. It's the perfect fusion of modern and classic with its rich history, fine dining and picturesque architecture. Check out five reasons why you should take a detour and head to Antwerp next time you find yourself in Belgium.
1. Antwerp-Central Station - A visit to Antwerp isn't complete without taking in the jaw-dropping beauty of Antwerp Central Station. Built in 1895, it's a beautiful example of 19th century railway architecture and is considered one of the most beautiful train stations in the world.
2. The Exotic Market - Strolling through Antwerp's Exotic Market is an ideal way to get a dose of local and international culture. From clothing to exotic foods from Turkey and Morocco, this Saturday market is a great way to jumpstart a weekend in the city. Located in the Oudevaartplaats, Theaterplein area, the market has vendors as far as the eye can see and stays open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each Saturday.
3. Street Art On Kopstraatje - Tucked away on a side street known as Kopstraatje lays a burst of color on winding walls covered in vibrant art. Take a walk down this street to take in the floor-to-ceiling murals, stenciling and paste-ups by some of the best street artists from all over the world.
4. High-End Shopping on Schuttershofstraat Street and Meir - For fashion aficionados looking to spend a pretty penny on luxury threads, Schuttershofstraat and Meir are must-visit shopping areas lined with high-end retailers and boutiques. Located in the Quartier Latin, you can find concept stores from top labels like Jimmy Choo, Valentino and Karl Lagerfeld housed in classic art deco homes.
5. Classic Architecture - When it comes to architecture, Antwerp won't let you down. Head to the city center to see awe-inspiring examples of gothic structures like Antwerp City Hall and The Cathedral of Our Lady. Antwerp is chock-full of tiny side streets and walkways, so if you don't mind the walk, experiencing these structures by foot is the best way to truly admire their beauty.