Antwerp City Breaks
Overview about Antwerp
Lively Antwerp is a wealthy and classy city. Geologically it is situated aside Lier and Herrentals and is the second largest city of Belgium. Antwerp is very famous for its fashion clothing and diamonds. I feel no doubt in someone saying Antwerp as “Diamond Centre of the World” or “Capital of Diamonds”. Antwerp has a vibrant and lively atmosphere for all kind of ages, its youthful vitality can be seen in its bars and clubs. International Cuisine and inviting patisseries displaying extravagant and delicious cakes and deserts containing famous Belgian chocolate in numerous restaurants are the dining specialty of numerous restaurants.
In Antwerp literally there isn’t any bad time to visit and admire its beauty. Apart from summer season in winters it can be a bit cool and dry which keeps one away from outdoor activities but there are numerous things to do indoor like shopping and museums. Late autumn to early springs is probably a good time to visit Antwerp.
The city is pumped up in the summer, with street markets and special Ruben’s festival in august when the stall-holders dress in traditional costumes. Favorite pastime is to sitting out in a café and watching the world go by in the summer. As far as the climatic conditions are concerned summers are mild but winters are a bit unexpected and might get a bit colder than you expect due to icy wind which blasts down from Baltic. So, it’s worth packing for all temperatures.
Without admiring Antwerp’s diamonds you just can’t possibly visit it. Meir Street is full of the best Diamond shops in the world. Antwerp has around 1,500 Diamond businesses and has four exchanges which are active in Diamond District. Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, and many other great jewelers source their Diamonds in Antwerp. The biggest and the ideal place to choose an engagement ring is Diamondland who is the biggest merchant of diamonds in the city. Some say Antwerp is a Girl’s best friend.
Antwerp is full of artistic traditions. Fine examples include the ornate of City Hall and the elegant Kathedral - Our Lady’s Cathedral. Cathedral of Our Lady is situated in Grote Markt (main square) which presides over everything. Inside the Cathedral, you’ll find two splendid paintings by Rubens, the town’s most famous artist. Antwerp’s bustling centre is the most engaged part of the city. Its Maze like streets and lanes with dotted mansions, museums and galleries. Eurostar breaks at Antwerp provides a long weekend of lively fun and abundant cultural highlights.
Antwerp’s most famous son is the 16th – Century Rubens, whose work can be found all around the city including Our Lady’s Cathedral and in the Museum of Fine Art. Antwerp has very long artistic Traditions. More on this 17th Century Dutch Master can be found at the Rockoxhius – which has a fabulous collection, as well as at the church of St-Jakobs where the painter is buried, and of course at Rubenshuis, the painter’s own house.
In Antwerp cultures vultures too will find plenty to enjoy as the world of Rubens, survives in the many remaining examples of the City’s “Golden Age”. The main square with its renaissance Town Hall, guild houses and legendary barbo fountain is a great place to start, followed perhaps by a visit at the Our Lady’s Cathedral to see some of the finest work of the great artist.
Shopping in Antwerp means wandering around the streets, past historic houses and beautiful shopping centers. The shopping zones in Antwerp are not saturated and city has fairly dozens of artistic designer shops and stores. Antwerp’s fashion life is regularly featured in the glossy magazines. At the MoMu, or Fashion Museum you can predict how the fashion has strutted through the years in this fabulous City.
Academy Fashion Show is held in the fashion section of Royal Academy of Fine Arts which is one of the best in the world. Fashion equals Shopping and for a Die-hard Shopper, Antwerp has a lot to offer. The Best Shops in Antwer can be found in the Meir Street. If it’s bargains you are after then do look for the signs in the shop windows indication Solden (Sales) – the winter sales tend to take place from 3rd – 31ST January Annualy.
Antwerp is now one of the hottest cities on the European Style map because of its great night life and a wide range of classy bars and restaurants to rival any city in Northern Europe. In Belgium Antwerp’s night life is the most reputed in its class, so try and stay on a Friday or Saturday Night and enjoy a night out on the town. A string of internationally known fashion designers have put it well and truly on the style map and there are numbers of stylish bars, restaurants and clubs to enjoy.
Pub brawls are common in this brilliant city because Belgians love to drink. You just have to choose between hosts of bars open any time day or night, from old styled beer halls serving your choice of Belgian beer to high tech bars who are well known for their elegant cocktails. Best Night Spots to visit are Den Engel, Kleine Bourla, Swing Café, Sloppy Store, De Vagent, Kulminator, Soeki, Café Hopper, Red & Blue and Bar Tabac.
Hotel de Ville standing proudly in the Grote Markt is worth watching with its ornate section which features statutes of female figures: Justice, Prudence and the Virgin Mary. In the centre of the square you’ll see the statue of Brabo, which tells the story of the legend that gave the city its name: a giant charging a toll to cross the bridge eventually got his comeuppance. He was killed by the young Brabo, who cut his hand off and tossed it into the river. This is why Antwerp is full of hand shaped biscuits and chocolates, which are surely in danger of losing a finger or two. You must try the moules-frites of course, accompanied by some Belgian Beer.