The city of Antwerp is a historic port city on Belgium’s River Scheldt. It is the world’s diamond district. It is the second-largest city in Belgium with amazing Architectures and tons of culture and character. I usually find it easier and cheaper to fly to Eindhoven Airport in the Netherlands and take a short bus or train ride to Antwerp Train Station.
Here is my brief summary of five must do and see in Antwerp. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
The Plantin-Moretus Museum is one of the many UNESCO World Heritage Site in Antwerp, Belgium honouring the famous printers Christophe Plantin and Jan Moretus. This printing press is the first commercial printing press in the world. The building itself dates back to medieval times and, along with the courtyard, is alone worthy of a visit. Combine this with a museum exploring the world’s oldest printing press, a 17th Century library and a collection of valuable artwork and you will soon see why the Museum Plantin-Moretus is so highly regarded
It is located in their former residence and printing establishment, Plantin Press near the Friday market. The museum holds some of the world first printed Bible. It is not an easy place to find…well I didn’t find it easy to locate but if you ever feel lost, ask anyone, the locals are very friendly and always eager to help.
Train stations are usually not one of the things I will recommend as a tourist site anywhere in the world. But my oh my… the Antwerp Train station is an exception. This is a must-see tourist attraction in town. The Gothic architecture of the building’s impressive exterior will take your breath away, but the main hall is simply breathtaking. The station is one of the city’s most treasured landmarks and has been rated as one of the world’s top five most beautiful train stations.
The station is much more than just a pretty face however and has been fully adapted to operate in the 21st Century with its multilevel platforms. This is my favourite place to visit in Antwerp.
The west end of the station is home to Antwerp’s and probably Europe’s largest diamond market. It is estimated that over 89% of the world’s uncut diamonds find their way to Antwerp.
The Historic Antwerp Zoo
Antwerp Zoo was founded in 1843 and makes a great day out when you are tired of looking at museums and architecture. The zoo may be one of the oldest in the world but the facilities are modern and world-class with state of the art enclosures and breeding programmes. Popular attractions at the zoo include a loved up koala couple who live together in a thatched cottage as well as a new reef environment in the zoo’s aquarium.
The MAS Museum
This is a very ultra-murder museum at the edge of the Antwerp port. It chronicles the history of the city and its massive role as an important port city in the country. It occasionally features temporary exhibitions from various artists and exhibitors. It is important when you visit the museum, to take the elevators to the open-top roof of the building for a breathtaking panoramic view of the city. There is a cover charge for entrance to the museum, but I guarantee you that it is worth it.
The Town Square
Antwerp’s Grote Markt or town square dates back to the 16th Century and is a beautiful example of architecture from this period. The town hall is the centrepiece and is built in Renaissance and Gothic styles. The statue at the centre of the square is of Brabo, a legendary giant slayer, and dates back to 1887. The nearby street of Hofstraat is where the old stock exchange was located until the 16th Century.