Antwerp is Belgium's second-largest city and was once one of Europe’s most prosperous and innovative cities in the 16th and 17th centuries, but it undeservedly sits in the shadows of Brussels. Although the Belgian Capital may get all its glory from the tourists’ reviews, there is something strikingly eccentric about Antwerp yet to be discovered. The city boasts nearly 70 homegrown fashion labels, 25 museums, a progressive gastronomy scene, and perfectly preserved baroque and renaissance architecture. Despite its small size, the city has plenty to offer. To fully appreciate the city's cultural history, here’s how to make the most of your trip to one of Europe’s under-the-radar destinations.
The cultural capital of Flanders, Antwerp is both a bustling industrial port city and an outstanding historic center for Belgian craftwork and artistry. From the River Scheldt to the Golden Triangle, discover the city's rich architectural heritage.
The best way to see the River Scheldt isn’t by boat but on two wheels. Pick up a bike from Freewieler and pootle along the riverside cycle path. Go north to the docklands or south towards the law courts, and savor the breathtaking views of the Port Authority House designed by the world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid.
While most people know Brussels is famous for Art Nouveau architecture, fewer people are aware of Antwerp's famous “golden triangle.” Formed by the streets of Cogels Osylei, Waterloostraat, and Transvaalstraat, you'll see intricate mosaic designs, ironworks, and carved figures on the walls.
Dating from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, the Plantin-Moretus Museum keeps an exhaustive collection of 14,000 woodblocks. During a creative workshop, you will explore what makes printing, etching, or bookbinding a proper craft in the Plantin printing house.
Apart from Antwerp’s baroque monuments and rich cultural history, the city is quickly reinventing itself as the culinary capital of Belgium. From Belgian plant-based cuisine to traditional beer tasting, here are a few of our favorite places to expand your taste palette in Antwerp.