Antwerp Tours from Brussels

By Viator, February 2015

3.5 94 Reviews | Add your review

Belgium’s thriving second city is the hub of funky designers and diamond traders; Antwerp’s historic center reveals wonderful cobbled squares lined with gabled medieval buildings and magnificent churches while the city also boasts Europe’s largest harbor in which the River Schelde meets the North Sea.

Antwerp is easily accessible just 45 minutes north of Brussels and makes the perfect day trip, so grab the chance to take a guided tour to explore the city’s many secrets.

Many of Antwerp’s foremost sights lie in the pedestrianized old city; at its heart lies Grote Markt, an awesome cobbled space dominated by the city hall and wonderfully ornate gabled guild houses. Nearby the ornate Butchers Hall was built during Antwerp’s 16th-century Golden Age, when it was one of the largest cities in Europe; today it houses the City Sounds Museum.

The elaborate Cathedral of Notre Dame is one of the finest examples of Gothic building in Europe and its spire dominates the cityscape; it’s famous for its vast stained-glass windows and for three massive paintings by Peter Paul Rubens. See more of his works at the Rubens Museum nearby; Rubens also had a hand in the design of the fancy Baroque church of Carolus Borromeus. On the riverside stands the castle of t’Steen, the oldest building in the city and all that survives of the original medieval town.

A smattering of museums showcase fine art, printing and sculpture but Antwerp’s major new collection is found down by the harborside. The innovative, red-brick Museum Aan de Stroom (MAS), which has a great ninth-story terrace for lunching and admiring the dockside views plus five levels of displays showcasing the city’s history, maritime trading and Flemish folklore. There’s also an informative exhibit celebrating Antwerp’s position as the world’s premier diamond trading city.

Antwerp’s gastro scene is thumping, with culinary delights ranging from pickled herring stands in the street to Michelin-starred restaurants. The shopping is equally diverse, from on-trend clothes designers to top-end delis and vibrant markets. And of course if you’re after a sparkling diamond, this is the place to buy.

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