Antwerp is an ideal port of call for a cruise ship as you dock close or right beside the town.
Less Touristy than Brussels or Bruges
It is much less touristy than Brussels or Bruges and the town has led the Flanders Region in maintaining the Flemish language and its culture. It is famous for its diamond cutting business, more than half of the world’s diamonds are cut in Antwerp. Although more than 50 miles from the North Sea, a sheltered estuary has allowed the city to develop as an important port and industrial centre. The city is fairly compact, on flat ground, and most visitors walk; take a tram or cycle, the advertised metro system have some tram lines that run underground.
The main focus is the Old Town which occupies a sem -circular area running for 1.5 miles along the river front and bounded by a broad road where the old city wall once stood. Here you will find the Cathedral of Our Lady (1352) containing Rubens originals, a beautiful main square (the Grote Markt) and an old waterside fortress known as The Steen. Churches and museums are plentiful; perhaps the best known is Rubens’ House, a palace full of furniture once owned by the great Antwerp master situated not far from another masterpiece from a different era, Antwerp Central Station.
Design and Fashion
Numerous young Flemish designers have received international acclaim – the new fashion district of Antwerp is around Nationalestraat (where you will also find the MOMU Fashion Museum at number 28). This part of town is known as Quartier Latin. De Keyseriei and Meir are Antwerp’s main shopping streets and are among the prettiest in Europe.
Things to Do
The Antwerp Tourist Office located at Grote Markt 13 offers WALKING TOURS of various types, BICYLE TOURS along the quays of the River Scheldt to the old port, the ‘Eilandje (Little Island), the narrow medieval streets of Sint-Andries quarter and on to the now very fashionable 19th century Zuid district. BOAT TOURS along the Scheldt start from Steenplein. THE ANTWERP DIAMOND BUS is a hop-on, hop-off service calling at or near most Antwerp attractions. If the tourist office officials are not on board your ship or at the dock, make your way to their town office first. You either dock at the Wandelterras Zuid which is only 5 minutes walk to the centre or at Kattendijkook or Willemdok, both about a 15 minute walk to the city centre.
Contact Simon at Designer Travel Tailor-made Holidays & Cruises
All details quoted are thought to be correct at time of posting but are always subject to confirmation at time of booking
Photo: Antwerp typical street (RG) 143