Country: Belgium Language: Dutch Currency: Euro (€)
Antwerp is a terrific Flemish city in northern Belgium. The Great Market Square is full of character, and the Cathedral of Our Lady is certainly impressive! Explore the cobbled laneways of the historic center, the home of one of the greatest painters of the Baroque era, shop for some of the world's finest diamonds, and indulge in Belgian classics like chocolate and waffles! Also, take the time to sit down with a glass of Belgian beer and soak up the quaint architecture and history embedded into the city.
CTW Must See
Cathedral of Our Lady
The current building replaced an earlier model in the 12th century. The cathedral is the largest Gothic church in Belgium, at 80 meters tall and 42 meters wide. The design intended two tall, equal towers, however the south tower was never completed, due to a fire that delayed construction. A ticket is required to visit the cathedral, but the stained glass windows and the popular art works by Peter Raul Rubens inside are lovely. In front of the cathedral, you'll find the adorable sculpture featuring a boy and his dog, which honors the children's story of Nello and Patrashe, who visited the cathedral together in their story.
Great Market Square
The Great Market Square, or Grote Markt, is the city’s largest square. It features the Town Hall, iconic guildhalls, and the Brabo Fountain. The Town Hall was built in the 1560s, and features a gorgeous Renaissance architectural style. Attached to the building are 87 flags featuring all of the EU nations. Sit down for a cold Belgium beer while gazing upon this picturesque square.
Steen Castle is the city’s oldest building. It dates back to the 9th century, when it originated as a stone fortress. At the entrance to the bridge, a statue of a giant stands tall in the foreground. The statue illustrates Lange Wapper, a giant who used to torment humans during the medieval times. And above the archway of the castle’s entrance, you will see a Semini, a Scandinavian God of youth and fertility, from the 2nd century! In the summer, an outdoor bar is set up, providing a peaceful and historic place to relax with a cold beer or ice cream.
St. Charles Borromeo’s Church
Built in the early 1600s, this Baroque style building was made famous when Rubens was commissioned to paint the ceilings. He painted 39 ceiling panels with the help of one of Antwerp’s most famous Baroque painters, Anthony Van Dyck. Unfortunately, lightning stuck the roof in 1718, causing a fire, and the destruction of the work. The beautiful facade, and charming square that the church sits in makes for a wonderful and peaceful scene.
Rubens house, or Rubenshuis, is the former home and studio of Peter Paul Rubens. His Baroque styled work highlighted colors and movement. Rubens designed the building himself, creating an Italian Renaissance palace. A tour of the house will show you Rubens’s living space, studio, decadent porch, and peaceful courtyard.
Antwerp Train Station
Even if you aren’t arriving to Antwerp by train, its impressive station is worthy of your attention! The station opened in 1905 and is one of Belgium’s most impressive railway buildings. The building was damaged during WWII, it wasn’t severe enough to damage its structural integrity.
More Belgian Adventures...
Because Belgium is so small, you can easily visit multiple cities in one trip! Base yourself in one city, or stay in a couple different cities, whichever you choose, know that you can do so with ease. Check out our posts on other Belgian cities to keep your adventure going!