Ross Merchant, City Breaks Specialist

"Antwerp is a very cool city. It is filled with cobbled lanes and boasts many fine cultural attractions; from the UNESCO Museum Plantin-Moretus for a snippet into the city’s past to the great Gothic cathedral of Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal. I also recommend seeing the modern architecture of the Port House, and if you have time, then go for a guided tour of the building and see the wonderful views over the port and the city. Foodies will appreciate the hipster café culture, where at every turn you will find a friendly café serving fresh bakes and too-good-to-drink coffees styled with frothy coffee art!"

Antwerp at a glance

Innovation and an impressive historical presence make Antwerp a thriving capital city not to be missed. A medieval town center, cathedral, and riverfront fortress preserve Antwerp’s eventful past, while it consistently remains at the forefront of trending fashion and design, art, and entertainment.

Home to a thriving diamond exchange center, Belgium’s capital is known as the ‘world’s leading diamond city’, claiming over 70% of the world’s diamond trade. Antwerp’s diamond district, Diamontkwartier, acts as the headquarters for facilitating the world’s diamond industry. Occupying several city blocks, the area includes four trading exchanges and banks as well as the Antwerp World Diamond Centre.

Antwerp became a center for trade and wealth early on in the 16th century when it was named the sugar capital of Europe. Population growth and a booming economy allowed Antwerp to become a thriving multicultural center with wealthy merchant homes, cathedrals, and city landmarks going up throughout the city. Today these preserved buildings lend a nostalgic presence to a city still on the cusp of trade and trends.

Perfect if you’re looking for:

  • A bustling city break
  • Stunning architecture
  • Arts and culture

Getting around

A vast network of buses and trams run throughout the city of Antwerp. Tickets can be purchased at most newspaper agents and are sold by the number of ‘rides’ required. Each ride is valid for up to one hour of travel within the central city zone. Travel extended zones outside the city for an additional cost.

For a unique tour of the city, try a horse tram that takes passengers on a 40 minute ride through Antwerp. The horse tram leaves from Grote Markt every hour.

Dining in Antwerp

A cosmopolitan city, Antwerp provides visitors with both a sophisticated selection of international cuisine and Michelin star restaurants, while Flemish fritkoten and street vendors serve up traditional favorites including waffles and Belgian fries.

Belgian beer is an integral part of the Antwerp dining experience with many local and regional favorites to choose from. For desert, visit a chocolatier where you can find a wide variety of specialty chocolates infused with unique flavors. 

Must-try local dishes:

  • Carbonadeflamandeor stooflees – a tender beef slow cooked with a dark beer marinade consisting of onions, herbs, and sometimes even chocolate
  • Sole meunière – a traditional pan fried fish prepared with a lemon and butter sauce
  • Antwerp hand cookie – a butter cookie fashioned after a local folktale from which the city derives its name 

Shopping in Antwerp

Home to The Antwerp Six, a group of notable designers who graduated from the city’s own Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp is a fashion paradise with plenty of chic designer boutiques as well as independent and high end shops featuring the latest in avant-garde designs and trend setting couture. To complete your shopping tour, stop by one of the city’s prestigious jewelry shops such as Verso, known for its stunning interior, or seek out one of the many high fashion shoe shops to indulge in some covetable footwear. 

Get your tailor-made city break itinerary

Osprey Holidays can create a fabulous short break to Antwerp designed completely around your needs. We can arrange whatever you need, including:

  • All travel and transfers on days of your choice 
  • Accommodation from our handpicked range of hotels, to suit your budget and requirements

Our award-winning team can provide expert advice and recommendations, from general questions to tiny details. Contact us now for your tailor-made itinerary.

Important information
Population 503,138
Languages Dutch
Currency Euro
Visa Information No visa required for EU citizens
Average temperatures

(monthly highs °C)

Distance from airports
Antwerp International Airport 6km
Railway stations
Antwerpen Premetrostation