Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Antwerp the capital of Flanders, Belgium

Antwerp is renowned as being the diamond capital of the world. It is the second largest city and municipality in Belgium as well as the capital of Flanders. This cosmopolitan, down to earth city is full of fascinating architecture and historical institutions. 

The city has always held an important place in the Benelux economic union. It is located on the banks of the river Scheldt and is borderd by the countries of the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and France. Next to being the second largest city, it is also the second largest port in Europe, behind Rotterdam and is one  of the 10 largest ports in the world.

Entering the beautiful Grote Markt

The trademark cobbled streets of the historic centre, excellant bars and restaurants and great shops mean that there is pleanty to do and see in Antwerp. Whether you simply want to enjoy wandering around the beautiful old centre, shop to you drop or taste the many flavours of Belgian beers, Antwerp is well worth a visit. Be warned, if you choose the beer option, some brews are very strong, so watch out!

In front of the City Hall

The only downside about Antwerp is the traffic, during peak times midweek you can literally sit for hours and even on a busy Saturday, getting out of the city can be a pain in the neck. If you are visiting the city there is a carpark on Oude Vaartplats 2, 2000, Antwerpen which is close to the main shopping area and a few minutes walk from the historic centre. During the week, try and avoid peak times and at the weekend, try and arrive early morning if you want to get a parking space.

Het Steen (The Stone)

If someone asked me how long would I suggest staying in Anwerp, I'd suggest that you can get a good feeling for the city in a day with an overnight break. Ghent, Bruges and Brussels are all relatively close so there is plenty more to see without having to travel too far.


Eco-friendly city tour