Five Reasons Why You Should Visit Antwerp
written on January 11th, 2018 by Rusty Jorbina
I thought Antwerp, a coastal city in Belgium, would be just another European city. But the moment we drove through the streets, I fell in love.
Here are my favorite things about Anwterp and why it should be part of the cities you should see in Europe:
1. The city is literally beautiful
The facade of new and old buildings, the insides of the churches, the many parks, the curious small alleys, there is no shortage of ‘Instagrammable’ places in Antwerp. I spent my time admiring and taking photos of everything. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves, but just an example: the main central station in Antwerp was so beautiful, I took 30 minutes to walk around, admire it and try to capture its every mood. It’s not even as big as the central train stations in Paris.
2. Going around the city is easy
I bought the Antwerp City Card which allowed me to board trams and trains as well as visit some museums for free. However, even without it, getting around the city is a breeze. Just get a tourist map which is found in the main train station and one can plot a visit easily. I mainly used the tram and train network (it is on the same rails; but the cars go underground in the historic city center) and I just hopped on and off them (unlike Paris, there are no ticket barriers or gates in the stations). Since I could not bike, I could not use this option, but there are also bikes for rent around the city. Walking is also an option. Most of the streets and alleys in the historic center are closed to motorists, so feel free to explore and wander about.
3. The city is rich in culture and history
I visited several museums in Antwerp to discover, not just its own history, but also those of other parts of the world. No less than ten museums are scattered across the historic district and are just a few tram stations away from each other. I learned more about the life and works of the famous painter Peter Paul Rubens, visited a museum dedicated to early printing, and also learned how diamonds have shaped the history, culture, and economy of Antwerp (more than 80% of the world’s diamonds pass through this city).
4. Fashion is in the heart of this city
Antwerp has been called the “world center of edgy modern fashion” and you can see it everywhere – from the avant garde clothes stores to the locals walking around the streets. I was fascinated by how people dress themselves, this is coming from someone who has also spent time exploring Paris. There is even a museum dedicated to fashion. You can shop for anything from clothes in second hand thrift stores to high street brands (such as Zara and H&M and some European brands not in the Philippines). But if you want to splurge, Antwerp has it too. Luxury brands like Hermes, Chanel, and Givenchy have stores next to each other in the shopping district. Lastly, try to visit the local clothing shops even if you do not know the label – who knows what unique item you will find.
5. There are a wide variety of food choices
When you hear ‘Belgian’ food, chocolate, beer, and waffles come to mind and sure, there is no shortage of those. But what surprised me was the variety of food available. Most of the European cities I have visited lack cuisine choices, but Antwerp was different. There were a variety of Asian restaurants (Japanese and Ramen shops, Chinese, Vietnamese, and yes, there was a Filipino one as well), plant-based restaurants, and Italian and American restaurants, among others. The food was quite affordable, too.
More photo of Antwerp below: