Belgium’s charming, medieval city of Antwerp is the country’s biggest port and often recognised as its capital of cool. It has proved an alluring city for centuries, attracting lovers of art, fashion and, of course, diamonds – over 80% of the world's rough diamonds pass through the city's famous diamond district at some point or other. Renowned for its charm and sparkle, Antwerp was one of Europe’s principle cities in the mid-16th century and has maintained the essence of its medieval past, despite severe bombing during World War II.
A riverside fortress and numerous intriguing cobbled streets are overshadowed by the 123m high tower of the imposing Cathedral of Our Lady, the biggest church in Benelux. Its construction started in 1352 on the site of a 10th century chapel, but like many medieval religious buildings, it took several centuries to complete. [ReadMore]
The cathedral interior has four altarpieces by Peter Paul Rubens – a true legend of baroque painting. The Royal Museum of Fine Arts is dedicated to this local celebrity, and houses many of his finest works, along with those of other Flemish masters. There are more than 20 other museums in the city, and other attractions to this cultural gem of a city include a vibrant fashion and entertainment scene, a robust café culture, excellent shops and delightful parks and gardens. Fine dining is also on the menu, and one of Antwerp's most dramatic restaurant, The Jane, brings it all together with a slice of rock and roll.
Known as the Diamond Quarter and dubbed the Square Mile, around 84% of the world's mined diamonds pass through Antwerp’s Diamond district, making it the largest diamond district in the world.
Antwerp is home to an abundance of world-famous chocolatiers producing wonderfully indulgent chocolate creations. It is a true chocolate-lovers paradise, with chocolate shops on almost every street corner, inviting you inside to sample and buy some of the most delicious pralines in the world.