Antwerp is a busy port situated on the river Scheldt which flows into the North Sea via the Westerschelde estuary. It is a city of some half a million people surrounding one of the most impressive cathedrals in the country. The city offers a eclectic mix of attractions for the visitor. In the old centre amongst the cobbled streets can be found thousands of art galleries, antique shops, excellent restaurants catering for all tastes, designer shops and of course the shops catering to the diamond trade for which Antwerp is famous world-wide.
There has been a settlement here since the 2nd century AD, but the town was first named in the 4th century AD and so has a long history. Nowadays it is easily accessible by motorway and major roads, by train and coach and of course by air to the Antwerp International Airport. Within the city there are excellent tram and bus services throughout the region.
Apart from experiencing the shoppers paradise Antwerp provides, the diamond trade is something every visitor should experience. Take a tour of Diamondland and you will be able to see at first hand how diamonds are processed. Here you can see professional diamond cutters and setters at work and buy a souvenir of your visit to take home.
Also famous is the local zoo, one of the oldest in Europe. It makes a superb day out and is great for children. The home of many exotic species it will take you the best part of a day to see everything. It also houses some beautiful and impressive buildings and animal enclosures dating back almost 150 years. The zoo has a very active species preservation program for endangered species, funded partly from visitor income.
You should also not miss Aquatopia, a series of aquariums where you can experience habitats such as rain forests, swamps, river deltas and coral reefs as well as some extraordinary sea creatures. For children there are many activities to keep them occupied if the weather is bad.
The city is well endowed with museums of all types. Whether your interest lies in the fine arts, fashion, diamonds, sculpture and simply the history of the city and it’s river you will find it here.
Eating out is a pleasure. There are over 600 eating places in the city so you don’t have to travel far to find a good meal. Many specialise in a particular type of food such as the fish restaurant Gin-Fish run by a Michelin starred chef and owner. If you want to sample traditional Belgium food a restaurant like Grand Cafe Horta and many others will provide you with a very tasty meal.