Antwerp is the largest city in the Flemish region and the second largest in Belgium. It is known as the small homeland of the painter Peter Paul Rubens, for its eerie legend about the giant Druon Antigone tearing off his hands, and also as a diamond processing center - the “Diamond Capital”. Antwerp has a very measured and unhurried rhythm of life, all shops and restaurants close quite early here, people are in no hurry, and the number of attractions and interesting places pleasantly pleases. In this article we'll figure it out what to see in Antwerp definitely one or two days in advance.

The main tourist street of Antwerp

The central landmark of Antwerp is the massive Cathedral of Our Lady Antwerp. This particular object is included in all the TOPs and lists, I will say more, even if you are not interested in architecture - this temple is definitely worth seeing.

Cathedral of Our Lady of Antwerp

The cathedral, built in late Gothic architecture, began to be built in the middle of the 14th century, but it is curious that the building was never officially completed.

What are the sculptures near Antwerp Cathedral?

The dominant feature of the temple is the 123-meter North Tower, clearly visible from all corners of the city. The south tower was planned to be the same in height and style, but they were never able to find the funds to complete it.

What to do in Antwerp?

Over its long history, Antwerp Cathedral has experienced many tragic events and disasters: wars, fires, looting and revolutions. The temple was destroyed and restored again; at the end of the 18th century, the city administration even thought about making a huge mistake and demolishing this architectural monument. However, over the years, the cathedral has become an integral part of the city and the main point of attraction for all tourists.

What to see in Antwerp?

You can get inside the Cathedral of Our Lady for a fee; the entrance ticket costs 12 euros per person. Open from 10 to 5 pm on weekdays, on weekends the work schedule is reduced by 2 hours.

View excursions and activities in Antwerp

In front of the main entrance to the temple, pay attention to the sweetest sculpture of the boy Nello and his dog Patrasche, covered with paving stones like a blanket.

Nello & Patrasche Statue

What does this sculpture mean? There is a rather sad legend-story, according to which the orphan boy Nello found the crippled dog Patrasche, with whom they became best friends. They spent long days and nights in front of the walls of the cathedral, waiting for the opportunity to get inside to look at the paintings and decor. Unfortunately, the friends did not have money for an entrance ticket, and one day, on a frosty day, without getting inside, the boy and his dog froze near the walls of the Antwerp Cathedral.

What is this cute sculpture of a boy with a dog in Antwerp?

Walking from this attraction through a narrow street you will come across market square, where those same Belgian houses from countless photographs and advertising brochures are located. The entire tourist life of the city is concentrated in this part of Antwerp - do you need a nice little cafe, buy a souvenir or eat a Belgian waffle? Then you should definitely come here.

What to see in Antwerp? Grote Market

In the center of the square there is an unusual sculpture-fountain Brabo. At the top of the composition is a man with a severed hand throwing it into the water. Don’t be alarmed, if you believe the legend (the one about the bloodthirsty giant), then even the name of the city of Antwerp is derived from this terrible process (meaning that the translation from Dutch “hand werpen” is just “throwing a hand”).

Unusual statue in Antwerp

Behind the fountain, another important landmark is the Antwerp City Hall, built in 1564. In terms of architecture, this building belongs to the Renaissance style.

Antwerp Town Hall

Antwerp Guild

Following the narrow Belgian streets, you can get to an amazing building that looks like a fortress, but in fact it is the former Vleeshuis town hall, and now a local museum.

What does Antwerp look like?

It is curious that this place has been home to meat stalls and trading shops for many centuries, which is why the building is often called the “Butcher’s House”.

Unusual attractions in Antwerp

Coming closer to the embankment, a view of a real medieval castle opens up - Het Steen, today the Antwerp tourism center is located here.

Castle in Antwerp

Over the 9 centuries of its history, the fortress was rebuilt several times, and for many years it was used as a prison. In the 19th century, the fortress walls were demolished; the castle itself was at risk at that time and could have been lost.

Castle in Antwerp

In the 60s of the last century, a monument to the giant Long Wapper (a character from Antwerp folklore) was erected in front of the entrance to Het Sten. According to legend, the Long Whopper frightened local townspeople, paying special attention to drunkards, forcing them to quickly run from the city streets to their homes. Next to the castle there is also a modern attraction - Ferris wheel. From here you can take great pictures of the cathedral, as well as look at the city from above.

Antwerp waterfront

Walking along the embankment you will see an ancient mansion Het Loodswezen, eclectic architecture. The house somewhat resembles a set for horror films, but in fact, modern exhibitions are often held here. Behind the mansion there is a memorial to Belgian soldiers.

Unusual mansion in Antwerp

At a nearby intersection, the modern part of the city of Antwerp begins, where attention is immediately attracted by the unusual building of the MAS Museum. There are many different expositions and seasonal exhibitions here, of course there are halls dedicated to the history of the city.

Museum in Antwerp

When walking around Antwerp, pay attention to the little things; the city is full of hidden figures and curious shapes that will delight you with their aesthetics.

List of main attractions in Antwerp

The absolute and perhaps main attraction of Antwerp is the luxurious railway station building.

Antwerp station

You need to see it not only from the outside, but also look inside - the interiors are truly amazing; in fact, there is almost a free museum here.

Unusual sights of Antwerp

In addition, Antwerp station is its main destination, transportation of passengers, not lost. All trains depart from here for regional purposes (for example, you can easily go for a walk to Ghent or Brussels), as well as go to neighboring countries (the Netherlands, Germany, France).

Station in Antwerp

It will be interesting to see and Jesuit Temple of Carlo Borromeo, which is a little hidden in the back streets of the city. It is curious that Baroque architecture is not entirely typical for the architecture of Belgium, so the church rather sends us to Italy.

Sights of Antwerp

Speaking about the churches of Antwerp, it is worth adding to the list the Church of St. James, which, although not as noticeable as the Cathedral of Our Lady, amazes with its Gothic interiors.

Temple in Antwerp

In addition, the temple houses a chapel and a tombstone of the famous painter Rubens Peter Paul, whose name is associated with much in Antwerp.

Interesting sights in Antwerp

If you are interested in Antwerp museums, then one of the best options to visit is Royal Museum of Fine Arts. There is a huge collection of paintings here; this gallery is often called one of the best in Belgium.

Royal Museum of Art in Antwerp

And on the way to the museum, pay attention to this unusual monument. This attraction is rarely included in the list of must-sees, but in vain.

Antwerp Belgium

Antwerp is an amazing mixture of modern and old architecture that harmonizes well. If you ask a question about what to do as a tourist, then one of the best recommendations is to take a leisurely stroll around the city.

Stadium in Antwerp

In addition to the main and popular temples, the city has many little-known, but worthy of attention. It doesn’t make much sense to describe each one - just look around carefully and beautiful things will be nearby.

Church in Antwerp

Wiske Antwerpen

What else to see if you have a day left?

  • Antwerp Zoo
  • Emigrant Museum (Red Star Line Museum)
  • Private Museum De Reede
  • Passage under the river (St. Anna's Tunnel)
  • Open Air Sculpture Museum (Middelheimpark)
  • Rubens House Museum
  • Choose tickets and excursions online

Where to stay in Antwerp?

There are plenty of hotels in the city; during my trip I chose Ibis hotel. Look here for options to suit your budget and dates.

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