How much can you do and see in one day? Antwerp, the Flemish capital of Belgium, will challenge you to pack in more than you ever thought possible. You will be spoilt for choice as you take in the designer-led fashion quarter, the narrow cobbled streets that hide thousands of bars, restaurants, art and antique dealers, chocolatiers and of course, the famous diamond shops.
Slip into one of the bars and ask for a bolleke (a ‘little bowl’) of one of Antwerp’s famous beers, maybe a De Koninck, a mild strength ale, or a Kriek Boon, a beautiful cherry beer. If you decide to take some home – and you certainly will – visit the excellent Den Dorstvlegel beer shop.
Antwerp is a rising fashion city thanks to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, which hosts perhaps the best fashion department in Europe. Graduates tend to remain in the city to make their mark, rather than decamp to Paris or New York.
Its architecture spans medieval to modern, with The Cathedral of Our Lady dominating the skyline.
Head north of the centre to the quiet urban cool of Park Spoor Noord, a expansive centre of relaxation, play and entertainment that hosts concerts, sporting events, or if you prefer, a family picnic.