Antwerp (map) is the capital of the eponymous province in the region of Flanders. Antwerp has grown to become a trendy city, attracting many Flemish and foreign artists, writers, intellectuals, and actors. This is reflected in the city’s many trendy bars and shops.
Antwerp is a city with many faces. While it may not be as historically preserved as Bruges or Ghent, it is a very dynamic city, offering a perfect mix of history and present-day modern life.
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Most things to see are near or within the Boulevards, the half-moon of avenues where there were once 16th-century city walls. This old town centre (map), with a diameter of about 1.5 km, can be walked, and there is also excellent public transport. The centre is densely signposted to aid those discovering it on foot.
*Zurenborg neighborhood (map). A little off the beaten track. This neighbourhood in the south east of Antwerp (near the railway station Antwerpen-Berchem, look for ‘Cogels-Osylei’ on the map) is known for its eclectic, sometimes rather bizarre 19th century architecture. Consider taking a tram or bicycle to get there.
Antwerp Ruien (map). You can take a guided tour of the underground city of Antwerp.
Weekend Markets take place on the Theaterplein Square (map) in front of the Stadsschouwburg theatre. The markets are very popular with stalls offering everything from food (fruit and veg, meat, fish, nuts, cheese ethnic specialities) to household goods to bicycles to antiques to clothes. Sunday tends to see a lot more stalls compared to Saturday.
Wherever you are in Antwerp, you will always be near a pub or another drinking facility. Not surprising in the city that has the most pubs per capita in the world. The pubs do not have a closing hour. Drinks originating here are De Koninck (commonly called “Bolleke”) beer, and Elixir d’Anvers – a liquor based on plants.