Antwerp induces thoughts of diamonds and jewelry houses that trade the expensive stones. But the Belgian city isn’t just famous due to its position in the diamond industry. Its port is one of the largest and busiest in the world. It receives massive cargo ships daily making it one of the globe’s 20 largest.
Along with being a major player in jewelry and industry, Antwerp has a charm that is different from other Belgian cities such as Brussels and Bruges. In 2018, Antwerp ranked in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Cities to Visit thanks to its combination of culture, history, and attractions.
The Belgian port city is still a low-key travel destination and one that plenty of travelers may not think of when planning a vacation. For anyone looking for a unique city that isn’t the same old cliched European destination, Antwerp is the place to go. No matter what tourists are seeking, Antwerp delivers a wonderful vacation.
Local Favorite: WaterzooiWaterzooi is a comfort food found in Antwerp that will keep you warm on cold Belgian days. It was invented in Ghent in the Middle Ages. Today, it is widely eaten in Antwerp meaning you can find it served up at restaurants around the city. Waterzooi is a creamy soup/stew containing carrots, onions, leeks, and chicken. The dish was originally made in Ghent using saltwater or freshwater fish. You may find waterzooi on menus across Belgium with either fish or chicken as the meat. Chicken tends to be more popular in Antwerp, however. If you fancy the fishy flavored waterzooi, then it is a good idea to visit the nearby city of Bruges.
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The Rubens House
Cathedral of Our Lady Antwerp
Antwerp City Hall
Museum of Modern Art
Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp
Top Tourist Attractions
Rubenshuis, or known in English as Rubens’ House, was the home of famed Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens from 1610 to 1640. Rubens was one of the most influential artists of his time and his depictions of Christian history are revered today.
His former residence was turned into a prison during the French Revolution and for the most part, fell into disrepair thereafter. In the 1930s, it was acquired by the city and turned into a museum showcasing Rubens’ artwork. Lovers of art can view his famous paintings along with artwork produced by Rubens’ pupils.
Abarth Works Museum
Located a mere 10 miles from Antwerp in Lier, is the Abarth Works Museum. Italian sports car company Abarth has been designing cars since 1949. The museum is home to one of the best Abarth sports car collections in the world and is owned and run by former Abarth rally car driver Guy Moerenhout.
The museum opened in 2007, but visits can only be made once an appointment is booked with Moerenhout himself. Anyone looking for that missing piece to their Abarth sports car should stop by as Moerenhout has pieces to help others restore their automobiles.
RSRSpa Premium Track Days
Spa is located around two hours from Antwerp. The eastern Belgian town offers visitors its own wonders for a brilliant day trip. One of the most popular attractions in Spa is the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. The circuit is home to the Belgian Grand Prix and the Spa 24 Hours race which attract hundreds of thousands of people each year.
Petrolheads on vacation will find the RSRSpa Premium Track Days at the racecourse and the chance to drive on the same circuit as legendary Formula One and endurance drivers. The Premium Track Day allows drivers to get behind the wheel and speed around the track in a safe and friendly environment. Visitors can either use their own car or hire one from the RSRSpa.
Premium Track Days allow a maximum of 100 drivers for the experience. As the RSRSpa states, the Premium Track Day is fun and not for competitive racing. It is simply for drivers who love their cars and relish the thought of driving at such a famous track.
Antwerp’s Diamond Museum, the Diamantmuseum, showcases the art of diamond jewelry. It is what Antwerp is most famous for and visitors can learn about the various aspects of the diamond trade at the museum.
The Diamantmuseum has interesting exhibits on cut and uncut diamonds. There are also exhibits showcasing diamond cutters and processing of the stones. Travelers who want to know more about the precious stones can find out everything there is to know at the Diamantmuseum.
Pure McLaren Experience
The Pure McLaren Experience speeds into Spa-Francorchamps once a year. The event welcomes drivers of all experience levels. Pure McLaren Experience packages give drivers the chance to learn from driving coaches. They also let visitors get behind the wheel of some beautifully designed McLaren sports cars. There is a course available for everyone no matter their driving level and by the end of the experience, drivers will have gained invaluable driving knowledge.
Antwerp is a city teeming with culture and history dating back to the Middle Ages. The Belgian city is a tourist destination that is under the radar and isn’t the first city travelers think of when they consider visiting Belgium. However, it delivers a great experience to anyone looking for something out of the ordinary. Whether you like sports cars and driving fast or learning about the history of the most expensive stones in the world, Antwerp is a city unlike any other.