A wealthy trading port since the Middle Ages, as well as one of the centres of the European diamond trade, it is filled with grand boulevards lined with elegant townhouses, and smart shopping areas crammed with high-end designer label stores. That’s not to say the city lives in the past or feels elitist. Antwerp has a booming modern feel and thriving nightlife, and is a place where upmarket restaurants happily rub shoulders with gritty spit ‘n’ sawdust workers’ cafés.
Café d’Anvers (Verversrui 15, 03 226 3870) has been a clubbers’ hotspot for many years, and hosts events most nights. Elsewhere, one delight of Antwerp is touring its many great bars. The wonderfully atmospheric tile-floored Oud Arsenaal (Maria Pijpelincxstraat 4, 03 232 9754) first opened in the mid-1920s and appears not to have changed one bit since. The Pelgrom (Pelgrimssstraat 25, 03 234 0809) occupies the candlelit vaulted cellars of an old 16th-century tavern. Beside the cathedral, Paters Vaetje (Blauwmoezelstraat 1, 03 231 8476) offers around 100 different beers in a postage-stamp sized bar with an even smaller mezzanine at the back
By some margin the city’s grandest hotel, and the height of opulence, is the Hilton Antwerp (Groenplaats 32, 03 204 1212). Not only a luxurious place to stay, it is also among the most centrally located of all hotels - some rooms look directly across to the cathedral. A more affordable and more intimate option is Hotel Julien (Korte Nieuwstraat 24, 03 229 0600), which enjoys an equally central location close to the Grote Markt. The building is a 16th-century townhouse. A little further from the sights, the Park Inn (Koningin Astridplein 14, 03 203 1330) offers modern rooms and facilities in a handy location opposite Antwerp’s central station.
Antwerp Deurne (ANR)
+32 (0)3 285 65 00
Antwerp Airport is 2km from the city centre
There is a frequent bus service from the airport to the city centre.
Getting to Antwerp
Choose from our schedule of up to 5 flights a day from London City to Antwerp.
For the full timetable click here.