June – August
LCY → ANR
Freedom of movement
Taxi: 10 £GBP (20 min)
Bus: 1 £GBP (15 min)
Antwerp is synonymous with art, banks and diamonds. Those are the three things that this wealthy seaport is predominantly known for, and those three things have earned the city a reputation for fine living. The perception of the Antwerp’s wealth is historical, the city held a strategic position on main trade routes in the 16th century, and that coincides with when many of the city's grandest buildings were constructed. The art came later in the 17th century, when the city’s beauty inspired Van Dyck, Rubens and others.
Fast forward to modern Antwerp and the city still holds on to its reputation for good living and low stress lifestyles. The city’s medieval Flemish architecture is not as complete as that in Ghent or Bruges, but gorgeous buildings from other eras in history means Antwerp’s skyline is more unique.
And the city’s beauty still lures the artistic set, meaning it is well served for galleries and museums, bohemian cafes and restaurants, trendy bars and boutiques, that shouldn't be missed on Antwerp holidays. What’s more, some 70 percent of the world’s diamond trade still comes through Antwerp.
Antwerp’s hottest month is July, with average daytime temperatures of 18 degrees Celsius (64 Fahrenheit). The coldest month is January at 3 degrees Celsius (37 Fahrenheit). From December, through January and into March there’s a reasonable chance of temperatures being subzero, but most days are grey and wet. Spring weather tends to be very unstable, but into April and May the weather may be quite warm, but it can also be cold and heavy rainfall is possible. Most people think Antwerp is best in June when sunshine prevails. In July and August temperatures can soar.
Antwerp has no shortage of choice when it comes to the accommodation on offer. You can find everything from hostels and apartment rentals to boutique and luxury five-star hotels for Antwerp holidays.
Antwerp is a compact city meaning it is easy to navigate on foot and no matter where you stay you’ll never be far from the action and attractions; it is also a great city for cyclists. The old town centre is only about 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) across, and the majority of the most popular sites are within this radius.
If you are looking for a fun holiday with a difference, give the Belgian city of Antwerp a go. Transport yourself to a land of frites, waffles, beer and brilliant people.
The Stadhuis and Grote Markt stand in the heart of Antwerp’s old town. And around them you can find an impressive collection of elegant former gildehuizen (guild houses) and the current City Hall – a stunning UNESCO-listed Renaissance building.
Antwerp Cathedral is a well-known symbol of the city and is the largest Gothic building in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg – AKA the Benelux countries. Enter the cathedral to see paintings by The Elevation of the Cross and The Descent from the Cross paintings by the city’s darling – Rubens.
There are plenty of other churches to admire on Antwerp holidays. The tower, facade, and interior of the church called Carolus Borromeuskerk were partially designed by Rubens and therefore are beautiful. The Jakobskerk will impress just as much with its huge spire and 15th century furnishings and interior. Rubens is buried here in one of the church’s seven chapels.
The Stadsfeestzaal is probably one of the most beautiful shopping centres you’re ever likely to see. From the grand entrance onwards it’s all marble staircases, mosaic floors, gold-leaf gilded facades, all covered by an enormous glass dome. As long as you stick to just looking, the Antwerp Diamond Pavilion is a great thing to do on the cheap.
The famous Friday morning second-hand market Vrijdagse Markt is a veritable treasure trove.
Eat frites. Ask any Belgian and they will say it was them, and not the French, who first invented the humble frite and hip frite cafes where you can wash the chips (fries) down with a cool Belgian beer are dotted throughout the city on your holidays to Antwerp. Looking for an alternative to the potato dish is easy also – Antwerp has a strong cafe culture.