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Things To See in Antwerp, Belgium

From churches to historical buildings, to one of the world's oldest zoos, to some of Europe's best shopping, Antwerp is home to a huge number of attractions. Many of the city's main sights are located in and around the Boulevards, where the city walls stood during the 16th century.

Antwerp's port is the 2nd largest in Europe and the 5th largest in the world. Tours are available, and it's a great way to get a different view of some of the city's main sights.

The Cathedral of Our Lady is one of Antwerp's most important attractions. Construction was started in 1351 and finished in 1518. As well as having an ornate interior, the church also houses four works of art by famous Flemish artist, Peter Paul Rubens.

Antwerp is to Rubens, as Malaga is to Picasso, and as a result, many of the city's attractions deal with Rubens life and work in some way. For example, there's the Rubenshuis where he once lived, which is now a museum dedicated to his life and work. Some of Rubens other works of art are located within the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, and his tomb can be seen in the Church of St. James.

For fantastic views of the city, head to the KBC Tower, with its viewing platform of the 25th floor. This building reaches up 97m and is said to be Europe's oldest skyscraper. It used to be called Boerentoren.

Another of Antwerp's most notable buildings is the Central Station. Construction was completed in 1905, and inside you’ll find a stunning glass and metal dome, which stretches up 60 metres.

Antwerp is home to one of the world's oldest zoos. Founded in 1843, it's home to over 760 different species of animals today.

The city's Diamond District is the place to go if you're looking for jewellery. South of the central station, the Antwerp Diamond Exchange is also located here.

The Meir is Antwerp's main shopping drag, and stretches from near the central station to the Groenplaats. Many streets around the Meir are also great for shopping, including Hopland and Schuttershofstraat, which are home to more upmarket stores. Kammenstraat is another famous shopping street, and also home to the Fashion Museum.

Attractions in Antwerp

  • Cathedral of Our Lady

    Groenplaats 21, Antwerp, Belgium

    This cathedral is an important place of worship in Antwerp and is the largest Gothic church in the Low Countries. Each year over 320,000 people visit the cathedral. Construction started in 1352 and was completed in 1521. Today it is home to a large number of religious works of art. Open Mon-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat 10am-3pm, Sun 1pm-4pm; admission €4.

  • Rubenshuis

    Wapper 9-11, Antwerp, Belgium

    The life and work of famous Belgian artist Peter Paul Rubens is celebrated here. Rubens lived in this house for a time and also used it as a studio. Today the house is a museum filled with examples of his art works from throughout his career.

    Open Tues-Sun 10am-5pm, closed Mondays; admission €6, free on last Wednesday of every month.

  • Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten

    Leopold De Waelplaats, Antwerp, Belgium

    The Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten or Royal Museum of Fine Arts showcases some of the most famous works by great artists from the Southern Netherlands and Belgium. These masters include Peter Paul Rubens, Jan van Eyck, Anthony Van Dyck and more. Contemporary works are also on show here. From paintings to sculptures to prints, this extensive collection is well worth a look.

    Open Tues-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 10am-6pm, closed Mondays; admission €6, free on last Wednesday of every month.

  • Antwerp Zoo

    Koningin Astridplein 26, Antwerp, Belgium

    Famed for its large collection of animals and interesting enclosures, this zoo is one of the world's oldest. It is home to over 5,000 animals from around 950 different species. See the giraffes and the elephants in their Egyptian temple style building or visit the hippos at their pink villa. Beside the city's central station, the zoo is one of Antwerp's most frequented attractions.

    Open daily from 10am, closing times vary with season; admission for adults €17.50.

  • KBC Tower

    Schoenmarkt 35, Antwerp, Belgium

    Built for the Antwerp World Exhibition of 1930, the KBC Tower was Europe's highest skyscraper at the time of its construction. It has an Art Deco facade and was built following the Chicago style. The tower is known locally as the Boerentoren or 'Farmer's tower'. There's a viewing platform on the 25th floor, offering great views out over the city.

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