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There are many reasons to fly to Antwerp. Read our guide to the city and feel the lure of this fascinating destination...
Flights to Antwerp take a little over an hour from the UK, making it easily accessible for a city break. The city has excellent public transport services, with plentiful buses and both over and underground trams. Cyclists are well catered for with dedicated cycle lanes and numerous hire points, while horse-drawn carriage rides are a popular way of touring the sights. The principal tourist areas are centred around the Boulevards area of the city, which is easily accessed on foot.
There are some fine examples of religious architecture in Antwerp and visitors are advised to seek out the St Charles Borromeus Church, which has a number of artistic details designed by the master artist Rubens. Also worth seeing is the magnificent Cathedral of Our Lady, which is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and also houses a series of paintings by Rubens. The house where Rubens and his family lived for 25 years is nearby and offers visitors a fascinating insight into the life and works of this influential Baroque artist.
There are a number of excellent museums within the city, including the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, which houses a fascinating selection from traditional painters such as Van Dyck through to modern-day artists such as James Ensor. The Plantin-Moretus Museum offers a fascinating insight into the tradition of printing, displaying artefacts that include the oldest printing press in existence, dating to 1600. The Fashion Museum, also known as Momu, is a celebration of fashion through the ages with more than 25,000 exhibits stylishly and creatively displayed.
Grote Market Square is the historic town centre square surrounded by old guild houses with architecture typical of the region. The city of Antwerp boasts a number of architectural gems that are worth seeking out. Vlaeykensgang is a hidden street dating to medieval times and accessed through doors in the surrounding streets. At one time home to the poorest families, the area is now a select enclave of restaurants and quiet benches to escape from the bustle of city life.
Also worth a visit is the fascinating street of Cogels Osylei, where wealthy merchants competed with each other to build the most elaborate houses, including those in Art Nouveau and Renaissance styles. Often quoted as being one of the most beautiful streets in Antwerp, visitors are amazed by the range of styles on view here.
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With fast flights from the UK, you can reach this Belgian city in under an hour...
There are two direct services from the UK. CityJet flies from London City several times a day and Flybe operates from London Southend. If you wish to reach the airport from the rest of the UK, the best solution is to fly into Brussels and take public transport north to Antwerp.
Antwerp city is well connected to the airport by public transport or there are plenty of taxis to get you where you want to be...
Antwerp flights arrive at Antwerp International Airport (ANR), in the Deurne region of the city, which caters mainly for business travellers with daily flights to and from London City Airport (LCY) and Manchester (MAN). Brussels Airport (BRU) is less than 30 miles from Antwerp, with regular bus and train links.
Frequent buses run from the airport to the railway station of Antwerpen-Berchem, from where you can catch a tram into the city centre or a train to other destinations in Belgium and to Europe beyond.
This small airport is well served by local taxis and there’s usually a number waiting to collect passengers on incoming flights. It’s a 20-minute ride from the airport to the heart of Antwerp, with a fare of around €20 (£16).
Book a hire car before you travel and you can collect your vehicle at the airport – a convenient option that gives you the freedom to tour Belgium. With Brussels and Ghent just an hour away, and Bruges 90 minutes down the road, car hire in Antwerp is a great option.
Find out where to stay in Antwerp, Belgium’s “capital of cool”...
With a moniker like that to live up to, you can rest assured that many of the hotels in Antwerp offer a stylish and comfortable stay. It’s a small city so you won’t find a huge amount of accommodation across all price ranges, though you will get a good mix of old and new, luxurious and budget.
If you’re looking for the traditional touch in Antwerp, check out some of the hotels in the medieval old town, where history has painted colourful brush strokes on the charming architecture and hotel owners have fashioned rooms befitting their buildings’ heritage.
If modern rooms with cutting-edge facilities are more your thing, then hotels in the city centre of Antwerp are likely to fit the bill. Budget hotels are mostly found around the outskirts of the city and within walking distance of the main railway station.
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