Antwerp, an astonishing premium destination
Antwerp is an astonishing European destination for foodies, art-lovers and those who love to live. Just a few hours from London, Paris, Cologne and Amsterdam, this historic port city offers a diverse range of top gastronomy, quirky fashion, dazzling diamonds, lavish art and premium shopping. This is reflected in a great many stylish and luxurious experiences. From a three-star Michelin restaurant on the top floor of a museum, to a five-star hotel built on the foundations of a 15th-century monastery. From a premium personal shopping tour to an exclusive behind-the-scenes visit with a jewellery designer. Add some top museums, a rich array of modern art in galleries and a great many spa options, and it can’t be denied: Antwerp has everything you need for a trip full of enriching and authentic experiences.
On the culinary front, the Antwerp folk are known as connoisseurs. Through the port, the second largest in Europe, all kinds of food, drink, herbs and spices have entered the city since the 16th century. Today, Antwerp offers a wide range of European, Asian, African, Middle Eastern, vegetarian and vegan cuisines. This includes 15 restaurants with one or more Michelin stars and numerous listed in Gault&Millau. The difference from other European cities? The Burgundian lifestyle. Just as the Burgundian court was known for great luxury and wealth in its day, Antwerp folk still enjoy sumptuous dining. This translates into authentic culinary experiences, often in unusual venues, where the chef’s craftsmanship and artisanship take centre stage. The Jane (**) resides in a beautiful chapel of a former military hospital, while Zilte (***) on the top floor of the acclaimed MAS | Museum aan de Stroom offers magnificent views of the city, river and port.
Quirky fashion and premium shopping
Connoisseurs of fashion know: Antwerp has its place alongside other fashion capitals such as Paris, Milan and New York. The ingredients for this success? The world-renowned Fashion Master’s programme at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, a leading fashion museum and the innovative spirit of Antwerp’s fashion designers. In addition to flagship stores from the likes of Dries Van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester, you will also find some major fashion houses, trendy labels and concept stores there. Book a guide and immerse yourself in Antwerp fashion during a fashion walk. Or choose personal shopping and head out with a fashion expert. Are you passionate about vintage, antiques or design? Then you’ll get your fill in Antwerp too.
Diamonds love Antwerp
Wherever you see a diamond sparkling, you can be pretty certain of one thing: the little stone has been to Antwerp at least once. Ever since the 15th century, Antwerp has been able to call itself the world’s leading diamond-trading centre with pride. Certainly the largest and most unique stones find their way to the city to be polished by master polishers. Antique or vintage jewellery, handmade creations, exclusive pearls, engagement or wedding rings … at Antwerp jewellers, it’s all about the craftsmanship and the artisan. To point you in the right direction, there is Antwerp’s Most Brilliant label. This quality label provides a guarantee that the jeweller is outstanding in their sustainability, safety, transparency and more. The world of diamonds in Antwerp offers you numerous exclusive experiences. At the diamond museum DIVA | Home of Diamonds, you can fully immerse yourself in the enchanting world of diamonds, jewellery and gemstone-smithing.
Antwerp has been a city of fine arts throughout the ages. The Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts, founded in 1662, is the fourth-oldest academy in Europe after Rome, Florence and Paris. The Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp is an absolute must-do. In the beautifully renovated building, you can admire a fantastic art collection, including works by Baroque grand master Rubens, Van Dyck and Ensor, in a completely new scenography. You will also find four top paintings by Rubens at the magnificent Cathedral of Our Lady, in the heart of the city’s historic centre. At Museum Plantin-Moretus, the first museum on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, you can admire the world’s oldest printing presses, a fine art collection and a wonderful indoor garden. A tour with a private guide is the way to get immersed in all of Antwerp’s fascinating stories.
Antwerp is home to a vibrant contemporary art scene. You will find renowned museums such as the MAS, M HKA and the FOMU there, as well as the beautiful sculpture park Middelheim Museum. More than sixty art galleries offer you a look at the best modern art. The Zwarte Panter is the oldest active gallery in the country, housed in the chapel of the former Sint-Julianusgasthuis (St Julian’s Hospice), built in 1330. Other well-known galleries include Gallery Sofie Van de Velde, Tim van Laere Gallery and Zeno X Gallery. A walking tour of the city or a Private Art Tour is the perfect way to make some astonishing discoveries.
Antwerp by night
Enjoying beauty does not stop when night falls. In Antwerp, there are plenty of hotels you won’t find anywhere else. The brand-new 5* superior Botanic Sanctuary Antwerp from the prominent Leading Hotels of the World chain is built on the foundations of a 15th-century monastery. With 108 rooms and suites, five gourmet restaurants and a spa, the hotel offers everything for an immersive experience. Or go for Sapphire House Antwerp, Autograph Collection by Marriott (139 rooms). This plant-based hotel is attached to the beautifully renovated historic Handelsbeurs. More hotels with a special location: design hotel August in a former Augustinian monastery and Hotel Franq from Relais & Châteaux in a former bank building, with a Michelin-starred restaurant. You can also find a great many luxurious guest rooms and apartments in Antwerp. There are a great many spa options in the city too.