Antwerp – Belgium’s diamond

Antwerp – Belgium’s diamond

antwerp

Welcome to Antwerp!

The second biggest European port after Rotterdam, a fashion capital and the second biggest city of Belgium – means only one thing – you just arrived to Antwerp!

This city has a lot of things to offer, and it’s not all about just amazing looking architecture mostly from the 16th century – it is really a lot more than that.

If you’d ask yourself what the typical thing for Antwerp is and why this city is famous around the globe, you’d find out very soon that this is the world center for diamonds – with the district near to town’s train station.



Little about the History

Antwerp was inhabited as far as 3rd century AD. The name came after the city was Germanized – of words “anda” – against and “werpen” – to throw.

Christianity was introduced in the 7th century, and in 9th Antwerp was a county on the border with the Roman Empire.

Because of its position, the city was always a trading center of this part of Europe. In recent history, the development stopped only on two occasions – WWI and WWII.

Today Antwerp is a financial center of northern Belgium.



Grandiose train station

The train station. Antwerpen Centraal, with the look similar to grandiose cathedral, was inaugurated in 1905.

It is a masterpiece of Louis Delacenserie and a mix of different architectural styles that works perfectly together.

That is why this is European probably the most beautiful train station and one of the most beautiful in the world.



Beer taste drives you through history of Antwerp

Belgium’s beers are among the most quality ones in Europe.

A suggestion is to check Bier Central – the best guide through country’s beer culture.

They serve more than 300 bottled beers and all you have to do is to take a seat and have a look at the true beer encyclopedia of breweries, types, tastes of this popular drink.

It’s so much more than just a place for beers.

It’s a place that will take you through the history of Antwerp and the taste suggested by beer sommelier will show you what kind of beers are popular or worth of trying in Belgium’s second biggest city.

Keyserlei street offer even more fun, with more restaurants and bars you might be interested in.

The Popcorn, Kellys, Duke of Antwerp are among them.

Museum Aan de Stroom

museum_aan_de_stroom

It’s time for culture! Musem Aaan de Stroom or simply the MAS is really a landmark of Antwerp, nestled in between the city and the port.

And it’s not only a museum – it’s kind of more an insight into the past, present and future of Antwerp; the people, diverse mentalities and different backgrounds.

MAS is a meeting point where you always have something to do.

You’ll find MAS Boulevard with stunning views over the city.

MAS Storm café designed by the architect Kurt Hereygers, restaurant ‘t Zilte,  MAS Pavilions, shops and much more.

How to find the MAS in Antwerp?

Don’t worry! With its unique architecture you surely won’t miss it.



The Zoo

One of the oldest and most famous ZOO’s in Europe is right here in Antwerp, with almost a thousand species and around 5000 animals living here.

Take a whole day for this excursion because you’ll really need it.

The ZOO is famous by its work with endangered animals – a programme that protects okapi or bonobos animal species.

Opened in 1843 outside of the city, Antwerp’s ZOO is today placed near the Central Station and it is a green oasis – a perfect gateway to animal’s planet.



Getting there

It’s really easy to reach Antwerp by car.

From Amsterdam and Paris take E19, Eindhoven E34 road, or there is an option to take highway A12 from Brussels.

If you are coming by train, it’s even easier.

In Antwerpen Centraal there are around 15 departures per hour, including local trains, intercity and inter-regional ones.

The city’s airport is 7 km far from the city centre and it is reachable by bus line number 14..



Stay at Hilton

The Hilton Antwerp hotel, placed in the historical old town, is your perfect choice for staying in Antwerp because of its amazing location, but also an amazing service that Hilton Group is famous for all around the globe.

The building was earlier a shopping mall from the 19th century and part of facade is still there making it to be a great combination of traditional and contemporary look.

From standard rooms to luxurious one, the Hilton Antwerp Old Town hotel is a great suggestion.

After all, historical town square is right in front of your doors.

Tours and more things to do in Antwerp

Festivals and more from Belgium

Getting Christmas inspiration in Hamburg and Copenhagen

Getting Christmas inspiration in Hamburg and Copenhagen

Christmas Hamburg

December darkness can be alleviated with some Christmas lights in most cities in Europe.

We went on a trip to catch information and pictures for you and all visitors of AllExciting 🙂

On the train to Copenhagen

From Sweden, and most places in Europe, it is easy to reach both Hamburg and Copenhagen.

You can travel both with the Swedish train companies SJ and Oresundstag over to Copenhagen.

We took the direct train with SJ from Stockholm to Copenhagen.

It took us 5 hours to travel between the city centers.

Hotel close to the train station

We were only visiting Copenhagen for one evening and night.

It was practical to find a hotel near the train station to easily go travel on to Hamburg the next morning.

Ended up at Comfort Hotel Vesterbro just a few hundred meters from the station.

Good rooms, friendly staff, and a fantastic breakfast.

The bathroom could use some renovation.

But all in all, it was very good and great value for money.



The Christmas Markets in Copenhagen

You can easily walk between the Christmas markets in Copenhagen.

We did only visit those we knew were in the center, so we may have missed some outside.

Christmas Copenhagen

The most famous and well-known is the Tivoli Christmas Market.

Tivoli in Copenhagen is a big funfair area, nicely decorated for Christmas in December, just outside the central train station.

Other good Christmas markets are the ones at “Kongens Nytorv” and at “Nyhavn”.

To reach them, you just walk through the shopping street Stroget from the central station.

At the end, you find Kongens Nytorv and further from there you come to Nyhavn, a nice area with many cafes and good restaurants.

On the way through the city, we stumbled upon some smaller markets as well.

Copenhagen is a nice city to explore and has a cozy atmosphere.

A full report will be on a separate page for the Christmas Markets in Copenhagen, with more pictures and info.



Next day, train from Copenhagen to Hamburg

After a great breakfast at Comfort Hotel Vesterbro, it was a short walk to Copenhagen train station.

It is always a pleasure to enter the comfortable German ICE trains.

Great seats and good service. If you book well in advance you can get really good prices, even on a first-class ticket.

It only takes about five hours to travel between Copenhagen and Hamburg by train.

This includes a ferry crossing from Roedby in Denmark over to Puttgarden in Germany.

A nice 45-minute trip.

The train rolls onto the ferry.

All passengers have to leave the train and go upstairs.

It is a good idea to bring anything of value with you and remember the deck number and letter of the stairs when you leave the train.

On board the ferry, you’ll find cafes, restaurants, and shops open during the crossing.

When the coast of Germany comes closer it is time to go down to the train again.



The Christmas Markets in Hamburg

Despite Hamburg being a big city, it is possible to walk between most of the central Christmas markets.

We visited eight markets and had two fantastic days in Hamburg.

All the way from the train station through the shopping street, Mockenbergstrasse, it looks like one long Christmas Market.

Lots of things to look at and many goodies to taste.

After strolling through it all you come to the City Hall “Rathaus” where you find a big and beautiful Christmas market.

You can discover other markets, such as the one at Youngfernstieg and the very popular one at the Reeperbahn.

See an overview of the markets at our Christmas in Hamburg page.

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