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Antwerp

Brimming with café-filled cobbled lanes, history, culture, art and not forgetting the cathedral, Antwerp belongs on your bucket list. Voted the best place to travel in Lonely Planet’s 2018 list, this renowned diamond capital of the world does not disappoint. Book your cheap flights to Antwerp with Flybe today.

Antwerp at a glance

Antwerp at a glance

Antwerp is Belgium’s second city, and the country’s capital of cool. It’s Berlin, for people who don’t want to go to Berlin. All the cool kids hang out here – the fashionistas, the scene queens, the art kids and those with a taste for luxury (Antwerp is the diamond capital of the world). It is the former home of baroque superstar painter Pieter Paul Rubens, and the city proudly displays his most famous work. A site of great historical significance - first a medieval settlement, then heavily bombed in WW2, today a thriving metropolis with a bustling night-life - Antwerp is a city of contrast, colour, and cosmopolitan decadence. 

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Restaurants and nightlife in Antwerp

Restaurants and nightlife in Antwerp

There’s more to Belgium than beer, but it’s a good place to start, and you’re going to need more than pretzels to set you up for a night on the Leffe.  

 

Head for a hearty brunch at the delightfully bonkers WASBAR, which is also – what else? -  a launderette.

 

For something a little more sophisticated Het Gebaar is a Michelin-starred restaurant in an elegant space on the edge of Antwerp Botanical Gardens. Life is Art is a genial bistro with simple and generous Mediterranean dishes, and Fiskebar is the final word in fish.

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Shopping in Antwerp

Shopping in Antwerp

Move over Milan – Antwerp is the new fashionista’s paradise. In the early 1980s, six graduates from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Antwerp established themselves as a fashion collective known as the Antwerp Six. Over the next 30 years, they changed the international fashion scene. Browse the city’s fashion district De Modewijk and you’ll see that their influence is still palpable in their home city.

 

A staggering 84% of the world’s rough diamonds pass through Antwerp, and the city celebrates its title of the Diamond Capital. So, if you’re in the market for some high-end bling, check out the Antwerp World Diamond Centre for information about reputable retailers and how to make appointments with world-class dealers. 

 

The ModeMuseum presents two major exhibitions a year exploring the role of fashion in society, culture and politics. Achingly cool garments can be bought at the exhibitions, but for more familiar national and international brands head to the main shopping area of the Meir, or check out Kloosterstraat for bric-a-brac and antiques.

 

One unmissable stop is Fish and Chips, a painfully cool store that boasts three floors of second-hand and vintage clothing, bikes, gadgets and art. And when you’ve shopped until you drop, you can fortify yourself for the night ahead with a drink at the bar.  

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