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Antwerp in 48 hours

The best addresses to discover Antwerp any weekend.

Addresses for a weekend in Antwerp © Getty Images

Crouched for a long time under the long shadow of Ghent and Bruges, the Belgian city of Antwerp It finally reveals itself as what it is: a cosmopolitan city in which the fusion between past and present offers a good number of fascinating attractions.

Antwerp is one of the best - and most unknown - weekend getaways that you have just over two hours by plane from Spain.

Here we leave you the best way to discover Antwerp in 48 hours:

FIRST DAY

09:30 a.m. You will almost certainly have flown to Brussels, so you will arrive in Antwerp in the best possible way: by train. And so it is not only because of the good quality, frequency and price of the Belgian railways, but because that of Antwerp is, for many, the most beautiful train station in the world.

This wonder will be your first contact with the city © Getty Images

Built between 1895 and 1905, its vast beautifully decorated dome and the ornaments of the fronts make normally more curious with cameras than travelers with suitcases.

10:00 a.m.. Once you have managed to leave the train station hall, head over to have a good breakfast at Royal coffee. You will feel like a noble in his palace.

11: 00h. You have already replenished energy and are ready to unravel the many secrets of the city. The cultural festival Antwerp Baroque 2018: Rubens inspires He has taken Antwerp - he will also do it during 2019 - and art, in any of its forms, appears in every corner.

The idea is to show the fusion of the works of the old baroque masters with the style of contemporary artists. Maybe a good way to start savoring this festival is visiting the house-museum of Pedro Pablo Rubens (Rubenshuis). The famous painter, although born in Germany, lived much of his life in Antwerp.

Also, thanks to a temporary donation of Ontario Art Gallery, until March 2019 you can enjoy the most expensive Rubens painting in history: The Massacre of the Innocents (auctioned for almost 50 million pounds sterling).

'The Massacre of the Innocents', by Rubens © Rubenshuis (Facebook)

1:00 p.m. Before eating we can stop by the nearby Plantin-Moretus museum, considered the best museum in the world in the field of printing. Printers of 500 years of history and incunable books, along with one of the best collections of Bibles in the world.

2:00 p.m. Time to eat. If the weather is good, you can choose any of the terraces of the square Grote Markt to take any meat or fish accompanied by the magnificent fries and Belgian beers.

While eating, you can enjoy the views of the Antwerp City Hall - a Renaissance jewel built in the second half of the 16th century and declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco - and other beautiful Antwerp buildings of different architectural styles.

Another plan? Move to another charming square (not as much as the City Hall but what you'll find here ... it will be worth it): in the number 11 Marnixplaats you will open the doors of Fiskebar, a restaurant specialized in the sea, fresh catch of the day perfectly cooked without much artifice but with all the flavor.

4:00 p.m. It is time to walk along the largest and most famous shopping street in Belgium. Separated into three sectors (Meir, Leysstraat and De Keyseriel), in it you will find from the typical shops of all the big cities to authentic big ones warehouses dedicated exclusively to Christmas decoration, passing through the typical Belgian chocolate shops and jewelry stores where you will find the mythical diamonds of Antwerp. One of the most luxurious shopping centers is that of Stadsfeestzaal.

And at nightfall ... Antwerp gets (even) prettier © Alamy

6:00 p.m. After such a walk, touch a stop along the way to taste one of the famous waffles with Belgian chocolate. Try it on The Chocolate Box.

7:00 p.m. Before going out for a drink at night, you may want to breathe some of the pure air in the Stadspark. It is very close to the Jewish quarter and has a good number of trails and quiet natural areas.

9:00 p.m. Dinner at Bourla cafe-restaurant And be sure to try their fish and seafood cream. Then walk aimlessly through the historic center of Antwerp, Beautifully lit at night.

SECOND DAY

09: 00h. If you didn't give yourself up to the Antwerp night party last night, start the day early and Rent a bicycle. Antwerp is not big, but the activity that we are going to propose you will enjoy much more moving as the Belgians do. Freewieler it's a good option.

09:30 a.m. Cycle during one of the best - and most alternative - visits you can do in Antwerp. Urban art has developed enormously in this city. Even in the center, you will find facades of buildings decorated with murals that are authentic works of art.

Murals that are works of art © David Escribano

Muralists like the Scotsman Smug, the French Star and the American The Mac They have joined forces with local artists to create a circuit of urban art that can be counted among the best in Europe. Doing it completely can take you almost half a day, but you can choose the murals that most appeal to you using the application Street Art Cities.

11:30 a.m. Maybe two hours have not been enough to enjoy the urban murals of Antwerp, but you can't miss the MAS museum. The 470,000 objects inside the most striking modern building in Antwerp they represent all the faces of the city - Power, Life, Metropolis and Death - In addition to its history as an important international port.

Take advantage of the rest of the morning to visit the area where the MAS is located, Eilandje. This is the old port area, which has benefited from a spectacular face lift and the appearance of new and modern restaurants, bars, cafes and homes.

Another interesting museum here is that of Red star line, the famous transatlantic company that, in the first half of the 20th century, had one of its four main ports in the world in Antwerp.

1:00 p.m.. It's time to eat and you can do it in Eilandje. In Aroy Thai You have the best Thai cuisine in Antwerp.

MAS Museum © David Escribano

2:00 p.m.. With the forces recovered, it is time to take a boat trip through Antwerp. You can not stop trying it in a city that has always lived facing its port.

15:30. Back on the mainland, you still have important monuments to visit in Antwerp. When you approach its historic center, you see the cathedral tower (123 meters high) from almost anywhere. The cathedral of Antwerp, with five centuries of history, is one of the largest and most precious of European Gothic. Another place you can't miss is the steen castle, the city's first stone fortress that was built after the Viking raids of the early Middle Ages.

5:00 p.m. Take advantage of the last lights of the afternoon to stroll through Middelheimpark. This is not just any park but it is an authentic open-air museum, with sculptures hidden among trees and shrubs.

6:00 p.m. Time to make the last purchases of typical products of Antwerp. As diamonds may be out of the budget, it will be better to dump in chocolates and beers. The Chocolate Line, at number 50 of Meir Street, and Belgian Beers & Brews They are the two best options.

Belgian Beers & Brews © David Escribano

7:00 p.m. Try a tasty roast of Belgian meat in the Bolivar restaurant and take the first drink of the night.

9:00 p.m. Did you know that Antwerp is the third city in the world in terms of number of different nationalities among its inhabitants? With 173, it is only surpassed by New York and Amsterdam. This results in a night scene of the most varied.

Dance, take something and talk with people from all over the world in bars like Paters Vaetje or Cantaloop. If you want to dance until dawn, do it at Café d'Anvers, an old church from the 16th century, or the temple of techno and house, Ampere, located under the central train station.

Had we told you about the night in Antwerp? © Alamy

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