A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
… Here the second part of my two-day trip to Belgium!
Day 2\3 – Ghent → Antwerp
On the second day we took a train from Ghent to Antwerp (In case you are not interested in Ghent, there are direct Flixbuses from Leiden and The Hague to Antwerp as well!) . The train is really not expensive if you are under 26 (around 6 euros) and in 1 hour you will find yourself in the center of Antwerp!
We arrived in Antwerp late (around 8\9 pm) therefore we mostly visited it the day after, but one day is clearly not enough! Even if it was late though we still had time to admire the beautiful central station of Antwerp, which is considered one of the 5 most beautiful train stations in the world!
Antwerp is really different from Ghent, even if you will still see typical Belgian architecture, it is very much a modern and industrial city, the most populated in Belgium. The nightlife here is probably more diverse, even if you feel less the coziness of a student city. But besides a huge amount of shops, pubs, cafes and some quite impressive Gothic monument (like the Cathedral) what you really find in Antwerp is ART.
The city has some amazing museums and, like Leiden, hosted for quite some time of a famous painter, Rubens. You can really find any kind of art here, from small independent galleries to the M HKA museum. If you add the internationally renowned Royal Academy of Fine Arts and some incredible statues in the main squares, art is really all over the place!
If you are thinking to go to Antwerp, here some tips for you!
√ Again, join a free walking tour! Antwerp has several free walking tours but my advice would be to do the “Legends of Antwerp ” one. They will tell you some really fascinating stories on the city, like the one that originated its Dutch name, “Antwerpen”.
√ Walk under the Schelde river!An underground tunnel built in the 30s connects the two banks of the river and it’s still very much used by the population of Antwerp. Once on the other side, if the light is good (preferably dawn or sunset) you will be able to take very good pictures of the city! And the original wooden escalators give to the whole thing a final vintage touch .
√ Eat typical food!! Yes, there are typical sweets here as well, like the Antwerpse Handjes, that are definitely worth a try. However, if you are a fan of Belgian fries, Antwerp won’t let you down. The best (and certainly the most famous) place in town for fries is probably Fritkot Max .
Finally, as I said for Ghent, just take a free map at the tourist office and wander around the city. There is always something new around the corner!
Have you ever been to Antwerp? Do you have any other suggestion for next getaways?
Let me know in the comments below!