Freelance journalist from Derry, Northern Ireland.
Published March 10th 2021
A lot can be accomplished in just 24 hours, so why not spend it exploring the port city of Antwerp, in northern Belgium? This historic place may not be the country's most famous or most sought-after region but it is certainly one of the most charming.
Those travelling by train will be greeted by this stunning station
Located on the River Scheldt, Antwerp can be found right on the North Sea, sandwiched in between Brussels and Amsterdam. The former lies 40km south, with the latter just 15km away. How about a day trip then?
The list of iconic and intriguing buildings and landmarks is endless, meaning there is plenty to keep you occupied if you are just travelling for the day. Give it a weekend and you'll really be able to soak it all in.
Built primarily in Renaissance style, Antwerp City Hall dates all the way back to 1565, but even that came after the beautiful Cathedral of Our Lady, which was finished in 1518.
Antwerp Zoo meanwhile is perfect for families, housing several different animals, while the zoo itself is one of the oldest in the world.
The city is certainly well-known for its museums, ranging from the Royal Museum of Fine Art, to Museum Mayer van den Bergh. Most striking, however, is the audacious Museum aan de Stroom, rising high above the city's harbour.
Museum aan de Stroom stands taller than any other museum in the city
Chocolate lovers will know all about the delicious Belgian treats that the country has to offer, but for the true feasters of this delicacy, Antwerp's Chocolate Nation is the only place you ever need to step foot in.
This fantastic-smelling museum is arguably the closest you'll ever get to feeling like a member of the cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with Oompa Loompas the only thing missing as you are guided along the history of Belgian chocolate.
You'll learn how it's made, where it comes from, and plenty of fun, chocolatey facts. Did you know that there are four types of chocolate? Milk, Dark, and White, of course, but the more modern Ruby flavour is now part of the family!
The city's other claim to fame is the diamond trade, where around 85% of the world's rough diamonds pass through the region every year.
So, what are you waiting for? Antwerp is ready for your arrival, with this great city certain to hold a place in your heart once you've been.