Hearing nothing but good things about Antwerp, I was excited to spend the afternoon there on my way from the Netherlands to Ghent. The beauty of the city was immediately obvious as I jumped off the train and headed up the escalators into the elegant gold and stone central train station.
From the station I wandered towards the old town, passing endless alfresco dining spots amid street performer’s violin tunes. The style of buildings in Antwerp was noticeably different to that of the Netherlands- the stone was whiter, the buildings more grand and ornate. It reminded me a lot of French cities with a fair bit of Spanish thrown in.
The main tourist area is the centre of the old town, where the world heritage listed Cathedral of Our Lady dominates the skyline. Building of the Gothic style catholic cathedral commenced in 1352, yet was never quite finished- resulting in asymmetrical towers. It’s one of the most splendid cathedral I’ve visited, thanks to a combination of it’s enormity (its 120m long and 75m wide), the height of it’s towers (123m) and the intricate detailing on the facade- making the cathedral incredibly picturesque.
On one side of the cathedral is a huge square, boarded by a multitude of cafes and home to a beautiful ornate green fountain. The conjoined buildings encircling the square are reminiscent of a grander time and create the perfect atmosphere to wander and soak up the relaxed beauty of the city. You could easily spend much longer than an afternoon enjoying Antwerp!