Belgium makes a perfect introduction to Europe. The people are friendly and Belgian has some of the best food and drink on the continent.
Belgium’s chief attractions include Brussels, history, architecture, diamonds, caves, beer, friendly people, pastoral countryside, Flemish art, Bruges, museums, churches, colorfulprocessions and pageants, cultural festivals, nice beaches and chocolate.
This is a particularly nice destination for those who have a good sense of history, who appreciate fine architecture and good food, and who want to see a wide variety of attractions without packing up and moving every other day.
Antwerp is located in the Northern part of Belgium beside the North Sea and on the eastern bank of the River Scheldt. The wide squares and the narrow cobble streets of the old town are perfect for strolling. These streets are lined with cafes and shops.
BTI Travel Agents’ Suggestions
Nicole: Shopping in Antwerp is a pleasure. It is well known for its diamonds and fashion. The main shopping areas include those around central station and the historic city center where the Grote Markt and Groenplaats are located. The fashion district includes the Mode, the De Wilde Zee and the Meir.
Lindsey: the Aquatopia is a marine wonder that portrays futuristic life under the sea. You can view a huge collection of exotic and rare fish, marine animals, piranhas, sharks, cow-nose rays and octopuses, which are housed in 35 aquariums. The underwater caves and coral reefs are worth exploring, along with the myriad marine life that dart about at the bottom of the ocean. This is a great learning experience for both kids and grownups. A variety of programs and interactive museum displays explain marine life.
Dave: A trip to Antwerp wouldn’t be complete without trying a local restaurant. One of our favorites is Retro Café. Recipes at Retro Cafe have a rich tradition of several centuries, having been passed down for generations unaltered. For starters, you can try the kaaskroketten or cheese croquettes, garnaalkroketten or shrimp croquettes, and tomaat met mozzarella or tomato with mozzarella. Other offerings include tonijnsalade or tuna salad and gerookte zalm met uitjes or smoked salmon with onions. Also be sure to check out the daily specialty.
Brussels is a very diverse and wealthiest city. Visitors can delight in fine museums and Michelin-starred restaurants, as well as some of the best classical music and opera in Europe.
BTI Travel Agents’ Suggestions
Nicole: A great dining option is Le Pre Sale. This old-fashioned Broxellois restaurant off Place Ste. Catherine sees very few tourists. They serve some of the best Sealand mussels and the fish dishes are also very good. Friday nights is cabaret night. If you want a table, book weeks ahead.
Lindsey: Shopping in Brussels provides a wide variety of options. Make sure you check out Galaries St. Hubert. This was Europe’s first covered shopping center, built in 1847. If you are looking for luxury, Brussels has that covered. You’ll find luxury shops with well-dressed windows in the Porte Louise and Porte de Namur area, and along Avenue Louise and Boulevard de Waterloo.
Dave: Visitors should check out one of Brussels many museums. One of my favorites is Royal Museum of Fine Arts. Divided into separate wings dedicated to antique art (15th-18th centuries) and modern art (late 18th century to the present), the collection in this complex is impressive yet small enough to enjoy if you only have a couple of hours. Many works are by Flemish and Belgian artists, including Rubens, Memling and the Brueghels.