Lay of the Land
Antwerp is flanked by the river Schelde and bordered by the Ring, a motorway that circumnavigates most of the city. There are two tunnels but no bridges across the river. The historic center is situated around the trapezoidal-shaped Grote Markt, where many of the city's major tourist sites, restaurants, shops, and hotels are located. To the south is the large Het Zuid neighborhood (a.k.a. the Museum District) filled with trendy new nightclubs, museums, and restaurants. Sandwiched between the city center and Het Zuid is the Fashion District, home to the ModeNatie and a slew of shopping. Head east to access the Diamond District, the Jewish Quarter, and the Zurenborg, which boasts a high concentration of beautiful Art Nouveau homes. Farther east is Belgium's only Chinatown, which intersects with the gay neighborhood on Van Schoonhovenstraat.
WHEN TO GO
Antwerp is pleasant all year round, but best in spring, summer, and autumn, when the weather is warm and the city at its most beautiful.
HOW TO GET THERE
Antwerp's airport is at Deurne, in the southwestern outskirts of the city, and has international flights to major cities throughout Europe, the U.K., and the United States (Luchthavenlei; 32-3285-6500; www.antwerpairport.be).
Like Amsterdam, flat Antwerp is the kind of city where you'll want to rent a bike, even in winter. Go to Rent A Bike Antwerpen for the best wheels in town (6 Lijnwaadmarkt; 32-3290-4962; www.antwerpbikes.be). If biking is not for you, Antwerp is small and certainly walkable and there is an efficient tram, bus, and premetro (underground tram) system. Tickets start around $1.60 (ten tickets for just under $12). Taxis are generally available all night long, though they are hard to come by in less touristy neighborhoods.
Grote Markt 13
Tel: 32 3232 0103
Fax: 32 3231 1937