- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Antwerp Guide (PDF)
Antwerp is Belgium’s shopping and fashion capital. An artistic energy pulses through its streets as people eat at roadside cafés, explore its attractions or take a quiet moment in one of its parks.
Shopping in Antwerp
Expats will find all the variety they’d expect from a major city. They'll be able to shop at large malls and along historic pedestrian streets. The main shopping area is the Meir, which is also Antwerp’s most famous street. Connecting the Groenplaats town square to the central station, it's been a prominent part of the city for centuries and many historical buildings remain.
The Wijnegem Shopping Centre, about six miles (10km) east of the city centre, is the city’s largest mall with 250 stores from supermarkets and restaurants to fashion and hobby shops.
The diamond district is among Antwerp's best-known shopping areas. Set in an area around the central station known as the Square Mile, almost 1,800 diamond traders and jewellers are clustered together to form one of the international diamond industry’s most important centres of trade.
The Square Mile boasts more than just jewellery stores, however. The door to the old Middenstatie building opens onto Keyserlei, another of the city’s cobblestone shopping streets, lined with parked bicycles and trees. Here, expats will be able to enjoy lunch on a café terrace and shop at independent designer boutiques or the Century Shopping Centre.
Eating out in Antwerp
Antwerp has a good selection of restaurants and its historical architecture means that many of the best establishments provide a feast for the eyes too. The wide variety of restaurants reflects the city’s diverse modern population. Diners can savour a broad palette of Castilian, French, Moroccan and local cuisine.
Outdoor activities in Antwerp
Expats who enjoy the outdoors won’t be short of things to do. Antwerp has several parks and sports facilities and lends itself to being explored by bicycle and on foot.
The triangular piece of land occupied by the Stadspark was once the site of a 16th-century fort. Close to the station and the zoo, its central location gives expats a chance to escape the city’s bustle without leaving its boundaries. The park boasts a lake and several historical monuments and is especially popular with joggers, walkers and families. There’s also the Park Spoor Noord, which is a bit different from the traditional European city park. Its layout encourages visitors to be active. There are play areas for children and large patches of grass for sports, games and picnics.
There’s also plenty to do outside the city, including various cycle routes around the Flanders region, which can be used to explore the surrounding towns or tour the tranquil Belgian countryside.
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