North of Brussels on the banks of the Scheldt River, Antwerp is the largest city in Flanders. Once a major port town, today it's home to the country's fashion industry. Its central neighborhoods are easily explored on foot, but you'll need to hop on a tram or bus if you want to go farther afield.
Antwerp's bustling city center is concentrated in the Oude Stad on the right bank of the Scheldt River. East of the Oude Stad is Quartier Latin, filled with antiques stores and boutiques. Pedestrian streets and narrow cobblestone alleyways open onto lively, terrace-filled squares. Here you'll find the Grote Markt, a tribute to Flanders's Golden Age with its elaborate town hall and guild houses. Nearby is the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal, Antwerp's finest cathedral, and Rubenshuis, the former home of the city's favorite son, Peter Paul Rubens.
The Meir, Diamantwijk, and Centraal Station
The Meir, the main shopping thoroughfare, leads east from the Oude Stad to Centraal Station and the predominantly Jewish Diamantwijk area. North of the Meir is Stadswaag, and above that, Het Eilandje, home to MAS (Museum aan de Stroom). Antwerp's maritime past and present infuse both of these neighborhoods; you'll find docks, the Hogere Zeevaartschool (Antwerp's School of Navigation), and many businesses that cater to shipping and yachting. Immediately south of the Meir is Sint-Andrieskwartier, known for its clothing and bric-a-brac shops.
Beyond Central Antwerp
South of the city center is Het Zuid (which you'll often see abbreviated as 't Zuid), popular for its trendy restaurants, cafés, and clubs. Its main drags are Amerikalei, Kronenburgstraat, and Waalsekaai. The residential area of Middelheim, south of Het Zuid, is full of parks. Art Nouveau homes make Zurenborg, southeast of the city center past Centraal Station, one of Antwerp's most beautiful neighborhoods.