The heart of the city is considered one of Europe’s hottest fashion centers with some of the more exclusive stores reflecting their wares with prices to match. Serving as counterpoint to the ritzy boutiques in the historic district, Antwerp is rich in second-hand clothing. Fashion-conscious Europeans regularly travel there to take advantage of the bargains.
One of the most idiosyncratic touches of Antwerp is its zoo, which lies next door to the marvelous train station. It often seems like diamond brokers and jewelers run the city, as befits a place that calls itself “the diamond capital of the world.”
There are festivals and concerts everywhere giving Antwerp a festive feel throughout the year.
One of Antwerp’s most appealing hotels is The Black in the trendy southern district. It’s owned by an interior decorator that bought the building and created a modern property known for its sexy atmosphere. The Black has a number of rooms costing between €125 ($153) and €175 ($215), breakfast included. These are elegant accommodations where luxury seems routine. Even the bathroom amenities come from Hermes.
Other countries, other places, have more than their share of the tourist spotlight, but Flanders—a place smaller than Massachusetts—often seems to have more than its share of beauty and attractions to make a visit there a must when visiting Europe.