(Antwerp, Antwerpen, Flanders, Belgium)
The Cathedral of Our Lady is known locally as the Onze Lieve Vrouwekathedraal and dominates the Groenplaats plaza, with its towering spire.
Always a hub of activity, the Groenplaats Square (Green Place) is surrounded by cafes, bars and pubs. As well as the cathedral, other attractions around the Groenplaats include the Grand Bazar building and a statue of Peter Paul Rubens - an acclaimed 17th-century Flemish Baroque artist.
Many traditional Belgian houses surround the Grote Markt and are superb examples of Flemish Renaissance architecture, adding tremendous character to the square.
The National Maritime Museum (Steen Museum) is located on the Steenplein and is to be found within the remains of a former fortress named the 'Graven Steen' (Castle of the Counts).
Exhibits within the National Maritime Museum including everything from scale models of ships, to historical waterfront paintings and nautical memorabilia.
The Grote Markt / Grand Market Square is a lively spot to hang out and is filled with cafe tables during the summer months, particularly around the Town Hall side.
The city resides on the right-hand bank of the meandering River Scheldt. This river is connected to the North Sea, via the Westerschelde estuary.
Supported by the city and province, the Tall Ships' Races were first staged in 1956 and actively encourage young people to learn the skills of sailing large, rigged ships. At least half of the entire crew must consist of young people in order to qualify. In the past, the Tall Ships' Races have enjoyed sponsorship by Cutty Sark Whisky.
Antwerp Town Hall or 'Stadhuis' is situated on the westerly side of the Grote Markt and was first constructed in the middle of the 16th century, although needed to be rebuilt just 12 years after completion, following severe fire damage. Today, its original medieval character remains intact, while the interior decoration dates from the 19th century. Interestingly, the 45 doors on the ground floor once housed a series of small shops, with the rent being used to assist with financing the building itself.
As you arrive at the city's train station, you will spot a group of huge wooden elephant sculptures, on the Koningin Astridplein. This family of elephants leads visitors towards the entrance of the city zoo.
Nearby, the town of Lichtaart is a popular day trip destination, since it is home to the very family orientated Bobbejaanland amusement park, where roller coasters and fast rides are in abundance.