Often regarded as the de facto capital of Flemish Belgium, Antwerp is a contemporary magnet for the hip, offering a wide and dazzling array of culture, fashion, gastronomy and nightlife within an engaging and bustling medieval center. HAPPYCAR is here to help you find the best car hire Antwerp has to offer so you can take full advantage of this glittering city, with a direct car hire from Antwerp Airport is available. We check the prices of international and local providers so that you don’t have to check each website to provide you with the best deals to make your money go further on a rental car that fits your specific rental needs.
Antwerp is Belgium’s second biggest city after Brussels and houses the biggest port in the country. In its golden age it was one of Europe’s major seaports and has since become a titan of global diamond trade, trading around 70% of the world’s diamonds within its borders. Nowadays, the old harbors have been transformed into deluxe apartments and while not quite as historically preserved as other Flemish medieval cities such as Bruges, its trendy architectural thrum is apparent wherever you walk. Antwerp is hectic and untidy, but intensely charming as you are treated to a concentrated collection of fine churches and museums, and a wonderful cathedral.
Perhaps an unusual perk of the city but a good place to start is its central train station, Antwerp Central. With its neo-Gothic façade, spacious hall and fantastically proportioned dome, this station, built in 1905, is seen as one of the city’s premier landmarks, and one of the top 5 most beautiful stations. Close by is the Museum Plantin-Moretus, a UNSECO World Heritage Site that once used to be home to the world’s first industrial printing works until 1876. The medieval structure, the 1622 courtyard garden and the well-preserved 1640 library are worth the trip alone, let alone the historic bookshop and the priceless collection of manuscripts, tapestries and a valuable painting collection by baroque superstar artist Rubens.
The selection of churches and cathedrals in Antwerp leaves church-lovers absolutely spoiled for choice. The Cathedral of Our Lady is one of the most impressive and largest Gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe, built in 1351 and a particular favorite of passing literary legends throughout history. Saint Paul’s Church is a beautiful mixture of Gothic and Baroque styles that was formerly part of a nunnery while the Carolus Borromeus Church is a Baroque beauty with decorations by Rubens’ studio. A popular draw for visitors, the Rubenshouse is a mansion acquired in 1937 where Rubens lived most of his life.
Aside from fritkoten, the famous thrice-baked Belgian fries, Antwerp residents love to eat, and visitors will find cafes and restaurants dotted all over the city, combining traditional Flemish dishes with Mediterranean, French and vegetarian cuisine. Antwerp also hosts many famous food markets throughout the year, with the Rubens Market on August 15 featuring a glut of medieval dishes from the era of Peter Paul Rubens. Antwerp is also a great place to drink, with the most bars per capita in the world. Live music is common in many bars and the local tipple, De Koninck, is famed throughout the world.
Belgium is not a big country and is well placed to visit many other European cities with an Antwerp car hire. Bruges and Ghent, more medieval focused cities, are close by, and Brussels, the capital of Europe is a short ride away with a car hire in Antwerp. An Antwerp car rental can also take you to Amsterdam for a weekend or take the trip to France which is also within easy reach. Whatever your next destination, an Antwerp car rental is a flexible solution to your travel needs.