Known as the city on the river, Antwerp’s seafood is a highlight on any trip. The minimally decorated Osaka wine bar, in the city centre, serves up a delicious tapas menu, featuring fresh oysters on a bed of salt. Meanwhile, you can tuck into steaming bowls of mussels and clams, topped with pickled onion, at the laid back Camino restaurant. Also towards the port end of the city is Zilte – a fine dining restaurant that takes inspiration from the taste and smell of the sea.
You must try the mussels, oysters and waffles!
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Friend of The Bicester Collection, @OrazioScelsa, loves the history Antwerp offers: “It’s one of the few places where, when wandering the streets, you can admire Flemish architecture from the 15th century.” This jacket is the perfect accompaniment.
Despite its place in the centre of Antwerp, Hotel Flora feels like another, greener world. Perhaps named after the courtyard garden at its centre, the hotel is filled with plants and blooms – giving a fresh, calm vibe to the fifteenth-century architecture. With bold colours, fringed lampshades and plush velvet textures everywhere: it’s stylish and cosy in one. Settle down in the hotel’s welcoming lounge after you’ve explored the city.
Modern cafés are mixed with historic restaurants, boutiques and thrift shops. Everywhere you walk, you want to raise your hand to take a picture.
While the Christmas markets in Brussels are often considered the biggest and the best; the festive feel in Bruges the most quaint; Antwerp’s spot next to the river makes it the most magical place to watch fireworks from the quays on New Year’s Eve. If you do fancy browsing the stalls, Antwerp’s sprawling Christmas markets cover the city’s historic squares, including the Grote Markt and Steenplein – where you’ll also find the big wheel!
Hunker down in the latest new-in knitwear from Maasmechelen Village. This gorgeous beanie from Hackett London is practically warm and effortlessly stylish.
A camera is a must-pack because this city is just amazing on film!
After a wander around MoMu, Orazio Scelsa recommends heading towards the river if the weather is nice. “A coffee at Butchers Coffee, for an alternative vibe, and then you can even cycle along the riverside,” he said. For that, a sleek backpack is a must.
For a break from the festivities, stop by ModeMuseum in the very centre of the city, which tops the to-do list for fashion lovers. Founded in 2002, the contemporary museum collects, studies and exhibits Belgian fashion. This winter it has partnered with the Dr. Guislain Museum in Ghent for its exhibition, Mirror Mirror, which examines the connection between style, psychology and identity.
Polo Ralph Lauren
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