Meet and greet with your English-speaking guide / driver in the hotel lobby, from where you will be taken for a 90-minute drive by luxurious private vehicle to historic Antwerp, for an interesting walking tour of the historical city center.
Antwerp is a splendid city with numerous architectural highlights, most of which date from the 16th and the 17th century. The past is also represented by the numerous paintings of Peter Paul Rubens who lived in the Antwerp of the early 17th century. Moreover, Antwerp is the diamond center of the World.
If diamonds really are a girl’s best friends, then a lot of ladies will not leave out a tour of the diamond district around the Railway Station. This area is also the Jewish part of the city. The presence of many ‘Hasidic’ Jewish people gives the city a flair that cannot be found in other Belgian cities.
Walking through the narrow streets of this historic city center, you will form a good idea of how the settlement developed into such a world-famous metropolis. The “Steen” (stone castle), the Vleeshuis (the Butchers Hall) museum, elegant guild houses and legendary heroes combine to tell the history of this captivating city and the people who lived here.
One of the highlights, is a guided tour of the Cathedral of Our Lady. The Cathedral of Our Lady was completed in 1521, no fewer than 170 years after it started. It is the largest Gothic church in the Low Countries. When you set foot in the heart of the cathedral, you will be met by a unique sight. Here, you can see four masterpieces by Rubens. Perhaps this may not seem special until you realise that two of them are in situ. The Descent from the Cross and The Assumption of the Virgin Mary were painted for the building in which they are still on display today. You will not find this anywhere else in the world. You will also find The Elevation of the Cross and the Resurrection of Christ in the cathedral. www.dekathedraal.be/en
Another highlight is a guided tour of the Rubens House Museum. “Welcome to my house!” Peter Paul Rubens, brilliant and versatile artist, invites you to his palazetto in the center of Antwerp. The master lived here with his family for years and painted with his colleagues and assistants in a studio that he designed himself. He created many of his paintings in this house. His work has inspired artists and art aficionados for over four hundred years. Here, he received important patrons and cherished his unique art collection. This unique museum, the master’s house, is the only place in the world where Rubens’ presence is so tangible. And you are here as his guest. Welcome! www.rubenshuis.be/en
From here, you will be taken back to your hotel in Bruges, where you will have the remainder of the day for your own leisure. You will arrive back around 5pm.