Arrive in Antwerp by train and you’ll think that you’ve alighted in one of the city’s cathedrals or a stately home. Antwerp Central Station is decorated with domed ceilings, statues and 20 different types of marble. Visit the station to admire the architecture and shop for souvenirs, even if you aren’t coming or going by rail.
The main complex was built between 1895 and 1905 at the behest of Leopold II and designed by the architect Louis Delacenserie. To appreciate its true majesty, approach the station from Astrid Square. Beyond the neatly planted gardens are high arches, towers adorned with statues of lions and the peak of the giant central dome.
The architecture is just as impressive inside. The giant central dome is colorfully decorated with over 20 types of marble and stone. Take away the bustling commuters and the sound of the trains and you could be in a grand European palace.
Look up when you stand on the platforms to appreciate the high vaulted iron and glass ceilings. These are over 600 feet (185 meters) long, and at their highest point are 144 feet (44 meters) above the platform.
The station is home to a large number of diamond and gold shops. Cafeterias and food stalls cater to time-limited travelers. You’ll find excellent Belgian fare throughout, with everything from mussels and Belgian beer to sweet waffles and Belgian chocolates.
Antwerp Central Station is a working railway station. Connections run from here to all over the country, as well as to several destinations in Europe. It is located just east of central Antwerp. Local trams and buses serve the station from almost anywhere in the city. The station is open every day until late. Shop and restaurant opening hours vary, but being a busy transport hub, you’re likely to find something to eat at any hour of the day or night.