Did you already know that Antwerp's station building has been an architectural gem of a particularly high standard for more than a century? CNN, Newsweek and The Telegraph, all have included the Central Station on their list of the most spectacular stations in the world.
Thus Antwerp Central Station ranks as an impressive monument between Grand Central Terminal in New York, Saint Pancras International in London and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in the Indian metropolis of Mumbai.
If you are considering visiting Antwerp, be sure to take the opportunity to arrive at the city's Central Station. This is the perfect start to exploring the beautiful Diamond City!
King Leopold II ruled Belgium from 1835 to 1909. He was in power for no less than 44 years and to this day is Belgium's longest reigning king. Although there has been a lot of controversy surrounding this monarch's life and deeds lately, he did have a clear vision for Antwerp. For example, he had a grand station built there where travelers should immediately feel that they had arrived at an important destination. And so it happened! The official opening in the presence of King Leopold II took place on August 11 1905.
The Bruges architect Louis Delacenserie took his inspiration from the Pantheon in Rome and the, also majestic, station in the Swiss city of Lucerne. Unfortunately, the latter burned down completely in February 1971. Antwerp station consists of two parts, a stone building and a large steel structure covering the tracks. The stone building is square and capped by a magnificent dome, also called a "coppola".
This part of the station also has eight towers and numerous decorations in bright gold. The tracks and platforms are covered by a huge structure, a steel platform canopy made of glass and red steel. This impressive canopy has a length of 186 meters and a width of 66 meters. So no matter whether you are in the first or last carriage, you always get on or off the train nicely protected. Antwerp's railway station is without a doubt a true railroad cathedral.
Originally, the station had a limited capacity it was intended for only 10 trains a day, all on the same level and as a head-end station. Over the years, however, it has grown into a station on no less than four levels and 14 tracks, where dozens of trains arrive and depart, and where old and new blend together in a fascinating way. The renovations, led by Belgian engineer architect Jacques Voncke and commissioned by Eurostation, took many years. They ended in 2009 and have undoubtedly been a resounding success.
When you leave Antwerp Central Station, you can walk along De Keyzerlei to the Meir and the city's historic center and visit, for example, Het Steen, Antwerp's Grand Place or a museum in Antwerp. There is so much to do in Antwerp! Plus, there are more than enough choices to grab a bite to eat, a coffee or a local beer along the way
Need to wait a little longer for your train, though? Then a stop at the cozy brasserie Le Royal Cafe is highly recommended. It will take you back to the days when people could travel by train in luxury, just like on the world-famous Orient Express. Le Royal Cafe has undergone many changes over the decades, but the interior is still downright beautiful today. From the huge golden clock on the wall to the golden mirrors, the stylish decorations and the numerous old black-and-white photographs of times long gone... Nostalgia all around!
Interestingly, there is a Visit Antwerp visitor center in the arrival hall of the Central Station. This is located on level 0, near the escalators, and is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Here, among other things, you can pick up an Antwerp City Card, which will no doubt come in handy as you explore the city.
For a smooth start to your visit, just make sure you reserve your card in advance. Moreover, you can also buy some nice souvenirs at this visitor center as a reminder of your visit to Antwerp.
Would you like to know where to buy tickets for the train or do you have a question you would like to put directly to the National Company of Belgian Railways? Then you can reach the SNCB Contact Center through various channels.
Still looking for a nice and comfortable hotel in Antwerp? Then a stay in one of our two B&B HOTELS in the diamond city is definitely something for you. In both the B&B HOTELS Antwerpen South and the B&B HOTELS Antwerpen Centrum you can count on a beautiful design, pleasant comfort and impeccable amenities, such as fast wifi, a cozy lounge and a bathroom with all the necessary modern amenities. Moreover, our hotel in Antwerp South also has a cozy bar where you can sip your favorite drink after a fun day full of great discoveries. Would you like something to drink or eat in the afternoon or evening? Then you can always find a trendy bar or a cozy restaurant in Antwerp.
We wish you an enjoyable stay in Antwerp!