Antwerp's old city centre, built around the country's most impressive cathedral, is as beautiful and intimate as it was centuries ago. The whole city is something of an architectural museum, from the medieval riverside fortress to modern waterfront creations, distinctive is its Gothic and Flemish baroque architecture.

Tucked away in cobbled lanes and backstreets are thousands of restaurants and bars, antique shops, art galleries, exclusive chocolate outlets, designer boutiques and diamond shops. For a city of its size, it boasts an astonishing number of world-acclaimed fashion designers and many have set up boutiques here. Designer-led stores buzz with shoppers looking for the latest in hip clothing and accessories.