Three Hours in Antwerp

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JULIA BAIER / LAIF / REDUX

Antwerp isn't just diamonds. It's also one of Europe's largest seaports and this year's European Youth Capital — testament, perhaps, to its hot nightlife and fashion scenes. Here's how to get a quick feel for this Belgian city.

ONE HOUR: Go on foot. Arm yourself with a street map and begin in the Groenplaats, the main square. Take in the statue of Antwerp's most famous resident, Peter Paul Rubens, the great 17th century Flemish painter. Then walk a short distance to the Cathedral of Our Lady, where you can view two Rubens triptychs. Next, head northwest along cobblestone streets to the Grote Markt, a square filled with guild houses and golden statuary.

TWO HOURS: From the Grote Markt, stroll a couple of blocks south to the Museum Plantin-Moretus at Vrijdagmarkt 22, tel: (32-3) 221 1450, and have a peek at two of the oldest printing presses in the world. Then get bang up to date by browsing high-end fashion by local design graduate Dries Van Noten at his store at Godefriduskaai 36, tel: (32-3) 221 9091.

THREE HOURS: Wolf down a plateful of that great Belgian invention, waffles, at Van Hecke, Nationalestraat 88, tel: (32-3) 233 1972, the oldest waffle house in town. Then go window-shopping along Schuttershofstraat, home to big designer brands, or have a quick look at the Rubenshuis (Rubens' former home) at Wapper 9-11, tel: (32-3) 201 1555. Of course, no excursion in Belgium is complete without beer, so end your explorations at the famous Kulminator bar, Vleminckveld 32, tel: (32-3) 232 4538. It serves 700 brews, including one billed as the world's strongest. Just as well you're not driving.

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