Think of Antwerp, Belgium, as Brussels' cool little sister. Trendy pop-up restaurants, boutique shops and a lively nightlife scene are just some of the reasons why this port city is on the rise among savvy travellers. It's also home to a tonne of attractions to suit visitors of every age, from artworks in the futuristic Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) to boat tours around the harbour. Head to Grote Markt, the main town square, to see some of the famous historic sights like the elaborate City Hall and a number of 16th-century guildhalls.
One thing that makes Antwerp so visually appealing is the striking contrast between its old buildings and the newer structures that have been built in recent years. Just take a look at the funky diamond-shaped Port House, which was designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. Just minutes along the river from here is Het Steen (Steen Castle), which dates back to the 11th century.
You may also be surprised to learn that Antwerp has a pleasant city beach, Saint Anneke, on the left bank. Here you'll find locals and visitors alike taking a break from city life with a picnic or relaxing with a book. You can also visit one of the city's many parks like Antwerp Stadspark and Middelheimpark, which is home to a lovely sculpture garden.