Gay Europe Ambassadors Discover Europe's Most Stylish City
Collaborating with LGBT-friendly destinations that include Stockholm, Copenhagen, Antwerp, and Germany, Out Traveler helped send two lucky Americans to Europe to explore the continent and report back. The winners, who made a compelling Instagram video to win their European getaway, sent their first travelogue back from Antwerp. Here's what Brooklyn couple Kevin and Kenny did during their time in the hip Belgian metropolis.
There’s something attractive about an underdog and that unique balance of pride and humility that they possess. Before our two days in Antwerp, we didn’t know that a city could embody that energy, too.
Historically, Antwerp was once the financial and intellectual capital of the Europe, specifically during the Dutch and Flemish Renaissance of the 16th-century with an art scene led by Peter Paul Rubens and his students. Today, it may have taken a small step back from spotlight, but it remains a major port city (70 percent of the world’s diamonds move through the city) and a destination for fashion.
After a 30-minute train ride from the Brussels airport, you're greeted by Antwerpen-Centraal train station — a stunning example of Art Nouveau architecture and an immediate statement that this city is here to be noticed. The rest of the city feels like a small, walk-able Paris. Small side streets, packed with shops, restaurants and bars, lead to breathtaking cathedrals and buildings, providing just the right mix of modern and historical.
We stayed at Hotel O Sud in the trendy yet laid back Zuid (South) neighborhood. We were told that Antwerp is known for its shopping, but were still surprised by the unique energy of the shops. Sample sales, pop-up shops, and concept stores are the name of the game in Antwerp. Moose in the City is dedicated to Scandinavian designs and housewares, and even featured Nordic travel experts available to help you plan a trip. Yours is a sprawling concept shop, which was named the Best Fashion Retailer of the World Award in 2013 and lived up to its reputation, passing out drinks while we browsed their unique collections.
After some successful purchases we took in the café culture, enjoying the large patio bars that fill the many squares throughout the city. We opted for excellent seafood at Fiskebar and then a nightcap with the hipsters at Café Vitrin, though the options seemed endless.
Grand Central Station
Kenny and Kevin at the Groenplaats
Portrait of Peter Paul Rubens
The Plantin-Moretus Museum
World Cup supporters