Antwerp - Brussels - Aalst

Price: 186.00 EUR
Countries: Belgium
Route: Bruges - Antwerp - Brussels - Aalst - Bruges
Duration: 11 h
The first stop of our tour will be at Antwerp where we will see and visit the streets and places that are the most representative of the time when Antwerp was one of the most important trading cities in Europe; we will walk the small streets, look at the statues of greatest citizens and admire the magnificent churches and buildings. We will try to learn how Antwerp appeared on the map of Europe, what has defined and still defines it as one of the most important seaports in the world; why so many artists had come to live and work here, creating something that is now world famous as a Flemish school of painting. Learn a bit about Belgian food and beer culture, their love for fries and chocolate and, of course, diamonds. We will start our walk on the river quays, near the oldest stone building in town, our castle - the Stone; then, by the Butchers hall to the hearts of the city - the Big Market square and that to its soul - Antwerp Cathedral of Saint Mary*; If you wish, we can visit the cathedral and talk about 4 magnificent Rubens' works in it. Then, we go to the Jesuit church, through the mediëval Streets and to the biggest square in the city on our way to Palazzo Rubens - the house where the painter had spent most of his life. The next stop we will do in  Brussels which is a cosmopolitan city, with a mix of classic architecture and Art Nouveau. During the tour you will be able to see all the old town with gothic, renaissance and barroque style, as well as new art neueve incredible buildings in the modern part of the city. Once we have seen the European Neighborhood we will be able to go to the Atomium, the impressive Royal Palace and It's Japanese Tower. And get lost in the surrounds of the city. During our visit we will see the different attractions; The Atomium, the Royal Palace, The Cinquantenaire Park, it's impressive Arch of Independence, and the European Neighborhood. Will walk through the main sights of the old town of Brussels. Starting at the majestic Grand Place, we will go all over the alleys and small streets to discover the most beautiful corners of a city full of History. We will visit the famous Manneken Pis, the Sablon neighborhood, the Courthouse, the Royale Palace, the Couldemberg hill, the Instruments Museum, and the Mont des Arts. Our last stop will be at Aalst which  cited in 840 as a dependency of the Abbey of Lobbes, Aalst developed as a town in the middle of the 12th century. It prospered as a trading post on the road between Bruges and Cologne in Germany. In fact, Aalst even became the capital of the Flemish part of the Holy Roman Empire, and the city has preserved the combined coat of arms of both Flanders and the First Reich to this day. Burnt to the ground in 1360, Aalst was soon rebuilt. Its famous belfry was completed in the Gothic style in 1460. This was the town's golden age. Local townsman Dirk Martens (1446-1534) became the first printer of the Southern Netherlands, publishing Christopher Colombus's writings on the New World as soon as 1493 (i.e. just upon his return from his first voyage). The main reason to visit Aalst is for its splendid town square. It boasts the oldest town hall (13th century) in the Low Countries. The adjacent belfry, equipped with a carillon of no less than 52 bells, is one of Belgium's most handsome. The old town hall now serves as the deputy mayor's office, while the actual town hall is a 19th century edifice with a rococo facade in its inner court. Other notable buildings include the Old Hospital (15th century) and the Gothic-style St. Martin's Collegiate Church (built in 1480), which boasts a painting by Rubens ("Saint Rochus beseeching Christ to terminate the Plague at Aalst"). After we will return to Bruges.
Price: per person
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Countries: Belgium

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