Trains in the Netherlands are an effective way to travel between cities. Antwerp Centraal Station is served by a number of regional and international train routes in BeNeLux, including Thalys and Intercity. Thalys directly connects the city with Amsterdam and Brussels to the east, and Paris to the south-west. Intercity links Antwerp with destinations in Germany via Bruxelles-Nord, including Cologne and Hamburg. Visitors from the UK can take the Eurostar to Lille or Brussels and then catch the Intercity as well. The journey from London will take around 3 hours 30 minutes, placing Antwerp well within range for a weekend away. All trains to Antwerp arrive at Antwerp Centraal, which as its name suggests is located in the city center. Passengers can get off the train and be 5 minutes walk from the shopping center, with its jewelry merchants and historical architecture.
For many centuries, Antwerp was one of Europe's busiest and most prosperous port cities. The container ships have moved on, but Antwerp remains a wealthy, pleasant city with much to offer visitors. Passengers catching trains to Antwerp can explore the city's famous diamond district. The best way to do so is by visiting the Diamond Pavillion at MAS, the City Museum. Antwerp is also an artistic center, with an excellent Fashion Museum, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts and the home of artist Peter Paul Rubens among the many galleries that can be visited. The city is also simply a place to relax, with fabulous restaurants and boutiques around the Grote Markt area and plenty of bars serving up traditional Belgian beers. Perhaps the best way to see everything while getting a little exercise is by taking one of the many bicycle tours on offer. Antwerp is fairly small and flat, making it easy to explore on two wheels.