Antwerp (Belgium) BBC Travel presented five original Eurostar breaks: Antwerp (Belgium) : The one for history and architecture ...

Five original Eurostar breaks (via BBC)

Antwerp (Belgium)

BBC Travel presented five original Eurostar breaks:

Antwerp (Belgium): The one for history and architecture
If Bruges is the medieval jewel of Flanders, then Antwerp is the city that stole its trade and its thunder. The home of one of the earliest stock exchange buildings in 1531, and today the place where four in every five uncut diamonds are traded, it’s no surprise that Belgium’s second city has plenty to show for its wealth. The neo- Gothic splendour of the Antwerpen-Centraal railway station is merely the welcome mat.

Rotterdam (The Netherlands): The one for modernity
On 14 May 1940, at the height of the German Blitzkrieg, the Luftwaffe missed an order to turn back and destroyed most of Rotterdam. Unlike many other Dutch cities such as Amsterdam, Utrecht and Delft, you won’t find much in the way of medieval streets here. But Rotterdam has salvaged something from its destruction, creating bold and inventive architecture to match its status as one of the world’s busiest ports.

Champagne-Ardenne (France): The one for wine
The countryside around Reims and Épernay is a tableau of low hills with neat green rows of vines in their folds, marked here and there by a church spire or the turrets of a château. So far, so French – but these vines have a special destiny that will set them apart from others in equally bucolic corners of this wine-obsessed nation. In an area 129 square miles in size, white wine grapes are grown, the product of which will be fermented a second time inside the bottle to create the fizz that is the hallmark of champagne.

Aachen (Germany): The one for spas
What did the Romans ever do for Germany? The people of Aachen might have an answer – their city was kickstarted by legionaries who took a fancy to the area’s steaming, mineral-rich waters. Charlemagne (Carolus Magnus in Latin), founder of the Carolingian Empire, made it his capital in 794, and other conquerors followed, from Napoleon to Casanova. Today, the city is known by a multiplicity of names – Aix-la-Chapelle to the French, Aken to the Dutch, Aquisgrana to the Italians – that testifies to the fame of this one-time centre of political power and remedial bathtime in Western Europe.

Val Thorens (France): The one for skiing
Take ski equipment on the train? It’s no longer such an odd idea, thanks to a direct Eurostar service from London to the heart of the French Alps, which comes as a boon for winter sports fans who would rather avoid flying (see Snow Carbon for more).

Via BBC Travel (with more details)