Belgium is home to several enchanting Christmas markets, including the Brussels Christmas Market, Bruges Christmas Market, Antwerp Christmas Market and Ghent Christmas Market. The Brussels Christmas Market is a popular attraction held in the capital city of Brussels. Visitors can explore numerous stalls selling crafts, gifts and traditional Belgian delicacies. The market features festive decorations and a lively atmosphere, making it a delightful experience for all. The Bruges Christmas Market offers a similar festive ambiance in the city of Bruges. Visitors can wander through the market's stalls, with twinkling lights and delightful Christmas decorations.
- 1. Brussels Christmas Market
- 2. Bruges Christmas Market
- 3. Antwerp Christmas Market
- 4. Ghent Christmas Market
- 5. Liege Christmas Market
- 6. Leuven Christmas Market
- 7. Hasselt Christmas Market
- 8. Ostend Christmas Market
- 9. Namur Christmas Market
- 10. Ypres Christmas Market
- 11. Mechelen Christmas Market
- 12. Mons Christmas Market
- 13. Tournai Christmas Market
- 14. Dinant Christmas Market
- 15. Kortrijk Christmas Market
- 16. Durbuy Christmas Market
- 17. Aalst Winter Fair – Christmas Market
- 18. Charleroi Christmas Market
- 19. Lier Christmas Market
- 20. Louvain-la-Neuve Christmas Market
- What is the best Christmas Market in Belgium?
- What is the oldest Christmas Market in Belgium?
- What is the best Christmas Market in Belgium to visit with kids?
- What are the best things to do in Belgium during Christmas?
- What are the best foods to try in Belgium during Christmas?
- Do visitors need to pay to enter the Christmas Markets in Belgium?
- How do Christmas markets in Belgium contribute to the local economy and tourism?
- What are the most fun facts about Belgium and Christmas?
The market offers a variety of goods, including local crafts, seasonal treats and warm beverages, while Antwerp also hosts its own Christmas Market. The market provides a range of festive activities and attractions, including ice skating rinks, fairground rides and charming wooden chalets. Visitors can indulge in delicious food and drinks while immersing themselves in the joyful atmosphere. Ghent, known for its medieval architecture, also hosts a captivating Christmas Market. The market in Ghent invites visitors to explore its numerous stalls, offering a delightful array of handmade crafts, gifts and mouthwatering local cuisine. The market's festive ambiance and the city's historical beauty create a memorable experience for all who attend. Belgium's Christmas markets are cherished destinations during the holiday season, allowing visitors to celebrate in a joyful and festive atmosphere.
1. Brussels Christmas Market
The Brussels Christmas Market will run from Friday, November 24, 2023, to Sunday, December 31, 2023. The Brussels Christmas Market is spread over 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) and is located in various city sections, including the Grand Place, Place de la Monnaie, Bourse, Place Sainte-Catherine and Marché aux Poissons. Visitors can marvel at Brussels's largest Christmas tree and nativity scene with live animals. The market offers a festive ambiance and a captivating sound and light show in the evening. The Marché aux Poissons Christmas Market features a giant Ferris wheel and numerous wooden chalets selling gifts and treats. Visitors can enjoy the festive atmosphere, explore party pavilions and participate in seasonal fun.
The La Bourse de Bruxelles Christmas Market is in front of the historic 19th-century stock exchange building. Visitors can browse through wooden chalets offering a variety of gifts and delicacies while enjoying the beautifully illuminated neo-renaissance structure. The Place Sainte-Catherine Christmas Market surrounds the Church and offers fairground attractions, a Ferris wheel and a magical light show at the church. International traditions and cuisines are showcased, providing a diverse experience. Visitors can indulge in Belgian cheese, waffles, chocolate, fries, mulled wine, hot chocolate and fondue sandwiches. The Brussels Christmas Market offers a wide selection of traditional favorites and local treats to satisfy every palate.
2. Bruges Christmas Market
The Bruges Christmas Market occurs annually in Bruges, Belgium, as part of the “Winter Glow” festival. The market is in two main squares: Grote Markt and Simon Stevinplein. Grote Markt features wooden chalets selling Christmas items and local food, with an ice rink and a large Christmas tree as central attractions. Simon Stevinplein offers a less crowded market with crafts and carnival games for kids. It runs from Friday, November 24, 2023, to Sunday, January 7, 2024. Stalls open daily from 10:30 am to 10:00 pm and extended to 11:00 pm on weekends, with free entry to the market. The historic backdrop creates a unique atmosphere, while local Belgian cuisine provides a delightful culinary experience. Visitors can also find unique gifts and crafts made by local artisans. Ice skating opportunities are available in the main square near Lake of Love, Minnewater.
The market is part of the larger Winter Glow festival, which includes light art installations and a Light Experience Trail throughout the city. In terms of food, the Bruges Christmas Market offers a variety of local Belgian treats. Visitors can indulge in Belgian waffles, frites (French fries), beers and hot chocolate. The market is a great opportunity to taste and experience the flavors of Belgian cuisine. It also presents an enchanting fairytale-like atmosphere, with the historic buildings filled with holiday lights. The Bruges Christmas Market offers easy access to other Belgian cities such as Brussels, Ghent and Antwerp, making it convenient for visitors to combine their visit with exploring other parts of the country.
3. Antwerp Christmas Market
The Antwerp Christmas Market takes place annually in the historic center of Antwerp, Belgium. It runs from Friday, December 8, 2023, to Sunday, January 7, 2024 and offers a variety of attractions, food and unique gifts. It spread across several squares, including Groenplaats, Grote Markt, Handschoenmarkt and Steenplein, featuring over 100 wooden chalet stalls. Visitors can enjoy the enchanting atmosphere by browsing through handmade decorations, ornaments, toys, clothing and other Christmas-themed items. Food lovers will delight in Belgian delicacies such as waffles, fries, sausages, mulled wine, hot chocolate and local treats like doughnuts.
The Antwerp Christmas Market also offers a range of entertainment options. Groenplaats features an ice skating rink where visitors can glide beneath twinkling lights while enjoying views of the city's cathedral. At Steenplein, a large Ferris wheel provides stunning panoramic views of Antwerp. Musicians, carolers and performers create a lively atmosphere throughout the market. The stalls and surrounding buildings are illuminated at night and filled with colorful Christmas lights. The Antwerp Christmas Market is a great place for families, offering activities such as ice skating, carousel rides and visits from Santa Claus. Visitors can also explore other attractions in Antwerp, including the Cathedral of Our Lady, the Plantin-Moretus Museum and the Rubens House. It is easily accessible in the city center on foot, ensuring a convenient and enjoyable experience. Entrance to the market is free, allowing visitors to enjoy the festive spirit without any additional cost.
4. Ghent Christmas Market
The Ghent Christmas Market is a yearly festive event in the historical city center of Ghent, Belgium. It is one of the best Christmas markets in Belgium, offering a variety of attractions, food and entertainment for visitors of all ages. It is a great way to experience the Christmas spirit in the heart of Ghent. The Ghent Christmas Market is located in several squares and streets in the old town of Ghent. The main locations are Sint-Baafsplein, Botermarkt, Klein Turkije and Korenmarkt. These locations are connected by a walking route that passes by some of the most beautiful sights in Ghent, such as the Belfry, the Cathedral, the City Hall and the Castle of the Counts. It is easily accessible by public transport, bike or car. The Ghent Christmas Market will run from Thursday, December 7, 2023, to Sunday, December 31, 2023. The market stalls will be open daily from 12:00 noon to 11:00 pm on weekdays and from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm on weekends It is closed on Christmas Day and ends with a spectacular fireworks show on New Year's Eve at the Portus Ganda marina.
The Ghent Christmas Market offers a lot of attractions for visitors of all ages to enjoy. Some highlights are the ice skating rink and the Moose bar at Botermarkt, where visitors can glide on the ice and warm up with a hot drink or a snack. The Ferris wheel and the Husky bar at Korenmarkt, where visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of the city and sip a mulled wine or a hot chocolate. The Winter Wonder Castle of the Counts, where visitors can feast on a medieval banquet and watch a knight tournament. The Christmas stalls at Sint-Baafsplein, where visitors can find various gifts, crafts and decorations and the Winter Forest at Zebrastraat, where visitors can walk among the trees and lights and listen to live music. It also offers many food options for visitors of all tastes, like the Ghent pralines, a type of chocolate filled with cream, nuts or fruit. Visitors can find them at the chocolate stalls or the famous chocolatier Van Hoorebeke. The Tierenteyn mustard, a spicy mustard made in Ghent since 1790 and the Kroakemandels, fried and salted peas that are a traditional snack in Ghent or the Cuberdons, cone-shaped candies with a soft center and a hard crust, which comes in different flavors and colors, while the Stoverij is a beef stew cooked in beer and served with fries.
5. Liege Christmas Market
The Liege Christmas Market, held annually in Liege, Belgium, is a historic and popular event that attracts over 2 million visitors. The market occurs from Friday, November 24, 2023, to Saturday, December 30, 2023. It is located in Liege's downtown plazas and squares, with the main hub at Place du Marché, 4000, Liège. The central location along the banks of the Meuse River has been hosting the market since the 14th century, making it one of Europe's oldest ongoing Christmas markets. It features over 200 wooden stalls where local Walloon artisans display handcrafted goods. Visitors can find traditional Christmas gifts, including handmade glassware, wooden figurines, lacework and other regional crafts. The market also offers a wide range of culinary delights. Visitors can indulge in seasonal flavors such as Liege waffles, frites, crepes, hot chocolate, mulled wine, Belgian beers and sweet treats like waffles and chocolates.
The Liege Christmas Market offers a lovely atmosphere with numerous attractions. Visitors can enjoy theater productions like The Snow Queen, Nutcracker Soldiers and Gingerbread Men at the on-site Papé Noël Theater. It also features an ice skating rink, live music performances, a Santa parade and cultural activities that celebrate the traditions of Walloon, Flemish, French and German music. The market's cultural program ensures that something entertaining always happens, creating a festive and joyful ambiance. Visitors can also discover other attractions in the vicinity. The Grand Curtius Museum, located just 0.3 kilometers (0.18 miles) from the market, offers a comprehensive overview of the city's history through its archaeology, religious art and Mosan art collections. The Montagne de Bueren which is a famous outdoor staircase that provides panoramic views of the city. The staircase is just a short distance from the market and attracts locals and tourists. The beautiful Meuse River, which runs alongside the market, offers scenic walks and promenades where visitors can enjoy the river views. The Palace of the Prince Bishops, a historic palace turned museum and the Place de la République, a central square featuring landmarks like the Opera House and the Perron Fountain, are popular spots in close proximity to the market.
6. Leuven Christmas Market
The Leuven Christmas Market is an annual event held in Leuven, Belgium, attracting over 800,000 visitors annually. The market features 140 stalls selling various goods, including crafts and food. It takes place in the city center at Monseigneur Ladeuzeplein and Herbert Hooverplein squares, near landmarks such as the Leuven Town Hall and University Library. It is part of the “Leuven Winter Time” winter event, which includes light trails and food festivals. Visitors can enjoy a cozy, intimate atmosphere enhanced by twinkling lights, seasonal music and family-friendly attractions like a carousel and Santa's cottage. The Leuven Christmas Market offers various food options, including typical Belgian delicacies like waffles, speculoos biscuits, stoofvlees (Flemish beef stew) and various Belgian beers. It aims to provide an authentic local experience, with many vendors being local artisans offering unique Belgian gifts such as lacework and speculoos biscuits. Entry to the market is free and visitors only incur optional costs for purchasing items or participating in rides. The market is conveniently located near Leuven's main attractions, including the University Library, Leuven Town Hall, museums and gardens.
The Leuven Christmas Market for the 2023-2024 season is scheduled to open from Thursday, December 7, 2023, to Thursday, December 21, 2023. It operates from 12:00 pm to 09:00 pm daily, providing enough time for visitors to explore the stalls, enjoy the attractions and soak up the festive atmosphere. The market preparations begin in the weeks leading up to its opening, with the city filled with decorations and lights, setting up market stalls and creating a joyful ambiance. The Grote Markt (Grand Place) offers visitors a warm drink or try typical Belgian treats like smoutebollen in a beautiful winter garden. The City Hall offers classical music concerts and guided visits, while St. Peter's Church hosts classical music performances during the holiday season. Visitors can also join guided walks through the city for a more educational Christmas experience. The Light Experience Trail, called “(Un)Holy Light”, features captivating light installations throughout the city from Tuesday, December 12, 2023, to Saturday, December 16, 2023. There is also a Foodtruck Festival that takes place at the end of December, offering a variety of culinary delights.
7. Hasselt Christmas Market
The Hasselt Christmas Market is a winter event in Hasselt, the capital of Limburg in Belgium. It offers various attractions, food and drinks and a festive atmosphere. It runs from Friday, November 17, 2023, to Sunday, January 7, 2024. It is open every day from 10:00 am to 12::00 midnight, except on December 24 and 31, 2023, when it closes at 06:00 and on December 25, 2023 and January 1, 2024, when it opens at 12:00 noon. The Hasselt Christmas Market is located at the Kolonel Dusartplein, a large square in the city center. It is easily accessible by public transport, car or bike. There is also a free shuttle bus service from the main train station to the market. The market has many attractions for visitors of all ages. There is an indoor ice rink, a Ferris wheel, a grand carousel, a giant slide, a Christmas train, a Christmas ride, a Christmas thriller, a Christmas hotel and a Santa's house. Visitors can also enjoy live music, fireworks and light shows. The Hasselt Christmas Market offers a wide range of food and drinks to warm visitors and satisfy their appetites. Visitors can find traditional Belgian delicacies such as waffles, chocolate, fries and beer and international cuisines such as tartiflette, raclette, currywurst and churros. They can also sip on hot chocolate, mulled wine or jenever, a local gin.
8. Ostend Christmas Market
The Ostend Christmas Market, held annually in Ostend, Belgium, is a popular event that attracts 250,000 visitors each year. The market starts from Saturday, November 25, 2023, to Sunday, January 7, 2024. It is located in Church Square, in the heart of downtown Ostend, near the North Sea beaches and features over 150 festively decorated wooden stalls selling Christmas gifts, ornaments, toys, clothing and other holiday-themed items. Visitors can also indulge in Belgian delicacies such as chocolates, biscuits, waffles, meatballs and seafood. The Ostend Christmas Market offers a range of attractions to enhance the festive experience. Visitors can enjoy carousel rides, explore a nativity scene display, go ice skating on the rink and let children have fun in the designated playground area. The market provides a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the holiday spirit and experience Belgian Christmas traditions.
Food plays a significant role at the Ostend Christmas Market. Visitors can savor various Belgian delicacies, including hot waffles, frites, meatballs, seafood, seasonal beers and other specialty beverages. Prices for food and beverages vary, with basic snacks starting from 2€ ($2.18, £1.74) and a multicourse meal in a sit-down restaurant costing 12€ ($13.08, £10.44). A cup of mulled wine or hot chocolate averages 4€ ($4.36, £3.48). The Ostend Christmas Market is a festive attraction and an economic boost for the city during winter. It helps drive tourism and supports the local economy by selling goods and services. The market's emphasis on high-quality Belgian products and its showcase of local culture make it a must-visit destination for those seeking a memorable holiday experience.
9. Namur Christmas Market
The Namur Christmas Market is held annually in Namur, Belgium and offers a festive atmosphere and a wide range of activities and attractions. The market stretches along Place de l'Ange, Place d'Armes and Place du Théâtre, showcasing 70 chalets where local artisans display their unique and handmade gifts and crafts. Visitors can enjoy the lively ambiance while enjoying live concerts, performances by folkloric groups and street entertainers such as stilt walkers and roller skaters. The market operates from Friday, December 1, 2023, to Sunday, December 31, 2023, with opening hours from 11:00 am to 08:00 pm and late evenings until 10:30 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, while on Sunday, December 24, 2023, it will close at 06:00 pm, on Monday, December 25, 2023, it will open at 03:00 pm and on Sunday, December 31, 2023, it will close at 06:00 pm. Visitors to the Namur Christmas Market can indulge in local delicacies available at the chalets, including waffles, chocolates and beers. They can explore the food stalls offering traditional festive beverages such as mulled wine. For those seeking a fun activity, there is an ice skating rink at Place de l'Ange, which costs 6 € ($6.7, £5) per person, including skate rental.
10. Ypres Christmas Market
The Ypres Christmas Market takes place annually in Ypres, Belgium, offering various festive attractions and entertainment for all ages. The market runs from late November to early January, with the specific dates varying each year. For 2023, the market is scheduled to be open from Friday, November 24, 2023, to Sunday, January 7, 2023. It is open from 11:00 am to 09:00 pm on weekdays and from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm on weekends and holidays. It is located in the Grote Markt square, the heart of the town, surrounded by historical buildings and monuments. It features around 25 wooden chalets selling traditional Christmas products, including decorations, crafts, gifts and food. The market also has a spacious ice rink, perfect for visitors to enjoy skating amidst the festive atmosphere.
The Ypres Christmas Market offers many attractions both within and beyond its premises. Some notable highlights include the 450-square-meter ice rink, accommodating up to 150 skaters at a time and providing separate areas for beginners and children. Visitors can experience a breathtaking panoramic view of the town and the market from the 35-meter-high Ferris wheel, which is open from 02:00 pm to 10:00 pm on weekdays and from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm on weekends and holidays, with tickets costing 5 € ($5.6, £4.1) per person. The Ypres Christmas Market also presents captivating events such as the lively Christmas parade, a colorful procession featuring floats, bands, dancers and characters. The parade commences at 06:00 pm every Saturday evening, starting from the Menin Gate and concluding at the market. Visitors can witness a mesmerizing light and sound show that illuminates the Cloth Hall and the Belfry, which runs from 05:00 pm to 10:00 every evening, lasting for 15 minutes and repeating every half hour. In terms of culinary delights, the Ypres Christmas Market offers a variety of delectable foods and beverages. Visitors can savor the famous Belgian waffles, made with batter cooked in a waffle iron and topped with delicious ingredients such as chocolate, whipped cream, fruit or nuts. They can also enjoy a warm cup of Glühwein, a delightful hot mulled wine spiced with cinnamon, cloves, star anise and orange. The hearty Stoverij is another must-try, a traditional Flemish beef stew cooked with onions, beer and herbs, usually served with fries or bread. Visitors can also indulge in Oliebollen, deep-fried dough balls dusted with powdered sugar, similar to doughnuts but lighter and crispier in texture.
11. Mechelen Christmas Market
The Mechelen Christmas Market takes place annually in Mechelen, Belgium. It spans 0.2 square kilometers and is centered around Vismarkt and its connecting plazas. With a medieval theme, the market offers a nostalgic experience reminiscent of an old-fashioned Christmas village. The market opens from Saturday, December 2, 2023, until Monday, January 8, 2024. It is surrounded by historic landmarks such as St. Rumbold's Cathedral, the Toy Museum and the City Museum. Admission to the market is free, allowing everyone to enjoy the festive atmosphere, shop for unique gifts, indulge in Belgian treats like Liège Waffles and Flemish Stews and sip on Mulled Wine. Accessing the market is convenient, whether by train, bus or car and nearby accommodations like the Novotel Mechelen Centrum ensure a comfortable stay.
Visiting the Mechelen Christmas Market offers a range of attractions for all. The market showcases over 150 decorated wooden chalet stalls, where visitors can find handmade arts, crafts, gifts, clothing, toys and sweets. The delightful aromas of sausages, waffles and mulled wine fill the air as choirs serenade shoppers. For those seeking winter fun, the market features a large outdoor ice skating rink at Vismarkt, surrounded by enchanting lights and decorations. The market's historical setting, with its cobblestone streets and ancient buildings, creates a lovely atmosphere during the Christmas season. Shopping lovers will delight in the wide array of huts and stalls offering a diverse selection of gifts, clothing, toys and sweets. The market has a large outdoor ice skating rink where visitors can enjoy a spin on the ice amidst a backdrop of lights and festive decorations with choirs, carolers and musicians performing throughout the squares. Children also have the opportunity to meet Santa Claus and participate in fun workshops at the nearby Toy Museum.
12. Mons Christmas Market
The Mons Christmas Market is an annual event in the Grand Place of Mons, Belgium. It features 40 charming wooden chalets where visitors can find various gifts, decorations and delicious food and drinks. Originating in the 1980s, the market has grown into a significant event open from Saturday, November 25, 2023, to Sunday, December 17, 2023. It operates daily from 10:30 am to 10:00 pm, allowing visitors to enjoy the magical atmosphere throughout the day. The market is conveniently located in the heart of Mons and is easily accessible, surrounded by historical landmarks such as the Mons Town Hall and the Baroque belfry, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Mons Christmas Market offers a festive ambiance with its lights, music and decorations, providing a wonderful opportunity to experience Belgian traditions, cuisine and local culture. Visitors can explore the market stalls showcasing unique handmade items, crafts, accessories, artworks and foodie treats, making it an ideal place to shop for distinctive Christmas gifts. They can indulge in Belgian winter specialties like waffles, crepes, meatballs, mulled wine and hot chocolate while immersing themselves in the market's delightful atmosphere. The Mons Christmas Market benefits from its central location. It is surrounded by historic buildings and is within walking distance from most hotels and attractions in Mons. The Grand Place is filled with intricate architecture, including the 15th-century Gothic Mons Town Hall and the Baroque belfry, providing a great backdrop for the market.
13. Tournai Christmas Market
The Tournai Christmas Market is a popular annual event in Belgium. It attracts a large number of visitors who are eager to experience the festive ambiance, local crafts, delicious food and entertainment offered at the market. It will be open from Friday, December 8, 2023, to Sunday, December 24, 2023. Visitors can explore the market from 03:00 pm to 08:00 pm on weekdays, 09:30 am to 10:00 pm on Saturdays and from 12:00 noon to 10:00 pm on Sundays. It is in the Grand'Place, the city's main square, filled with beautiful lights, garlands and a magnificent Christmas tree. The Tournai Christmas Market provides a range of attractions suitable for individuals of all ages. Guests can browse through stalls hosted by local artisans and vendors, showcasing their handcrafted items like jewelry, pottery, candles, toys and more.
Traditional Christmas articles like ornaments, wreaths and nativity scenes are also available. For those in search of distinctive gifts, the Marché de Noël des créateurs is an ideal destination, featuring the work of local artists and designers. Visitors to the Tournai Christmas Market can relish a delectable array of food and beverages. Regional delicacies, including tarte au sucre (sugar pie), carbonnade flamande (beef stew) and waterzooi (chicken or fish soup), are highly recommended. Hot chocolate, mulled wine or jenever (a type of gin) are excellent options to warm up during the winter season. For those with a sweet tooth, typical Christmas cookies like speculoos, cougnous and pain d'épices are must-tries.
14. Dinant Christmas Market
The Dinant Christmas Market occurs annually from Friday, November 24, 2023, to Thursday, December 28, 2023, in the center of Dinant, Belgium. It is located along the scenic Meuse River and attracts around 250,000 visitors yearly. The market features over 100 local artisan stalls, offering various holiday gifts such as ornate wood carvings, ceramics, candles and glasswork. Visitors can also indulge in authentic local cuisine, including Dinant sausages, potato frites, waffles, sweet couque de Dinant honey cakes, mulled wine and hot chocolate. The market provides a festive atmosphere with live music performances, a Christmas circus and special appearances by Santa Claus and his donkey, Martin. The Dinant Christmas Market is one of Belgium's oldest and most popular Christmas markets. Originating several decades ago, it showcases the region's cultural heritage and festive customs. The market is set up in the historic center of Dinant, with stalls lining the cobbled streets and clustered around the 12th-century Collegiate Church of Notre Dame. Its blend of traditional beauty and modern entertainment has made it a significant part of Dinant's cultural scene, representing the essence of Belgium's Christmas spirit and unity.
Visiting the Dinant Christmas Market offers a unique experience for several reasons. Firstly, its cliffside setting provides a natural backdrop, with the Rocher Bayard Rock cliff towering over the Meuse River, creating postcard-worthy views. Secondly, the market offers quality artisan wares from over 100 local craftsmen, showcasing ornate decorative pieces, ceramics, wooden toys, holiday ornaments and more. Thirdly, visitors can savor authentic Belgian cuisine, including local specialties like couques de Dinant, tarte al djote, Dinant sausages, Belgian waffles and vin chaud. Lastly, children and adults alike can enjoy the presence of Santa Claus and his donkey, Martin, adding a touch of holiday magic to the market. There is no entry fee to access the Dinant Christmas Market. Visitors can freely explore the market squares and streets without purchasing a ticket; however, optional costs may include fees for rides, ice skating, performances, food and drinks and souvenirs. Carousel rides cost 4€ ($4.36, £3.48) per ride, while the ice skating rink charges 5€ ($5.45, £4.35) for adults and children. Performance ticket prices vary but start from 5€ ($5.45, £4.35) to 15€ ($16.35, £13.05). Food and drink prices range from 2€ ($2.18, £1.74) to 8€ ($8.72, £6.96) and souvenirs such as crafts, decorations and gifts can vary from 5€ ($5.45, £4.35) for small items to over 100€ ($109, £87).
15. Kortrijk Christmas Market
The Kortrijk Christmas Market is a festive event held in Kortrijk, Belgium, known for its cozy and cheerful atmosphere. It is considered one of the best small Christmas markets in the country and offers a wide range of products, including handicrafts, decorations, food and drinks. Visitors to the market can also enjoy various forms of entertainment, such as live music, ice skating and a Ferris wheel. The Kortrijk Christmas Market opens on Thursday, December 7, 2023 and closes on Sunday, January 7, 2024. It operates daily, except on Sunday, December 24, 2023 and Monday, December 25, 2023, when closed. The market opens from 05:00 pm to 11:00 pm. During the Christmas holidays, the opening hours are from 03:00 pm to 11:00 pm on weekdays and from 03:00 pm to 12:00 midnight on weekends. The market is spread throughout the beautiful city center of Kortrijk, with different locations and attractions. The main market is at the Grote Markt, where visitors can find the largest Christmas tree and an ice skating rink, while the other locations include the Schouwburgplein, where a Ferris wheel provides a scenic view of the city; the Begijnhofpark, featuring a nativity scene and winter bar; the Sint-Maartenskerk, offering light shows and musical performances; and Buda Island, where art installations and creative workshops can be discovered.
The Kortrijk Christmas Market provides an excellent opportunity to indulge in delicious food and drinks, particularly the local specialties. Visitors should try the Kortrijkse peperbollen, spicy gingerbread balls coated with sugar and the Kortrijkse kalletaarten, sweet pies filled with currants and almonds. It offers the chance to savor the Kortrijkse trippe, a sausage made from pork and spices and the Kortrijkse stoverij, a beef and beer stew. For those looking for beverages, the market offers the Kortrijkse bruine, a dark beer brewed in the city and the Kortrijkse koffie, a coffee topped with whipped cream and liqueur. The Kortrijkse glühwein, a mulled wine infused with spices and fruits, is also a top choice.
16. Durbuy Christmas Market
The Durbuy Christmas Market is a well-known and highly anticipated annual festive event in Durbuy, Belgium. It takes place from late November to early January and attracts visitors from all over the world. The market offers a range of activities and attractions suitable for the entire family, including artisan stalls, a nativity scene, Christmas storytelling and more. The Durbuy Christmas Market-2024 is open from Friday, November 24, 2023, to Sunday, January 7, 2024. It is open from 11:00 am to 09:00 pm. The main locations of the Durbuy Christmas Market are the Parc Roi Baudouin, in the town's central park and the old town's narrow streets. The park hosts the market's primary attractions, such as the ice-skating rink, the Tortuga Bar and family-friendly venues. The old town offers a romantic setting filled with streets, cozy cafes, shops, restaurants and historic buildings.
Visitors to the Durbuy Christmas Market can indulge in a variety of attractions. Some notable highlights include an ice-skating rink where they can glide on the ice while enjoying music and lights, the Tortuga Bar—a pirate-themed establishment offering hot drinks, snacks and cocktails aboard a wooden ship—and family-friendly venues featuring a carousel, mini-train, giant snow globe and Santa Claus house for children to meet and take photos with Santa. The market also has a realistic nativity scene with live animals and actors, captivating Christmas storytelling sessions told by local storytellers in a cozy tent, artisan stalls selling handmade products like candles, jewelry and pottery and food stalls offering delicious traditional treats such as waffles, crepes, chocolate, cheese and sausages.
17. Aalst Winter Fair – Christmas Market
The Aalst Winter Fair – Christmas Market is a yearly festival in Aalst, Belgium. It is one of the country's best Christmas markets, offering various attractions, food and entertainment for visitors of all ages. It runs from Friday, November 24, 2023, to Saturday, December 23, 2023. It is open every day from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm, except on Sundays when it closes at 08:00 pm. The entrance fee is 5€ ($5.45, £4.35) per person and children under 12 can enter for free. The Aalst Winter Fair – Christmas Market is located in the historic center of Aalst, around the Grote Markt and the Hopmarkt. The market covers an area of 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) and features more than 100 stalls selling local and international products, such as handicrafts, decorations, toys, clothing and jewelry.
The Aalst Winter Fair – Christmas Market also offers a range of attractions for visitors to enjoy, such as a giant Ferris wheel, a carousel, an ice rink, a snow slide, a Santa Claus house, a nativity scene, a live music stage and a firework show. The market is decorated with thousands of lights, creating a magical atmosphere. It is a great place to try delicious food and drinks, especially the traditional Belgian specialties, such as waffles, chocolate, fries, cheese, beer and mulled wine. Some of the popular dishes at the market are the raclette, the tartiflette, the hot dog, the crepe and the churro. The market also has a variety of international cuisines, such as Italian, Turkish, Moroccan and Thai.
18. Charleroi Christmas Market
The Charleroi Christmas Market will run from Friday, November 24, 2023, to Saturday, January 06, 2024 and spans from Place Charles II to Boulevard Audent. Visitors can explore the festive atmosphere of over 100 beautifully decorated wooden chalets, twinkling lights and Christmas trees. The market offers many attractions, including free ice skating, nightly live music and entertainment and visits with Santa Claus, with one of the highlights being the illuminated Ferris wheel, which provides a breathtaking view of the market from above. When it comes to food, the Charleroi Christmas Market showcases traditional Belgian winter delicacies. Visitors can indulge in waffles, frites (Belgian fries), chocolate and mulled wine. These culinary delights offer a delightful taste of Belgian culture and craftsmanship. The market also features entertainment for all ages, including carol singing and vintage carousel rides. Visitors can enjoy the magical ambiance of the market during evening strolls, as the lights create a memorable experience.
Visitors can take a train to Charleroi Station to reach the Charleroi Christmas Market and easily access the market in Place Charles II. Those driving can take exit 21 from the E42 Motorway and follow the signs to the market near the City Hall. There is no admission fee to enter the market area, allowing everyone to explore the wooden chalets, decorations and main attractions for free; however, certain activities, such as rides on the illuminated Ferris wheel and vintage carousels, have a small fee ranging from 2€ ($2.18, £1.74) to 5€ ($5.45, £4.35). Visitors can budget an extra 15€ ($16.35, £13.05) to 40€ ($43.6, £34.8) for food, drinks, souvenirs and other activities.
19. Lier Christmas Market
The Lier Christmas Market is a yearly festive event in the historic town of Lier, located 16 kilometers (10 miles) from Antwerp. The market features over 100 stalls selling Christmas items, handmade crafts and delicious food and drinks. Visitors can enjoy the festive atmosphere, admire the beautiful skyline of Lier from the Ferris wheel or ride the nostalgic rocking boats. It also offers live music, entertainment and activities for children. The Lier Christmas Market usually opens in mid-December and lasts for three days. The market is free, but some attractions may require a fee. The Lier Christmas Market is spread over two main locations: the Grote Markt and the Felix Timmermansplein. The Grote Markt is Lier's main square, surrounded by historic buildings such as the town hall, the belfry and the Saint-Gummarus Church. The Felix Timmermansplein is a smaller square named after a famous Flemish writer born in Lier. The two squares are connected by a pedestrian street, where more stalls and attractions can be found. The Lier Christmas Market offers a variety of food and drinks to suit every taste. Some typical Belgian specialties enjoyed at the market are waffles, chocolate, fries and beer. The market also has stalls selling international cuisine, such as Turkish, Italian and Asian dishes. Visitors can try the glühwein, a hot mulled wine with spices or the jenever, a traditional Belgian liquor, for a warm and cozy drink. The market also has a large heated tent where visitors can relax and enjoy the live music.
20. Louvain-la-Neuve Christmas Market
The Louvain-la-Neuve Christmas Market occurs annually in the medieval-style pedestrian city center of Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. It attracts over 250,000 visitors annually and runs from Friday, November 24, 2023, to Wednesday, December 20, 2023. The market is characterized by its wooden chalets, filling the streets and squares with a magical atmosphere. The market's centerpiece is the Place de l'Université, where a towering Christmas tree creates a captivating sight. Visitors can explore nearly 200 brightly lit chalets selling handmade glass ornaments, nativity scenes, jewelry, woolens and toys, offering unique Christmas gifts and souvenirs.
Visitors can indulge in various Belgian delicacies, including chocolate crepes, fries, meatballs in gravy and local beers. The aroma of Belgian waffles, sausages and mulled wine fills the air, enticing visitors to savor the season's flavors. The market also features an outdoor ice skating rink, providing a delightful activity for kids and adults. Merry-go-round rides, a mini train and a Ferris wheel add to the family-friendly entertainment options. Visitors can enjoy the sounds of carolers throughout the market and may even catch a glimpse of Santa Claus himself.
Visitors can take a direct train from Brussels to Ottignies train station, followed by a transfer to bus number 4. To reach the Louvain-la-Neuve Christmas Market. Driving is also an option, with Louvain-la-Neuve being a 30-minute drive from Brussels via the E411 motorway, with parking areas on the perimeter of the pedestrian city center. The main area of the market stretches from the Place de l'Université to the Grand Rue, Rue Charlemagne, Rue des Wallons and Rue des Flamands.
What is the best Christmas Market in Belgium?
The Brussels Christmas Market is the best Christmas market in Belgium. It offers a wide range of festive attractions and activities, making it a popular destination for locals and tourists. The market features numerous stalls selling traditional crafts, gifts and delicious food and drinks. Visitors can enjoy ice skating, ride a Ferris wheel and admire the beautiful Christmas decorations throughout the market.
What is the oldest Christmas Market in Belgium?
The oldest Christmas market in Belgium is the Liège Christmas Market, which has been held for over 30 years. It is based on the Germanic tradition of festive markets but also has a Latin character and a friendly atmosphere. The market features over 200 wooden chalets selling crafts, gifts, food and drinks. It also has a Ferris wheel, an ice rink and a sledding run for entertainment. The Liège Christmas Market attracts about 2 million visitors from all over Europe every year.
What is the best Christmas Market in Belgium to visit with kids?
The best Christmas Market in Belgium to visit with kids is the Antwerp Christmas market. Antwerp Christmas Market offers a variety of attractions and activities for the whole family, such as a giant Ferris wheel, an ice-skating rink, a tubing slide and a winter bar. Kids can also enjoy the magical atmosphere of the market, which features a light tunnel, a Christmas tree and a nativity scene. The market has over 90 stalls selling gifts, food and drinks.
What are the best things to do in Belgium during Christmas?
Listed below are the best things to do in Belgium during Christmas:
- Visit the Brussels Christmas Market: The Brussels Christmas Market is a popular attraction during the holiday season, featuring numerous stalls selling crafts, gifts and delicious food. Visitors can enjoy the festive atmosphere and try traditional Belgian treats like waffles and chocolate.
- Explore the Bruges Historic Center: Bruges is known for its well-preserved medieval architecture and during Christmas, it becomes even more enchanting. The historic center is adorned with beautiful lights and decorations, creating a magical ambiance. Visitors can stroll along the canals, visit the Christmas market and enjoy ice skating at the Grote Markt.
- Attend the Ghent Light Festival: Ghent hosts a spectacular Light Festival during Christmas. The city is illuminated with captivating light installations, creating a mesmerizing experience for visitors. The festival features artistic displays, performances and interactive exhibits that showcase the city's cultural heritage.
- Visit the Antwerp Christmas Market: The Antwerp Christmas Market is one of the largest in Belgium and offers a wide range of activities and attractions. Visitors can browse the market stalls, enjoy live performances and indulge in delicious food and drinks. The market is set against the backdrop of Antwerp's historic buildings, which enhances its beauty.
- Take a Winter Walk in the Ardennes: The Ardennes region in Belgium offers lovely landscapes during winter. Visitors can enjoy scenic winter walks through forests and hills, taking in the natural beauty of the surroundings. The region also offers opportunities for outdoor activities such as skiing and snowboarding.
- Explore the Christmas Village in Liege: The Christmas Village in Liege is a festive attraction featuring over 200 chalets selling crafts, decorations and local delicacies. Visitors can explore the streets, enjoy live music performances and even visit an ice rink. The village is located in the city's heart, making it easily accessible.
- Visit the Durbuy Christmas Market: Durbuy, often called the smallest city in the world, hosts a delightful Christmas market. The market offers unique artisanal products, food and drinks. Visitors can also enjoy the festive decorations and the cozy atmosphere of the town.
- Experience the Ice Sculpture Festival in Bruges: Bruges hosts an impressive Ice Sculpture Festival during Christmas. The festival showcases intricate ice sculptures created by talented artists worldwide. Visitors can admire the craftsmanship and creativity displayed in these frozen masterpieces.
- Attend a Christmas Concert: Belgium has a rich musical tradition and during Christmas, many cities host concerts featuring choirs, orchestras and solo performers. These concerts offer a chance to experience the joyous sounds of the holiday season and immerse oneself in the festive spirit.
- Visit the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula: The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula in Brussels is a magnificent Gothic structure that becomes even more awe-inspiring during Christmas. The cathedral hosts special Christmas services and events, allowing visitors to witness the religious traditions and enjoy the beautiful decorations. Visitors can always have fun while exploring the best things to do in Belgium.
What are the best foods to try in Belgium during Christmas?
Listed below are the best foods to try in Belgium during Christmas:
- Try Belgian Chocolates: Belgium is known for its high-quality chocolates and Christmas is the perfect time to indulge in these sweet treats. Belgian chocolates are made with premium ingredients and crafted with precision, resulting in a rich and flavorful experience.
- Sample Speculoos: Speculoos are spiced cookies popular during the Christmas season in Belgium. These thin, crunchy cookies are made with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and other warm spices, giving them a distinctive flavor. They are often enjoyed with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee.
- Taste Belgian Waffles: Belgian waffles are a must-try when visiting Belgium and they make a delightful treat during Christmas. These waffles are light fluffy and have a slightly crispy texture. They can be enjoyed plain or topped with powdered sugar, whipped cream, fruits or chocolate sauce.
- Savor Stoofvlees: Stoofvlees, also known as Flemish beef stew, is a comforting dish commonly enjoyed during the colder months, including Christmas. It is made with tender beef simmered in a rich, flavorful sauce made with beer, onions and spices. The slow cooking results in tender meat and a hearty, satisfying dish.
- Enjoy Waterzooi: Waterzooi is a traditional Belgian stew that originated in Ghent. It is typically made with chicken or fish, vegetables and a creamy broth. The dish is warming and comforting, making it a popular choice in winter.
- Indulge in Moules-Frites: Moules-frites (mussels and fries) are a classic Belgian dish that can be enjoyed year-round. Mussels are cooked in a flavorful broth with herbs, garlic and white wine and they are served with crispy fries on the side.
- Taste Belgian Trappist Beers: Belgium is famous for its Trappist beers brewed by Trappist monks in monasteries. These beers are known for their rich flavors, complexity and high quality. Trying different types of Trappist beers during Christmas can be a delightful experience for beer lovers.
- Try Carbonade Flamande: Carbonade Flamande is a traditional Belgian dish similar to a beef stew but made with beer instead of wine. It features tender beef cooked in a savory sauce with onions, bacon and spices. It is often served with crusty bread or fries.
- Sample Belgian Cheese: Belgium produces a variety of delicious cheeses and Christmas is an excellent time to explore the local cheese offerings. From creamy Brie to tangy Gouda and flavorful blue cheeses, a wide range of options suit every palate.
- Delight in Belgian Christmas Cookies: During the holiday season, Belgian bakeries offer a tempting selection of Christmas cookies. These cookies come in different shapes, flavors and decorations, making them a festive addition to any holiday gathering or a delightful treat to enjoy with tea or coffee. Eating local food in Belgium is always a delight for visitors and travelers.
Do visitors need to pay to enter the Christmas Markets in Belgium?
No, Visitors do not need to pay to enter the Christmas markets in Belgium. The Christmas markets are open to the public free of charge. Visitors can stroll through the markets, browse the stalls and soak up the festive atmosphere without any entrance fees; however, there may be costs associated with purchasing items from the market, such as food, drinks or crafts. Some activities or attractions within the market may have separate fees, such as ice skating rinks or amusement rides.
How do Christmas markets in Belgium contribute to the local economy and tourism?
Christmas markets in Belgium contribute significantly to the local economy and tourism. The markets attract a large number of visitors, both domestic and international, who spend money on various goods and services. Local artisans, craftsmen and vendors benefit from the increased sales during the market period, boosting their businesses and generating income. The markets also create opportunities for small-scale entrepreneurs and local producers to showcase and sell their products, thereby supporting the local economy. The influx of tourists during the Christmas market season helps stimulate the tourism sector, including accommodation providers, restaurants, transportation services and other tourism-related businesses. The increased economic activity and tourism expenditure contribute to the overall growth and development of the local economy in Belgium.
Do Christmas markets contribute to preserving and promoting German cultural heritage?
Yes, Christmas markets contribute to preserving and promoting German cultural heritage. They are a centuries-old tradition that originated in Germany and reflect the German people's customs, values and beliefs. Christmas markets showcase different regions' craftsmanship, cuisine and music and celebrate the season's festive spirit. They also adapt to the changing times and circumstances, demonstrating the resilience and creativity of the German culture.
What are the most fun facts about Belgium and Christmas?
Listed below are the most fun facts about Belgium and Christmas:
- Christmas Markets: Belgium is known for its Christmas markets, where visitors can enjoy festive decorations, delicious food and unique gifts. The markets are set up in various cities, such as Brussels, Bruges and Ghent, creating a joyful atmosphere during the holiday season.
- Christmas Beer: Belgium is famous for its wide variety of beers and special seasonal beers are brewed during Christmas. These Christmas beers often have rich flavors and higher alcohol content, making them popular for festive celebrations.
- Santa's Belgian Helper: In Belgian folklore, Santa Claus has a companion known as “Zwarte Piet” or “Père Fouettard”. The character is depicted as a mischievous helper who accompanies Santa and rewards well-behaved children with gifts while playfully scaring naughty ones.
- Christmas Chocolates: Belgium is known for its exquisite chocolates and Christmas is a perfect time to indulge in these sweet treats. Belgian chocolatiers create beautifully crafted chocolate figurines, pralines and truffles, adding a touch of luxury to the holiday season.
- Christmas Lights: Belgians take pride in decorating their cities with stunning Christmas lights. The streets, squares and landmarks are filled with colorful illuminations, creating a magical ambiance for locals and visitors alike to enjoy during the festive period.
What are the most important holiday dates in Belgium?
Listed below are the most important holiday dates in Belgium:
- New Year's Day (January 1st): New Year's Day marks the beginning of the new year and is a public holiday in Belgium, observed nationwide. People often celebrate by attending parties, fireworks displays and family gatherings.
- Easter Monday: The day following Easter Sunday is a public holiday in Belgium. It is a time for families to come together and children often participate in Easter egg hunts or receive chocolate eggs from the Easter Bunny.
- Labor Day (May 1st): Labor Day, also known as International Workers' Day, is a public holiday in Belgium that celebrates the achievements of workers. Parades, demonstrations and various labor-related events often mark the day.
- Whit Sunday: Whit Sunday, also known as Pentecost Sunday, falls on the seventh Sunday after Easter. It commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit and is a public holiday in Belgium. Many people attend religious services and enjoy leisure activities with family and friends.
- Flemish Community Holiday (July 11th): The Flemish Community Holiday celebrates the Flemish Community, one of Belgium's linguistic communities. It is observed in the Flemish Region and Brussels-Capital Region. Festivities include cultural events, music performances and local celebrations that showcase Flemish heritage and traditions.
- Assumption (August 15th): The Assumption is a public holiday in Belgium commemorating the Virgin Mary's assumption into heaven. Many Belgians attend religious services and participate in processions or pilgrimage walks to honor this day. It is also a time for families to gather and enjoy a day off together.
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