The Leuven Christmas Market is part of the larger Leuven winter event “Wintertijd” (“Winter Time”). After a break because of the pandemic in 2020, both Wintertijd and the Christmas market are back in 2021.
Here's what you can expect.
Leuven Christmas market 2021
In 2021, the Leuven Christmas market will take place from December 8 until December 19, 2021, on the recently Mgr. Ladeuzeplein and Hooverplein. There will be about 170 stands selling drinks, foods, Christmas ornaments, warm winter things, crafts, and more. A stage will welcome music performances.
Winter Time Leuven
In Leuven, the Christmas market is part of Leuven Winter Time, the umbrella concept for all winter holiday events. At the Grote Markt (Grand Place), you can have a warm drink or try the typical smoutebollen in a beautiful winter garden. Pop into city hall for a short classical music concert and a guided visit. Also at the St Peter's Church, classical music concerts take place during the holidays.
And if you want to have a bit of a more educational Christmas, you can join a guided walk through the city.
From December 11 until December 18, 2021, you can follow the (un)Holy Light, a route of light installations throughout the city. And at the end of December, you can fill your belly at the Foodtruck Festival.
Not to miss is the one night where the Grand Beguinage of Leuven is lit up by candlelight. It's quite magical!
In 2021, this event takes place on December 11 from 5 until 10 p.m.
Where to stay during the Leuven Christmas market
Luxury option: Martin's Klooster
Leuven is a pretty laid-back city but if you're looking for class, Martin's Klooster is a good choice. Located in a 16th-century former convent just 280 meters from the Old Market, it has a winter garden, a bar with a fireplace and its own paid underground parking lot.
Breakfast costs extra too, but WiFi is included. The spacious rooms here are tastefully decorated and equipped with a flatscreen tv, a minibar, and modern bathrooms.
Want to stay at Martin's Klooster? Check here for more reviews, prices, and availability.
B&B option: B&B Alizée
B&B Alizée lies in the historical center of Leuven and has a homely feel thanks to rooms with hardwood floors, a minibar, a seating area, a television, free WiFi, and free toiletries in the en-suite bathroom.
The freshly prepared breakfast including homemade bread and jams is complimentary.
Want to stay at B&B Alizée? Check here for more reviews, prices, and availability.
Chain option: Park Inn by Radisson Leuven
The Park Inn by Radisson is located right next to Leuven train station, making your arrival and departure hassle-free. All of its modern rooms come equipped with a flatscreen tv, a work desk, coffee and tea facilities, air conditioning, and a spacious bathroom with a walk-in shower.
Guests can use the WiFi and fitness area but breakfast comes at an extra cost.
Want to stay at Park Inn by Radisson? Check here for more reviews, prices, and availability.
Budget option: Cube Hostel
Cube hostel lies in the center of historical Leuven and has dorms, private rooms, and family rooms with balconies. Guests can enjoy the games room, use the free WiFi or read a book from the library. There's also a bar. Breakfast isn't included but you can buy your own and prepare it in the shared kitchen.
Want to stay at Cube Hostel? Check here for more reviews, prices, and availability.
Your-own-place option: Getaway Studios
Getaway Studios is located just 350 meters from Leuven's Grand Place and 10 minutes walking from the train station. All studios have a fully-equipped kitchen, a seating area with a flat screen tv, a desk, and a private bathroom.
Free toiletries are provided, as is free WiFi. If you do come by car, you can park it here for €15/day.
Want to stay at Getaway studios? Check here for more reviews, prices, and availability.
How to get to Leuven
Leuven can easily be reached by train from other cities as well as from Brussels Airport, which is the best airport to fly to if you plan on visiting Leuven.
A trip down memory lane: the 25th Christmas market Leuven
In 2012, the Leuven Christmas market celebrated its 25th anniversary. There had been a festive ceremony on the opening day of the market, but apart from that, you couldn't really tell it was a special year for the stalls on the Laudeuze Square and Hoover Square. The way the market had been set up was the same as the years before and I saw a lot of stalls that faithfully come back here every year.
One cool new element to the Christmas market, however, was the curling hall, where a real curling tournament had been organized.
It was just a shame that they didn't provide anything for people who wanted to watch the curling. You had to crawl under the tent to have a look. There were no seats or anything.
After we'd seen some Belgians get their asses kicked by what seemed to be a pretty professional curling team from Luxembourg, we took a walk through a tiny Christmas village set up within the Christmas market. There we found a good reason to exchange some smooches.
And so that rainy trip to Leuven's Christmas market turned out to be quite the romantic getaway after all.