Are you headed to Europe for the Christmas holidays? Christmas markets in Belgium are a must-see then! Belgium Christmas markets are the ultimate way to get in the holiday spirit. Whether you’re shopping for Christmas presents for yourself, your family members, or just picking out some savvy souvenirs, Christmas markets in Belgium are something you definitely don’t want to miss out on.
When planning your Christmas markets in Europe itinerary, stopping by these markets are something we highly recommend, because no matter how small, large, busy or quaint these markets are, these seven festive Christmas markets in Belgium are bound to make your trip magical. Below we have listed some of our favorite and most festive Belgium Christmas markets. They are listed in no particular order, but we highly suggest stopping by at least one– if not all of of them! Take some time to enjoy the Holiday season abroad and enjoy these gorgeous Christmas markets in Belgium.
7 Festive Christmas Markets in Belgium in 2019
1. Winter Wonders is the Best Brussels Christmas Market!
The Winter Wonders Brussels Christmas Market is known as a real-life Winter Wonderland. It is annually held in the Place of Saint Catherine, close to the city centre, and offers a glimpse into Brussels’ history by being home to over 200 traditional wooden chalets. These chalets pop up every year for this annual market and are filled with local treasures and souvenirs that are perfect for the holidays, such as ornaments, warm winter accessories, and jewelry. The market itself covers about two kilometers and offers a variety of local goodies, such as Belgian cheese, waffles, chocolate and fondue sandwiches– so make sure to pack good walking shoes and visit on an empty stomach!
But if shopping isn’t your main priority, this is one of the best Christmas markets in Belgium because if offers other actives that are fit for any visitor. From ice skating, carnival rides, and a sound and light show, these seasonal activities are bound to put anyone in a festive mood. Last year they even had a Van Gogh Immersive Experience as well as a Smurf Parade! Opening on November 30th, this market will close on January 6th, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the market, its nearby cabins, and the flavors of the local mulled wine and famous hot chocolate!
2. The Antwerp Christmas Market Has One of the Best Locations!
The Antwerp Christmas Market is one of the largest Belgium Christmas markets, spreading itself across the squares of the historic city. Everything is within short walking distance to one another, including the Groenplatts and Antwerp Steen Castle, which makes it a great market for exploring! This annual event usually opens around the first weekend in December and closes just after New Years. It has over 100 market stalls for your shopping pleasures as well as great food, such as smoutebollen.
But even if you don’t purchase anything, this market is a great adventure, as it has a giant ferris wheel, fantastic kiddie rides, and an ice rink. Better yet, because of the location of this market, you can spend all day in the city, exploring the nearby zoo, aquariums, and museums before exploring one of the most famous Christmas markets in Belgium. The historical setting and the fact that tat Antwerp is the home base of Rubens, making it the worlds diamond center, offers visitors a great combination of festive and touristy options.
3. The Bruges Christmas Market is Straight From a Fairytale!
From late November until Christmas every year, Bruges turns itself into a Christmas market wonderland. Despite Burges being a small town, Bruges promises a festive time as one of the most cheerful Christmas Markets in Belgium. The fairytale setting of Bruges, also known as Brugge, sets the perfect, festive backdrop for this market. Combined with the decorations, food, and drinks, this town knows how to celebrate Christmas!
Bruges main square is the focal point of this market, and it is full with craft stalls as well as an ice rink and food stalls. Behind the square is the backdrop of the Belfry of Bruges, and the narrow streets that lead away from the main square are lined with Christmas shops that are famous for their decorations, ornaments, and chocolate! From fairy lights draped across the town, to adorning Christmas trees in every window, the cool backdrop of the atmosphere combined with their comfort food (potatoes anyone?), make this one of the most charming, quiet, and idyllic Christmas Markets in Belgium.
4. Visit Santa at the Leuven Christmas Market!
Leuven is a lively town known for it’s history, distinct architecture, restaurants, and shopping opportunities. But better yet, the Leuven Christmas market is one of the oldest Belgium Christmas Markets known to date. It is held every year in the centre of Leuven, starting 10-14 days before Christmas, and has dated back since 1988. This Christmas market has KUL, Belgians oldest University, as a backdrop. Leuven is a smaller town, and thus is less busy. However, the Leuven Christmas Market is diverse despite its quaintness!
From Christmas decoration and gift stands, as well as sampling stands that offer traditional Belgian snacks such as fries and waffles, there are a variety of different treats and sweets to try. Besides of this, kids will love to visit Santa’s houses at this market! They will also love to meet the real Santa Claus– and rumor has it, if children visit Santa face-to-face, they are promised a spot on the nice list! Outside of visiting Santa, you can also walk down the gothic town hall of the city, admiring the beautiful castles and Christmas lights that cover it. St. Peter’s Church also offer a monument Christmas stable for those who are interested in stopping by. Ultimately, there is so much to do in Leuven, especially during the holidays, so you must stop by one of the best Belgium Christmas markets!
5. The Liege Christmas Market is the Biggest and Oldest Market in Belgium!
Paying tribute to the long standing traditions of Germany Christmas markets, the Liege Christmas Village Market reproduces a festive atmosphere full of Christmas activities for their annual market. Over a five week period, from late November until late December, 200 wooden chalets are set up and welcome visitors for an authentic shopping experience. They sell jewelry, Santon figures, toys, stockings, tinsel, Christmas cribs, cards and more! While some chalets solely sell items, others offer a variety of things to taste, like brisket, black pudding, Christmas beers, and oysters. In terms of food and drinks, this market is one of the most diverse Christmas markets in Belgium.
The Liege Christmas market is located in the heart of the town, which is in immediate reach of shops, restaurants, and other forms of entertainment. During the holiday season, the town also puts up the Cathedral ice-skating rink, which holds about 250 people. Surrounding the rink are more than forty other chalets as well! But better yet, this market is known for being home to the European Circus Festival. Drawing in almost 80,000 spectators last year, this festival demonstrates some of the most famous and traditional circus acts, making it a family fun activity when exploring the Liege Market.
6. The Mechelen Christmas Market is Great for Visitors of any Age!
Mechelen’s historic center showcases its glittering Christmas market every year! Surrounding the marquee and adjoining squares, you can find a whole host of Christmas market stalls that can help you stock up on last-minute stocking stuffers for family and friends. But don’t worry– you can also purchase a few more Christmas decorations too! Food is a huge aspect to this market, but more importantly, traditional Christmas music sets the tone for the market as it floats in-between the stalls, giving it a relaxing atmosphere.
Locals set up beautiful window displays and inside specialty shops there are luxury and irresistible gifts for everyone! Besides the stalls, you can also take a free water taxi to explore the town and enjoy the Christmas lights, and you also can go ice skating. Mechelen lets you rent skates as well as “bananas” so you can push around those not-as-graceful skaters along beside you. There is also a variety of Nativity scenes located around the city, and kids seem to love to have the chance to create a Christmas card at the nearby Toy Museum. This is one of the best Belgium Christmas Markets as it appeals to visitors of all ages!
7. The Winterland Hasselt Christmas Market is Magical!
Since its opening, the Winterland Hasselt Christmas Market has grown from one of the most modest Belgium Christmas Markets to a town that creates an amazing winter village where even Santa is welcome to stay in his custom house! For six weeks, Hasselt’s market is the perfect location for a winter visit. This market is usually open in late November and runs until early January and has a variety of attractions. The Grand Cafe is one of the largest attractions: it is a large, cosy winter chalet. It is the perfect spot to sit and eat or catch up with friends, and has themed nights.
Outside of the Cafe, visitors can also enjoy an indoor ice rink (stay warm!), as well as Santa’s house. Everyone is welcome to also visit the Christmas Ghost House or take a ride on a roller coaster. You can also try out archery or go for a spin on a grand carousel. From the variety of activities to the small stands selling crafts, food like bratwurst and Spanish churros, and drinks, this is a market that you must visit.
Belgium is known for its picturesque towns, famous painters, award-winning chocolate and beers. But it is also well known for its Christmas markets! Because of such, it can be a bit difficult to decide what Belgium Christmas Market to visit for the holiday season. We hope that this article can help you decide what Christmas market to go to– but know that no matter what you decide to do, you cannot go wrong with Belgium Christmas Markets. They will all have you in the festive, holiday spirit!