If you find yourself in Belgium during Christmas time, you simply have to try the country’s multicultural indoor and outdoor Christmas markets. Although a small-sized country, almost all the cities within it festively celebrate Christmas, attracting droves of visitors.
Due to Belgium being a major holdfast of the Flemish culture, as well as the French, Christmas is celebrated in different ways in different regions; there are even two different Santas. In short, a visit to Belgium’s Christmas markets is one of the best ways to experience the festivities of Europe’s holiday season.
Among all the great Christmas Markets in Brussels, this is definitely the most popular one. It’s the biggest Christmas Market in the country, and it illuminates the city’s historic centre in multi-coloured lights.
A magnificent Winter Wonderland floods the city centre’s Plaisirs d’Hiver with a Giant Ferris Wheel and a Giant Christmas Tree. Over 200 stalls pop up here, with an assortment of street-parades, pop-up villages and even a sound and light show. This should definitely be your first Christmas market to visit in the country.
Bruges has two markets, both much smaller than the one in Brussels, with Markt being the most exciting. The city is already known to be an all-year-round enchanting destination. But as December approaches, the medieval old town is converted into a Christmas market. Expect lots of hot chocolate, Belgian beer and waffles!
The city’s gothic architectural wonders are enhanced even more with the finest decorations. Wooden stalls are scattered throughout the square, and there’s even an ice-rink.
Related: Bruges and its Christmas Markets are part of the destinations for the European Christmas Taster Tour.
You’ve been reading about Christmas markets, and we all know that Belgium puts significant effort into these. However, the country’s biggest and oldest Christmas Village is situated in the French region, in Liege. In 2018, this Christmas Village/city won the title of being the European Capital of Christmas.
200 Chalets are scattered throughout the city, which becomes entirely devoted to Christmas over the festive period. The attractions here are endless, from a sledging run to a European Circus Festival, you simply have to visit this one.
This market boasts a Scandinavian flair, with its pine-forestry ambience and more than 150 chalets that sell Belgian/international ornaments and delicacies. And if you thought that ice-skating was a cool factor for Bruges, in Ghent the ice-skating arena is open-air and takes place in the City Market Hall.
The city also caters well to the weather during winter in Europe, so you can warm up in the Central and Husky Bars. These bars are equipped with the finest non/alcoholic beverages as well as provide live music and DJs.
Informally regarded as one of Europe’s best Christmas Markets, this is actually one of Belgium’s oldest Christmas Markets. A carousel will keep the kids entertained, while you roam through almost 150 different stalls.
Each year a guest country is picked to present their local commodities. This means that each year holds a new surprise in terms of gastronomical quality. You’re sure to be entertained by music performances and concerts.
Positioned in the city’s historic centre, along the Scheldt River, this market is a local favourite. Like the many others of the country’s Christmas markets, this one is adorned with a Ferris Wheel too, as well as roughly 100 stalls.
What makes this market unique is its offering of playing miniature golf in a ‘fire forest, along with a Ferris wheel and ice rink’. But you simply have to try one of the market’s specialities, a glass of Glühwein (mulled wine).
Ever wanted to see Santa Claus’ home? Well, in Hasselt you can (sort of). The city manifests a ‘Winterland’ that boasts the Flemish Region, Flanders’, biggest Christmas Market.
It started off as a small market and has now transformed into an entire village dedicated to Christmas. Given the market’s close proximity to the Netherlands, its varied stalls present delicacies and artefacts from different nationalities.
Namur provides a more traditional market, with folklore groups, marching bands and approximately 100 stalls. It’s one of the lesser-known markets, but that does not mean it should be left out.
It boasts an offering for visitors to jump aboard a horse carriage around the market and truly feel as if you’re back in medieval times. The streets flare-up in excitement at this time, so you’re guaranteed to have a blast.
Durbuy is claimed to be the smallest town in the world. For what it lacks in size, it certainly makes up for with its Christmas spirit. From traditional Ardennes crafts to the tastiest gastronomical produce, you’ll be amid a much smaller crowd and enjoy a very intimate experience.
The market is set along the cobble-stoned streets and nearby the Ourthe River, where you can sit and eat your food. Take note however that during weekends this market may get crowded from locals of nearby cities.
Christmas comes at the peak of winter in Belgium. So some may battle to withstand the cold whilst scanning the outdoor markets. But, Arlon presents a cosy market that is within the warmth of a heated tent.
Don’t be fooled, though, because this market still incorporates all the traditional Belgium Christmas decorations. Children will also be able to ‘meet’ Santa Claus.
Each Christmas market in Belgium offers something distinct. They all provide a cosy feeling, but are also jam-packed with fun – like ice-skating, or tasting all the delicacies. A Belgium Christmas is sure to be a treat, from the smallest town in the world, Liege, to the home of the EU Headquarters.
If you’re officially convinced that you need a Belgian Christmas holiday, check out our upcoming Christmas and New Year tours!