The Best Christmas Markets in Belgium 2019: The Ultimate List
Christmas in Belgium is the most important holiday period of the year. Just like any other European nation, Belgium has its unique style of celebrating Christmas. Not only are there loads of typical food that await visitors, but every major town in Belgium takes care of its festive atmosphere. Christmas in Belgium can’t be complete without its Christmas markets! This article will take you to the best Christmas markets in Belgium!
This small and cozy country in Western Europe is often called “the kingdom of rain” due to the high amount of precipitations. The winters in Belgium are pretty cold, with an average temperature of 0-3°C.
However, it can go – 0°C as well due to the cold winds. Belgium does get to see snowfall, but not every year.
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How to celebrate Christmas in Belgium
Belgium consists of a Flemish and a French-speaking part. Each region celebrates Christmas differently. Santa Claus is called “de kerstman” in the Flanders and “le Père Noel” in Wallonia.
On Christmas Eve, many families prepare for a special Christmas meal. Belgian Christmas food starts with delicious appetizers and a boozy beverage. Traditionally, the main course will include turkey.
It is accompanied by a lot of vegetables and in most cases, a potato dish. Christmas in Belgium is always joyous. People during this festive period like to spend time with their family and relatives.
But the favorite activity of everyone in the week before Christmas is planning trips to the Belgian Christmas market to get ready for the Christmas holiday period. The Christmas spirit can be seen and felt simply everywhere. From the famous cities to the small towns, every street of Belgium is adorned with beautiful Christmas fairy lights and different decorative items.
Christmas markets in Belgium are also a coveted place for an after-work. This post will give you plenty of inspiration when looking for the best and quaintest Christmas markets in Belgium.
1. Bruges Christmas Market 2019
When: 25th November – 31th December 2019
As the winter knocks on the door, Bruges gets all fuzzy with its Christmas spirit. This small and pretty medieval town starts looking like a fairytale as soon as the temperatures begin to drop. You will smell the dazzling fragrance of freshly prepared waffles from a distance.
The fairy lights up above you are covering the entire market street. During Christmas time, Bruges, Belgium really turns into a Christmas fairytale town. Due to its particularly quaint and historic town center, the Bruges Christmas market is considered one of the best Christmas markets in Belgium.
Information about the Bruges Christmas market
For fabulous Christmas decorations, go to the Grote Market, Bruges, Belgium. This Christmas market is prevalent for its Christmas items. Another Christmas market which is quite popular is the tree-lined Simon Stevinplein. It has a lot of cozy cafes and chocolatiers, where you can shop for the upcoming Christmas parties.
Where: the Grote Markt and the Simon Stevin Square
The Christmas market remains open 7 days a week. From Monday to Thursday, you can visit the market from 11 am to 8 pm, and from Friday to Sunday, it remains open from 11 am to 10 pm.
The most popular foods to try on the Bruges Christmas market:
- Potato chips (which is the national dish of Belgium), are available here in the typical frites food trucks. There’s another reason why you should visit Bruges though; they have the only chips museum in the whole wide world!
- Carbonades flamandes, a great winter warmer.
- Waffles, chocolates, …
What else to do in Bruges?
Once you come to the Bruges Belgium Christmas market, make sure to go for a sightseeing as well. You can go to the Belfry tower, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Climb the 366-steps and get on top of the tower to hear bells ringing.
Another popular local spot to visit is L’Estaminet, which is an amazing and charming restaurant in Bruges. I also recommend cruising on the waterways at the Canal, The Lover’s Bridge and the Lake of Love which are some of the best sightseeing spots.
2. Ghent Christmas Market 2019
When: 6th November – 5th January 2020
If you are not aware of this fantastic city, you are really missing something out! If you want to experience real Belgium, then Ghent has to be on your list. Ghent is one of the largest city of the Belgian’s Flanders region.
Being one of the best Christmas markets in the Flemish Region, you will find an array of decorative items to buy. The numerous canals of the city will lure you with their enchanting atmosphere.
Information about the Ghent Christmas market
If you are in Ghent and want to purchase some Belgian Christmas ornaments, the Christmas market in Ghent is the right place to be. You can come not just to do Christmas shopping but go for ice skating as well.
Watch the street performances and ride the Ferris Wheels! It’s great fun for young and old! There’s the Moose bar in Ghent as well where you can try delicious cocktails and don’t forget to visit the Children’s village. All in all, the Ghent Christmas market is a foodie’s heaven!
Where: the Groentenmarkt, the Korenmarkt, the Emille Braunplein, and the St.-Baafsplein
From Monday to Thursday: from 11 am to midnight
Friday: from 12 am to 1 am
Saturday: from 11 am to 1 am
Sunday: from 11 am to midnight
The most popular foods to try on the Ghent Christmas market:
- Cheese or prawn croquettes
- Gentse Kop (delicatessen) is the most popular dish of Ghent
- Stoverij (a dish slowly stewed in beer)
- Vol-au-vent (small hollow case of puff pastry)
- Gentse waterzooi (stew dish)
- Balletjes (meatballs)
What else to do in Ghent?
When in Ghent, you must stroll through the Patershol, and go for vinyl hunting and visit the independent record stores. Vynilla and Music Mania are the best places to visit.
You can also visit the local favorite, Vooruit Arts Center, where you will see all the local artists hanging out. Don’t miss out on the S.M.A.K museum, the graffiti by ROA, the impressive St. Bavo’s Cathedral, …
3. Durbuy Christmas Market 2019
When: 29th November 2019 – 05 January 2020
This cute little town surrounded by enchanting nature is located in the heart of Belgium. Did you know that Durbuy is also known as the smallest city in the world? Only 2 hours away from Brussels, Durbuy attracts a lot of tourists and especially during Christmas. It has a rich history and the rural areas are filled with heritage and different flavors.
During the Christmas period, the town gets very festive and its numerous food stalls are inviting for food and drinks. The atmosphere on the Durbuy Christmas market is a real party and that’s why it is definitely one of the best Christmas markets in Belgium.
Information about the Durbuy Christmas market
The Christmas market of Durbuy lasts 4 weekends which light up the mood of Christmas day. You will see many local artisans selling unique gift items, handicrafts, and lots of foods. On Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, around 1000 candles are lit at 5.30 pm in the old town.
When: The Christmas market of Durbuy starts from November 26 to January 8. However, the market remains open on weekends only until the school holidays.
The most popular foods to try on the Durbuy Christmas market:
There are lots of good things to taste in Durbuy including:
- Local beers
- Foie gras on a hot potato
- Caramelized almonds
What else to do in Durbuy?
4. Brussels Christmas Market 2019
When: 29 November 2019 – 5th January 2020
The Brussels Christmas market is very popular in Belgium. The Christmas market of Brussels takes place on 2 of the most beautiful squares of the Belgian capital: it expands from the Grand Place to the Place St. Catherine.
Even though Brussels is extremely popular for its delicious waffles and chocolates, many travelers visit it because of the fabulous Brussels Christmas market. But there is so much more!
A real winter wonderland will be awaiting you in Brussels with plenty of food and Christmas lights. It’s a must, even if you just spend one day in Brussels.
The beautiful Christmas atmosphere of Brussels is the reason why people come here in abundance during Christmas.
Where: the center of Brussels including the Grand Place, the Place St. Catherine, the Vismarkt, the Bourse and the Muntplein
The most popular foods to try on the Brussels Christmas market:
Belgium, as we all know, is popular for its food and Brussels has many delicious meals to offer as well. Some of the must-try foods on the Brussels Christmas market are:
- Fries (currently applying to become UNESCO World Heritage)
- Flemish stew
- Grey Shrimp Croquettes
- Paling in het groen (Eel in the green)
From Monday to Sunday: from 12 am to 10 pm
What else to do in Brussels?
Brussels, the capital of Belgium, is a marvelous place for travelers. It has a rich history and beautiful architectures to enjoy.
Once you are done with your Christmas shopping, make sure to go to the Grand Place, check out the old England building, the Brussel’s Notre Dame Du Sablon, and of course the legendary Atomium building.
5. Antwerp Christmas Market 2019
When: 7 December 2019 – 5 January 2020
Nothing is better than shopping at the Antwerp, Belgium Christmas market. The market in Antwerp comes with something new every year. It’s thus a great surprise every year you visit. On some years, you can even play miniature golf in a fire forest. If you get on the Ferris wheel, you’ll enjoy spectacular views over the Antwerp Old Town.
The most popular foods to try on the Antwerp Christmas market:
- Bolleke (famous beer)
- Belgian chocolates
- Belgian truffles
- Cuperdons (typical Flemish, sweet delicacies)
- Speculoos (sweet biscuits with spices)
- Antwerpse handjes (butter biscuits with almonds and chocolate)
Where: the Steenplein, the Suikerrui, the Grote Markt, the Handschoenmarkt and the Groenplaats
From Monday to Thursday: from 12 am to 9 pm
Friday: from 12 am to 11 pm
Saturday: from 11 am to 11 am
Sunday: from 11 am to 9 pm
What else to do in Antwerp?
Once you are here and thinking of doing more than just some Christmas shopping at the Antwerp Christmas market, head to the Antwerp Central Station. It is one of the prettiest train stations in Europe!
6. Hasselt Christmas Market 2019
When: 23rd November 2019 – 6th January 2020
Hasselt hosts a winter event along with the Christmas market during the Christmas holidays known as “Winterland Hasselt“. There is the village of Santa Claus, an indoor ice-rink, and lots of food and drinks.
The Hasselt Christmas market is the central heart of Hasselt during the holiday period. Come here to enjoy the Christmas lights but also a roller-coaster, and several carousels.
The winter atmosphere of the town can be seen and felt throughout the Kolonel Dusartplein.
The most popular foods to try on the Hasselt Christmas market:
- Stoemp (stamppot)
- Grey shrimp croquettes
- Speculoos (a spiced shortcrust biscuit)
- Waterzooi (a chicken or fish soup)
- Chocolates are a must-try
Where: the Kolonel Dussartplein
From Monday to Thursday: from 12 am to 10 pm
From Friday to Sunday: from 11 am to 10 pm
What else to do in Hasselt?
Make a stop at the Hasselt’s “Fashion Museum”, which is a favorite for fashion addicts. This museum is dedicated to clothing and fashion. During winter, nothing can be better than exploring the Jenever museum and trying the local drink from Hasselt.
7. Leuven Christmas Market 2019
When: 05 December 2019 – 05 January 2020
Visit Leuven during Christmas time, and you will be awestruck by its glowing beauty. Indeed, Leuven turns into a magical place during Christmas.
The cold easterly winds and people enjoying warm drinks in the numerous bars of the student city are one of the most seen scenes. With the town hall festively illuminated, the Leuven Christmas Market has been chosen as the “coziest Christmas market in Europe“.
Information about the Leuven Christmas market
While everyone gets ready for the Christmas spirit, I recommend visiting Leuven Christmas market in order to shop decorative items for your Christmas tree and buy chocolates for everyone.
The tradition to follow is eating beignets, also known as “ollieballen” at “t Wit Madammeke”. At the Leuven Christmas market, there are over 140 stands waiting for you. Many of them sell artisan goods and different seasonal products.
Where: the Hooverplein and the Laudeuzeplein
Dec 7, 8, 14 and 15: from 12 am to 11 pm
Dec 9 and 16: from 11 am to 11 pm
Dec 10 and 17: from 11 am to 10 pm
Dec 11, 12, 13, 18 and 19: from 12 am to 10 pm
Dec 20: from 12 am to 8 pm
The most popular foods to try on the Leuven Christmas market:
- Mulled wine
- Jenever gin
- Belgian waffles
- Deep-fried oliebollen (beignets)
What else to do in Leuven?
Leuven is one of the prettiest cities in Belgium. After visiting the Christmas market, visit Fonske. This quirky statue honors the city’s educational heritage. It is located on the breathtaking historic square of Leuven.
You can visit the Stadhuis, the Sint-Peiterskerk, and don’t miss to visit the local bars to try some drinks and foods.
8. Namur Christmas Market 2019
When: 29 November – 31 December 2019
Namur is located at the confluence of the Sambre River and the Meuse. During Christmas time, Namur attracts visitors from entire Belgium and even from the Netherlands and France.
The Christmas market looks exquisite thanks to the town’s unique setting at the rivers. You will see people selling seasonal products, Christmas decoration items, gift items, artisanal products, …
Plenty of bands, folkloristic groups and choirs will guarantee a very festive atmosphere. There are over 100 lodges in the illuminated historic city center of Namur.
Where: the Place de l’Ange, the Place du Théatre, and the Place d’Armes
From Sunday to Thursday: from 11 am to 10.30 pm
Friday: from 11 am to 11.30 pm
Saturday: from 10 am to 11.30 pm
The most popular foods to try on the Namur Christmas market:
Foods and drinks are available in Namur in abundance. You will never run out of choices. Here some suggestions:
- Baked crusty rolls for breakfast with a delicious cup of coffee
- Christmas cookies
- Potato croquettes
9. Liege Christmas Market 2019
When: 29 November to 30 December 2019
Liege in Belgium has the oldest Christmas market. You might not know it, but Liege attracts 1.5 million people from all over the world during their Christmas period. This is without any doubt one of the best Christmas markets in Belgium.
Come here to buy Belgian Christmas ornaments, have some food, enjoy, and relax. The Christmas market of Liege looks like a village during the holiday period. During your visit, you can’t skip the traditional cozy restaurants such as Le Chalet de la Gruyere, La Maison du Peket, and le Chalet.
The food at the Liege Christmas market is to die for and that’s why Liege during Christmas is one of the best Christmas markets in Belgium you can visit.
READ: Things To Do in Liege
Information about the Liege Christmas market
Where: the Saint-Lambert Square and the Marché de Liège Square
From Sunday to Wednesday: from 11 am to 8 pm and sometimes till 10 pm
From Thursday to Saturday: from 11 am to 8 pm and sometimes till midnight
The most popular foods to try on the Liege Christmas market:
- Peket, a sweet alcoholic drink
- Belgian fries
- Waffles from Liege which are distinct from the ones in Brussels
- Plenty of cookies
- Roasted almonds
What else to do in Liege?
During the Christmas period, try ice skating in Liege and finish your day with some delicious foods and Christmas drinks. Other sights that you should definitely include in your itinerary to Liege is the Montagne de Bueren, the Curtius Museum, and the St. Paul’s Cathedral in Liege.
10. Arlon Christmas Market 2019
When: 30 November 2019 – 05 January 2020
The Arlon Christmas market is not as big as the one from Liege, but it’s a must-visit as well. It is small and cozy, and the Christmas market keeps the Christmas spirit alive in the best way. Arlon is located at the border to Luxembourg at the south of the Wallonia Region in Belgium.
It has quite a unique charm that cannot be found in any other Belgian town.
Bring along your kids to meet Santa Claus, because that’s a tradition they have been following for ages. You can visit the Arlon’s Christmas market to buy different artisan, and typically Belgian products.
You can’t miss to try out some delicious foods and Belgian beers. During some editions, there is even an ice-skating rink waiting for you in Arlon.
Where: the Place Léopold and the Old Justice Palace
December 14: from 4 pm to 10 pm
December 15: from 12 am to 10 pm
December 16: from 12 am to 7 pm
The most popular foods to try on the Arlon Christmas market:
- Spicy-sweet speculoos
- Traditional Christmas cookies
- Waffles and chocolates
What else to do in Arlon?
After buying all the Christmas ornaments and decorative items at the Arlon’s Christmas market, take out some time to explore the city. Go to the Maison Gasper, the Eglise St Martin, the Musee Archeologique, the Areler Knippchen (the highest point of the town), and try out some delicious foods at Le Fils de Paul.
Other Small Christmas Markets in Belgium Worth Visiting
These are the top 10 Belgium Christmas market breaks. However, there are other small Belgium Christmas markets as well which might interest you. Here’s the list of some smaller Belgium Christmas markets. They will surprise you with their cozy, winter charm.
1. Mons Christmas market
When: 06 December 2019 – 05 January 2020
Mons is a great day trip from Brussels, especially during Christmas time. Indeed, the Christmas market of Mons is well known. There will be a huge ice-skating rink awaiting you, a beautiful illuminated old town and an artisan’s village where you can stock up on local goods and food.
2. Wavre Christmas market
When: 6 – 22 December 2019
If you love to eat and drink, the Wavre Christmas market is the right choice for you. Come to the Place Alphonse Bosch, buy some beautiful Christmas gifts, and try out some lip-smacking waffles, tea, liquor, and coffee. It’s a tiny, yet very cute Christmas market in Belgium.
3. Mechelen Christmas market
From the 14th to the 16th of December
From the 21st to the 23rd of December
The beautiful illuminated town of Mechelen will lure you and make you feel like in a Christmas fairytale. There will be plenty of food stalls on the gorgeous square in front of the town hall of Mechelen.
4. Caves of Wonck Christmas market
When: 13 – 15 December 2019
The Christmas Market “Caves of Wonck” in the French-speaking part of Belgium is great for those who want to celebrate Christmas off-the-beaten-track. Indeed, the site is over 2000 years old. There will be more than 75 stalls awaiting you in the underground galleries.
You can come to the caves of the Wonk Christmas market from the 15th of November. This market will remain operational until the 5th of January.
5. Ypres Christmas market
When: 13 – 15 December 2019
Visit the Christmas market in Ypres, Belgium and buy loads of Christmas decorative items and gifts from the 23 stands. Ypres doesn’t only attract you with its historical value, but also with its beautiful Christmas lights. It’s foreseen that there will be an ice-skating ring waiting for you and your kids as well.
6. Ostend Christmas market
The Ostend, Belgium Christmas market, located in the biggest town of the Belgian coast is another small, yet colorful Christmas market. This market will last from the 29th of November until the 5th of January. Here, you can enjoy plenty of fresh fish and seafood from the Belgian Coast.
MAP: The Best Christmas Markets in Belgium This Year
Before You Go: Top Tips for your Trip
- You’ll snap tons of photos and I love to take my GoPro in order to shoot even in extreme situations.
- Make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and hiking sandals when traveling to warm countries.
- Sunscreen is key! I always take with me my eco-friendly sunscreen by Thinksport. Buy here your eco-friendly sunscreen + free shipping.
- I always carry a light rain jacket just in case.
- Travel insurance is essential! If you haven’t already obtained a travel insurance for your trip, travel protected against all odds with World Nomads.
To make the most out of your trip, I recommend Lonely Planet Belgium (get -10% off with code “PAULINA10”)