Christmas and New Year is a great time to visit Belgium with so many of its most famous cities hosting fabulous markets and celebrations that will warm the heart of even the sternest of Scrooges. The smell of mulled wine, hot chocolate and roasting chestnuts pervades the air, while the distant sound of carols and the sight of thousands of twinkling fairylights, all add to the festive atmosphere.
7th December 2013 – 31st December: Antwerp’s magical Christmas market is held at de Groenplaats, Handschoenmarkt, Grote Markt and Suikerrui. Whether you are looking for Christmas decorations, seasonal produce or simply wish to enjoy the markets charm with a glass or two of mulled wine, you’ll find a vibrant festive atmosphere here.
Saturday 7th of December: Opening Celebration.
Saturday 7th of December to Sunday 5th of January 2014: Christmas market and ice skating rink at Steenplein. There will also be a big Ferris wheel at the Cruise Terminal.
Sunday 15th of December, 22nd of December and 29th of December: Shops will be opened on Sunday for Christmas shopping.
New Year’s Eve, Tuesday 31st of December: New Year’s Eve Fireworks at the Schelde.
22nd November 2013 – 2nd January 2014: The Christmas market takes place on the Markt Square around the traditional open-air ice rink, with a smaller market located on Simon Stevinplein. Colourful lights illuminate festival stalls crammed with Christmas goodies, where shoppers can browse tables laden with elegantly packaged chocolates and locally made produce. Open: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 10:30 – 22:00 and on Friday and Saturday from 10:30 – 23:00.
22nd of November 2013 until the 5th January 2014: Snow & Ice Sculpture Festival at Stationplein. Open 10:00 – 19:00 daily (including Christmas Day & New Years Day)
29th November 2013 to 5th January 2014: ‘Winter Wonderland’, Brussels’s extensive traditional Christmas market, takes place on the Place Sainte Catherine and the Bourse with around 150 exhibitors from all over Europe offering traditional arts and crafts, jewellery, and Belgian chocolates for sale alongside an artificial ice-rink and numerous street artists. In addition to this there’s a multi-coloured Sound and Light show at the Grand Place.
6th to 30th December 2014: Ghent welcomes the festive season with a charming Christmas market in Sint-Baafsplein, Klein Turkije and Korenmarkt. Visitors can wander among the 50 wooden huts in search of decorations, candles, cards and gifts, serenaded by a choir. You can also enjoy live jazz, folk and rock performances, as well as Christmas carols.
22 November 2013 to 05 January 2014: A second Christmas market in St Pietersplein with a giant Ferris wheel, a fun fair, food and drink stalls plus an ice-rink.
New Year’s Eve, Tuesday 31st December at midnight: New Year’s Eve Fireworks at Graslei.
13th to 22nd December: Leuven organises a very accessible and well organised Christmas market, known as the Leuvense Kerstmarkt, set with a fairytale backdrop of the Monseigneur Ladeuzeplein and the Herbert Hooverplein squares, where visitors can stock up on decorations, gifts and other festive items as well as enjoying the tasting stalls.
29th November 2013 to 5th January 2014: A covered Christmas market in Wapenplein square with delicious snacks and warming drinks, fabulous decorations and an ice-rink.
30th November 2013 to 2nd January 2014: The Christmas market in Ypres is growing in reputation and takes place on the Grote Markt in the centre of town each afternoon and all day on Saturday. The Swiss style chalets, together with the popular ice rink, as well as live entertainment, will certainly put you in a festive mood. Open: Tue-Wed-Thu from 17:00 to 19:30, Fri: 15:00 to 22:00, Sat 10:00 to 22:00, Sun from 15:00 to 19:30, closed Mondays
Please note that the above information is correct to the best of our knowledge but details are subject to change and should be checked with the individual organisations concerned before visiting.