As November draws to a close, around Belgium, the Christmas markets are filling their stalls with gifts, ornaments, tasty treats and spicy glühwein.
Last year, I wrote about our favourite Christmas market, Plaisirs d’Hiver, right here in Brussels. Our favourite expat Christmas traditions are rooted here. But there are lots of other holiday markets, around the country and in neighbouring German cities. Here is a round-up of some of the best we have visited over the years.
Christmas Markets in Belgium
Leuvense Kerstmarkt -The Leuven Christmas Market is smaller than Brussels, with about 140 stands, but it’s equally festive. There is a handicraft market as well as lots of tasty food to enjoy. Each year, a local charity is also highlighted at the market, to help keep the spirit of giving alive at the holiday season. The Leuven Christmas Market is an easy train ride from Brussels or you can bring your car and park in one of the many garages in the city centre. Or avoid the crowds and take the free shuttle bus from Philipsparking. The market runs from the 9th-18th of December.
Winter in Brugge – What could be more magical than Christmas lights dancing off the quiet canals of romantic Bruges? The Bruges Christmas market is centred around an ice-skating rink and giant Christmas tree. The chalets are filled with gifts and goodies, including Belgian chocolate, of course. Bruges is also home to the famous Ice Sculpture festival. Every year a different magical world of ice is built, near the Bruges train station. We visited the Ice Palace in Bruges, way back in 2005, and had a great time. This year, Disneyland Paris has been re-created in ice. The ice sculpture festival runs from the 25th Nov – 15th Jan. The Bruges Christmas Market runs until the 3rd of Jan.
Village de Noel, Liege – The Liege Christmas Market was a pleasant surprise and is, so far, our favourite Christmas Market in Wallonia. The market wanders through streets and alleys, to end at Liege’s central square. There are 200 chalets with gifts, decorations, food and drink. If you are looking for truly Belgian gifts, the market sells hand-blown glass Christmas ornaments, featuring Liege and Walloon folk characters: Tchantchès, Nanesse, Marcatchou, the miner and Gilles de Binche. The market runs from Nov. 25th – Dec. 30th.
Christmas Markets in Germany
Trierer Weihnachts Markt – Christmas Markets are deeply rooted in German tradition and one of our favourites is the Christmas Market in Trier. Trier is storybook pretty and the market has almost a Disney-esq quality. There are 95 booths, a carousel and lots of traditional decorations. You can buy handmade ornaments, gifts, food and, of course, plenty of mulled wine to keep you warm. The Trier Christmas Market runs from Nov 21st – Dec 22nd.
Koelner Weihnachts Markt – Cologne, Germany is Christmas Market central. There are six markets to choose from, around the city. Our favourite was the one nestled at the base of the stunning Cologne Cathedral. 150 stands sell gifts, traditional German Christmas ornaments and regional food specialities (most of them certified bio-organic). There are also over 100 free musical and artistic performances to enjoy while you shop. The market is located steps from the train station, which makes it an easy day-trip from Belgium. While there, check out our post on Nine Things to do in Cologne, Germany. The Cologne Christmas Market runs from Nov 21st – Dec 23rd.
Have you visited a Christmas market in or near Belgium? What was your favourite? Share your experiences with our readers in the comments below.
Looking for even more festive ideas? Don’t miss our Christmas Markets in Belgium and Europe page – compete with a Christmas Market schedule.
- Brussels Christmas Market :: Plaisirs d’Hiver
- Expat Christmas Traditions
- Our Top Christmas Markets in Belgium and Germany
- Christmas at the Château de Modave Castle, in Belgium
- Finding Christmas Cheer in Bruges, Belgium
- 3 Christmas Markets in Belgium Worth Visiting
- Christmas in Brussels, Belgium – Ice Magic Festival, Skyliner, Iceberg, and More