Seasonal ideas

The best Christmas markets in Belgium

Christmas is a magical time and there’s nothing like a Christmas Market to inspire your wish and gift lists. See our guide to the best of the bunch in Belgium.

Get your festive season off to a magical start. In Belgium you’re sure to find the perfect Christmas Market to explore, and all within an easy drive from Calais.

Top Belgian Christmas Market destinations

Let’s start with some of the largest and most popular Christmas markets in the region.

A Christmas tree lit up with blue lights surrounded by tall Grand buildings and a crowd below

Brussels Winter Wonders

Where in Belgium: Plaisirs d'hiver, Brussels
Drive from Calais: 196km / 2h 30m

Right in the heart of Belgium, lies one of its essential Christmas markets; the Plaisirs d'hiver. Stroll amongst the twinkling lights of the Grand Palace and Place St. Catherine to browse hundreds of chalets, each dressed up as a fairy tale gingerbread house. Pick up some unique gifts, from artisan stocking-fillers to tasty local delicacies. Step through the jaws of the Ice Monster; at 40 metres in length, this dinosaur made of ice is a hungry fellow, devouring thousands of visitors every year!

Bruges Christmas Market

Where in Belgium: Bruges, Belgium
Drive from Calais: km / 1h 20m

Christmas markets don’t get much quainter than this. The UNESCO World Heritage listed city of Bruges has intimate cobbled streets, medieval architecture, and picturesque bustling squares. Add to this an abundance of twinkling lights and impressive Christmas decorations and you've got one magical city. The main market activities take place in the Market Square, overlooked by the Belfry of Bruges, a medieval bell tower that dominates the city skyline. You can expect to see people gliding around the outdoor ice rink or warming up with a hot Belgium waffle or mulled wine.

Antwerp Christmas Market

Where in Belgium: Grote Markt, Antwerp
Drive from Calais: 204km / 2h 40m

The Christmas market in Antwerp takes place across various squares, leading all the way from the Groenplaats over the Handschoenmarkt to the Grote Markt, the Suikerrui, and the Steenplein. Featuring over 90 stalls, the Antwerp Christmas market has an iceskating rink, giant mistletoe and a Ferris wheel. After shopping the local crafts and Christmas stocking fillers, head to the central bar to warm your hands by a roaring fire and enjoy a mug of Gluwein.

A tall Christmas tree decorated in gold lights and baubles next to Leuven City Hall which is illuminated by lights

Leuven Christmas Market

Where in Belgium: Monseigneur Ladeuzeplein and Herbert Hooverplein, Leuven
Drive from Calais: 229km / 2h 50m

Home to Belgium’s oldest university and some impressive architecture, the town of Leuven comes alive at Christmas with a stunning market. You’ll find Christmas decoration and gift stands, as well as food and sampling stands offering traditional Belgian snacks and all kinds of holiday treats and sweets.

Ghent Christmas Market

Where in Belgium: Sint-Baafsplein, Ghent
Drive from Calais: 147km / 1h 55m

Set to look like a Scandinavian Christmas village (but in conveniently placed Belgium), wander among firs and pines with the smell of mulled wine in the air at this wonderfully traditional market. Snacks and drinks, fancy trinkets and authentic crafts are all available from over 150 wooden chalets.

Buildings at night with Christmas market stalls and an amusement ride

Liege Christmas Market

Where in Belgium: Liege, Wallonia
Drive from Calais: 296km / 3h 15m

Running for over 30 years, this is more of a whole Christmas village than just a Christmas market! Leige has four main locations for you to explore: Chalet de la Gruyère, La Maison ardennaise, La Maison du Pèket and the Chalet Au pied des pistes. There are over 200 stalls set up for five weeks, giving you plenty of time to pick up a handcrafted gift or some delicious sweet treats and gluhwein.

Ostend Christmas Market

Where in Belgium: Wapenplein, Ostend
Drive from Calais: 96km / 1h 15m

Ostend takes the festive period seriously. Its market is filled to the brim with unique crafts, decorations and entertainment. The highlight though is an illuminated tunnel in the Adolf Buylstraat shopping street. This tunnel covers a distance of 188 meters with a breathtaking canopy of over 200,000 fairy lights!

Christmas baubles in baskets and hanging from ceiling of market stall

Other less well-known Belgian Christmas markets

These markets are either a little smaller or less busy, but no less magical.

Namur Christmas market

Where in Belgium: Place de l'Ange, Place d'Armes and Place du Théâtre, Namur
Drive from Calais: 267km / 2h 45m

There’s something for everyone here including singing folk groups and brass bands to play some festive jingles as you browse. The market features a very special ‘reindeer haven’ where you can meet Santa’s helpers (Santa will, of course, stop by). Shop for the perfect gift for your loved ones, the ideal recipe to delight Christmas guests or simply sip a soothing hot chocolate at one of the market’s cafes.

Hasselt Christmas market

Where in Belgium: Kolonel Dusartplein, 3500 Hasselt
Drive from Calais: 280km / 2h 48m

Better known as Winterland, this Christmas market runs for six weeks. It includes an indoor ice rink, a cosy ‘Aspen Lounge’ serving yummy food and drink and, of course, countless stalls selling yuletide decorations, vintage crafts and handmade gifts.

A Christmas tree made of white lights decorated with large red baubles stood in front of buildings

Ypres Christmas Market

Where in Belgium: Grote Markt, Ypres
Drive from Calais: 92km / 1h 14m

Enjoy stalls filled with gifts and treats illuminated by twinkling fairy lights. Many of Ypres’ attractive monuments are tastefully decorated for the festive season and this is a wonderful market to visit if you are interested in the history of WWI or II.

Mechelen Christmas Market

Where in Belgium: Vismarkt, Haverwerf, Van Beethovenstraat and Korenmarkt
Drive from Calais: 220km / 2h 15m

Mechelen is a lovely town located between Antwerp and Brussels, easily reachable from both these cities. Nestled in the courtyard of the town hall, this quintessential Belgian Christmas market is particularly festive as the whole town seems to decorate for the occasion. Stalls with Belgian waffles, chocolates and other sweets at Beethovenstraat are the perfect pick me up if you have a sweet tooth.

A selection of waffles with different toppings

Charleroi Christmas market

Where in Belgium: La place de la Digue, Charleroi
Drive from Calais: 228km / 2h 30m

Around 30 stalls make this small but perfectly formed Christmas village. Homeware, festive crafts and decorations are all available as well as a 700m wide ice rink. Charleroi has a beautiful belfry that’s lit up for the season and often you can hear the choir singing Belgian folk songs. The perfect backing track to your shopping.

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