The Brussels Christmas Markets are a firm favorite of visitors for a couple of reasons, they are super accessible to visit, you can walk off the Eurostar from London after a 2-hour train journey, or hop off the plane at Brussels International Airport and be shopping in the market within 1 hour of the wheels of your plane touching down on the tarmac in Belgium.
The second reason why the Brussels Christmas Markets are so popular is that they continue to open even after Christmas Day on December 25th. Whereas you’ll find a lot of the German & French Christmas Markets finish operations on the 21st of December or just before the 24th of December.
Which makes the Christmas Markets of Brussels super appealing for anyone looking for a winter break after the Christmas holidays. Plus the Christmas Markets of Antwerp, a 40 train ride are worth checking out.
Brussels Christmas Market Map
To view a list of each pinned location, click the icon at the top-left corner. For an expanded view, click the button located at the top-right. To save to your personal Google Maps account, simply click the star icon. Once saved, access the map by opening Google Maps on your device, clicking the ‘Saved’ button, selecting the “Maps” icon on the bottom of the screen, and then choosing you’ll find this map listed.
Brussels Christmas Market Dates
The Brussels Christmas Markets run from November 24th until December 31st, 2023.
Open daily from 12 pm until 10 pm.
Brussels Christmas markets
There are several locations around Brussels where the Christmas Markets are held. The Grand Place is where you’ll find a huge Christmas Tree and a beautiful light show, as well as a gorgeous nativity scene.
The Brussels Christmas Market Light Show
Throughout the running of the Brussels Christmas Markets, you should visit the Grand Place and watch the light show that takes place at the top of the hour from 5 pm until 10 pm Monday to Thursday.
From Friday, Saturday & Sunday the Brussels Christmas Market Light Show takes place twice an hour, every 30 minutes from 5 pm to 10 pm.
The light show is around 7 minutes long and this year the Brussels Christmas Market Light Show draws inspiration from the artist Leilani Shaw and is in partnership with 11 Indigenous Tribes from Quebec. The 360º light installation is beautifully presented and awe-inspiring.
The nativity scene can also be seen in the Grand Place and unfortunately (fortunately?) there are no real livestock anymore. However, the sheep did look extremely realistic this year and I had to study them for a couple of moments to determine whether the sheep was really good at staying still or perhaps it wasn’t real.
The Christmas Tree found at the Grand Place is lovely, however, it pales in comparison to the likes found in Strasbourg which is one of the most enormous Christmas trees I’ve ever seen.
Bourse Christmas Market
The Bourse de Bruxelles is the nations stock exchange and around the perimeter you’ll find a number of Christmas Market stalls. The Bourse Christmas Market is the closest one to the Grand Place and more than likely the first one you’ll stumble upon as you wander around Brussels.
There are plenty of stalls to grab lots of delicious food and drinks, but if you’re feeling hungry I would explore the Marché aux Poisson Christmas Market a 7-minute walk away instead. There are dozens of food stalls and it’s one of the best places to sample lots of delicious Belgian goodies as mentioned below.
You’ll also be able to do a little bit of shopping here too with stalls selling Christmas ornaments, handicrafts and beautiful sheep-wool socks and slippers.
St Catherine’s Place Christmas Market
Perhaps the loveliest of settings for the Brussels Christmas Markets can be found at St Catherine’s Place, the small square plays host to a number of food and drink stalls. The carousel is perhaps one of the most unique ones that I’ve come across during my exploration of the various Christmas Markets around Europe.
A steampunk carousel with moveable parts, I was quite envious of the children who this is clearly aimed at and would have loved a grown-up version of it!
The church, Eglise Sainte-Catherine, on the square of St Catherine’s plays host to a number of concerts throughout the month of December. Pop your head into the church throughout the day if there is no service on and see what’s on offer.
Marché aux Poisson/Vismarkt
The largest of the Brussels Christmas Markets is found at the ‘Fish Market’ and stretches for half a kilometer. The stalls at the Marché Aux Poisson Christmas Market sells the largest variety of food. Strolling around you’ll find Portuguese tarts, Pastel de Nata, fries, a Stella Artois tent, and the best selection of food and drink of all the Brussels Christmas Markets.
Brussels Christmas Market Food
If you’re new to Belgium, you’re in for a treat. Belgium is the land of chocolate, beer, waffles & fries. And they’re super at what they do. I’m married to a Belgian and whilst they may not have a nationalistic bone in their bodies, they will proudly and fiercely defend their Belgian Frites/Frietjes/Fries to the death.
So prepare your stomachs for some of the best food you’ll find at any of the Christmas Markets throughout Europe.
Waffles – there are two types of waffles found in Belgium. Liege waffles & Brussels waffles. The Liege waffles are thicker and more doughy. Whereas the Brussels waffles are lighter and crispier. I’m a big fan of the Brussels waffle, but it’s all a matter of personal preference.
Fries – Everywhere you go in Belgium you’ll find fries sold in every small town, square or wherever people gather. And people take their fries seriously. If you want to be a traditionalist about your fries you’ll have them with mayo. Belgian mayo is sweet (I detest ‘real’ mayonnaise but the Belgian one is so good!) and a large dollop adorns the top of the cone of fries.
Tartiflette – Another Brussels Christmas Market staple is Tartiflette. Thinly sliced potatoes, bacon, cream and delicious Reblochon cheese – it honestly doesn’t get any better than this. Served piping hot, it’s the perfect winter meal.
Snails – Escargot’s or snails are a typical delicacy not only in France but also in Belgium. You may even spot their Flemish variant, Karakollen which is served in a soupy broth, or with garlic.
Sausages – Lots of different varieties of sausages to try at the Brussels Christmas Market, there was a particular stall in the Marché aux Poisson Christmas Market that was selling sausages that had a variety of fillings such as speculoos, and blood sausages. Typically the sausage is made from pork and has a spicy or herb filling.
Raclette – Hot gooey cheese slathered on a piece of bread and topped with meat or vegetables or just on its own. It’s a masterpiece.
Belgian Christmas Markets
If you’re after visiting several Christmas Markets you’re in luck! Some of my favorite Christmas Markets are only a short train ride away, and even nearby Cologne is only a two-hour train ride from Brussels.
Antwerp Christmas Markets
A 40-minute train ride from Brussels, the Antwerp Christmas Markets have long flown under the radar. The beautiful historic center of Antwerp is incredible to walk around and explore. Read more about the Antwerp Christmas Markets in my blog post.
Bruges Christmas Markets
The Bruges Christmas Markets starts on November 24th, 2023 to January 7th, 2024. Bruges is easily accessible via Brussels/Ghent/Antwerp. If arriving by Eurostar in Brussels, you can change platforms and catch a train to Bruges. Trains leave hourly.
Christmas Market Ghent
Christmas Markets in Ghent will start on December 7th until December 31st, 2023. With over 150 stalls on Sint-Baafsplein, along the Botermarkt and Klein Turkije to the end of the Korenmarkt, you will find plenty of stalls serving crafts, mulled wine, and food. Easily accessible by train via Antwerp & Brussels.
Leuven Christmas Market
Considered to be one of Belgium’s oldest Christmas Markets, the Leuven Christmas Market will operate from 7th December 2023 to 21st December 2023. This year offers visitors a chance to listen to classical music in St. Peter’s Church and a candlelight walk through the Great Beguinage. These medieval streets and alleyways will light up candlelight and will make your visit truly special. The Great Beguinage Candlelight walk takes place on December 16th, 2023.
Liège Christmas Market
Liege Christmas Market is the largest Christmas Market in Belgium. With 200 stalls, the oldest Belgian Christmas market will run from 24th November 2023 to January 7th 2024.