When it comes to celebrating Christmas, the Belgian capital of Brussels goes all out, with a full events program throughout the festive season known as Brussels Winter Wonders (or Plaisirs d’Hiver in French).
At the core of this exciting Christmas event? The Brussels Christmas Market, spread across multiple locations in the city with hundreds of vendors selling all kinds of Christmas market food, drink, and handmade gifts.
Little wonder why it’s widely considered to be one of the best Christmas markets in Belgium!
We first visited this Christmas market in December 2019 and loved the exciting and vibrant atmosphere, along with the unforgettable lights show in the iconic Grand Place.
Looking to learn more about Brussels Winter Wonders & Christmas Market, or perhaps need some guidance on planning your own trip there?
In this post, we’ll be covering…
- Practical Info for Brussels Winter Wonders & Christmas Market
- A Brief History of Brussels Christmas Market
- Why Visit Brussels Winter Wonders & Christmas Market?
- Christmas Markets in Brussels to Visit
- More Photos of Brussels Christmas Market
We hope you find it helpful and interesting!
Practical Info for Brussels Winter Wonders & Christmas Market
Here are some quick must-knows for Brussels Winter Wonders & Christmas Market this year:
- Dates: Nov 24 – Dec 31, 2023
- Official website: Click here
In need of a place to stay? Here are some quick hotel recommendations:
- Budget: Check prices and availability
- Mid-Range: Check prices and availability
- Luxury: Check prices and availability
A Brief History of Brussels Winter Wonders & Christmas Market
Brussels Winter Wonders has been taking place for over twenty years, and has grown over the decades to become one of the biggest and most spectacular Christmas events in the Benelux region.
Today, Winter Wonders (and the Brussels Christmas Market) attract upwards of 1.8 million visitors from around the world, with the festivities growing only more elaborate each year.
Why Visit Brussels Winter Wonders & Christmas Market?
Wondering whether Brussels Christmas Market is worth a trip? Here are some reasons to visit:
It’s dynamic and exciting
Having visited a fair few Christmas markets across Europe, what stood out to us about the Brussels Christmas Market in particular was just how lively and exciting it was.
While the vibe at other famous Christmas markets (like the ones in Cologne) often prioritize coziness, the events here in Brussels are upbeat and fun, with a much more party-like atmosphere than other markets we’ve been to.
While it’s not the typical ‘quaint, fairytale wooden hut’ Christmas market experience you might expect in smaller towns, it’s a great pick if you’re looking for something exciting, with lots to do besides just shopping and eating.
For instance, scattered across the various locations of Brussels Christmas Market, you can find a skating rink, a giant ferris wheel, different rides, multiple party zones, and a huge selection of food and drink beyond your standard Christmas market fare.
If you’re looking for a fun and exciting place to experience Christmas markets, Brussels is a great choice.
Brussels is beautifully decked out for Christmas
Besides Christmas market stalls, one of the highlights of the Brussels Winter Wonders program is its illuminations, which are spread out across the central core of Brussels, creating magical walkways all around Grand Place and beyond.
The most popular of these illuminated displays is of course the Grand Place light show which takes place hourly (or sometimes every 30 min during peak periods) from 5pm – 11pm.
While it lasts only 10 minutes, it’s a dazzling awe-worthy spectacle definitely worth checking out.
Brussels has a lot of other great attractions
Last but not least, it’s worth noting that Brussels is a fascinating destination to visit even without Christmas markets (although those are a happy bonus).
In addition to gorgeous squares like Grand Place, it’s also home to a variety of unique attractions, from the iconic Atomium and the city’s gorgeous covered shopping galleries to museums dedicated to comics, chocolate, fries, and everything in between.
If you’re a culture and history nerd looking to get your fill of cool activities beyond just shopping and eating at Christmas markets, then visiting Brussels is a must.
Christmas Markets in Brussels to Visit
Wondering where to find Christmas market stalls in Brussels? Here are the main locations of Brussels Winter Wonders & Christmas Market:
The most important (and iconic!) stop for anyone visiting the Brussels Christmas Market / Winter Wonders is Grand Place, where you’ll find a dazzling free light show that takes place at least once an hour (twice on weekends) after sunset.
This enchanting show has a unique theme every year, and is set to a fun soundtrack that syncs perfectly with the lights. If you only manage to see one performance/show during Brussels Winter Wonders, make sure it’s this one!
NOTE: Grand Place is also where you’ll find the city’s main Christmas tree and a large nativity scene too.
Marché aux Poissons
After Grand Place, if you’re hoping to set your sights on shopping, then a key part of the Brussels Christmas Market you can’t miss is the city’s Marché aux Poissons, or former fish market.
Here, you’ll find the iconic “Grand Roue”, the giant ferris wheel that has become somewhat of a symbol of the Winter Wonders festival… along with several party pavilions, and hundreds of wooden chalets selling a wide variety of gifts and treats.
If you’re looking for a lively and fun place to celebrate at Winter Wonders, this is your place.
Connected to the Marché aux Poissons, you’ll find another Brussels Christmas Market location worth visiting – Place Saint-Catherine.
Here, you’ll find more wooden chalets and vendors continue, along with a beautiful nostalgic carousel and light installations.
La Tour Noire
While mainly geared towards food and drink rather than shopping, another Brussels Christmas Market spot can be found in the shadow of l’Église Sainte-Catherine, at the Tour Noire.
This is where you’ll find stalls from international guests offering tasty treats from around the world.
During our visit, we found a fun Mongolian yurt here, along with a little Canadian pavilion selling maple syrup and poutine!
Place de Brouckère
Another must-visit location that’s part of the Brussels Winter Wonders program is Place de Brouckère, where you’ll find a huge variety of artisans and food stall owners, six covered “terasses” where you can relax with a warm drink, and a fun covered skating rink.
For a Brussels Christmas market location more geared towards shopping, then head to the Brussels Stock Exchange (La Bourse), where you’ll find dozens of stalls selling all sorts of handmade gifts from dedicated artisans, many of which have participated in the market for decades.
Place de la Monnaie
Lastly, for a unique Winter Wonders attraction, be sure to swing by Place to de la Monnaie, where you’ll find The Dome, a tech installation that offers immersive audiovisual experiences ranging from art house films to satirical cartoons. You can preview their program here.
More Photos of Brussels Winter Wonders & Christmas Market
Looking for some more Brussels Christmas Market eye candy? Here are some additional photos we captured during our visit:
We hope you enjoyed this Brussels Christmas Market Guide!
Let us know in the comments if you have any more questions about your trip – we’re always happy to help.