Belgians somehow manage to succeed at everything they do and make us jealous of their beers, chocolate, fries and Christmas markets. From the traditional Christmas market of Bruges, to the unique underground Christmas market of les Grottes de Wonck, Belgium doesn’t stop surprising us at how many things she can impress us with.
The Bruges Christmas market is known to have the creme de la creme of winter products, no wonder it is one of the most popular Christmas markets in the country! Every year, the medieval city of Bruges invites hundreds of visitors to nibble on traditional snacks and sip gluhwein (Belgian mulled wine). The market is open between 25 November and 1 January.
2. Les Grottes de Wonck
Have you ever been to a Christmas market which is held in a cave? Let me reformulate: Have you ever heard of an underground Christmas market? Well you did now! The network of caves in the region of Liege host one of the most unique Christmas markets in the world. And it gets even better! The market is a paradise for artisanal products so you have high chances to find some pretty special presents, not your average China made mass produced gifts. The market is open only for a weekend: Friday 11 December to Sunday 13 December.
Known as Gentse Winterfeesten (meaning Ghent Winter Festival) among Belgians, the Ghent Christmas market is the place to be if you are a fan of fine cheese, ham, sausages, organic honey, mustard and other sauces. While you watch the little ones ice skate, try the addictive oliebollen, a traditional treat which consists of deep-fried dumplings that are similar to doughnuts but much softer. The market is open from 9 December to 10 January.
I am telling you, Brussels’ Winter Wonders Christmas Market is considered Europe’s most original Christmas market for a reason. The market is held in the heart of the Belgian capital, around Grand-Place, Bourse, Place Sainte-Catherine and Marché aux Poissons and even Hercule Poirot would have found it well organised and worth a visit. Take a look at the son & lumière illuminations on the Grand-Place, take a ride on the merry-go-rounds or on the large wheel or why not go ice skating? You can indulge on sweets and savory treats to regain your energy afterwards. The market is open from 25 November to 1 January.
If you would rather visit a smaller and slightly quieter Christmas market, then go to Ypres which is approximately an hour away from Brussels. The city has seen some of the biggest battles of the First World War and it now has many memorials for the soldiers who lost their lives on the battlefield. The Christmas market offers clothing, hot food and drinks and a wide variety of beer. The market is open from 3 December to 8 January.