Best Brussels Christmas Markets (2021 Guide)

brussels in winter

A full guide to the best Brussels Christmas markets 2021 (+ a map with all the locations, opening times, and where to watch the sound and light show and the Christmas parade).

brussels christmas market

Brussels, the capital of Belgium, is charming in December. The city has a unique atmosphere that engulfs you into the magical world of Christmas. Festively decorated squares, ice rinks, Ferris wheels, light shows – all your wishes for a fairytale holiday come true! Not to mention that the city is home to the biggest Christmas market in Belgium.

To plan your time check out my guide on how to spend 1 day in Brussels. It covers all the must-see sites, plus some insider tips.

Best Christmas markets in Brussels in 2021

Brussels has several Christmas markets. The main ones are at the Grand-Place and Marché aux Poissons.

More than 250 wooden stalls are spread out over the entire capital, giving the city a gorgeous festive look. And if you need more reasons to visit the city in the winter – there is a light show and a parade!

The best Brussels Christmas markets 2021

  • Grand-Place of of Brussels
  • Marché aux Poissons
  • around la Bourse de Bruxelles
  • Place Sainte-Catherine
  • Place de la Monnaie

Find a map with the exact locations at the end of the article.

In fact, the Brussels Christmas markets are part of one bigger event called the Winter Wonders. The Winter wonders also include the parade and the sound and light show on the Grand-Place.

If this is not enough to light up your Christmas spirit, hop on a train to Ghent or Bruges for more fairytale markets.

My favourite place to stay in Brussels is Pillows City Hotel. It’s the perfect base to explore the Christmas markets (just a 5min away from to the Grand Place and the train station).

Check out the best hotel deals (winter 2021)

When does the Brussels Christmas market start?

The Winter Wonders festival takes place from 26 November till 2 January. The Christmas villages are open daily from 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM. On 24 December and 31 December, they close a little earlier – at 06:00 PM.

Brussels Christmas markets dates 2021

From 26 November 2021 to 2 January 2022
Every day from 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM
December 24 and December 31 – till 06:00 PM

Christmas market at the Grand-Place

Christmas market Grand-Place

If you have to choose one Christmas market to visit, go to the Grand-Place. It’s the heart of the Winter Wonders Festival.

This is where the gigantic Christmas tree and nativity scene are set up. There are even stalls with sheep and donkeys!

But the best part is the spectacular sound and light show. It takes place every half hour and continues for about 10-15 minutes. During the show, the facades of the historical buildings are lit up with gorgeous changing colours.

Brussels sound and light show

Marché aux Poissons

Marché aux Poissons

The biggest Christmas market in Brussels takes place at Marché aux Poissons. The square is covered with more than 200 wooden huts decorated with twinkling lights and snow roofs. The chalets sell all kinds of gifts, Christmas ornaments and of course delicious food.

Yet, the biggest attraction here is the Ferris wheel. The cabins ascend up to 55 m – the perfect way to see the festively decorated city from above.

Don’t miss the Leffe Pavillon, too! You can not only savour the different varieties of this beer but learn about its origins and brewing process.

Leffe Pavillon

More Brussels Christmas markets

Place de la Monnaie

Place de la Monnaie hosts the Dome. It’s a 360° high-tech installation that stages various shows, including a Saint-Nicolas party! You can watch art-house movies, as well as documentaries and funny cartoons.

Place Sainte-Catherine

Place Sainte-Catherine

This charming Christmas market is located around the beautiful Sainte-Catherine Church. Every year the market features different country, presenting their culture and gastronomy.

Vintage roundabouts add to the fairy tale atmosphere.

La Bourse de Bruxelles

La Bourse de Bruxelles

It’s a small Christmas village set up in front of the former stock exchange building. The 19th-century neo-renaissance building is festively illuminated by hundreds of lights.

Ice skating at Place de Brouckère

Place de Brouckère is where you go for ice skating and mulled wine. To avoid crowds go on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12 AM to 5 PM. The price is €8 for adults and €5 for children. Plus, there is a separate area for skating for the little ones.

When is the Brussels Christmas parade

The magical parade is every Saturday evening in December from 6 PM to 8 PM. It takes place throughout the city centre passing by the Grand-Place, la Bourse and Marché aux Poissons.

Where to stay in Brussels for Christmas markets

If you’re visiting the city in the winter, it’s important to choose a good location. December is cold, so it’s best to be as close to the tourist attractions and restaurants as possible.

The Historic Centre is a great choice, as all the Christmas villages are there. Also, you’d be within reach to restaurants, shops and the major tourist sights. You can easily explore the city on foot.

The longest distance between the farthest markets is less than 700m. Thus, choose an accommodation between the Grand-Place and Place Sainte-Catherine. Check out these handpicked hotels, that are right in the middle of everything.

For more information, check out my guide to where to stay in Brussels.

The Dominican – Best for couples

The Dominican is a great hotel for couples. The hotel is within a walking distance to the markets and Rue Neuve shopping area. Rooms are modern with extra touches like bathrobes, slippers and tea making facilities. The Dominican features a lovely cocktail lounge with a chill atmosphere.
Why book – spacious rooms, great cocktail lounge, close to the shopping area

Radisson Blu Royal Hotel – Best for families

Radisson Blu Royal Hotel with its central location is a perfect choice for families. The hotel is less than 500m away both from Grand-Place and Place Sainte-Catherine. Moreover, it’s close to the ice skating rink at Place de Brouckère. Rooms are comfy, well lit, and there are three restaurants available on site!
Why book – comfy rooms with coffee and tea facilities, babysitting and child services, 3 restaurants on-site

Chapeliers Grand-Place – Apartments

If you prefer an apartment, this is a perfect choice. The apartments are only 50m away from the Grand-Place. The area is lovely with many restaurants and within a walking distance from the Central train station.
Why book – next to Grand Place, well-equipped apartments with soundproof windows

brussels xmas market

Always book tours or skip the lines tickets with Tiqets, Civitatis or GetYourGuide (you get a mobile ticket voucher + free cancellation). Tickets from the attractions’ official websites, in most cases, are non-refundable.

What to do in Brussels at Christmas

Free Walking Tour of Brussels

Take the Brussels Free Walking Tour to explore the city with a knowledgeable guide. You’ll discover the main sights and learn about the city’s history and the Belgian monarchy.

Christmas choirs

To enjoy some Christmas carols and gospels, visit the Black Tower, behind St. Catherine’s Church. The event is part of the Winter Wonders festival and takes place Saturdays and Sundays from 2 PM to 6 PM.

Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert

Visit the most famous shopping gallery in the city, Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert. During Christmas time, the gallery is beautifully decorated with golden balls and sparkling lights. It’s the perfect place for high-end shopping.

Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert

Chocolate shopping

You haven’t been to Brussels if you haven’t tried the chocolate. Belgian chocolate is one of the finest in the world. And it makes a great gift! For quality chocolate visit Neuhaus and Pierre Marcolini.

To sample the best gourmet chocolate, take a chocolate tasting tour (this one includes also a workshop).


Brussels Christmas market food

Brussels Christmas market food

You can find all kind of treats and delicious foods at the Christmas markets stalls. Gingerbread, meringue, waffles, baked salmon, Flemish stew – there is something for every taste! Yet, don’t miss to try these 5 local foods that are typical for the markets in Belgium.


Seafood is very popular in Belgium, due to the country’s closeness to the North Sea. So oysters, mussels, salmon are something you can easily find at every market. And while the oysters are not for every taste, don’t miss to try the salmon. It is usually cooked on a campfire and it’s very delicious!


Waffles are one of the foods that Belgium is known for. There are two variations – Brussels waffle and Liège waffle. I prefer the last one, as it’s more crunchy, because of the crystallized sugar baked into it. You can have your waffle with various toppings like chocolate, cream, fruits and many more.


Nougat is a classic Christmas treat. This confection is made from whipped egg white, honey and crunchy almonds.


Mulled wine is not popular in Belgium. The typical Christmas drink of the Belgians is jenever. This is Dutch gin, a grain-based drink with a high alcohol percentage. It is usually served cold in small glasses.


Although it’s cold, beer is still the preferred drink of the Belgians. There are special beer halls that offer a wide variety of beers. So you can enjoy your favourite beer in a warmer place.

Don’t miss to visit Leffe Pavillon at Marché aux Poissons.

How to get to Brussels Christmas market

By train
The Central train station is less than a 5min walk from the main market at Grand Place. However, if you’re arriving at the Brussels Midi train station, it’s about 2km to the city centre.

By air
The nearest airport is Zaventem Airport (BRU). There is a direct train that connects the airport and the Central train station.

You can also book a private transfer directly to your hotel. I recommend this airport transfer (more than 11,780 excellent reviews).

If you’re arriving at Charleroi Airport (CRL), the best option is to take the shuttle bus.

Brussels Christmas market map

To help you navigate, I prepared a detailed map with all the markets. You can use it during your trip, you only need internet access.

Find more information about the Christmas markets on the official website of the Winter Wonders Festival.

Best Christmas markets near Brussels

To explore more of the Christmas market scene in Belgium, visit Bruges, Ghent or Antwerp. If you’re short on time take an organized day tour to Bruges and Ghent. In this way, you’ll be able to visit both cities in only one day!

However, keep in mind that some markets start 1-2 weeks later than the one in Brussels. For example – in Ghent and Antwerp. So plan your trip accordingly.

If you have to choose one city, go with Bruges. It’s a ravishing medieval city and it’s gorgeous even in the winter.

Find all you need to know in my Bruges Christmas market guide (including opening hours, location and how to get there).

Brussels or Bruges Christmas market

Although Bruges is a much more picturesque city, Brussels wins the Christmas market competition. And not only because it has the biggest market in the country. Its winter festival “Winter Wonders” includes a sound and light show and a festive parade! And the light show is really something not to be missed.

The best option is to sleep in Brussels and take a day trip to Bruges (1-hour journey by train).

Have you visited Brussels at Christmas time?
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About the author
AvatarMilena Yordanova
I’m a full-time travel blogger based in Sofia, Bulgaria. I love to travel and to discover new places, cultures and food. I’m an expert in travel planning and I am here to help you plan your dream vacation.

6 Replies to “Best Brussels Christmas Markets (2021 Guide)”

  1. We spent a wonderful Christmas in Brussels last year, staying at Rocco Forte Hotel Amigo. The location was fantastic – close to the Grand Place and the Central train station. It was a great base to explore the city and to take a day trip to Bruges as well.

    1. Hi Ronald,
      I’m glad you enjoyed Brussels at Christmas time!

  2. I’m seeing different sources saying that the Winter Wonders market opens on 11/29, and some say 11/30. Where can we get confirmation on this? My wife and I will be in Paris until the 30th so we’d like to go on the 29th but don’t want to make the trip if nothing will be open 🙁

    1. Hi Alex,
      The market opens on 11/29 2019 according to the official website of Winter Wonders. 11/30 was the opening date for last year 2018, I guess some websites didn’t update the information yet.

  3. Are the Brussels Cheistmas markets open Christmas day?

    1. Yes, according to the official website of Winter Wonders Festival the market will work on 25th December.

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