A complete guide to Brussels Christmas market 2024 (+ a map, opening times, and where to watch the sound and light show and the Christmas parade).
If you’re visiting Europe for the Christmas markets, Germany and the Alsace region of France are the places you want to be. And while this is true, there are several other cities in Europe, that host markets not to be missed. Among them, you’ll find Brussels, the capital of Belgium.
Every December, Brussels is completely transformed and turned into a fairytale. Its unique atmosphere engulfs you in the magical world of Christmas. Festively decorated squares, ice rinks, Ferris wheels, light shows – all your wishes for a magical holiday come true. Not to mention that the city is home to the biggest Christmas market in Belgium!
Best Christmas markets in Brussels 2024
The Brussel Christmas market takes place in several different squares in the city. More than 250 wooden stalls are spread out over the entire capital, giving the city a gorgeous festive look. The most famous locations are the Grand-Place (where the Christmas tree is) and Marché aux Poissons.
Brussels Christmas markets 2024
- Grand-Place of of Brussels
- Marché aux Poissons
- around la Bourse de Bruxelles
- Place Sainte-Catherine
- Place de la Monnaie
Find a map with all festive locations at the end of the article.
In fact, the Brussels Christmas market is a part of one bigger event called the Winter Wonders. This event also includes a fun Christmas parade and a sound and light show at the Grand Place.
And if this is not enough to light up your Christmas spirit, hop on a train to Ghent or Bruges for more fairytale markets.
When does the Brussels Christmas market start?
The Winter Wonders festival takes place from 24 November to 31 December. 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.
Are Brussels Christmas markets open on Sunday?
Yes, all of them are open on Sunday till 10 PM.
Is there any market open after Christmas?
Unlike many markets across Europe, which close on the 24th of December, the Brussels Christmas market continues on into the new year. This makes Brussels a perfect destination to visit on the days around Christmas. Also, if you’re planning to visit several markets in Europe, you can leave Brussels for last.
Brussels Christmas markets dates 2024
From 24 November to 31 December 2023
Every day from 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM
December 24 and December 31 – till 06:00 PM
(please note that the official dates for 2024 are not yet announced)
Christmas market at the Grand-Place
The Grand-Place, the city’s iconic square, surrounded by opulent historic buildings, is the heart of the Winter Wonders Festival. This is where you’ll find the biggest Christmas tree in Brussels. Also, a large nativity scene is set up here, with real sheep and donkeys!
Note, that there is no actual market here, no mulled wine or vendors. Yet, the square is a must-see because of its festive atmosphere! Moreover, this is the place where the spectacular sound and light show takes place every evening.
I’d recommend you to visit the place both during the day and in the evening. During the day, to see the gorgeous historic buildings and the nativity scene and in the evening – come back to enjoy the sound and light show.
Grand-Place Christmas Market Opening times
From 24 November to 31 December
Address: Grote Markt
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 55m – 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.
Marché aux Poissons Market Opening times
From 24 November to 31 December
Address: Marché aux Poissons
More Brussels Christmas markets
Although Marché aux Poissons and Grand-Place are the two must-see Christmas locations, there are several other places in Brussels that deserve your attention, too.
Place de la Monnaie
Besides the usual stalls selling delicious foods and Christmas decorations on Place de la Monnaie, you’ll find 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 de la Monnaie Market Opening times
From 24 November to 31 December
Address: Place de la Monnaie
Place Sainte-Catherine and La Tour Noire
This charming Christmas market is located all around the beautiful Sainte-Catherine Church and La Tour Noire. Every year it features different countries, presenting their culture and gastronomy. Vintage roundabouts and beautiful light installations add to the fairytale atmosphere.
Don’t miss the light show at the Sainte Catherine Church. The façade of the church is lit up in a spectacle every half-hour throughout the night.
Place Sainte-Catherine Market Opening times
From 24 November to 31 December
Address: Pl. Sainte-Catherine
La Bourse de Bruxelles
Right in front of La Bourse, the former stock exchange building, you’ll find another Christmas village. The wooden chalets, stocked with gifts and delicacies, are set up around the festively illuminated 19th-century neo-renaissance building.
La Bourse de Bruxelles Market Opening times
From 24 November to 31 December
Address: Place de la Bourse
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 of restaurants, shops and 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.
Located just a few minutes from Grand Place and the Christmas markets, Hotel Hubert is the perfect place to stay in December. A healthy breakfast is waiting for you at the hotel’s cafe, while in the evenings a vintage food truck opens in the lobby.
Why book – excellent location, next to Grand Place and shopping streets, good healthy breakfast, parking nearby
This luxury hotel is set in an elegant 19th-century building, famed for its glass-crowned, 7-story atrium. The location is ideal for Christmas markets, just a 5-minute walk from Grand Place and the Rue Neuve shopping area.
Why book – ideal location near Grand Place, excellent breakfast, parking on site
If you’re looking for a spacious, centrally located apartment for your stay, this will satisfy your every need. Walking distance to all major sites, Christmas markets and plenty of restaurants.
Why book – central location, well-appointed apartments, parking nearby
What to do in Brussels at Christmas
Brussels Christmas parade
The Christmas parade takes place every Saturday evening in December from 6 PM to 8 PM. it goes through the city centre passing by the Grand-Place, la Bourse and Marché aux Poissons.
Grand Place Light show
The spectacular Sound and Light show at the Grand Place is a highlight for many visitors and not to be missed. It is held in the evenings, 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 by Lights
In addition to the Sound and Light Show at the Grand Place, numerous light installations illuminate the shopping streets of the capital. This project, called Brussels by Lights, takes place during the Christmas festivities. This year more than 152 streets are festively illuminated!
Ice skating at Place de Brouckère
Place de Brouckère is the place to 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.
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
Even if you’re not planning to go shopping, don’t miss Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, the most famous shopping gallery. During Christmas time, the gallery is beautifully decorated with golden balls and sparkling lights.
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.
Brussels Christmas market food
You can find all kinds 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, and 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!
Belgium is well known for its waffles. There are two variations – Brussels waffle (rectangular in shape, topped with chocolate, cream or fruits) and Liège waffle (rounded in shape, often served plain). I prefer the last one, as it’s crunchier, because of the crystallized sugar baked into it.
Nougat is a classic Christmas treat. This confection is made from whipped egg white, honey and crunchy almonds.
Mulled wine is not so 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. Thus, 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
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.
The parking in the city centre is free only on Sundays and between 6 PM and 8 AM during the rest of the days. However, there are plenty of public and private car parks, where you can leave your car (see a list of all parkings here).
The nearest airport is Zaventem Airport (BRU). There is a direct train that connects the airport and the Central train station.
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 this 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, head to Bruges. This fairytale medieval city hosts the second most famous Christmas market in the country. Find all you need to know in my Bruges Christmas market guide (including opening hours, locations and how to get there).
If possible dedicate one full day to Bruges and explore the historic city centre as well (there is plenty to see).
If you’re looking for a fun Christmas market (or travelling with kids), add Ghent to your list. The Ghent Christmas market features a giant Ferris Wheel, vintage merry-go-rounds and a Moose bar. You’ll also find a 12th-century castle, the Castle of the Counts, and gorgeous medieval houses.
However, keep in mind that the market starts 1-2 weeks later than the one in Brussels. For more information take a look at my Ghent Christmas Market guide.
Faqs about visiting the Brussels Christmas market
Featuring an impressive Christmas Market with more than 200 chalets, Brussels is one of the most popular Christmas destinations in Europe. The event is called Winter Wonders and includes also a parade and a sound and light show at the Grand Place.
Snow is possible but doesn’t occur very often in December (snow falls for 4.6 days). The weather is mostly cold and wet.
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!