A complete guide to Ghent Christmas market 2023 (+ map with all locations, market opening times, where to stay and how to get there).
If you’re planning a winter escape to Belgium, you probably already have Brussels and Bruges on your list. However, both cities are very popular in December and they get packed with tourists. Luckily, there is one place, where you can experience real Belgium and avoid the crowds. It’s the medieval city of Ghent, Belgium’s best-kept secret!
The city is the perfect combination of Christmas fun activities and a medieval atmosphere. Take a ride on the giant Ferris Wheel, try some hot Xmas beer or spend the evening at the Moose bar. It’s a great destination for a fun winter break, especially if you’re travelling with kids.
Ghent Christmas market review 2023
The Christmas market in Ghent is set right in the historic heart of the city. There is only one location (unlike Brussels and Bruges), but it stretches from Sint-Baafsplein, along Botermarkt to the end of the Korenmarkt.
Find a map with the exact location at the end of the article.
When does the Ghent Christmas market start?
The Christmas market takes place from 8 December to 31 December. Note that this is more than 2 weeks later than the markets in Bruges and Brussels. Keep that in mind, when you choose your travel dates.
Is the Ghent Christmas market open after Christmas?
Yes, the market continues until New Year’s Eve.
Ghent Christmas market dates 2023
From 8 December to 31 December
Every day from 12:00 PM to 09:00 PM
Saturdays and Sundays – 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
24th and 31th December – 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM
25th December – 02:00 PM to 7:00 PM
(please note that the official dates for 2023 are not yet announced)
Ghent Winter Festival
The Christmas market in Ghent is also known as Ghent Winter Festival (Gentse Winterfeesten). During the festival, the historic centre is transformed into a winter wonderland with wooden huts, vintage merry-go-rounds and sparkling lights.
More than 150 wooden huts are spread in the Old Town, around the Saint Bavo Cathedral, the Belfry and the Saint Nicholas’ Church. Start from Sint-Baafsplein Square and make your way through Botermarkt, then continue along Klein Turkije and finish at Korenmarkt Square.
Here, you’ll also find a huge Ferris Wheel and an ice skating rink. Don’t miss the special Moose bar, where you can try delicious cocktails and the Children’s Village! A small vintage merry-go-round is set at Sint-Veerleplein Square as well, at the beautiful backdrop of Gravensteen Castle.
Ghent Winter Festival Opening times
From 8 December to 31 December
Address: along Sint-Baafsplein, Botermarkt, Klein Turkije and Korenmarkt
Where to stay in Ghent for the Christmas market
If you’re visiting Ghent for the Christmas market, stay in the historic centre in the area between Saint Bavo’s Cathedral and Gravensteen Castle. In this way, you’ll be just a short walk from the Christmas market, all the tourist sights and plenty of restaurants.
For more options take a look at my guide to where to stay in Ghent.
Located on the famous Korenlei, on the bank of the Lys River, this hotel features a great location for the Christmas market. Also, an excellent steakhouse restaurant, Midtown Grill, is available on-site.
Why book – just a short walk from the Christmas market, restaurant with river views, spacious rooms, parking on-site
Excellent modern apartments with a central quiet location. Easy self-check-in and secure parking. At walking distance of all main tourist attractions, restaurants and the Christmas market.
Why book – 400m from St Bavo’s Cathedral, private parking, easy self-check-in
What to do in Ghent at Christmas
Free Walking Tour of Ghent
Take the Free Walking Tour of Ghent to see the city with a knowledgeable guide. In 2 hours, you’ll discover the most important medieval monuments, the city’s history and hidden secrets.
Take a ride on the Ferris Wheel
For the best views over Ghent, head to the Ferris Wheel at Korenmarkt. With its 44m (144ft) height, it is the highest point from where you can enjoy magical views over the festively decorated city.
Climb the Belfry
Another option to see the Ghent Christmas village from above (beside the Ferris Wheel) is the Belfry. You can climb the 300 steps to the top of the watchtower or take the lift from the first floor. From here, you can also enjoy a stunning view of Saint Nicholas’ Church.
Go ice skating
You’ll find the ice skating rink at Botermarkt, right next to the Stadshal (City Pavilion). There is a separate ice rink for children.
Afterwards, head to the Moose Bar for an après-ski party with delicious cocktails.
Taste local delicacies
The wooden stalls are piled high with all kinds of Christmas foods and local delicacies. And each of them is devoted to a certain food – meat, cheese, waffles and even onion!
Visit the Chalet Chouffe
Forget about the mulled wine! Belgians drink beer during the Christmas season. So, don’t miss the Chalet Chouffe located next to Saint Nicholas’ Church. And if you like sweet fruity beers, try the Cherry Chouffe Rouge.
You can also find a lot of stalls selling hot Xmas beer.
How to get to Ghent Christmas market
Gent-Sint-Pieters train station is located about 2.5km away from the historic centre. You’ll need to take tram line 1 from Sint-Pieters station perron 2 to Korenmarkt perron 5. A single ticket costs €3 (find more info here).
There are several car parks in Ghent city centre (see a full list here). The most convenient is Parking Vrijdagmarkt (P1), within a walking distance of the Christmas market.
Ghent Christmas markets map
To help you navigate, I prepared this map with all the market’s locations.
Find more information about the Christmas market on the official website of the Ghent Winter Festival.
Faqs about visiting Ghent Christmas market
Ghent Christmas market takes place from 8 December to 31 December. It is located in the historic city centre, from Sint-Baafsplein Square to the end of Korenmarkt.
Bruges is more picturesque and the Christmas atmosphere is more romantic. However, Ghent offers much more diversity of fun activities, especially for kids. There is a Ferris Wheel, vintage merry-go-rounds, a Moose bar and a Children Village. Plus, there is a castle to visit – Gravensteen. Thus, choose Bruges if you’re looking for a medieval Christmas experience. Ghent is a better option for families with kids.
|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.|
2 Replies to “Ghent Christmas Market (Map + Dates 2023)”
Hi Milena !
Намерих твоята статия за Гент. Бих искала да те попитам струва ли си коледния базар на Гент ? Намирам се в Лондон и обичам да пътувам с влак из Европа особено по Коледа. Ще съм много благодарна ако споделиш мнението си. Благодаря предварително 🙂 !
Ако си в Белгия, Гент си заслужава за еднодневна екскурзия. Но, ако ще идваш специално от Лондон за базара в Гент – според мен не си струва (освен ако не искаш да разгледаш и самия град, който е доста приятен). Bruges или Brussels са по-добра опция за коледни базари. 🙂