*Updated for Christmas dates in Brussels 2019-2020.
Brussels at Christmas is a beauty!! It was our second visit to the city, but now it was much more beautiful than the other time, if you have the opportunity do not miss it at this time.
Filled with Christmas markets, merry-go-rounds from another era and adorned to the smallest corner.
This year 2019, Christmas in Brussels officially starts on 29 November with a big parade in the Grand Place, and the opening of all the Christmas markets, the skating rink, the Ferris wheel… everything will be in place until 5 January.
Markets will be open every day from 12:00 to 22:00, except on 24 and 31 December when they close at 18:00.
A good way to get to know the city if it is your first time is with a guided tour of Brussels, in the post of what to see in Brussels you have more things to do in this beautiful European capital.
Brussels Christmas Travel Guide 2019 – Index:
Brussels at Christmas
All the Christmas activities in Brussels are unified in what are called Plaisirs d’Hiver (Winter Pleasures),
In the Plaisirs d’Hiver we can find a huge waterwheel, a skating rink, light shows, merry-go-rounds, activities, parades full of magic and of course a lot of Christmas stands.
They are distributed by the center of Brussels and with a pleasant walk we can enjoy everything, in the map below you can see the location of everything.
There are also other Christmas markets in the villages surrounding Brussels that last a few days, we will also talk about them below.
10 things to do in Brussels for Christmas
1. Marvel at the light show at the Grand Place
One of the things that left us speechless was the sound and light show in the Grand Place because we weren’t expecting it and it caught us by surprise, it is repeated every hour and doesn’t leave anyone indifferent!
Lighting of the Grand Place de Bruxelles at ChristmasLighting of the Grand Place de Bruxelles at Christmas
2. Take a picture with the huge Christmas Tree
In the same Grand Place you can see the big Christmas tree that they put in the center and a real size crib.
3. Enjoy the Great Magic Parade
This Christmas parade can be seen on opening day and every Saturday in December from 18:00 to 20:00 in the Grand Place, of course it is free.
4. Escape to Bruges and Ghent and see the Christmas markets
The villages of Bruges and Ghent also experience Christmas very intensely, if you have time you can visit it on a day trip with a Spanish guide or go on your own.
If you do it for free, the web and app of Omio can come to you great to compare schedules and prices of the means of transport.
5. Climbing the Great Ferris wheel
It is located in the Marché Aux Poissons Christmas market and from above you will have a beautiful view of Brussels at Christmas.
Noria at the Marché Aux Poissons market in Brussels
6. Ice skating on the ice rink
Is there anything more Christmas than ice skating with Christmas carols in the background? The skating rink is located in the square of Monnaie where there are also Christmas stands, the price of the skating rink is 8 €.
Ice skating rink – Brussels at Christmas
7. Try the typical gastronomy
Something to do whether you go to Brussels for Christmas or not to taste the mussels with potatoes, we tried them in Chez Leon, a very typical (and somewhat touristy) place, but they were very good!
And of course, the chocolate and the waffles!!
8. Drinking a glass of hot wine
A good way to get warm is to drink some hot wine, although we prefer a glass of chocolate … although in Spain we see very rare the hot wine, is something very typical of Christmas markets in Brussels.
9. Enjoy the light show in the cathedral of Sainte Catherine
It is located at one end of the square and although it is not as amazing as the Grand Place we think it is worth it!
10. Get on a merry-go-round on your Christmas trip to Brussels
If there’s anything comparable to ice skating with Christmas carols in the background or strolling through Christmas markets, it’s a merry-go-round!
There are two, one at Place Sainte Catherine and one at the Marché Aux Poissons market.
Merry-go-round of the Marché Aux Poissons in Brussels
10+1 Stroll through the Saint-Hubert Galleries
In the style of other great European shopping galleries, they take great care with Christmas decorations, don’t forget to go for a walk. More info on the website of Galeries Saint-Hubert.
Galleries Saint-Hubert of Brussels at Christmas
10+2 Running in the race of Manneken Pis
On December 27th is celebrated this popular race that runs through the most emblematic streets of the city, if it is among your hobbies, I have no doubt that it must be quite an experience!
TAKE A FREE TOUR AND GET TO KNOW THE CITY FROM THE HAND OF A GUIDE WHO WILL TELL YOU ALL THE CURIOSITIES!
5 Brussels Christmas markets
There are five Christmas markets in the centre of Brussels. The two most important are the Marché aux Poissons and the Grand Place.
At the Christmas markets in Brussels not only can you buy all kinds of gifts and motifs to decorate the Christmas tree, you will also find many Belgian food stalls that will attract your attention for its rich aroma.
You have everyone’s location on the map below.
Christmas market of Marché aux Poissons
It is the largest market in Brussels, with more than 250 stalls that will delight lovers of the markets, a huge Ferris wheel for the bravest (and sheltered) and a merry-go-round that seems to have centuries, are some of the things you can enjoy in this market.
DIRECTION: Brandhoutkaai HOW TO GET HERE: Sainte Catherine metro stop.
Christmas market of Marché aux Poissons
Grand Place Christmas Market
In the vicinity of the Grand Place there is also a Christmas market, along with a light show and parades on Saturday afternoons, making the square the Christmas centre of Brussels.
ADDRESS: Grand Place in the centre of Brussels.HOW TO GET HERE: Metro Stop: Gare Central or Train Station: Brussels Central.
Brussels Stock Exchange Christmas Market
It is very close to the Grand Place and is small in comparison with the rest, but has the background of the Brussels Stock Exchange and the Church of St. Nicholas that make it very special.
ADDRESS: Rue du Midi.HOW TO GET HERE: Metro Stop: Gare Central.
Brussels Stock Exchange Christmas Market
Sainte Catherine Square Market
It is very close to the market Marché aux Poissons, just across from the cathedral of the same name there are quite a few small shops and a merry-go-round.
ADDRESS: Plaza Sainte Catherine.HOW TO GET HERE: Sainte Catherine metro stop.
In the cathedral there is a light show every hour
Monnaie Square Market
The Christmas market surrounds the large skating rink with its wooden booths. There are various hot wine and chocolate stalls, which will make the cold of Christmas in Brussels easier to bear.
ADDRESS: Place Monnaie.HOW TO GET HERE: Brouckère metro stop.
Christmas markets around Brussels
There are some Christmas markets around Brussels which can be reached by public transport in less than 30 minutes.
Most of them are only open for a weekend, they can be interesting if it coincides with your visit and you have enough time after seeing all the Christmas activities in Brussels.
It is very easy to go by public transport, we have given you the dates, the address and how to get to each one.
*All dates are updated for Christmas 2019-2020
Boitsfort Christmas market, from 28 November to 1 December 2019. You can get there by tram 8 and buses 17 and 95. Exact location
Christmas market at Karreveld Castle, 6-8 December 2019. Metro stop Osseghem or tram 82 (25 minutes from Brussels). Exact location
Uccle Christmas market, from 4 to 8 December 2019, tram: 97 and 92 Dieweg stop (30 minutes from Brussels city centre). Exact location
Covered Christmas market in Ixelles, from 6 to 8 December 2019, buses 38 and 71 stop at Flaey Square itself (30 minutes by bus from Brussels). Exact location
Covered Christmas market in Woluwé-St-Pierre, from 10 to 15 December 2019, Stockel metro stop on line 1 (28 minutes from Brussels). Exact location
Magical Christmas market in Anderlecht, 13-15 December 2019, metro stop Sint-Guido on line 5 (15 minutes from Brussels). Exact location
Whether you visit Brussels at Christmas or not, you will surely be interested in the post of 15 essential Brussels, with all the things you can not miss from the city!
Accommodation in Brussels at Christmas:
Brussels at Christmas is full of tourists who want to get to know the city on such special dates. We recommend that you book your accommodation as soon as possible.
We always use the hotel search engine Booking. We recommend the easyHotel Brussels City Centre for location, price and good references.
Another option is to rent an apartment through Airbnb, is a website that we have used many times and a different form of accommodation to the hotel that we like very much.
We leave you 25€ DISCOUNT for your first booking on Airbnb.
Photo taken of us at one of the Christmas markets in Brussels
Excursions from Brussels:
If you have enough time you can consider making an excursion from Brussels, we went to Bruges and Ghent by rental car because we also visited Amsterdam on the same trip.
But if you decide to do the excursion on your own we recommend that you use public transport better, it is cheaper and you avoid the problem of parking. You can have a look at Omio’s website to compare prices and schedules.
Another option is to take a day trip from Brussels with a Spanish speaking guide, the most popular are:
Map of Brussels at Christmas:
So much for our Christmas guide to Brussels!
Now all that’s left is to dress up very well and enjoy all the activities that are set in motion on these very special dates.
It’s not the first time we’ve made an escape to a European city at this time and the truth is that if we have to choose we’ll stay with Brussels at Christmas, it’s beautiful and it’s an experience for the senses!
Other articles from our trip to Brussels:
10 ESSENTIAL THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN BRUSSELS