Saturday, November 10, 2007
Magical Christmas Markets in Belgium
It is cold this weekend so time to think of warm cheer and the enjoyment of a Belgian Christmas market. St Nicholas (Sint Niklaas) arrives on 6 December to visit good children. Shops abound with yummy treats such as marzipan, flat hard cakes known as ‘klaasjes’ and ‘speculoos’, a hard gingerbread molded in the form of St. Nicholas.
Christmas markets are an old holiday tradition in Belgium where both locals and visitors can shop for original and traditional decorations along with other Christmas goodies at open-air stalls in the heart of the city.
Many towns and villages throughout Belgium hold Christmas markets. Most will be aglow with colorful illuminations around their main streets and shopping centers.
In all major cities, shopping will be possible on the four Sundays preceding the holiday. The local Tourist Offices can provide visitors with details on the numerous nativity scenes on display, Christmas markets, concerts and other seasonal events.
Brussels will hold its annual European Christmas market on the Place St. Catherine, from 1 December to 1 January. (M-F: 11-20h & Sat/Sun: 11-22h)
An array of products will be available in a warm and friendly atmosphere. This market with its cheerful lights, delicious aromas and a vast number of stalls promises a true holiday atmosphere. In addition to the Christmas Market the Brussels ice skating rink offers fun for all. This year for the first time a separate small skating rink invites toddlers to enjoy this wonderful winter sport too. And the holiday atmosphere would not be complete without a visit to the Grand’Place decorated in festive lights for the occasion. For more information: www.plaisirsdhiver.be
Antwerp – 7 December to 6 January
Bruges 24 November to 6 January Christmas Market in the historical center of the city, also on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Gent – 7 to 24 December
Ieper – 30 November to 26 December
Leuven – 12 to 16 December
Liege - 155 decorated wooden cottages form a magical Christmas Village throughout December. Details 011-324/254 9797. The East Cantons is an area to spend a few hours. Don’t miss the opportunity to attend a Christmas concert given by regional choirs and musical societies during the period of Advent, when the Christmas lights appear! Tourism Office of the East Cantons at Tel: 011/328022.
Mechelen – 14 to 16 December
Ostend 30 November to 24 December, Christmas market with ice rink – 8 December to 6 January
For various ways to travel to Belgium, visit EuroTravel