Christmas Markets in Belgium are very popular. They exude a fantastic atmosphere and offer great shopping opportunities. There are a few notable Belgian Christmas Markets particularly Brussels Winter Wonderland and the Bruges Christmas Market and also a relatively new market in Ypres, which is now in its third year.
Brussels Christmas Market, the Winter Wonders takes place in the heart of Brussels. Hailed as “Europe’s most original Christmas market” by British tour operators. Exhibitors from all over Europe will set up their wooden chalets in the Grand Place, Place St Catherine, around the Bourse (Stock exchange) in the Place du Marché aux Poissons – selling all manner of gastronomic specialities, handicrafts and other unusual stocking-fillers.
The Outdoor Ice-Rink can be found at the Place du Marché aux Poissons and the other attractions such as The Big Wheel and the Bar will open from 25th November until 1st January 2012, the duration of the market season. The Sound and Light show will take place in the Grand-Place as usual.
Transport: B-europe trains run daily for approximately 52 euro’s return and takes 5 hours.
For all you international students craving some real christmas spirit including the lights, music , mulled wine and crowds of overly happy people then the Christmas markets are calling you.
With over 200 wooden stalls hidden tucked into side streets and under the big ferris wheel, the city of Brussels is one of Europe’s most praised Christmas locations.
The Christmas market or ‘Winter Pret’ as it’s locally called runs through the holiday season until mid-January with visitors coming in from across Europe and even as far as North America.
Some visitors shared their reasons for traveling to Brussels this year; “It’s great reputation and family fun feel sells it for us” with an ice rink, sledding park, indoor ski centre, ice monster park, giant ferris wheel and beautiful old merry go rounds to enjoy, brussels offers something for all members of the family.
Other visitors travelled to experience the unique light show put on daily at 19:00, 21:00 and 22:00 between the Grand Palace and the main square; “ an experience I have never seen anywhere else I have been during Christmas time and certainly something to bring me back, it’s magic !”
More interested in shopping for all your Christmas gifts than spinning on the ice ? The stalls offer everything from silver jewellery to wooden toys and leather bags to oxfam charity gifts. You’ll not be left short for idea’s. The place also caters for a wide budget range so everybody comes away satisfied.
The opening times for the Brussels Christmas Market are:
Monday to Thursday: 12 am – 9 pm
Friday to Sunday: 11 am – 10 pm
24th & 31st December: 11 am – 6 pm
25th December & 1st January: 12 am – 9 pm
Ice Rink opening times:
Daily open from 26/11/10 to 02/01/2011: from 11.00- 22.00..
Attention: on 24 and 31/12 closed at 20.00; on 25/12 and 01/01 open at 12.00.
Train tickets with NS tickets cost just over €70 return journey to Groningen, but cheap tickets can be found on the website www.b-europe.com, which can be gotten from Groningen for just €52 euro return to Groningen.
If you have a day or two to spare this Christmas season why not take a trip to the markets and experience the commotion and fantastic spirit of this time of year…
Text by Grace cooney and Niamh Allen
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