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Why I Love Antwerp Christmas Market

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Why I Love Antwerp Christmas Market

Christmas markets are very popular in Belgium. But if you visit just one, which one do you choose? They all have something similar and something unique. Antwerp Christmas Market is one of my favorite of all the biggest Belgium Christmas markets, mainly because of its most spectacular setting.

In this article, you can learn more about the Antwerp Christmas market and find some insider tips. Find out!

Antwerp Christmas Market

Antwerp Christmas market is spread over different squares in the historic city center which makes it very cozy. Everything is within short walking distance: The Grote Markt, Suikerrui, Handschoenmarkt, the Groenplaats, and Steenplein at the foot of Antwerp Steen castle.

Grote Markt buildings lit at night during Antwerp Christmas market
The buildings of Grote Markt
 

When is Antwerp Christmas Market Open

The Christmas market in Antwerp is an annual event, and it’s usually open from the first weekend of December till just after Christmas.

In 2021, Antwerp Christmas market should be open from December 3, 2021, till January 2, 2021. However, the official dates haven’t been announced yet.

Christmas Market on the Grote Markt in Antwerp
Christmas Market on the Grote Markt in Antwerp
Antwerp Steen castle lit at night during annual Christmas market, Belgium
Het Steen Castle in Antwerp
 

What to expect when visiting Antwerp Christmas market

Antwerp Christmas market has over 100 market stalls. The atmosphere is great and even if you don’t buy anything, you can enjoy a cup of hot chocolate or a glass of glühwein, taste some Belgian waffles and smoutebollen, or go ice skating.

Antwerp Christmas market and ice skating rink
Ice skating rink in Antwerp
 

You can easily visit Antwerp Christmas market with children as there is plenty to do for everyone. A fair with a Ferris Wheel and some children’s rides are located at the Scheldt river next to the castle.

The ice skating rink can be found on the Groenplaats (location varies). There are plenty of other family-friendly activities in the city to keep you entertained during the day as well (zoo, aquarium, museums,..).

Antwerp Ferris Wheel and Christmas market lit at night
Antwerp Ferris Wheel and Christmas market
 

Antwerp in winter

If you are looking for a short winter getaway in Europe, Antwerp is a great choice. It has plenty to offer for young and old.

Antwerp is the home base of Rubens, the world diamond center, it also provides some of the best shopping in Belgium.

Furthermore, there are lots of wining and dining options for any budget, all in a beautiful historical setting. Add the warm Christmas atmosphere and you cannot go wrong with visiting Antwerp in December.

TIP: Every winter, Antwerp Zoo organizes a really nice light event called China Light. It’s absolutely worth a visit as well!

For some more ideas for a family trip, please check this post about things to do in Antwerp with kids. Make sure to also check our city guide below!

READ ALSO: Best Things to Do in Antwerp

If you can, plan on spending a weekend in Antwerp and stay for at least one or two nights. That way you can experience more that this great city has to offer. Here you can find the best deals for Antwerp accommodation.

Kids at the Grote Markt in Antwerp in winter
Greetings from Antwerp
 

READ ALSO: Best European Christmas Markets – Hidden Gems

If you are looking for more travel inspiration and tips for visiting Belgium, please check our other guides below.

If you found this post useful, don’t forget to bookmark it and share it with your friends. Are you on Pinterest? Pin this image!

Antwerp Christmas market in Belgium
 
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Christine

Friday 4th of October 2019

Hello! We will be visiting Antwerp for Christmas this year (from Australia). Do you recommend doing a special meal out for Christmas on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Will the market be open on Christmas Day? If so, maybe we should do our special meal at a restaurant on Christmas Eve, and eat at the markets on Christmas Day. Will restaurants be open on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day? So hard to arrange this from this far away. Any suggestions for great restaurants open over Christmas would also be appreciated.

Jurga

Monday 7th of October 2019

Hi Christine, Antwerp Christmas market opening times are below: Monday to Thursday and Sunday: noon - 10pm Friday and Saturday: noon to midnight Exceptions: 24 & 31 December and 1 and 5 January: noon to 6pm. I'm afraid I can't help you much with the restaurants. It's especially difficult on Christmas Eve (24/12) as that's a family evening here in Belgium. So I think most restaurants will be closed. On the other hand, it's a big city and there is always something open; I just don't know what and I really have no time to research. Finding a nice hotel with a restaurant is probably your safest bet. Or something like Hard Rock cafe Antwerp - they often have special events for Holidays and seem to be open on 24/12. If you are looking for a really nice place for Christmas Day, I think Sir Anthony Van Dijck restaurant is open. It's a place for finer dining, but we love it for special occasions. Hope this helps a bit. Otherwise check for the best Antwerp restaurants on TripAdvisor and then try checking their websites to see if they are open or not. Enjoy your trip!

Maire

Sunday 22nd of September 2019

Hi Jurga,

Thinking of visiting the market with a 2 year old in tow the weekend before Christmas. Is there any hotel or area you'd recommend for us to stay in?

Thanks, your blog is great! Máire

Jurga

Sunday 22nd of September 2019

Hi Maire, there are so many really nice hotels in Antwerp. It's hard for me to suggest something specific not knowing what you like or what your budget is. Also, I'd book asap because the weekends before Christmas are usually very busy. If you have a budget and want to be in the center of the action, Hilton on the Groenplaats is right where the Christmas market is. I'm not sure if the noise from the outside bothers inside the hotel, but I'd assume not. Otherwise, take a look at other hotels nearby using the map function on Booking.com. If you rather stay close to the Central Station, Radisson Blue Astrid is very well located. Also here, open the map and take a look at the alternatives nearby. Another nice alternatives are Hotel Indigo and NH Antwerp City Center (the latter is a bit further from the main streets, but still well located). Hope this helps.

veronica blampied

Wednesday 19th of December 2018

hello we are coming over to Antwerp Christmas week i was wondering do you need cash to pay for the items at the Christmas market or do they all hold master card facilities ? also we are staying at the Radisson Blu Astrid hotel will we be able to walk there ?

Jurga

Wednesday 19th of December 2018

Hi Veronica, yes, you definitely need cash at the Christmas market. Some stands might take cards, but I don't think the food and drink stands have credit card facilities - we always pay cash. Also, in Belgium you have to pay for the use of bathroom facilities, so it's always useful to have some small change as well. Your hotel is located close to the Central Station. You can definitely walk to the Christmas market, it's about 20-30 min walk along the busiest shopping street in Antwerp. If you find that's too far, you can also take a tram/pre-metro to Groenplaats station.

Dianne

Thursday 13th of December 2018

Really excited to be visiting this market next week as part of a mini cruise thank you for all the lovely pice and useful information

Jurga

Friday 14th of December 2018

Enjoy your trip, Dianne!

Kirsty

Monday 3rd of December 2018

Is the market open Christmas Day?

Jurga

Tuesday 4th of December 2018

Hi Kirsty, from what I see it's open on the 25th. Here are Antwerp Christmas market opening times for 2018/19 winter season: Sunday to Thursday: noon - 10pm Friday and Saturday: noon to midnight Exceptions are 24/12 and 31/12 when the market closes at 6pm.

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