Antwerp Christmas market on the Grote Markt

Why I Love Antwerp Christmas Market

In Belgium, Europe by JurgaThis post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. More info: Disclosure.

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

Antwerp Christmas Market

Antwerp Christmas market is spread over different squares in the historic city centre 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.

The Christmas market in Antwerp is an annual event, and it’s usually open from the first weekend of December till just after Christmas, but this year it will stay open till after New Year, just as most other Christmas markets in Belgium. This year Antwerp Christmas market will be open from Saturday 8 December 2018 until Sunday 6 January 2019.

Grote Markt buildings lit at night during Antwerp Christmas market

The Grote Markt Antwerp

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 is 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

 

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 centre, 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.

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. For some more ideas check this post – Best things to see and do in Antwerp. Here you can find the best deals for Antwerp accommodation.

Kids at the Grote Markt in Antwerp in winter

Greetings from Antwerp

 

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Antwerp Christmas market in Belgium

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Comments

  1. 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 ?

    1. Author

      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.

  2. 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

  3. Is the market open Christmas Day?

    1. Author

      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.

  4. We are due to visit Amsterdam and Antwerp Xmas markets , however we are on a cruise ship, and don’t want to take an expensive tour. Are the markets near the port?

    1. Author

      Hi Jan, Antwerp city centre is quite compact and most cruise ships dock right next to the Steen castle, in the heart of the old town. You don’t need any special tour in order to visit Antwerp or the Christmas market. If you are looking for ideas on how to best plan your time, please check my guides for the best things to do in Antwerp and how to see the best of Amsterdam in one day. They both have a map and even a suggested waking route, so you can easily see the main highlights on your own.
      Have a nice trip!

      1. Thank you , so helpful and such a quick response

    2. Hi Jan, are you by an chance doing the cruise and maritime C903 cruise? If so, see you there 🙂

  5. Hi, When does this years, 2018 Christmas market start in Antwerp?
    Many thanks

    1. Author

      Hi Jonathan, I guess you missed it – it’s right at the top of the post: ‘This year Antwerp Christmas market will be open from Saturday 8 December 2018 until Sunday 6 January 2019’.

  6. Hi, have the dates for 2017/2018 Market been announced as of yet? It looks beautiful!

    1. Author

      Hi Pam, the dates for the Antwerp Christmtmarket this year are as follows: from Saturday 9 December 2017 till Sunday 7 January 2018. Plenty of time to enjoy it! ?

  7. Very tempted to jump on a plane now! After visiting Brussels last month, I can’t get enough of Belgium!

    1. Author

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, Tilly. It’s at the moments like this that I realise that we take so many things for granted. Like the fact that we have such beautiful places like Antwerp, Brussels or Bruges nearby, or that we can go to Amsterdam or Paris for a weekend whenever we feel like… It’s good to be reminded how special it actually is and what a privilege it is to live here in Europe.

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