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Antwerp Christmas Market: 2023-2024 Dates & What to Expect

Antwerp Christmas Market: 2023-2024 Dates & What to Expect

Are you thinking of visiting Antwerp Christmas Market in Belgium and wondering when it’s open, where exactly to go, and what to expect? This short guide should answer all your questions. Find out!

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.

We live in Belgium and Antwerp Christmas Market is one of our personal favorites 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 all the practical info and some insider tips. Read on!

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE TO VISIT Brussels Christmas Market & Bruges Christmas Market


Where to Find Antwerp Christmas Market

Antwerp Christmas market is normally spread over different squares in the historic city center: The Grote Markt, Suikerrui, Handschoenmarkt, the Groenplaats, and Steenplein at the foot of Antwerp Steen castle.

This winter (2023-2024), however, there are some works at Steenplein, so that location will be replaced by two new ones: Hendrik Conscienceplein, a cozy square in the old town, and also Operaplein, which is located halfway between the central railway station and the old town.

These are one by one the nicest places in Antwerp, so the market setting is very picturesque and also cozy.

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 until the first weekend of January.

In the 2023-2024 winter season, the Antwerp Christmas market will be open from December 8, 2023, until January 7, 2024.

During this period, Antwerp Christmas Market is normally open daily, from noon to 10 PM. On Fridays and Saturdays, it’s open until midnight. On December 24th and 31st, the market closes at 6 PM.

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 typically has over a hundred market stalls and is spread out over some of the most beautiful locations in the city center.

Just by walking from one place to the other, you will see many of the main landmarks in the old town.

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 your friends, family, or young children as there is plenty to do for all ages.

A fair with some children’s rides and a Ferris Wheel is usually located at the Scheldt River next to the Castle.

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

TIP: See our guide to Antwerp with kids for some inspiration for fun things to do in the city (not just for families!).

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: In the past, Antwerp Zoo organized a really nice light event called China Light. It’s absolutely worth a visit as well! Last winter, however, this event took place in Planckendael animal park which is located near Mechelen, and not in Antwerp Zoo itself. So you may have to make a separate trip if interested.

For some more ideas on what to see and do in Antwerp, make sure also to check our city guides below!

READ ALSO: Best Things to Do in Antwerp & The Hidden Gems of Antwerp

TIP: If you can, plan on spending a weekend in Antwerp and staying for at least one or two nights. That way you can experience more of what this great city has to offer. See some hotel suggestions below.


Where to stay for Antwerp Christmas market

Here are some of the best-rated hotels in the heart of the old town, close to everything and perfect for sightseeing and the Christmas market:

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 articles via the links below.

If you are planning a winter visit to Belgium, but are not sure what to expect in terms of the weather, check out our guide to traveling to Belgium in winter.

Belgium travel guides:

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Antwerp Christmas market in Belgium

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Friday 9th of June 2023

Hi we are a party of 13 staying in Antwerp for New year 23-24. We are mostly 65 plus, but have 2 younger family members visiting from Oz. Can you suggest somewhere for our NYE dinner? we want somewhere nice but not too 'posh' any suggestions would be helpful, we want to get it booked as there are so many of us!


Friday 16th of December 2022

Hi, I have a teenager daughter who follows a strict vegan diet, could you let me know if there are restaurants and supermarkets in Antwerp that cater for anyone following this diet.


Sunday 18th of December 2022

@Jurga, Thank you for letting me know.


Saturday 17th of December 2022

Hi Nicola, I'm quite sure that you'll find plenty of restaurants that have vegan food, but I'm not sure if there are some supermarkets that are exclusively vegan. Also, I have no personal experience with this, so I really can't help you. Try to do some research online. If you just google 'vegan restaurants in Antwerp', you get plenty of suggestions.


Sunday 11th of December 2022

Hi , We leave England for Antwerp on the 19th December 2022 and are staying at the Hyllit Hotel near Antwerp Central , I know Antwerp rather well but my question is where is nice to eat near the greonplaats ( Christmas Market ) ?


Monday 12th of December 2022

Hi Andy, there are lots of nice places to eat in that area - it's the heart of the city with tons of restaurants. It really depends on your interests, how 'fancy' you want to go, and what kind of food you like. Here are some suggestions for all budgets: Restaurant Sir Anthony Van Dijck is our favorite for when we're looking for a more special experience. Also Pelgrimhuis is in a similar style and really nice. These are on the pricy side. RAS restaurant by the river is also on the fancier side, if you are looking for something a bit more upscale. If you want to try some Belgian food, check out De Pottekijker. For steaks, hamburgers, etc. try Meat Factory. Bia Mara is quite good for a simple quick meal like fish&chips. And there are many, many more. Have a great time in Antwerp!

Steve Van de Voorde

Friday 25th of November 2022

Don’t forget now the new 5star hotel Botanic Sanctuary Hotel at the Botanic Garden in the theater district in the center of Antwerp. Also a low budget is the Prizotel in Antwerp which is the Design budget Hotel bij Radison (20 minutes on foot from center but trams nearby) .

China light is not in Antwerp zoo this year but only in Planckendael.


Thursday 1st of December 2022

Thanks for the tips, Steve.


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.


Saturday 18th of December 2021

@Jurga, Aahaar if you like great Indian food! We are regulars there!


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!

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