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Antwerp Christmas Market 2019, Belgium
December 7, 2019 - January 5, 2020
The medieval city of Antwerp makes for a stunning background to its famous Christmas market. Expanded now into several of the city’s prime historical locations, the Antwerp Christmas Market guarantees a unique experience embellished with ancient buildings while offering contemporary fun, traditional food and soul-warming mulled wine.
Antwerp’s medieval city centre will fill up with hundreds of Christmas stalls offering handicrafts, original trinkets and local winter delicacies – including small fried potatoes with bacon called “spekpatatjes” and hot Belgian chocolate, or a warming glass of mulled wine if you prefer something with a bit more spirit. It’s a tradition at the Antwerp Christmas Market to also have a wide range of typical delicacies from abroad, such as English fish ‘n chips, Vietnamese pho and American pulled pork, while there’s at least as many options for vegans and vegetarians.
During this time the city’s shops remain open on Sundays so you can stroll past Antwerp’s stately town houses, wander into its baroque Stadsfeestzaal or check out its funky concept stores for some last-minute Christmas shopping.
Antwerp Christmas Market special attractions
Ice rink: one of the Christmas market’s most popular attractions is its covered ice skating rink where you can whirl around the statue of Rubens and show off your pirouette skills. Location: Groenplaats, next to the Antwerp Cathedral.
Ferris wheel: for a bit of romance, let the Ferris wheel take you up its 55 metres from where you can enjoy great panoramic views over Antwerp and its thousands of Christmas lights. Location: Steenplein, next to the River Scheldt.
Magical winter Forest: bring back some magic into your life and wander around inside the enchanting winter forest on the Handschoenmarkt in front of the Cathedral, amidst tree sculptures, natural moss and hundreds of sparkling lights.
Fun fairs: the winter fun fair that runs along the River Scheldt is where you should head to for some good old-school fun such as taking a ride on a merry-go-round, fishing for yellow ducks and eating candy floss.
For more winter fun in Antwerp, read our 9 Things to Do in Antwerp in Winter.
Winter bars: sip one – or more – of Belgium’s famous local beers in one of Antwerp’s cosy winter bars. Location: spread around the city, but especially on Steenplein and Groenplaats.
Digital wall of wishes: fun for kids and adults alike, leave your new year’s wishes to the world on Antwerp’s interactive wall of wishes.
New Year’s eve fireworks: count down in style at the banks of the River Scheldt with the majestic Antwerp Cathedral in the background, and marvel at the dazzling fireworks before hitting town again for a spot of dancing.
Mistletoe: kiss your loved one(s) underneath the giant mistletoe on the Grote Markt (Antwerp’s main square).
Where is the Antwerp Christmas Market 2019 – 2020
Since 2010 the Antwerp Christmas Market expanded from its traditional spot in the shadow of the city’s cathedral on Groenplaats to now wind its way from Groenplaats to Grote Markt and across Suikerrui towards the river up to Steenplein.
If you pass through Belgium’s capital, why not check out also the Brussels Christmas Market.
If you arrive in Antwerp by train, then you will notice the Christmas decoration and lights from Antwerp’s beautiful Central Station all the way to the quayside.
When is the Antwerp Christmas Market 2019 – 2020
The Antwerp Christmas Market will run this year from Saturday 7 December 2019 to Sunday 5 January 2020. Opening times are Monday to Thursday from noon to 10pm; Fridays and Saturdays from noon till midnight; Sundays from noon till 10pm; with exceptions on 24 and 31 December, and on 1 and 5 January when it’s open from noon to 6pm.
Important dates for the Antwerp Christmas Market 2019 – 2020
Saturday 7 December: grand opening ceremony that starts at noon. The opening ceremony’s programme includes an action-packed snowboarding event “Rain ‘n Snow” where local and international snowboarders will compete for the Belgian Championship title (noon till midnight); a circus and face painting fun for kids at 2pm; a beautiful ice-skating show at 5pm featuring the best of musicals such as La La Land; an illuminated winter forest with tree sculptures, lights, sounds and smells (5:45pm); Belgian pop and soul band Soulsister will perform at 7pm at Joe’s Christmas House; and DJs and dance music in Bar Den from 8pm onwards. Click here for the full programme details.
Tuesday 31 December: revel at the spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks above the River Scheldt
Other things to do in Antwerp
If this is your first time in Belgium’s second city then get a headstart and read our article on Essential Antwerp: of Beer and Rubens.
Arrange your accommodation well in advance as Antwerp hotels get booked up quickly during the period of the Antwerp Christmas Market. To book one of the numerous Antwerp hotels, enter your dates in our hotel comparison engine to search hundreds of sites for the best deal:
For more information on Antwerp travel:
Browse the official Visit Antwerp website.
Cover photo credit: Gianni Camilleri
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