Where to Stay in Brussels for Christmas Markets – 7 Best areas

In this article, we will look at the best areas to stay in Brussels for Christmas Markets (include map), how to get to the Christmas Market, and the best hotels in Brussels for all budget travelers.

Brussels is a wonderful destination for experiencing the magic of Christmas markets. The city comes alive with festive decorations, twinkling lights, and a variety of stalls offering delicious treats, handcrafted gifts, and holiday cheer. 

The Grand-Place, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the heart of Brussels’ Christmas festivities. It’s beautifully adorned with a massive Christmas tree, a light and sound show, and an impressive nativity scene. The entire square is transformed into a winter wonderland.

Winter Wonders (Plaisirs d’Hiver) is the main Christmas market in Brussels. It stretches from the Grand-Place through the Bourse (Stock Exchange) area to Place Sainte-Catherine. You’ll find numerous wooden chalets selling gifts, decorations, and traditional Belgian food and drinks. 

At Place de la Monnaie, there’s a large ice skating rink where you can enjoy some winter fun. It’s a popular activity for both locals and tourists.

Don’t miss out on the delicious Belgian specialties like waffles, chocolate, and hot Brussels waffles. You can also warm up with mulled wine or a cup of hot chocolate.

There’s often a giant Ferris wheel set up in the Christmas market area, offering spectacular views of the city illuminated by holiday lights.

Throughout the holiday season, various events and performances take place, including concerts, parades, and street entertainment

Apart from the Christmas market stalls, Brussels has many boutique shops and stores where you can find unique gifts, chocolates, and souvenirs.

On Christmas Eve, many Belgians celebrate with a festive dinner, and some attend midnight Mass. Christmas Day is a quieter, family-oriented celebration, with many places closed. It’s advisable to check opening hours and make any necessary reservations in advance.

Remember to dress warmly, as Brussels can be quite chilly during the winter months. The Christmas markets typically start at the end of November or early December and run until the first week of January.

Where to stay in Brussels for Christmas Markets?

The best areas to stay in Brussels for Christmas Markets are Grand Place (Grote Markt), Sainte Catherine, Place de la Monnaie, Sablon, Ixelles, Etterbeek, and Saint-Gilles. Brussels has an efficient public transportation system, you can easily explore markets wherever you choose to stay.

In general, Brussels City Center includes the areas around Grand Place (Grote Markt), Sainte Catherine, and Place de la Monnaie are the best places to stay in Brussels for first-time travelers. It is the heart of the city, which has the highest concentrations of hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, and Christmas markets.

Accommodations tend to be in high demand, especially during the Christmas season. It’s advisable to book your accommodations well in advance to secure the best options and prices. 

Map of the best areas and neighborhoods in Brussels for Christmas Markets:

Map of best areas to Stay in Brussels for Christmas Markets
Map of best areas to Stay in Brussels for Christmas Markets

How to get to the Brussels Christmas Market?

Brussels Airport is the main international airport serving Brussels and is located about 12 km northeast of the city center. You can take a train, bus, or taxi from the airport to the city center.

Brussels South Charleroi Airport serves several low-cost carriers, located about 46 km south of Brussels. You can reach the city center by shuttle bus or train.

Brussels is well-connected by train to major European cities like Paris, Amsterdam, London, and Cologne. The main train station in Brussels is Brussels-Central (Gare Centrale), but there are also two other major stations, Brussels-South (Gare du Midi) and Brussels-North (Gare du Nord).

Brussels has an extensive public transportation system operated by STIB/MIVB. It includes trams, buses, and the metro. It has four metro lines (1, 2, 5, and 6) that cover most parts of the city.

You can purchase tickets for individual journeys or use a multi-journey card. The Brussels Card offers unlimited access to public transport within the city and provides discounts to many museums and attractions.

The central areas of Brussels, especially around the Grand Place, are compact and pedestrian-friendly. Walking is an excellent way to explore these areas and discover hidden gems.

7 Best areas to stay in Brussels for Christmas Markets:

1. Grand Place (Grote Markt)

The Grand Place is the central square of Brussels and is renowned for its stunning architecture, the iconic Town Hall, and the King’s House. During the Christmas season, it transforms into a magical wonderland with a large Christmas tree, a light show, and a bustling Christmas market.

Staying near the Grand Place also means  you can easily visit the market multiple times a day, enjoy the light shows, and indulge in festive treats. It also offers easy access to many of Brussels’ top attractions, including the Manneken Pis statue and numerous museums.

The area around the Grand Place is filled with restaurants, cafes, and shops. You can enjoy traditional Belgian cuisine and shop for souvenirs and gifts easily.

There are several shopping streets and areas near the Grand Place, including Rue Neuve and the Royal Saint-Hubert Galleries, making it convenient for shoppers.

The Grand Place is well-connected by public transportation, including buses and trams. If you want to explore other parts of Brussels, you’ll have easy access to public transit.

Best places to stay in Brussels in Grand Place for Christmas Markets:


2. Sainte Catherine

Sainte Catherine (Saint Catherine) is one of the popular areas to stay in Brussels for those looking to visit the Christmas markets. The area is known for its charming atmosphere during the holiday season, as it hosts one of the city’s most famous Christmas markets.

Sainte Catherine is located near the Brussels waterfront, offering beautiful views and a serene atmosphere during the Christmas season. You can take leisurely strolls along the canals and enjoy the festive decorations.

The ice skating rink at Saint Catherine’s Christmas market is a major attraction. Even if you’re not an expert skater, it’s a fun and festive activity to enjoy during your stay.

Sainte Catherine is known for its seafood restaurants and bistros. During the Christmas market, you can sample a wide variety of culinary delights, including seafood dishes and traditional Belgian treats.

This area has a local, neighborhood feel to it, making it a great choice if you want to experience the holiday season in a more authentic Brussels setting.

While Sainte Catherine has its own Christmas market, you’re not far from other popular markets like the one at the Grand Place. It’s easy to explore multiple markets during your stay.

Best places to stay in Brussels in Sainte Catherine for Christmas Markets:


3. Place de la Monnaie

Place de la Monnaie is known for its Christmas market with a focus on arts, crafts, and cultural performances. It is a central square located in the heart of Brussels and it’s convenient for exploring many of the city’s Christmas markets and holiday attractions.  

The square is named after the Royal Theatre of La Monnaie (Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in French, Koninklijke Muntschouwburg in Dutch), which is Brussels’ renowned opera house. It hosts various opera, ballet, and classical music performances.

The Brussels Stock Exchange building, known as Bourse de Bruxelles in French and Beurs van Brussel in Dutch, is a neoclassical architectural gem situated near Place de la Monnaie.

Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert/Koninklijke Sint-Hubertusgalerijen are elegant, glass-roofed shopping arcades dating back to the 19th century and house a variety of luxury shops, boutiques, cafes, and theaters. They are located just a short walk from the square.

Best places to stay in Place de la Monnaie for Christmas Markets:


4. Sablon

Sablon is one of the best areas to stay in Brussels during the Christmas season, especially for travelers seeking a more upscale and refined holiday experience. Sablon is known for its elegant atmosphere and is home to a charming Christmas market with a touch of sophistication. 

Sablon is an upscale neighborhood with cobblestone streets, antique shops, and art galleries. The Christmas market in Sablon offers a less crowded experience compared to the city center.

Sablon is famous for its chocolate shops, and during the Christmas season, these chocolatiers often create special holiday treats and gifts. It’s a paradise for chocolate lovers.

The neighborhood boasts some of Brussels’ finest cafes and restaurants. You can enjoy gourmet meals and exquisite Belgian cuisine in a cozy and festive setting.

If you’re interested in antiques, Sablon is a great place to explore. Sablon Square (Place du Grand Sablon) hosts an antique market on weekends. You can spend time browsing antique stores and galleries for one-of-a-kind finds. 

Notre-Dame du Sablon Church Gothic church is a prominent landmark in the area. Its intricate architecture and interior are worth exploring.

Best places to stay in Brussels in Sablon for Christmas Markets:


5. Ixelles

Ixelles is a trendy and diverse neighborhood with its own unique charm. Staying in Ixelles during the Christmas season offers a different perspective, away from the hustle and bustle of the city center. 

Ixelles is a favorite among locals and expats, offering an authentic Brussels experience. During Christmas, you’ll get a sense of how the locals celebrate the holiday season.

Ixelles is known for its trendy boutiques, vintage shops, and a diverse array of cafes and restaurants. You can enjoy shopping for unique gifts and trying various cuisines during your stay.

Place Eugène Flagey, commonly referred to as Flagey Square, is a central point in Ixelles. It is known for its iconic Art Deco building, the Flagey Building, which was originally a radio broadcasting station.  

Ixelles is home to beautiful parks like Parc Tenbosch and Parc Leopold, where you can take leisurely walks and enjoy a serene environment during the holiday season.

While not directly in the city center, Ixelles is well-connected by public transportation, making it easy to reach the main Christmas markets and attractions in Brussels.

Best places to stay in Brussels in Ixelles for Christmas Markets:


6. Etterbeek

Etterbeek is a tranquil and residential neighborhood in Brussels that offers a peaceful and relaxed setting for visitors during the Christmas season.

Etterbeek is part of the European Quarter of Brussels, where many European Union institutions and offices are located. This makes it an important hub for EU-related activities and international organizations.

Staying in Etterbeek allows you to experience life as a local resident of Brussels. You can explore neighborhood cafes, shops, and parks to get a taste of daily life.

Etterbeek is well-connected by public transportation, including trams and buses. You can easily reach the city center and other Christmas markets in a relatively short time.

The neighborhood features Parc du Cinquantenaire,  which is a large public park featuring beautiful gardens, museums, and monuments, including the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History.

Best places to stay in Brussels in Etterbeek for Christmas Markets:


7. Saint-Gilles

Saint-Gilles is known for its diverse community and vibrant street life. During the Christmas season, you can experience a mix of cultural traditions and local celebrations.

The Parvis de Saint-Gilles is a lively square in the neighborhood where you can often find street performers, live music, and events during the Christmas season.

Saint-Gilles is well-connected to the Brussels-South railway station, one of the city’s major transportation hubs. The Horta Museum is a popular attraction for those interested in Art Nouveau.

Best places to stay in Brussels in Saint-Gilles for Christmas Markets:


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In conclusion, Grand Place (Grote Markt), Sainte Catherine, Place de la Monnaie, Sablon, Ixelles, Etterbeek, and Saint-Gilles are the best places to stay in Brussels for Christmas Markets. They offer easy access to major Christmas Markets both on foot and by using public transportation.

About Author: Linda Smith

I'm Linda Smith, the Hotel Expert, an experienced travel blogger who passionate about traveling. I'm here to share with you all my travel experiences and tips. I cover a wide range of travel topics, specializing in sharing information about the best areas, neighborhoods, and hotels in each city. I hope all these things will make your travel easier.

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