This December we decided to take a quick 72 hour mini-break in Belgium for this years festive holidays. With it only being an hour from many of the UK’s main airports, it’s a must visit place for this years festive period. Here we have packed in what we think were the top things to do!
Brussels Christmas Market
Brussels as a city is like many others. Full of great architecture, lots of shopping and lots of nice places to dine out. With an amazing history it is a must visit for a few days and is the gateway to Belgium. Visit the Grand Place, where a festive light show will leave you standing in awe (but watch your pockets!) or hop around the city looking at the amazing street art and even stand and admire the hilarious Manekin Pis.
What made it special this time of year were the Christmas markets. These markets compared to the UK are packed full of bars, food and festive gifts. The downside are some of the stalls are repeated and compared to say Bath Christmas market in the UK, not as varied.
Beware that some things are pricey – ice skating and the big ferris wheel for example. Also beware that people charge you for a reusable cup for your mulled wine or hot chocolate, (which is cool the first time) but I had the experience of going to a stall where they made me pay for the cup again (although I already had a cup – cheeky!).
The markets are very busy and it can feel a little like you’re cattle being pushed along at points.
Everyone loves Belgian beer and they serve up many different varieties. Personally I love the sweet berry beers and visiting the Delerium bar/cafe area, they have a mega choice. Try the cherry beer or Delerium Tremens red cherry beer.
What Belgian’s also do well are waffles, and you can get them fresh everywhere! They come in both sweet and savoury with many different toppings. Not one to miss!
Part of the triangle of must dos food wise, chocolate is also on our list. Belgium is famous for its chocolates and they are seriously tasty (make sure to bring some Galler chocolate home with you!). Visit Bruges for some amazing chocolate shops. You can even do chocolate, waffles and beer experiences, if you had more time.
Another plus point on this trip is that train lines are mega cheap in Belgium. We decided to take a day trip to Bruges (15 euro return!). The journey can take from 1hr to 1hr 20, depending on what train you take, with 70 trains to and from the area per day. It is a good 15 minute walk from the train station to Bruges centre. Bruges is full of beautiful architecture and bustling side streets (especially at Christmas when it feel extra festive). Beware again it is very touristy, especially through the festive season.
If we were to visit again, Bruges would be on our list for 2 days of exploration as there is so much to explore!
Why not take a visit to the windmills or maybe the oldest pub in Bruges for a good Belgian beer and warm atmosphere, or walk around the town come nightfall – where the festive lights reflect beautifully against the water.
So there it is, 72 hours in Belgium, a quick roundup of what we enjoyed!