According to travel website Big 7 Travel, the winter event Winter Wonders Brussels is the number one among Christmas markets, ahead of Berlin, Chicago, Frankfurt, Vienna and other well-known Christmas cities. Winter Wonders Brussels 2022, by the way, is much more than just a Christmas market. At various locations in the city, along a route of more than three kilometers, various activities take place and there are all kinds of attractions you can enjoy. Winter Wonders Brussels 2022 takes place from November 25th, 2022 through January 1st, 2023. We present below a Christmas walk along the top attractions of Winter Wonders Brussels in the historic center of the city.
Winter Wonders Brussels 2022: the world’s best Christmas market
Travel website Big 7 Travel named Winter Wonders Brussels 2022 the best Christmas market in the world! Brussels thus “beats” other well-known Christmas cities such as Berlin, Chicago and Birmingham. Big 7 Travel did not only take into account visitor numbers and surface area, but also the varied offer, the presence of local traditions and crafts, the different forms of entertainment and so on.
Winter Wonders Brussels cannot be called a small winter event: on a route of almost three kilometers, you will find about 250 chalets! The event mainly takes place at Grand Place, Place de la Monnaie, Place De Brouckère, Place du Bourse and Vismet. But there are also activities going on at other locations, such as at Grand Hospice and Mont des Arts. High time for a walk along the world’s best Christmas market.
Christmas walk along the best Christmas market in the world: Winter Wonders Brussels 2022
We present below a unique Christmas walk that leads you along the main attractions and activities of Winter Wonders Brussels 2022. The route is over four kilometers long and passes many historical and tourist sites, including Brussels’ most famous resident: Manneken Pis. The starting point is Brussels-Central station.
GPX and PDF files of this Christmas walk
Do not get lost in Brussels! Those wishing to walk with GPS navigation on mobile phone or hiking GPS can download the GPX file of this walk below. We also offer PDF files with a detailed walking map split into three parts, as well as a PDF file with the text and the pictures of this article. You can easily print these PDF files or view them on your mobile phone. For the GPX file and the PDF files together we charge a small fee of 1.45 euros. The files are available immediately after online payment.
To Grand Place via Place d’Espagne
At the main exit of Brussels-Central station, turn right onto Boulevard de l’Impératrice. Place d’Espagne is about 160 meters further on your left. You will recognize the square by the statues of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, characters from the books of the famous Spanish writer Cervantes. You immediately feel the Christmas spirit with some enchanting light installations in the “Spirit of the North” theme. The brilliantly lit houses, mushrooms and trees are a feast for the eyes, especially at night!
Along the Rue du Marché aux Herbes and Rue de la Colline, you continue to the world-famous Grand Place, with its beautiful 15th-century town hall and 17th-century guild houses. On your right you pass the Galeries Royales Saint Hubert, covered shopping galleries that are fantastically decorated at Christmas time. The most striking attraction of Winter Wonders on the Grand Place is the 18-meter-high Christmas tree in the center of the square. The nativity scene stands at one edge of the Grand Place. According to annual tradition, a sound and light show goes on here in the evening, for which the facades of the guild houses and town hall serve as a backdrop. The sound and light show this year has a musical world tour as its theme. Watch a video impression of this show below. The video can also be seen on our YouTube channel.
Also visit the town hall courtyard, where a tribute to the Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte takes place during this edition of Winter Wonders. The year 2023 marks the 125th anniversary of Magritte’s birth. The light installation in the courtyard consists of an illuminated inverted pyramid, the side surfaces of which depict Magritte’s painting ‘La Malédiction‘.
Winter Wonders Brussels 2022 at the Bourse building and Place de la Monnaie
Via Rue au Beurre, you arrive at the rear of the Bourse building. The building is currently being restored and is in scaffolding. From the summer of 2023, the Bourse building will get a new use, with a restaurant, skybar, brasserie and a museum about Belgian beers. Some 13 Christmas chalets are set up on this side of the Bourse building. You can buy unique Christmas gifts that you can hardly find anywhere else, including hand-blown and hand-decorated baubles and all kinds of jewelry.
Through Rue de Tabora and Rue des Fripiers, you end up at the Place de la Monnaie, the square in front of the Monnaie theatre. On Rue des Fripiers, check out the facade of Drug Opera restaurant, very nicely lit and decorated with brilliant Christmas decorations.
At Place de la Monnaie you find a veritable après-ski village with Bar d’Altitude and with three synthetic curling lanes. In the Dream Space dome, you are immersed in the world of Virtual Reality. Those who love nougat and sweets can visit the super-sized and beautifully decorated candy stall Les délices d’Eric.
Ice skating and Christmas shopping at Place De Brouckère
Beyond Place de la Monnaie, Rue du Fossé-aux-Loups leads you to the large Place De Brouckère, a major meeting point and entertainment center in Brussels. The sportiest attraction of Winter Wonders Brussels awaits you here: an 800-square-meter indoor skating rink! At Place De Brouckère and the nearby Boulevard Anspach, there are also dozens of Christmas stalls set up with Christmas decorations, craft products and food and drinks. You also find covered seating to enjoy your tasty drink or snack.
Vismet square: focal point of Winter Wonders Brussels 2022
Along the beautifully decorated Boulevard Anspach and Rue de l’Évêque, you arrive at the church of Sainte-Catherine and the Vismet square. At the Black Tower (a remnant of the first city wall around Brussels), Winter Vox takes place. On weekends, musical choirs perform their repertoire here at regular intervals. There are also performances and Christmas stalls with products from the indigenous people of Quebec, Canada.
At Vismet square you find the largest number of Christmas stalls: no fewer than 148 are set up here! The offer is huge: unique jewelry, handmade products, Christmas decorations, bauble fishing, stalls with all kinds of food and drink, and so on and so forth. The colossal Ferris wheel, 55 meters high with 42 gondolas, immediately attracts your attention. The view from the Ferris wheel over Vismet square is magnificent.
Near the Ferris wheel you find the Ice Monster, a 45-meter-long dinosaur you can walk through! The Stella pavilion invites you to taste a Belgian beer, and the domed Bar à Champagne is the place to go for a glass of champagne. Also at Vismet is Le Manège Magique, a unique carousel with all sorts of fantastic and imaginary figures.
At Place Sainte-Catherine, in front of the church Sainte-Catherine, again you find various food and drink stalls. The highlight of this square is the classic merry-go-round Le Manège d’Andréa, a carousel made entirely by hand with all sorts of fantastic figures. The facade of church Sainte-Catherine is also brilliantly illuminated at night.
Along Place de la Bourse and Manneken Pis to Mont des Arts
We continue our Christmas walk along Rue Sainte-Catherine, Rue du Marché aux Poulets and Boulevard Anspach to Place de la Bourse, in front of the Bourse building. Again, you find about 35 Christmas stalls with various products, both utensils and food and drink. If you hadn’t yet done your Christmas shopping at the other Winter Wonder locations, you get one last chance here.
You walk past the western facade of the Bourse building (Rue Henri Maus) and turn right into Rue du Midi. At the intersection with Rue des Grands Carmes, turn left. After about 70 meters, you stand face to face with the most famous inhabitant of Brussels: Manneken Pis. ‘Manneken Pis’ is a name in Dutch dialect, meaning ‘little pee boy’.
The small statue of the urinating boy is a symbol of Brussels and Belgium. The original statue dates from 1619. At Christmas time, the fountain of Manneken Pis is of course beautifully decorated. The surrounding area is teeming with souvenir shops. At No. 19 Rue du Chêne is the museum GardeRobe MannekenPis, a collection of costumes worn by Manneken Pis throughout the ages. Continue down Rue du Chêne and Place de la Vieille Halle aux Blés. At the square you pass the statue of Jacques Brel, a famous Belgian singer.
You reach Place Saint-Jean with the statue of Gabrielle Petit, a World War I resistance fighter. Continue down Rue Saint-Jean to Place de l’Albertine. Across the street Cantersteen is Mont des Arts, a district with parks and museums. Here you see one last attraction of Winter Wonders Brussels 2022: the Samsung Magic Swings. These ‘magic swings’ are swings that create music. The higher you swing, the higher the musical note. When all the swings are in motion, you get a unique melody.
Along the street Cantersteen, Rue de l’Infante Isabelle and Boulevard de l’Impératrice you reach back the Brussels-Central station, the starting and ending point of this Christmas walk.
Other attractions and activities of Winter Wonders Brussels 2022
In the vicinity of Grande Hospice in Rue du Grande-Hospice you find the Secret Garden: a secret garden with acoustic concerts, light installations and even a wood-fired sauna. In Halles Saint-Géry at Place Saint-Géry, Creators Factory takes place, a market with all kinds of products from designers and craftsmen for whom sustainability and ethics are extremely important. Over three weekends, the Winter Pop event takes place in three different Brussels neighborhoods. In Bois de la Cambre, Wonder Woods provides a festive atmosphere with an ice rink and light decorations.
Winter Wonders Brussels on our YouTube channel
Watch an impression of Winter Wonders Brussels 2022 on our YouTube channel:
Winter Wonders Brussels 2022: location, opening hours and additional info
- Location: at different places in Brussels, mainly at Grand Place, Place de la Bourse, Place de la Monnaie, Place De Brouckère and Vismet square
- Period: from November 25th, 2022 till January 1st, 2023
- Opening hours: every day from 12 am till 10 pm, except on December 24th and December 31st, 2022: from 12 am till 6 pm
- Additional info: visit the website of the event