It’s that time of the year again and Brussels Winter Wonders festival is back in full swing! The 22nd edition takes place from 25th November 2022 until January 1st 2023 with almost 250 chalets and enchanting route of nearly 3 km with many great decorations, illuminations & activities that will spark the imagination of every visitor.
You probably heard it already – the Christmas Market in Brussels is considered as one of the most beautiful in Europe (sources: European Best Destinations, Big 7 Travel). This is no surprise to us, the entire Winter Wonders event has been a highlight of the festive season in Brussels ever since its creation, bringing together both locals and visitors and greatly contributing to the capital’s attractiveness during the holiday period.
It is a great pleasure for the City of Brussels to return to its roots and to inspire the desire to share emotions and fire imaginations for more than five weeks.Delphine houba, Alderwoman for Culture, Tourism and Major Events of the City of Brussels.
What’s special at the Winter Wonders?
This year’s edition has plenty of things to offer! We mostly start with a classic stroll around the beautiful Grand Place and admire the majestic fir tree and a life-size nativity scene. As always, there will be a breathtaking sound and light show. The shows last 8 to 10 minutes and can be seen from 25 November to 1 January from 5 pm to 10 pm. Frequency: From Monday to Thursday on the hour, Friday to Sunday every 30 minutes (no shows on Saturday 24 and 31 December).
Continue your walk further to St Catherine’s neighbourhood and discover the Christmas Market. On your way, you will have plenty of animations: Ferris wheel, ice rinks, merry-go-rounds, exhibitions, brass bands… All along the trail, you will find wooden chalets with an amazingly diverse offer of products, from tasty food & drinks to traditional products and creative gifts! The Christmas Market has several main spots with most chalets concentrated around the Vismet and Place Sainte-Catherine. You should also enjoy the spots around the Bourse (Brussels Stock Exchange), Place de La Monnaie which is this year transformed into an après-ski village with three artificial curling rinks, surrounded by chalets offering typical mountain-style food and drinks. But this is not all, don’t miss the Place De Brouckère, which will also host the ice rink as well as numerous chalets and covered terraces, forming a warm & cosy mini village. Make note, the activities on Place De Brouckère will be extended until Sunday 8 January.
To enhance this unique experience, you should discover the “Black Tower“, located behind the Church of Sainte-Catherine. This building is one of the best-conserved relics of the first fortifications of Brussels constructed at the start of the 13th century and definitely a must-see during your promenade. On a stage in the shape of an igloo, the spellbinding voices of the Winter Vox choirs will ring out one after the other, amplifying the magic of this place which is considered a hidden treasure.
This is also a spot where Quebec is well represented with produce based on maple syrup and other characteristic products with their inimitable taste, including the legendary Poutine, a more-typical Quebec dish composed of fries, cheese curds and brown sauce. The indigenous communities of Quebec will also be part of the celebration, as a foretaste of a more extensive collaboration next year.
Also, the Creators Factory market, which was a great success for its first edition, will be held in the Halles Saint-Géry. However, this year’s event introduces several brand new activities and features – visitors can see a tribute to Canada’s First Nations, discover a “Secret Garden” full of surprises, a curling rink on Place de la Monnaie which will be transformed into an après-ski village, and swings for a moment of suspension on the Mont des Arts.
Another must see attraction this year is Brussels By Lights, an activity which City of Brussels organises since 2013. You will discover more than 160 illuminated and decorated streets around different city’s neighbourhoods. Brussels by Lights will once again take over the Place Fontainas where the little ones will be pleasantly surprised to discover a polar village while strolling about with their family.
Winter Pop‘s warm and friendly little caravans will be distilling the magic of Christmas in order to share it with as many people as possible. For this fifth edition, Neder-Over-Heembeek, Ambiorix Square and Laeken will host the Winter Pop caravan for three successive weekends. Visitors can join a lot of fun and creative activities: concerts, brass bands, dances, choirs, short film screenings, various initiations, theatre and fire shows, festive walks, face painting, association stands, and much more. Along with snacks and some braziers to thaw out in the glittering light of the colourful garlands. Details: From Friday 2 to Sunday 4 December on Avenue de Versailles in Neder-Over-Heembeek; From Friday 9 to Sunday 11 December in Ambiorix square; From Friday 16 to Sunday 18 December on place Willemsplein in Laeken. Opening hours: Fridays and Saturdays from 3 pm to 9 pm and Sundays from 2 pm to 7 pm.
Don’t miss these new activities this year:
A Secret Garden at Grand Hospice
A Secret Garden can be discovered in the magnificent and soothing setting of the Grand Hospice, just a stone’s throw from the Giant Wheel. From Wednesday to Sunday, this green and surprising place offers a unique atmosphere and extends the atmosphere of the Vismet Christmas market. It features light installations, acoustic concerts, local comedians, and even wood-fired saunas! A moment of relaxation is guaranteed in the hushed atmosphere of the holiday celebrations.
Location: Grand Hospice, Rue du Grand Hospice 7, 1000 Brussels
Flip the magic on with Samsung at Mont des Arts
Magic swings create a nice surprise at the Mont des Arts, composing beautiful melodies for a memorable moment with family or friends.
Info: Mont des Arts (Place de l’Albertine) from 25 November to 1 January from 12 noon to 10 pm
Quebec First Nations
For thousands of years, Aboriginal Quebec has been distinguished by its rich historical culture which combines ancestral and now contemporary traditions in a highly-sought-after, quality tourism offer marked by its authenticity. For over thirty years, Tourisme Autochtone Quebec has invited the public to discover all it has to offer: experiences based on the protective values of their heritage, combining art, culture, nature and adventure. All the activities are based on the fantastic heritage of the Aboriginal peoples of Quebec, allowing everyone to come and share exceptional, warm and simply unforgettable moments in a magnificent setting.
Dates : from 25.11 to 28.11. Location : Black Tower
Magical installation in honour of René Magritte
To kick off the year of René Magritte’s 125th birthday, the City of Brussels has (logically) chosen to honour the famous Belgian painter with an intriguing and magical installation in the courtyard of the City Hall.
Curling rinks & Ski Village on Place de la Monnaie
Want to experience the spirit of winter sports right in the heart of Brussels? An authentic après-ski village is being set up on Place de la Monnaie with three new synthetic curling rinks! Fun guaranteed fun for young and old alike.
Info: Place de la Monnaie, from 25 November to 1 January. Opening hours: from 12 noon to 10 pm
Prices: adults (over 16): €6/ under 16: €4. 30-minute games, equipment available upon presentation of an ID document.
Spirit of the North at Place d’Espagne and Galerie Horta
The magical world of Spirit of the North will delight visitors of Winter Wonders for the very first time! Traditional end-of-year activities and cutting-edge experiences are on the programme in the Horta Gallery during an immersive exhibition in a superb setting (entry fee). Before entering the main exposition, the public can get a free taste of the attractions in place d’Espagne, illuminated by numerous magical installations.
Location: Galerie Horta from 28 October (entry fee). Info via spiritofthenorthexperience.com/bruxelles/ Free events on place d’Espagne from 25 November to 1 January.
If you are wondering what is the best way to organise yourself for the visit, we advise you to consult this excellent interactive map to fully enjoy this festive season!
For all the latest updates and full programme of the Winter Wonders 2022, consult the official website. Follow our instagram page for regular inspirations and share your impressions by tagging our account!