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What to Do During Winter in Belgium in 2023?

Are you planning to visit Belgium during winter? You might be wondering what there is to do during the colder months. Fortunately, Belgium offers plenty of exciting activities and sights to see during the winter season. From festive Christmas markets to cozy cafes, there's something for everyone.

Winter in Belgium

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What is the most popular winter activiy in Belgium?

One of the most popular winter activities in Belgium is visiting the Christmas markets. These markets are held in several cities throughout the country, including Brussels, Bruges, and Ghent. You can browse through the stalls, try traditional Belgian foods and drinks, and pick up unique gifts for loved ones. Don't forget to try the famous Belgian hot chocolate, which is a must-try during the winter months.

Winter in Belgium

If you're looking for a more active winter adventure, you can go ice-skating outdoors in several cities, including Brussels and Antwerp. You can also take a winter hike through the beautiful Ardennes region, which offers stunning views of snow-covered forests and hills.


And of course, you can always warm up with some delicious Belgian comfort food, like hearty stews and waffles topped with warm chocolate sauce. Whatever your interests are, Belgium has something to offer during the winter season.

Snow hikes in Belgium

How cold is Belgium in Winter?

Belgium has a moderate maritime climate, which means that winters are generally mild and wet. However, it is not uncommon for the temperatures to drop below freezing, especially in January and February. The average temperature during winter ranges from 1 to 6 degrees Celsius (34-43 Fahrenheit).


While it hardly ever gets much colder than that, on very rare occasions, Belgium experiences a few days of a 'cold wave.' During these periods, the temperature can drop to around -5°C (23°F). So, it is important to be prepared for the cold weather if you plan to visit Belgium during the winter season.


It is also worth noting that Belgium gets a fair amount of rainfall throughout the year, and winter is no exception. So, make sure to pack waterproof clothing and shoes to stay dry and comfortable during your trip.

Snow hike in Belgium

When is Winter in Belgium?

Winter in Belgium typically spans from December to February. During this period, you can expect colder temperatures, and there's a possibility of snowfall, especially in the Ardennes region.

Winter in Belgium

Does Belgium have snow in Winter?

Yes, Belgium does experience snowfall during the winter months, particularly in the Ardennes region. The Ardennes, located in the south and southeast of Belgium, has a higher elevation and is more likely to see snow compared to the rest of the country. The region 350m above sea level has the highest chance of snow during wintern in Belgium.

Read more about the Best Snow Hikes in Belgium
Snow hike in Belgium

In the northern and more densely populated areas, such as Brussels and Flanders, snowfall is less frequent. With the recent climat change there are almost no snowy days in this region.

What are the most beautiful cities during Winter in Belgium?

Belgium is home to some of the most beautiful and historic cities in Europe, and winter is a great time to explore them. Here are some of the best cities to visit during the winter months:

City during winter in Belgium

Brussels during Winter

Brussels is the capital of Belgium and a must-visit city during the winter. The city is famous for its Christmas markets, which are held in the Grand Place and around the city. The markets are filled with local crafts, delicious food, and festive decorations. You can also visit the famous Atomium, a landmark building in Brussels that offers stunning views of the city. But the event that you really don't want to miss is the Brussels Light Festival called BRIGHT.


Read more about BRIGHT Light Festival
Bright Light Festival
Image from visit.brussels

Antwerp

Antwerp is a historic city that is known for its fashion, art, and diamond industry. During the winter, the city is transformed into a winter wonderland with its Christmas markets, ice skating rinks, and winter festivals. You can also visit the Cathedral of Our Lady, a stunning Gothic cathedral that is one of the tallest in Europe.


Ghent

Ghent is a charming city that is often overlooked by tourists. However, during the winter months, the city comes alive with its Christmas markets and festive decorations. You can also visit the Castle of the Counts, a medieval castle that offers stunning views of the city. During the Winter months the Castle offers winter festivities like the Winter Bar.


Gravensteen Castle in Ghent

Dinant

Dinant's elevated likelihood of snow during winter transforms the town into a magical landscape. The hills and Citadel covered in snow offer a serene winter scene. With a simple yet charming ambiance and occasional festive decorations, Dinant becomes a tranquil destination for those seeking a calm winter experience. The snow-covered surroundings add a distinctive touch to the city's winter atmosphere, making it an appealing retreat.


Discover What to do in Dinant (all year long)
Dinant during winter in Belgium

Bruges

Bruges is a picturesque city that is often referred to as the "Venice of the North". During the winter, the city is transformed into a magical winter wonderland with its Christmas markets, ice skating rinks, and festive decorations. This wonderland is called Winter Glow Bruges. Don't forget to also take a boat tour on the city's canals, which offer stunning views of the city.


Read more about Winter Glow in Bruges
Winter Glow Bruges Belgium

Hasselt

The beautiful city of Hasselt hosts their enchanting Winterland Christmas market. Celebrating its 15th edition from 17/11/2023 to 07/01/2024, Winterland transforms the Dusartplein into a winter wonder.


Explore festive delights at Winterland, where local crafts, food, and decorations create a magical experience. You can also enjoy a meet-and-greet with the one and only Santa and have some fun while ice-skating. A must-visit, adding a unique touch to Belgium's winter charm.


Winter Events in Belgium

Belgium is a country that loves to celebrate, and winter is no exception. During the winter months, there are many festivals and events that take place throughout the country. Here are some of the best winter events in Belgium that you won't want to miss:

Bright Winter Festvial Brussels
Image visit.brussels

Brussels Light Festival

The Brussels Light Festival, also known as BRIGHT, is a magical event that takes place in the heart of Brussels every winter. During the festival, the city is illuminated with stunning light displays.


The festival features both local and international artists and is a must-see for anyone visiting Brussels during the winter months.

Bright Brussels Winter in Belgium

This year the Festival will take place from 15 to 18 of February. Find more info about the Light Festival. Over 30 installations by artists from around the world will light up the Royal district, the European district, and various spots in Schaerbeek.


Alongside the fantastic light displays, there'll be extras like nighttime museum visits and guided tours. This year's event is expected to draw a massive crowd, with nearly 400,000 visitors anticipated to experience the magic of the festival.

Bright Festival during winter in Belgium
Image from visit.brussels

Winter Glow Bruges

Experience the magic of Winter Glow in Bruges! This winter festival offers a new Light experience trail, ice skating on the Minnewater, a cozy winter bar, two Christmas markets, and festive shopping days.

Winter glow Bruges

Wander through the historic center with its beautiful lighting and Christmas decorations. Winter Glow is the perfect reason to stay overnight and enjoy the beauty of wintry Bruges.


The Winter Glow festival will take place from 24 November 2023 until 07 January 2024.

Winter Glow Bruges

Belgian Winter Cuisine

Belgium is known for its delicious cuisine, and winter is no exception. During the colder months, Belgians enjoy warm, hearty dishes that are perfect for keeping you cozy and satisfied. Here are some of the must-try winter foods in Belgium:


Moules-frites

Moules-frites, or mussels and fries, is a classic Belgian dish that is popular year-round. However, it is especially comforting during the winter months. The mussels are steamed in a flavorful broth, often made with white wine, garlic, and herbs, and served with a side of crispy fries. This dish is a must-try for seafood lovers.


In French (a language spoken by 50% of Belgians) we say that the mussels are the best during the months ending with -ber. Which are September to December.

Moules frittes

Carbonnade Flamande/ Stoofvlees

Carbonnade Flamande or also called Stoofvlees in the Flemish part is a hearty beef stew that is perfect for cold winter nights. The dish is made with beef, onions, and beer, and slow-cooked until the meat is tender and the flavors have melded together. It is often served with a side of bread or fries, making it the ultimate comfort food.


During the Winter months you can also have this dish made with deer meat or wild boar meat. These are two animals that are hunted in the Belgian Ardennes during the month of November. A deliciacy in Belgium!

Stoofvlees winter dish in Belgium

Speculoos

Speculoos is a type of spiced cookie that is popular in Belgium during the winter months. These crispy, buttery cookies are made with a blend of warm spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, and are often enjoyed with a cup of coffee or tea. You can find speculoos at bakeries and cafes throughout the country.

Speculoos Belgium

Hot Chocolate

Belgian hot chocolate is a must-try during the winter months. This rich and creamy beverage is made with melted chocolate, milk, and sometimes a hint of cinnamon or other spices. It is often topped with whipped cream or marshmallows, making it the perfect treat to warm you up on a cold day.

Hot chocolate Belgium

Winter Beer

Belgium is known for its beer, and during the winter months, many breweries release special winter brews. These beers are often darker and richer than their summer counterparts, with flavors of caramel, chocolate, and spices.


But be careful!


These beers are often much stronger going from 9%-12% of alcohol. After two of these beers you will probably be drunk. They are the perfect accompaniment to a cozy night in or a warming meal.


Like for example the N'ice CHOUFFE from the Achouffe Brewery. This winter beer is only available from mid-October to mid-February. It is a dark beer, slightly hoppy, spiced with thyme and curaçao, and made using orange peel. It has an alcohol content of 10%.

N'ice Chouffe Beer Belgium

Belgian winter cuisine offers a range of comforting and delicious dishes that are perfect for the colder months. From hearty stews to spiced cookies and warm beverages, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to try these must-try dishes during your winter visit to Belgium.


Winter Sports in Belgium

Belgium may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of winter sports, but there are actually plenty of opportunities for outdoor winter activities. Whether you want to go ice skating, snowboarding, or skiing, there are many options available to you.


Ice Skating

Ice skating is a popular winter pastime in Belgium. There are many outdoor rinks that open during the winter months, including the rink at the Grand Place in Brussels, in Bruges, in Gent and other smaller cities. You can also find indoor rinks throughout the country, such as the Ice Skating Center in Liège.

Ice Skating Belgium

Snowboarding, Skiing and Sledging

While Belgium may not have the towering mountains of some other countries, there are still opportunities for snowboarding. The Snow Valley indoor ski slope in Peer is a popular destination for snowboarders and skiiers. The slope is 240 meters long and has a 30-meter vertical drop.


Prefere an outdoor option? Baraque De Fraiture offers winter enthusiasts the thrill of snowboarding, skiing, and sledging during the winter months. You can check the local weather to see when it snows at Baraque de Fraiture. When I lived there, there was 3 months of snow every winter.

Read more about Baraque de Fraiture
Sledging Baraque de Fraiture

Winter Hiking in the Ardennnes

Winter hiking in the Ardennes unveils a serene and snow-covered landscape, creating a nice setting for outdoor enthusiasts. The crisp air and tranquility add a unique charm to the trails. Exploring the Ardennes on foot during the winter months provides an opportunity to witness the region's natural beauty in a different and enchanting light.


Snow hikes Baraque de Fraiture

How to Dress for Winter in Belgium?

Belgium can be quite chilly during the winter months, so it's important to pack the right clothing to stay warm and comfortable. First time in Belgium during the winter? Here are some essential items to consider bringing with you:


  1. Thermal Baselayers: They are designed to trap your body heat and can be worn under your regular clothes. Look for thermal baselayers made from materials like wool or synthetic fabrics, which are both great at wicking away moisture.

  2. Warm Outerwear: A warm coat or jacket is a must-have for winter in Belgium. Look for a coat that is both waterproof and windproof, and has a hood to protect your head and neck from the elements.

  3. Waterproof Boots: Belgium can be quite rainy during the winter months, so it's important to have a pair of waterproof boots to keep your feet dry. Look for boots with good traction to prevent slipping on wet or icy surfaces.

  4. Gloves, Scarves, and Hats: Don't forget to pack gloves, scarves, and hats to keep your hands, neck, and head warm. Look for materials like wool or fleece, which are both warm and breathable.

  5. Other Considerations: If you plan on doing any outdoor activities like skiing or snowboarding, make sure to bring appropriate gear like goggles, helmets, and snow pants. And don't forget to pack plenty of warm socks and underwear to keep you comfortable all day long.

winter clothing

Tips for Winter Travel in Belgium

Belgium is a beautiful country to visit during the winter season. With its picturesque landscapes, charming villages, and delicious cuisine, it's no wonder that it attracts visitors from all over the world. However, traveling during the winter season can be challenging, especially if you are not familiar with the weather conditions and the activities that are available during this time of year. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your winter travel in Belgium:

winter in Belgium

1. Dress appropriately

Belgium can get quite cold during the winter season, with temperatures dropping below freezing point in some areas. It is important to dress appropriately to stay warm and comfortable. Make sure to pack warm clothes, including a heavy coat, gloves, hat, and scarf. You may also want to bring waterproof shoes or boots to protect your feet from the snow and slush.


2. Visit the Christmas markets

One of the highlights of winter travel in Belgium is the Christmas markets. These markets are held in various cities throughout the country and offer a wide range of festive activities, including ice skating, holiday shopping, and traditional food and drinks. Some of the most popular Christmas markets in Belgium include the Winter Wonders market in Brussels and the Christmas market in Bruges.


3. Enjoy Belgian comfort food

Belgium is known for its delicious cuisine, and winter is the perfect time to indulge in some of the country's comfort foods. From hearty stews and soups to warm waffles and hot chocolate, there are plenty of dishes to keep you satisfied during your winter travels. Be sure to try some of the local specialties, such as moules-frites (mussels and fries) and stoofvlees (beef stew).


4. Take advantage of indoor activities

While Belgium's winter landscapes are beautiful, the weather can be unpredictable. To avoid getting stuck in the cold and rain, consider visiting some of the country's indoor attractions, such as museums, art galleries, and historic buildings. These attractions offer a glimpse into Belgium's rich culture and history and are a great way to spend a rainy day.


5. Plan ahead

Finally, it is important to plan ahead when traveling to Belgium during the winter season. Make sure to check the weather forecast before you go and pack accordingly. Research the activities and events that are available during your stay and book tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. With a little planning, you can make the most of your winter travel in Belgium and create memories that will last a lifetime.

winter in Belgium

Overall, a winter trip to Belgium is a wonderful way to experience the country's culture, history, and natural beauty in a unique and memorable way. So pack your warmest clothes, grab a cup of hot chocolate, and get ready to enjoy all that this charming country has to offer!










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Welcome to Fly Along

Hi I'm Emeline

I am a Belgian lady, traveling solo around the world and sharing my best tips with you! My dream is to become a full-time travel blogger. Read more about my journey to get there.

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