Visiting Belgium in winter definitely won’t disappoint you! Although Belgium is a small country, there’s actually a lot to do!
Belgium has all the winter activities you can imagine for all kinds of people, from snowy winter sports to cozy Christmas markets. So whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it in Belgium!
In this post, I’ll try to inform you as good as possible on what to expect from Belgium in winter.
I’ll go over:
- the weather in Belgium
- top winter activities
- best places to visit
- how to get around
I hope you’ll enjoy it!
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The weather in Belgium in winter
Belgium is a bit tricky when it comes to its weather. Usually, winters are pretty wet so you should definitely bring an umbrella.
When you’re visiting Flanders (the part closer to the coast) you probably won’t see any snow. Temperatures will remain moderate between 0 and 10 degrees Celcius.
However, when you decide to visit Wallonia chances are higher you’ll be able to see snow! Wallonia is known for its winter activities such as skiing (when possible), hiking etc.
Thus, Belgium winter remains very versatile, at least when it comes to temperatures.
In short, make sure to bring your umbrella!
If the weather is predicted to be nice, you might consider visiting the most beautiful Belgian castles!
Top winter activities
There’s a lot to do in Belgium in winter and its moderate temperatures in Flanders don’t make it too cold for a proper city trip!
Visit some Christmas markets
Belgium is one of the European countries known for its Christmas markets. Usually, they start at the end of November and go until New Year’s Eve. So visiting Belgium in December would be perfect to see those cozy Christmas markets!
However, decorations remain for the rest of the winter, so it won’t hurt if you would visit later, for example in January.
Stroll around, soak up the atmosphere, admire all the Christmas gifts and foremost don’t forget to order a hot chocolate or hot wine!
Generally, all major cities will have a Christmas market you can visit, but my personal favourite remains Bruges!
However, if you want to stroll around a huge Christmas market for hours, consider visiting Winter Wonders in Brussels, the largest Christmas market in Belgium!
Do some winter sports
In Wallonia, chances are high you’ll see some snow. But if you’re lucky and it has snowed a lot you can even ski in Belgium!
To reassure you, no, Belgium doesn’t have any mountains, nevertheless, we have some slopes, perfect for the beginning skier!
Besides skiing (which became more unsure since global warming is heating up our winters), there are many hiking routes you can take to make the perfect winter hike!
Other winter activities include: cross-country skiing, sledging etc.
If you want to include one of these winter activities in your itinerary, it’s best to visit Belgium between the end of January and February. During these months you’ll have the highest chance to see snow!
The best place to go for these winter activities is the region of the High Fens (Hoge Venen/Haute Fens).
Apart from the Christmas markets, you’ll also find a lot of ice rinks! During winter, you’ll be able to find at least one in any larger city! Some are made from real ice, others from a more ecological-friendly alternative, such as in Bruges!
Usually, you can just go there and rent a pair of skates for an hour or two, no need to make it complicated, and a very fun activity with friends or family!
Discover wonderful museums
Nothing is better than a good museum visit when it’s cold outside! And in Belgium, we have museums of all kinds.
Have you ever heard of the fries museum? The chocolate museum? Maybe you like museums with old Belgian paintings or stories about World War I and II?
Whatever your taste is, you’ll definitely find a museum in Belgium that will fit you!
Some top choices:
- In Flanders Fields – Ypres
- MAS – Antwerp
- Choco-Story – Bruges
- Groeningemuseum – Bruges
- Horta Museum – Brussels
Places to visit in Belgium in winter
If you’re interested in a city trip, there are a lot of lovely cities in Belgium that can’t wait to welcome you! Let’s have a look at them.
Brugge, also called “Venice of the North”, is one of the most charming cities in Belgium. The city’s history dates back to medieval times and its canals are one of the assets that make the city so beautiful. In winter, its streets are beautifully decorated and the atmosphere is magnificent!
If you’d like to know more about visiting the city, check out my post about Bruges!
Probably the most underrated city of Belgium but therefore also less touristy is Leuven!
You shouldn’t underestimate this city because it has all the assets of any other charming Belgium city such as the rich history and wonderful buildings!
Check out the post I wrote about Leuven to get to know more about the city!
If you’re on a tight budget then you certainly don’t want to miss my tips on all the free things to do in Leuven!
Yet another medieval city here. Ghent is the city of ‘t Gravensteen (a famous castle, seen in the picture), Waterzooi (a delicious regional dish) and a crazy student life!
You can definitely list this city as one of the most beautiful of Belgium!
Of course, you probably already know Belgium’s capital! This is the most popular destination in Belgium, but you should certainly visit Belgium beyond its capital!
Some of the top things to see are the Atomium, Manneke Pis and its historical city center. But if you’re in Brussels in December, don’t forget to visit Winter Wonders!
Antwerp is Belgium’s largest city and also the city of fashion, diamonds and art! If you’re a creative soul, I’m sure you’ll love this city. The best art schools in Belgium are located here!
Top things to do in Antwerp include shopping on the Meir, visiting the MAS (Museum aan de Stroom) with its beautiful view over Antwerp or taking a look at all the wonderful animals in the Zoo!
Durbuy is known as “the smallest city in the world” but also one of the cutest in Belgium! It’s a highly touristic place but in the middle of the Belgian Ardennes there are also a lot of outdoor activities that will be able to entertain you!
I wrote a post about my visit to Durbuy, so check this out if you’re interested!
Although pretty small, this wonderful city is something you can’t miss when visiting Belgium. Easy to do on a day trip and with magnificent views!
Dinant is the city of Adolphe Sax, who invented the saxophone! Its rich history is mainly shown through the citadel on top of the city which will tell you a lot about the role of Dinant in World War I. Moreover, there are lots of magnificent castles in the neighbourhood and certainly don’t forget to take a look at the caves “La Merveilleuse”.
Read more about Dinant in the blog post I wrote about the city!
How to get around
Belgium is a relatively small country so getting around won’t take you long! You can visit any city by train using the elaborate Belgian train network.
However, if you’re planning on doing some outdoor activities, I would advise you to rent a car to get to your destination easily.
For shorter distances you’ll be able to rent bikes (Belgium is a true bike country!) or walk because let’s be honest, most places aren’t that large!
There are a lot of things to do in Belgium in winter! Enjoy some typical outdoor activities, visit a Christmas market and be sure to pass by one of Belgium’s historical cities!
But foremost, don’t forget to bring your umbrella!
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For more about Belgium, take a look at my Instagram account and scroll through all the pictures or take a look at the highlights!