We visited Belgium in December 2022 during the week before Christmas, to start the festivities and to have a little break before the chaos of the holidays. We were only there for a few days and it rained about 80% of the time, but we still had a great time showing our 18 month old all of the stalls and the decorations at the Brussels Christmas markets. We stayed in this AirBnB just a minute’s walk from the main market, located along the Marche aux Poissons, which was ideal for our trip.
When we arrived into the city airport, we didn’t find it hard to navigate our way to the buses and onto one heading directly to the city centre (the 272). We found it fairly easy to walk around the city, even with a toddler and pushchair, but the buses looked to be widely and easily accessible as well as the Metro.
The markets themselves were a little disappointing I thought. They did have some great Belgian beer stalls and cheese and meats, but a lot of the stalls I felt were pretty similar to those you would get at a lot of Christmas markets in the UK. I was hoping for some more traditional/authentic Belgian truffles and things – maybe that’s just me being picky. As well as walk around the markets in the evening, we also took a trip out to the Grand Place and Mannekin Pis to do some typical ‘tourist’ things, as well as give Adelaide the chance to run about. We stopped for a drink at her nap time in a place called Little Delirium where they did a great selection of beers for beer tasting. Scott had a few sips and was already feeling drunk, so as you can imagine, that set the tone for the rest of our ‘chilled-out’ day!
Food, food, food!
Whilst we were here, we ate quite a lot from the market stalls, but we did visit a couple of nice restaurants across the city. The first place we ate for lunch was 9 Et Voisins which had hearty traditional Belgian food such as rabbit, veal and stew. The waiters were really lovely and friendly towards Adelaide and took the time to play with her and sneak her some treats! The interior is really rustic and has a tiny winding staircase up to a mezzanine floor with a few extra tables, and fairy lights dotted around. We went in the day when it was very quiet, but I can imagine it has a really lovely vibe in the evening!
The other place we ate at, slightly more upmarket, was Aux Armes de Bruxelles which was Michelin rated. We were a bit hesitant about going here with Adelaide as she was just 17 months old and we were a bit worried she might disturb others, but she was (mostly) as good as gold, and the restaurant didn’t seem to mind her at all. They tucked us away somewhere with a bit more space for her and they gave her loads of attention when they came near us. The food here was amazing, and they served things like frogs’ legs and veal brain which kept Scott happy – more things to tick off his bucket list!
We would love to go back and explore some more of Belgium at some point, so if you have any tips for places to visit, things to do, or just any other Christmas markets in Europe, please let us know so we can add it onto our travel plans!