Focus on Mons and Liege

Christmas markets in Southern Belgium’s Wallonia are a joyful sight. Twinkling lights, the scent of mulled wine, and roasted nuts mingling with cold misty air are part of yuletide fun, yet it’s our regional specialties that set us apart. World-class chocolate, award-winning beers, sparkling wine, and delicious Liege waffles give Belgium a reputation for being some of Europe’s best Christmas markets.

Focusing first on Mons

From December 3rd to 31st, the city will don a load of bling, bringing Christmas sparkle to a host of activities. The Christmas tree in the Grand Place is always a centerpiece of the Christmas village, which comprises 40 timber huts selling gifts made by local designers and artisans: leather, fashion accessories, candles, and more, ensuring inventive gift ideas for even everyone on your list.

A former city of culture, Mons is full of exciting exhibitions and museums. The Mundaneum is an exceptional archive and exhibition space in Mons, known to hold 12 million bibliographic records. Le Monde once described it as the “paper google” and The New York Times as “‘the web that time forgot”.

For a captivating look at Mons’ involvement in the two world wars, visit the immersive Mons Memorial Museum. Mons Fine Art Museum is honored to exhibit a selection of works by Miró this season:  Joan Miró – “The essence of things past and present.”

Join merry crowds in Mons at Christimastime
Join merry crowds in Mons at Christimastime, ©Ville de Mons.

Focusing on Liege

In Liège, you’ll find the oldest and largest market in Belgium. This year will be its 35th edition in the main square, with over 200 jolly wooden chalets set out in streets and alleyways. Instead of mulled wine, you could partake in a festive glass of Rufus sparkling wine – Wallonia’s answer to Champagne. Alternatively, an artisan beer from Liege’s very own craft brewery, Curtius, is made in a nearby convent. The vast selection of local fare, including foie gras, raclette, sausages, and the special drink peket are perfect complements. Retro photo booths also add a bit of fun; take a vintage selfie as a memento of your trip.

The large ice rink in the town center, the super-fast toboggan run, an animated circus and sparkly Ferris wheels enhance the festive atmosphere. Aside from Christmas fun, why not take part in an epic treasure hunt on the slopes of the city’s towering citadel, or find out how the Walloons used to live at the Museum of Walloon Life?  After the visit, you’ll be lured by the delicious fragrance that escapes from a shop where everything is saperpipettly (a kind of cookie) sound, with freshly baked biscuits and famous waffles from Liège, just like our grandmothers used to make.

Liège also has one of Europe’s largest pedestrian shopping zones, known as “Le Carré”, with 14 crisscrossing streets full of quirky and original independent shops, bars, and restaurants. From big brands to vintage style, off the main drag, you’ll find unique boutiques where young creatives show off their wares.

Put festive Jehay Castle on your Christmas itinerary in Belgium
Put festive Jehay Castle on your Christmas itinerary in Belgium, ©FTPL – P. Fagnoul.

Things to consider before traveling

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Some tips to consider while traveling

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