Winter Wonders in Brussels has been named the best Christmas market in the world – just another reason for South Africans to take advantage of Air Belgium’s new route to Johannesburg and Cape Town
A trip to Europe in December is not complete without a visit to a Christmas market, and Winter Wonders in Brussels is as magical as they come. In fact, global site Big 7 Travel has just named it the best Christmas market in the world, with markets in Berlin (Germany), Chicago (US), Birmingham (UK), Vienna (Austria), Dresden (Germany), Krakow (Poland), Galway, Zagreb and Sibiu making up the top 10.
Kicking off on 25 November 2022 and ringing in the New Year on 01 January 2023, the Winter Wonders market stretches for 3 km across Belgium’s Grand-Place, Bourse, Place Sainte-Catherine and Marché aux Poissons, with over 200 stalls (or ‘chalets’) selling everything from Christmas decorations and gifts to Belgian chocolate and Glühwein. Expect light shows, ice skating, and a 20-metre Christmas tree at the heart of it all.
“Christmas market tours of Europe are incredibly popular,” says Niky Terzakis, CEO Air Belgium. “And if you’re looking to get into the Christmas spirit, but haven’t booked your flights yet, it’s not too late. Fly into Brussels to experience the magic of the Plaisirs D’hiver, and then plot your holiday to take in other markets in France, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.”
South Africans heading to Europe are able to fly direct to Brussels from Cape Town International (with a short stop in Johannesburg) or OR Tambo every Monday and Thursday. The flight offers 30 seats in Business Class, 21 seats in Premium Class and 235 Economy Class seats.
“Brussels is a great jumping off point to the rest of Europe, not only because of its high-speed train network, but because the city knows how to celebrate Christmas,” says Terzakis. “Expect Christmas trees around every corner; impressive sound and light shows, which run on the hour every hour; traditional food and drink; carols; and all the warmth of a Belgian Christmas.”
Winter Wonders also includes plenty to keep the kids entertained (and entranced), including merry go rounds, a Ferris wheel, ice rinks, pedal cars and so much more.
But for Terzakis, simply being in Grand Place, surrounded by medieval architecture and thousands of years of history, is incredibly special.
Fares start at R 11,569 for an all-in return ticket between Johannesburg and Brussels and passengers are allowed 30 kg baggage allowance free.