The Christmas market of Leuven

Written by Sam Van den Haute aka CheckOutSam

Christmas in Leuven is celebrated every year with cosy little stalls, beautiful decorations and some cool winter activities. Year after year, this Belgian student city is doing everything they can to make the historic city center even more beautiful during these cold, dark months.

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Hi, I'm Sam, the blogger behind CheckOutSam!

Sam Van den Haute has been a full-time world traveler for ten years and has therefore gained a lot of travel and lifestyle inspiration on all continents. Do you still have questions after reading this blog? Ask them in the comments section or send me a message at [email protected] and I'll be happy to help you wherever I can!

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christmas market leuven

The Christmas market of Leuven

Some of the picturesque squares of Leuven are taken over by Christmas markets during Christmas. Here and there you’ll find small wooden cabins with nice gadgets or beautiful Christmas gifts, a winter pop-up bar with hot drinks such as chocolate milk or mulled wine, and of course the numerous stands that sell gin and other strong drinks. Your senses will go crazy when they notice the delicious smell of waffles, pancakes or beignets, and if you haven’t eaten too much you can also enjoy yourself on one of the fun fairground attractions.

In 2017 the Leuven Christmas market was moved to the Sint-Donatus Park just for a single time, but normally this event is being held at the long Herbert Hooverplein (Herbert Hoover square). Although the location had changed, the coziness remained the same!
Hundreds of stalls make this the main attraction of the Christmas market in Leuven. From noon to eleven o’clock, the vendors stay on post and the later in the evening it gets… The more cheerful the stands become!

Don’t forget to visit the Ladeuze square. Here too, it gets packed with cozy Christmas decorations surrounded by historic buildings. If you visit with children (or you want to feel like a child yourself) you should definitely take a ride on the beautiful fairground attractions.
A gigantic mechanical Christmas tree where you can sit in the Christmas baulbs, or a toboggan (without snow…) where you can do some exciting races? The choice is yours, but one thing is certain: for both young and old it’s a Christmas paradise!

Don’t leave the Leuven Christmas market without saying hello to Santa Claus. This cheerful guy will be just as happy as you on your selfie together! If you prefer to have your photo taken, that is of course possible too. Because there are always some helping hands who want to make the perfect snapshot for you.

christmas in leuven

Christmas makes Leuven an even more beautiful city!

ladeuze square xmas market

Thrilling rides for young and old!

christmas market leuven ladeuze square

The Christmas market of Leuven on the Ladeuze square.

santa claus leuven xmas market

On the Xmas market of Leuven you can of course also get your pic taken with Santa Claus!

Beautiful light decorations

If you make your way into the city a little further, you’ll certainly notice the beautiful light decorations around the Leuven town hall and a few other buildings. This beautiful spectacle really pops out when it gets dark. In one way or another it seems that the town hall of Leuven is overgrown with a luminous ivy plant.
There is also much to see on the square where this majestic building stands. Beautiful decorations will immerse you in a fairytale world at which you can stare for hours!

wintertijd leuven winter time leuven xmas market

Wintertijd (‘Winter time’) in Leuven is worth a visit!

Winter walks

Do you also think it’s pleasant to walk through beautiful winter landscapes while you’re dressed in warm clothes? If your answer is ‘yes’, then I have good news. The city of Leuven organizes several beautiful winter walks during the Christmas period.
For example, you can pass a number of well-known and lesser-known pubs of Leuven to heat up on some Belgian beers, but you can also learn more about the French government that was terrorising Leuven during the French Revolution.

The walk that fits best with this winter weather is in my opinion ‘Warm Winter sounds’. Together with your guide you’ll be shown around to the most musical places in Leuven, and here too you’ll be served a delicious local beer at the end.

winter walk leuven

You won’t miss out on anything! Along the way you’ll also see the beautiful Christmas decorations.

How do you get to Leuven?

Parking in the center is expensive, and the roads are often slippery in the winter. That’s why I would recommend to come to Leuven with public transportation. It’s cheaper and safer than coming here by car and it’s also better for the environment.
The train station of Leuven is located near the center. It’s about a fifteen minute walk to the historic center from where you can easily reach the light show and the cozy Christmas markets.
There are usually good connections from Brussels and other major cities.

christmas leuven

Have fun in Leuven!

As you can see, the Leuven Christmas market is more than just a couple of stalls that you find on every other Christmas market. The beautifully decorated historic buildings, the great attractions and activities and the sweet scenting pop-up bars will make your day trip to Leuven well worth it. Try to plan your visit together with the falling of the evening. When it gets dark, it really becomes very special!
Do you want to visit more Christmas markets? The Brussels Christmas market is nearby and shouldn’t be missed either.


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