Christmas Markets - Weird Wallonia Style

Yes...its Christmas Market time again.

It may only be October but plans are well under way for one of the annual festive treats in Benelux - the Xmas market.

In Wallonia, here’s a few of the best for the test.

Underground Grottos at Bassenge..  In a sleepy village 20 minutes away from Liege lies one of the strangest Christmas market venues of all in the form of an underground cave. Crowds of Christmas revellers enter a tiny hidden entrance leading down to a maze of flint caves and hollowed underground galleries dating back some 2,000 years. 

The Grottes de Wonck – previously serving as air raid shelters during the two world wars are also used seasonally by farmers to cultivate mushrooms. However two large caves are set aside every year for the annual Christmas market. Transformed into a magically lit venue of craft stalls selling carved toys, candles, jewellery and knitted sweaters, there’s even an underground restaurant where the speciality dish is made from the underground mushrooms.

Party time with Belgian Bubbly at Liege.. If you love the magic of Santa’s grotto then visitors could check out Liege in the month of December where the main square becomes a huge festive village of 200 jolly wooden chalets.

 Instead of mulled wine you could partake in a festive glass of Rufus sparkling wine which is Wallonia’s answer to Champagne or an artisan beer from Liege’s very own craft brewery made in a nearby convent. Asides the artisanal crafts and gifts like those all over Germany kids can enjoy the skating rink, toboggan run and a circus making it just as much a party as a shopping trip.

Christmas Shopping in the world’s smallest town - Durbuy.. From artisan’s stalls, a nativity scene, Christmas storytelling and wide range of festive gourmet produce visitors to the world’s smallest town will love this visit finding beautifully made craft, gifts and a thousand ideas to decorate your Christmas table.

 After a stroll through the market, delighting in wintery treats, slip slide on the ice rink or head to the largest Topiary park  with its sculpted topiaries of elephants, mermaids and crocodiles and the festive spirit of the magical labyrinth?

Christmas at the Castle of Beloeil.. On December 1-2, 2018, the majestic Castle of Beloeil will be beautifully lit and decorated to welcome the Christmas market. 35 lodges, with artisans presenting festive treats (jams, sausages, flavoured vinegar, chocolate and sweets), Christmas decorations and of course gift ideas will fringe the castle grounds. A pretty Christmas village and the perfect place to meet both artisans and regional producers. A cute little train will pick up children and Santa from the Château de Beloeil for extra festive magic.

 A tasty festive treat at Ham Sur Heure..

Yes that really is its name! A picturesque village which will hold its traditional Christmas Market December 16-17, in the heart of its prestigious castle. This market has, since its very beginning, focused on involving local artisans. There will be something for everyone: craft, terroir products, storytelling, face painting, music, shows, carriage rides...The castle simply provides the perfect setting for the event. This stunning building belonged to the Merode family from 1487 to 1941 before becoming in 1952, the communal house of the town

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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