Belgian & French Christmas Markets Weekend 2024
- Duration: 4 days
- Board Basis: Bed & Breakfast
- Tour Ref: D2TLEI8967
- Travel Type: Coach
Join us for the perfect European Christmas experience.....
Twinkly lights, the smell of mulled wine, and shopping some of the best local crafts, it’s time to explore the joy of some of Europe's finest Christmas Markets. If you're looking for a real sense of Christmas magic, or to get your festive shopping done in style, or love beautiful architecture and history in picture perfect settings then this is the festive treat for you, taking in both Belgium and France!
Our base is the lovely seaside resort of Ostend, a favourite destination for many years. It is not hard to see why, with its individual charm, characterful seafront and marina, bustling markets and shops, and great restaurants. Ostend has a rich Maritime history and its location on the Belgian coast, of course, opens the doors to a number of culinary delights, so why not head to a seafood restaurant to sample them?
We visit nearby Bruges, known for its beguiling canals, pretty bridges and charming architecture. Add to this its renowned Christmas Market with an abundance of twinkling lights and impressive Christmas decorations and you've got one magical city!
Also enjoy free time to explore Lille with its delightful old town area with cobbled streets, and the Grand Place, the main square surrounded by many fine historic buildings, plus their own famous Christmas Market in full flow. Nestled in the city centre, wooden chalets teem with gift ideas, nativity figurines and festive food.
We stay for 3 nights in Ostend at the popular Royal Astrid Hotel, which features an excellent spa and wellness complex and located only 100m from the beach, and perfect for exploring the delights of Ostend and its own Christmas Market, filled to the brim with unique crafts, decorations and entertainment.
An ideal festive choice for:
* Anyone looking to get into the festive spirit
* Friends or family looking to get away together and have some fun
* Christmas shopaholics, food, drink or history lovers
Valid passport required for travel
PLEASE NOTE: Price is per person and based on two people sharing a twin/double room. Single room supplements and upgrades are not included.
Day 1Join your coach at your convenient local pick-up point, and get comfortable as we head to Kent to join our ferry at Dover for the crossing to France.
On arrival in Calais, we continue to our hotel in Ostend to check in. Then have free time to relax or explore Ostend and the many fantastic bars and restaurants, or the Christmas Market close to your hotel.
Day 2 & 3You can, of course, spend all of your time in Ostend if you wish. However, for more festive fun, join our included excursions to the wonderful cities of Lille and Bruges, where you can experience both of their Christmas Markets, which are two of the most popular in Europe.
Enjoy free time to explore Lille in France, with its Grand Place, the main square surrounded by many fine historic buildings and a delightful old town area with cobbled streets. The Christmas Market offers antique wooden chalets decorated with traditional festive foods, arts & crafts as well as an impressive Ferris Wheel, all dominated by a monumental 18ft Christmas Tree in a fantastic location.
Then discover nearby Bruges in Belgium, with its winding cobbled streets, scenic canals and stunning architecture it is no wonder Bruges is a World Heritage Site. Its compact size means it is easily enjoyed in a day with plenty of sights to take in. The Christmas Market is a very popular event with its wooden huts selling local products and offering great Christmas present ideas. Bruges has something for everyone. From horse carriage rides around town to even enjoying a boat trip, and all surrounded by many shops selling the famous Belgian waffles, lace and of course the vast array of chocolate shops.
Day 4After breakfast, say farewell to your hotel and sit back and relax as we head back towards Calais and the crossing back to the UK and the onward journey home, hopefully full of festive spirit, and a few gifts too!
- Return ferry crossing Dover / Calais
- 3 night's hotel with continental breakfast
- Visit to Bruges & Christmas Market
- Visit to Lille & Christmas Market
- Direct Coach Travel
- Net Zero Carbon Offset Certificate
Valid passport required for travel
£50 deposit per person applies on these departures
Lille Christmas MarketINCLUDED Visitor DestinationOnce an important centre of French Flanders, it is clear to see the Flemish influence in this charming city close to the Belgian Border. In the heart of winter, Lille sparkles and glows with joie de vivre! With the wave of a magic wand, the city takes on a festive atmosphere and welcomes you to a winter wonderland! On Place Rihour, more than 80 chalets teem with gift ideas, nativity figurines, Christmas decorations and festive food. You can find regional specialities here, and you can also find arts and crafts from around the world. Soak up the continental flavour of the historic old centre which gives a special festive feel to this lovely setting, and make sure you sample the many beers and delicious chocolate that the city does so well!
Bruges Christmas MarketGive in to that warm, fuzzy feeling during Christmas in Bruges. The pretty medieval city takes on fairytale airs as the temperatures drop. The intoxicating scent of fresh waffles lingers in the air and the streets are dressed like gingerbread houses with festive fairy lights reflected in the canal. Hop on a horse-drawn carriage for a snow-dusted tour of the cobbles, or linger in one of Europe’s most charming Christmas Markets. The main Bruges Christmas market is in Grote Markt, with its gorgeous wooden chalets surrounding a glittering ice rink, where skaters swish and stumble in the shadow of the 83m-high belfry. If you can face the 366 steps to the bells at the top, you'll be rewarded with stunning views of the chocolate-box city below. There’s another smaller market near tree-lined Simon Stevinplein but, with no shortage of tempting chocolatiers and cosy cafés en route, the short walk might take longer than you'd expect. If you’ve over-indulged, a brisk walk will help blow away the cobwebs and work up an appetite for the next course: a plate of warm, crisp kroketten made with shrimp or gorgeously oozing cheese. Perfect for a quick pit-stop before the serious business of shopping begins!
OstendThis well known, enchanting Belgian seaside town combines a fascinating history with a thriving modern culture. Described as the cultural capital of the Belgian coast, it has become a firm favourite with British visitors. Ostend is Belgium's premier resort known as the "City by the Sea", with miles of sandy beaches. Stroll down the delightful wide promenades where you will find many shops to browse and buy or perhaps just relax in one of the many bars or restaurants. Ostend has grown from a humble fishing village into a lively and cosmopolitan seaside resort with a pretty harbour, marina, casino and pedestrianised shopping streets. Visitors will be amazed by all there is to see and do with many activities taking place all year round. It is a fine place to sample a wonderful, friendly European ambience. Back to top
Royal Astrid Hotel Ostend
Hotel & Wellness Royal Astrid is a three-star hotel located 100m from the beautiful sandy beach of Ostend. The hotel is known for its warm welcome and all 173 bedrooms are well appointed with Wifi throughout (please note that in keeping with many 3* hotels in Europe, complimentary tea & coffee making facilities are not available). There is a lovely bar and restaurant for those preferring to stay in rather than explore the extensive range of nearby bars are restaurants. The hotel has a spa & wellness complex of about 1000 m², which includes a lovely swimming pool (extra charges apply for some services).
For more information, click here for the hotel website (opens in a new window)
Hotel LocationBack to top