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P&O Ferries Winter Holidays in Belgium 2016


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Not all holidays have to mean sun, sea and sand. P&O Ferries have the perfect midwinter getaway opportunities for you to take advantage of this festive season. If you are after a romantic weekend, or family fun or even a cultural tour of discovery you’ll find just what you are looking for with a holiday to Belgium this winter.

It’s undeniable that once we pass Halloween, Christmas rears its terribly splendid, tinsel wreathed head and attempts to drag us all out of our shells for a bit of merry making. If you require a bit more prompting than anxiously awaiting a certain fizzy drink advert to get in to the spirit this year then try something a little different and pick up a bit of festive spirit on the continent.

Belgium is an excellent choice for winter travel. As a crossroads of Europe, you’ll be able to connect with any friends you may have in neighbouring countries, Germany, France, Holland and Luxembourg. The country itself has great ‘return value’ by which we mean that even though it is considered a relatively small country, such is the wealth of what it has to offer, that you are bound to forgo something your heart really wants to see, leaving you with that ‘one day I’ll come back’ mentality. It is, therefore, best to plan carefully and squeeze as much as you can in to your visit.

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The cities of Belgium are steeped in history, the architecture in Bruges and Brussels dates back to the 13th century, much of the iconic gothic buildings there were finished in the 15th century. What we’re getting at here is, you don’t necessarily need to seek culture to enjoy your time. You are spoiled for choice in a place like Bruges, but Antwerp and Ghent also have a similar make up. A walk down the canal will lead you to courtyards and shops, small cafes and bars thrum with business and laughter. With the sun setting early at this time of year it’s difficult to believe the night is still young. It is the off season for tourism, though museums are open late which still draws a ponderous few. The chill in the air encourages you to wrap up warm and seek comfort in crowds or holding the hand of your loved one. The soft orange of streetlights and christmas decorations set a cosy scene, the spires of churches in the background with the sound of laughter and delighted conversation permeating the air each time a door opens to new custom.

A good winter holiday is all about feeding the soul and what could possibly be more nourishing than treating yourself to a bit of retail therapy. The Christmas Markets of Belgium face steep competition with their neighbouring countries but you’ll find them unique and enthralling all the same.

The major Christmas Markets are to be found in Brussels, named ‘Winter WonderLand’ and in Bruges. Brussels’ Winter WonderLand opens on November 25th and can be found at the Grand Place in the heart of the city right through to the New Year. Brussels’ Christmas market is the main attraction for the season, it comes complete with giant ferris wheel and ice rink. The market covers up 2km worth of shops and stalls throughout the city centre. By night the place is lit up like something from a child’s fantasy, there are of course, food and drink stands as well as live music too.

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For the Bruges Christmas Market, which is also open from November 25th, head to the Market Square and Simon Stevinplein. It’s attractions are similar to the Brussels Market but such as the ice rink, however since Bruges isn’t the capital the crowds won’t be quite so busy.

For more information on Belgium’s Christmas Markets click here. You’ll find plenty of information on all the other markets of Belgium including some of the newer additions to the roster, such as the one in Ypres.

The other major event, besides Christmas, is New Years Eve. Accommodation will be thinly stretched in Brussels by this time, but there will undoubtedly be some spaces available. Last year’s fireworks were cancelled however hopefully this year the party will be all the bigger with crowd ready to rein in the New Year with renewed gusto.

Belgium may have an unwarranted stigma as a sleepy place, but you don’t have to resign yourself to quiet nights at a tavern or early nights at your lodgings, if you don’t want to. Besides the late night museum hours you’ll also find a vibrant nightlife in most cities. One suggestion we’d like to call to your attention is Bonnfooi, a jazz club. Comes complete with dance floor and DJ sets, but also hosts live bands five times a week. Bonnfooi means ‘by chance’ so see if you can stumble across it whilst out at night in Brussels, head towards Music Street, for a good night.

Book now for the Hull to Zeebrugge crossing and warm your hearts to get rid of the chill this winter with P&O Ferries!

Image Credit: Vincent Brassinne , Carlos Andres Reyes , Carlos Andres Reyes

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