Ypres Christmas market is held in the Grote Markt - the main square. Here the wooden stalls are decorated as mini Swiss chalets and the square is transformed into an ice rink.
When in Ypres, there is much to be remembered. With deeply engrained links to World War One, you will experience a highly moving Christmas tour as there are many war cemeteries and monuments throughout the city and in the nearby area.
From October 1914 until October 1918 the battlefield was close to the centre of Ypres. "The trenches had been dug from North to South to form an arch around Ypres. In that famous Ypres Salient no fewer than five bloody battles were fought. In the 1920s more than 150 military cemeteries were built in and around the city and monuments were erected. Menin Gate being the most important." ( Ypres Tourist Office ).
Things you may want to know :
Christmas Market Dates: 27th November 2015 - 3rd January 2016
Number of stalls: About 30
Closest Airport: Lille
To start planning your trip:
The Tour Includes
- Bed and breakfast accommodation based on two people sharing a twin room
- Executive coach travel with professional tour manager
- Channel crossing
- Free time in Ypres
- Single room supplement
Making the Magic : Interview with Ypres (Ieper) Tourist Board
What year was your Christmas market established?
How many visitors do you have approximately?
We haven’t counted them yet, but the skating rink on the Christmas market has about 11,000 visitors each year. Obviously everyone at the Christmas Market does not participate in skating, so we estimate a much higher number of visitors for the Christmas market.
How many stalls do you have approximately?
What kind of goods are on offer?
Food and drinks, clothes, jewellery, gifts, decoration but it differs every year.
How do you prioritise small businesses and local artisans having stalls?
About two to three of the stalls return every year. We try to attract new stalls (especially artisans) by informing them about our Christmas market and inviting them to participate. But it can be hard to convince them because they have to be there every day and most of them work alone and already have their own shop.
From an overseas visitor’s perspective, how do you want people to perceive your destination?
Ypres is a town with a very rich history. It’s in the middle of a lot of greenery with many possibilities for walking, biking and to discover the World War One history.
What socio-economic benefits does your Christmas market bring to your region?
The winter period is a rather calm period for tourists. Local and regional people come to the Christmas Market in December and fill the gap for some part.
Does the market have a positive knock-on effect with other activities and events throughout the year?
We try to organise several activities throughout the year to promote Ypres as an interesting city to visit, shop at and eat in.
Yes, people who come to Ypres during the Christmas Market often come back later to visit more of our city and region.
What do you enjoy most about organising a Christmas market?
Trying to find interesting new stall-holders.
What are the biggest challenges in organising a Christmas market?
Finding an interesting mix of stalls so there is not too much competition, and we then have a variety of different stalls and products.
What three words best describe your Christmas market?
Atmosphere, history, illuminations (there are special illuminations in the city and on the Christmas market).
Is there anything unique about your market and/or region
Ypres has a nice and interesting mix of historic buildings with many shops and restaurants in the town centre. The attractions are very close to each other so you only need enjoy a nice walk to discover everything. The charm of the Medieval past and the elaborate remains of the tumultuous war history will make your visit to Ypres that more unforgettable. The historic centre with the reconstructed buildings, the Vauban Ramparts which for 10 centuries have been the fortification of the city, the history of World War One in Ypres – are only a few examples of the numerous walking possibilities in Ypres.
Why do people love your Christmas market?
The Christmas market is a nice extra to our interesting town.
Why do you think Christmas markets are especially good for group, coach travel?
Christmas markets offer a typical atmosphere that can be enjoyed most with a group of friends.