Belfast Continental Christmas Market

Christmas is over one month away, and yet Belfast is already dressed up for December 25th. In the last week, temperatures have plunged from the usual 12-13° Celsius down to 1-2°, marking the arrival of Winter with frosty roofs and slippery pavements. Christmas lights and greetings were hung in the streets soon after Halloween. Today it was the turn of the inauguration of the Continental Christmas Market and the official lightening of Belfast City Hall in the city center. This year, in celebration of the Year of Food and Drink 2016, 20 extra chalets were added to the traditional Christmas stalls, outside the main entrance gates.

Not knowing what to expect, we decided to wrap ourselves in warm clothes and go to have a look. Here’s what we’ve found…

There are an incredible number of stalls, offering local foods and any type of exotic street food – German, Spanish, Australian, Italian, French… The choice is just amazing. Other than foodf, there are all kinds of gift stalls: wood crafts, wool products, clothing, bulbs and flowers, decorations… A good part of the market is fit for kids, with Santa’s grotto, children choirs, Christmas trees and everything you can think of related to Christmas. The only weird thing was that it was quite dark – at least until the lights at City Hall were turned on, at 6.30PM. The light effects were very nice, but even so, the market continue to look a bit gloomy.

All in all, we had a good time. The market was crowded, but we managed to tour it twice. We also got a Napolitano sfogliatella on the go and, in the end, we stopped at Caffé Nero to warm up with a hot cup of coffee before going back home.

Compared to Dublin’s Traditional Christmas stalls, Belfast Continental Christmas Market offers much more, in terms of stalls, variety and atmosphere.

It’s a bit different than the traditional Christmas markets you will find in Germany or in the Alps, but it well deserves a visit if you’re in Ireland!





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