Do you want to know what to wear in Belgium in Winter? Then you have come to the right place. So whether you are going to the cities like Brussels, Antwerp or Bruges or heading to the countryside such as the Ardennes we will tell you exactly what you should pack for Belgium in December, January and February.
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Weather in Belgium in Winter (December, January and February)
Winter in Belgium is classified as December, January and February. And as you would expect from any European country in Winter, Belgium can get quite cold in Winter. But how cold is it?
How cold is Belgium in Winter?
Generally speaking the average temperatures in Belgium in Winter range from 3°C/37°F to 7°C/44°F and will largely stay above freezing during the day. However it does deep below zero at night, although it rarely goes below -5°C/23°F.
And as Belgium is a lowland country with little in the way of topographical difference (the Ardennes is actually the most “mountainous” area) there is not great variation in temperatures or conditions as there is in neighbouring Germany in Winter.
But generally speaking you should prepare for visiting Belgium in Winter by packing lots of layers and thick winter coats with winter accessories. For more information on how to pack Winter Coats for travel check out this post.
How rainy is in Belgium in Winter?
So now you know the temperatures you can expect in Belgium in Winter, we will turn our attention to the rainfall.
If you are traveling to Belgium in Winter you can expect anywhere between 10-13days of rain in each of the Winter months of December, January and February. Therefore it is very likely that you will see some significant rainfall during your Winter Belgium vacation. We therefore recommend packing at least some waterproof shoes and a waterproof top layer.
Does it snow in Belgium in Winter?
As the temperatures in Belgium in Winter hover around freezing, you can indeed get snow. However I would not expect predictable or deep snow in Belgium in any Winter month.
This is especially true in the cities such as Antwerp, Brussels or Bruges where if you are lucky enough to it is likely to be a dusting rather than a deluge.
Also the snowfall in Belgium can occur in any of the Winter months, December, January or February.
Note: we always recommend checking the forecast at your destination(s) 7 days out from travel to make sure there are no expected weather fronts i.e. heatwaves or cold snaps.
How do local people dress in Belgium in Winter?
Locals in Belgium know how to rock a Winter Capsule Wardrobe and they know that layers are key to any outfit at this time of year.
Generally speaking local Belgiums tend to dress practically in Winter which includes thick coats with some insulation as well as some winter accessories. Although you will see smart coats such as a classic wool winter coat in the business centers i.e. Brussels, you are also very likely to see more practical coats such as puffers and parkas too.
So if you want to dress like locals in Belgium you should prioritise dressing for the weather before concerning yourself with fashion.
What to Wear in Belgium in Winter
When looking at what to pack for Belgium in Winter, layers are going to be your best friend no matter whether you are traveling in December, January and February.
We always recommend not overpacking when traveling however this can prove trickier in Winter due to the layers required.
What to Wear in Belgium in Winter for Women
A coat is my number one pick for any Belgium Winter packing list. While a smart coat can be nice and is more essential if you are traveling on business to Brussels, we recommend packing a more practical coat to fit in with the locals and to cope with the weather.
For this reason we recommend packing something that is insulated for when the cool temperatures, and has some water resistance for coping with both rain and snow on the rare occassion it falls.
Some of our favorite brands of coats for Belgium in Winter include:
Hat, Scarf and Gloves
Winter accessories are a must for Belgium in Winter, especially in December. No matter where in Belgium you are traveling you are likely to be doing lots of outdoor activities.
This is especially true if you are traveling in December for the Christmas Markets such as those in beautiful Bruges (it is like a fairytale after all). If you are visiting the Christmas markets you are likely to be outdoors at night too which adds to the chill in the air.
I would recommend taking with you a matching scarf and gloves set that match your winter coat to finish off the look. But be sure to get gloves that are touch screen compatible so as you are likely to be taking lots of photographs.
Depending on where you are traveling to in Belgium and what activities you are doing once you get there will depend on what type of trousers you require.
For instance if you plan on going in hiking in places such as the Ardennes we recommend taking either walking trousers, ski trousers or some thicker lined leggings depending on your itinerary.
For cities like Antwerp, Bruges and Brussels we recommend a combination of thicker trousers such as jeans, corduroy trousers or even some thick wool pants.
Jeans are perfect for sightseeing during the day. I would recommend picking smarter jeans such as black jeans or dark blue jeans that are more fitted or skinny jeans however you will see all sorts of styles of the streets of Belgium. So it is most important that you feel comfortable.
If you want a smarter pant then we love a regular black pant (we love the Athleta Brooklyn ankle pant for travel) or a thick wool pant.
Skirts and Dresses
I personally find it a tad too cold to wear a dress or skirt to sightsee in Belgium in Winter. However I personally like to change into a dress for dinner.
As the nights can be cold, I recommend wearing a sweater dress or a jumper dress, paired with thick tights and boots with a good sole that can cope if there is ice on the ground.
A loose blouse works for the evenings or days layered with a cardigan or sweater.
T Shirts are a great base for Belgium in Winter. T Shirts that are plain or are lightly patterned are easier to make work as part of a capsule wardrobe. However graphic or slogan t shirts won’t be out of place on the streets of the major cities in Belgium.
After a coat, layers are going to be the most important part of your Belgian Capsule wardrobe in Winter. For a week in Belgium, or a week in Belgium and neighbouring countries/cities such as Germany and Amsterdam I would pack 3 types of top layer.
The 3 top layers I would pack layers are a cardigan, hoodie and a sweater.
Hoodies are a great casual top layer for sightseeing in the day at places such as museums and galleries. However I like to have something smarter for evenings.
I personally never travel in Winter without a merino wool sweater. Merino wool is one of my favorite fabrics to include in a Winter capsule wardrobe. That is because it provides extra warmth as they are an insulating fabric but is also compact unlike a thick knit. Therefore it is easy to pack and doesn’t take up a lot of space in your case.
It doesn’t matter where I am traveling to in Europe a pashmina is always on my packing list. A pashmina can be used as a scarf or lovely accessory but can double up as an added extra layer.
For those traveling to visit the Christmas markets in Belgium we recommend packing a thicker pashmina for extra warmth.
For those traveling to Belgium in Winter we recommend packing thicker, flannel pjs.
Whether you need a thermal base layer really depends on your planned itinerary and how much you feel the cold. Personally I feel the cold very easily, so I always wear some merino wool thermals for going anywhere outdoors on a Winter night in Europe. However my husband would never do this.
You may also need thermals if you plan to go hiking in the Ardennes.
Underwear and Socks
Goes without saying. If you plan on spending outside either hiking or visiting Christmas Markets then we recommend packing either thicker hiking socks or thermal socks such as those made of merino wool.
What to pack for Belgium in Winter for Men
The packing list for men is quite similar as the ladies packing list for Belgium in Winter and we recommend packing:
A practical warm coat with some insulation as well as being water and win resistant is a good idea for Belgium in Winter.
Again a hat, scarf and gloves are a great addition. Just be sure to pick a pair that are touch screen compatible.
T Shirts and Shirts
A mix of long and short sleeve t shirts is a good idea, as well as a button down shirt for fancier restaurants.
Jeans are great for sightseeing in Winter. You may want to add a smarter pair of chinos/dockers, cords or smart wool trousers to the packing list too for nights out and fancier dinners.
A hoodie, jumper and sweater alongside the jacket are the perfect layers for 7 days in Belgium or an itinerary that includes Belgium and neighbouring countries such as Germany and the Netherlands.
Underwear, Socks and Pjs
Including thicker socks and potentially some thermals if you feel the cold.
What to wear in Belgium in December Considerations
Although there is definite overlap between what to wear throughout the Winter months in Belgium, there are a few considerations you may want to take into account depending on the month you are traveling.
One of the highlights of visiting Belgium in December is visiting the countries many Christmas markets. My personal favorite is the Bruges Christmas market.
If you are wondering what to wear to Christmas markets in Belgium, then my top tip is to have lots of layers and be prepared for the cold. The temperatures in Belgium hovering around freezing in December, but it can drop considerably cooler at night. Therefore you will want a thick coat as well as layers. And if you like me feel the cold you may also want to pack some thermals.
Best Shoes for Belgium in Winter
Ankle boots are my number one pick for Belgium in Winter. They are easier to pack than knee high boots and if you select the right pair are waterproof and come with good soles that can cope with both rain and ice.
My go to ankle boot for winter in Europe has to be a classic Chelsea Boot.
Note: hiking boots are only really necessary if you plan on going on hikes outside of the city.
And there is nothing stopping you packing knee high boots other than they are harder to pack. If you have space in your case and want to wear longer boots be sure to check out our guide on how to pack Winter boots in a suitcase.
What to pack for Belgium in Winter (Non Clothing)
- Crossbody Bag – unfortunately any tourist site attracts pickpockets and Belgium is no different. Protect your belongings by having a crossbody bag with lots of zips.
- Backpack – for storing items on your day trips.
- Travel adaptor – Belgium uses the standard European plug so if you are traveling from the UK, USA or Australia or anywhere else outside of Europe you will need a universal travel adaptor with you.
- Power Pack / battery packs
- Sun screen
- Lipbalm – cold weather can dry out and crack your lips. Protect them from the weather in Belgium by having a good quality lip balm with you.
- Compact Umbrella – after all Belgium is quite a rainy place in Winter.
- Sunglasses – on all my packing lists even in Winter.
- Travel First Aid Kit
- Blister plasters
- Toiletries – for our essential toiletries packing list click here.
How to dress in Belgium in Winter for Special Events
The main special event in Belgium in Winter is the Christmas Markets. The Belgian Christmas markets usually start in November and then run until Christmas Eve.
What do you wear to Christmas markets in Belgium?
Generally speaking you can wear your normal sightseeing outfit to go to the Christmas Markets wherever you are in Belgium. However just be sure to have plenty of layers, a good thick coat which is wind and water resistance and of course a pair of boots that can cope with rain and ice.
Also I don’t think you can go wrong with a festive jumper / festive sweater at any Christmas Market anywhere around the world.
Other than this there are no special events in Belgium in Winter that requires special packing requirements.
Belgium Winter Packing List
So just to recap here is our complete list of what to add to your Belgium Winter Packing List
- Waterproof and Wind resistant Coat or jacket
- Scarf, Gloves, Hat and ear muffs
- Thermal base layers – preferably merino wool (optional)
- T shirts
- Thicker weight trousers such as jeans, woolen trousers or corduroy trousers.
- Merino Wool Thermal socks
- T shirts
- Layers such as sweaters, fleeces, jumpers and hoodies
- Warm Nightwear
- Ankle Boots with a good sole for icy conditions.
- Medication and Documentation
- Back Pack
- Travel Adaptor
- Compact travel umbrella
- Battery Pack
- Travel first aid kit including blister plasters
- Lip Balm
FAQs About Belgium in Winter
Can you wear jeans in Belgium in Winter?
You can absolutely wear jeans in Belgium in Winter. In fact they are an essential on any Belgian Winter packing list. And the great thing about Belgium is you will see all style of jeans on the streets so you can pick the style and color you are most comfortable in.
Have you been to Belgium in Winter? What did you wear? We would love you to tell us in the comments below!