With Christmas approaching rapidly, Christmas markets are already up in most parts of Europe, spoiling visitors for choice. One of the most popular choices is Switzerland, whose charming festive Christmas markets are loved across the world with people making plans months in advance to travel to the country in December just to hop from one Christmas market to another. The beautifully decked-up stalls in these vibrant markets glittering with fairy lights, sell everything from baked goodies and local delicacies, crafts, Christmas decorations, clothes, jewellery, knick-knacks and much more!
Visting the markets, one can pick a favourite spot and sip a glass of mulled wine and munch on plum cake as one soaks in the pristine view of mirror lakes reflecting the fireworks and light displays off the coast. Or, one can enjoy melodic carols performed by various choirs across these markets, most of which will open during advent.
The idyllic setting of these ‘Christmassy’ markets nestled in a cottony carpet of snow makes them top the ‘perfect Christmas destination’ list of most travellers. Here is a list of Switzerland’s most popular Christmas markets:
Basel (From November 24-December 23)
This city on the Rhine unravels a very special charm during the Advent season. The hundred-odd Christmas trees adorning the streets guarantee an enchanting seasonal atmosphere throughout the city centre. In the middle of the city centre in the historic old town, is the picturesque Christmas market on Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz, one of the largest markets in Switzerland and one of the most beautiful in Europe.
- Münsterplatz (From November 24)
One of the most beautiful squares in Basel, it looks like a dream during Christmas. The star attraction of this plaza is the splendidly decorated Christmas tree on the Claraplatz created by the well-known decorator Johann Wanner. There are also some fine culinary offers in the Sennenhütte, a true delight for the gastronomes.
There is always something going on at Barfüsserplatz! It has everything for the most wonderful time of the year. Visitors can treat themselves to all the delicious Christmas delicacies and enjoy all the unique highlights that one gets to see only at this time of year. The view in front of the Barfüsserkirche extends across the white roofs of the pretty market stalls.
Montreux (From November 18-December 24)
The Montreux Christmas market attracts visitors with its wooden stalls that are idyllically set up on the lakeshore. Montreux Noël is the second-largest Christmas market in Switzerland and impresses above all with its diverse range of events and attractions for the young and old. It offers an unforgettable Christmas world that appeals to all the senses with more than 170 richly decorated chalets overflowing with gifts. Enjoying a fondue and a glass of wine in one of the restaurants at the Christmas market is the ideal way to warm up and is typical of the region.
Several Christmas markets are organised in Zurich but the highlight of the Christkindlimarkt at Zurich Main Station concourse is the 15-metre tall sparkling Christmas tree decorated with around thousands of sparkling crystals! The Dörfli Christmas Market also brings plenty of festive magic to the picturesque alleys of Zurich’s Niederdorf district. Countless charming market stalls, an ice rink, and many other attractions, big and small, make the place feel like a dream.
Mulled wine, tempting Christmas treats and mistletoes, and Christmas Markets in the city of lights are truly enchanting. There are many markets that are hosted in Lucerne, and the crafts market also is a great place for holiday presents for your near and dear ones. The Winter Fun Voligeligartli is loved by all! This small yet serene winter village is cosy and filled with visual and culinary delights. The Rudolf’s Christmas Spectacle that takes place in Inseli Park will also take place on the same dates.
Lausanne (From November 17-December 31)
The Bô Noël’s programme perfectly reflects Lausanne – it is traditional but extremely modern. During the Advent season, there is Christmas magic for every taste, be it fairy tales for children, unique items that make perfect gifts or a festive evening with regional products. The 7th edition of Bô Noël will take place from November 17 to December 31. As with every year, there will be many surprises to end the year with magical impressions and culinary highlights, and of course, the grand opening parade that took place on November 19. This year, the festival will be different as the facades of the three iconic buildings will be unique illuminated. A subtle but spectacular light-up!
Geneva (From November 17-December 23)
Traditional but reinterpreted for Geneva, this Christmas Market transforms one of the most beautiful gardens of Geneva, the English Garden, into an enchanting place. With the wonderful Jet d’Eau in the background and abundant lights and scenery in the middle, all you need to do is follow the path that leads you to the Christmas village. There, local producers, designers and craftsmen will make you discover objects, delicacies and other wonderful surprises. If you love culinary trips, street food, melted cheese in different shapes and Christmas- scented mulled wine, then there is no better place than the Christmas market in the garden. In the children’s corner, there is also a beautiful old-fashioned carousel that makes the little one’s eyes light up with wonder.
Bern (From December 2-24)
Even after almost 40 years, the Bern Minster Christmas market is still an insider tip. The market here is organised by the local communities away from the hustle and bustle of the city against the striking backdrop of Bern Cathedral, and sells some of the most unique items made by local artisans, making this venue a cultural oasis that woos guests with its quiet and subtle atmosphere.
St. Gallen (From November 24-December 24)
During Advent, St. Gallen becomes a ‘Swiss Star City’ as around 700 stars shine over the squares and alleys of the old town and immerse the historical facades of the UNESCO World Heritage City in a festive sea of lights. The Star City shines a few days longer and ends on January 6, 2023.