The countdown to Christmas has begun and it is one of the most anticipated festivals worldwide. There is much to look forward to, such as spending the holiday with loved ones, hanging out, or shopping at the country's bustling and vibrant Christmas markets. These markets offer the best ways to soak in the festive spirit, from warm mulled wine, punch, plum cake, and home-baked goodies like raclette and fondue to handicrafts, jewellery, and clothes. Additionally, there are concerts, workshops for adults and kids, and local choirs that set the mood for the celebrations.
Switzerland brandishes exciting Christmas markets worth visiting every other year. Most markets are open from early December onwards to usher in the beginning of the Advent period. Explore the top places in Switzerland known for their Christmas markets.
The Basel Christmas Market in Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz was voted the Best Christmas Market in Europe for 2021. This month-long market, starting from November 23, boasts 155 stands and is one of the largest Christmas markets in Switzerland. Visitors can partake in sumptuous Christmas delicacies at Barfüsserplatz, write down their wishes in the Basel Wish Book, or enjoy the stunning view of this fairy tale land from the Basel Cathedral. You can get photographed at the magic of Johann Wanner's Christmas tree at Münsterplatz, Basel's most beautiful square or stroll to the Pfalz and sip on your mulled wine while enjoying the shimmering view over the Rhine.
Address: Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz, Altstadt Grossbasel, 4051 Basel, Switzerland
Timings: 11 am to 8:30 pm each day with the final day lasting from 11am to 6pm
Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland, offers various Christmas markets to suit every taste. Most of these markets open from November 23, including the oldest Christmas market in the city, held in Dörfli in the heart of the Old Town, and the Zurich Main Station market, one of the largest indoor Christmas markets in Europe, featuring 140 stalls. You can stroll through these markets and discover statement jewellery pieces by local designers, indulge in candle making, or sample traditional Swiss cuisine with your loved ones.
If you've ever wondered where you can see a flying Santa Claus over water on his sleigh outside the movies, the answer is Montreux. This beautiful town on the Riviera boasts Europe's most stunning Christmas markets, with over 170 merchants, artisans, and restaurant owners selling their wares in beautifully illuminated chalets. The markets are open from November 23 to December 24 for you to visit and experience the festive atmosphere under the palm trees.
The Lucerne Christmas Market is located in Franziskanerplatz, the city's old town. It functions from December 1 to 21 and features the most enormous Advent wreath in central Switzerland. The wreath has hundreds of lights and baubles, and four-foot-tall candles. The city's Craft Market is also popular, offering homemade products such as jewellery, paper goods, and other gifts made by local women and craftsmen.
The Noel au Quai is a magnificent Geneva market open from November 16 to December 24. You can stroll along Lake Geneva and stop to sip on some mulled wine or savour the ‘moitie-moitie’ fondue at the Chalet a Fondue. This beautifully decorated market is famous for this time of year and offers a variety of locally made crafts stalls, winter dishes to taste, and an entertainment chalet. The Christmas Market at the Quai is the perfect place to tick off all the items on your wish list.
The 9th edition of Bô Noël is being held from November 21 to December 21 at Place Centrale, now renamed Place des Pionnières. You must see the Opening Parade, Ferris Wheel, sledge run, 15-metre fir tree with giant baubles, and Children's Village at their sustainable market.
Address: Place des Pionnières, 1003 Lausanne, Switzerland
Timings: 10:30 am to 11 pm
Bern boasts more than 11 delightful markets, each with unique charm. You can visit the traditional Christmas Market on Waisenhausplatz, where you can munch on caramelised almonds and pick up quirky souvenirs. You can also check out the Star Market, which has weatherproof lounges and a view of the parliament from the Kleine Schanze. If you're interested in local crafts, the Crafts Market on Minister Terrace showcases products from local designers, craftsmen, and women. The best part is that all these markets are located close to each other, making them accessible by foot.