If you are planning a winter trip to Switzerland, Christmas time is the ideal season to visit. In the towns, villages and cities of Switzerland, market stalls appear, the sounds of carol singers can be heard, twinkling lights brighten the sky and festive cheer is in abundance.
Right across the country, Christmas markets are the centrepiece of the festive celebrations. This is where locals gather to meet with friends for a warming mulled wine after work and buy their Christmas gifts.
Towns large and small host Christmas markets, many with their own unique features as you’ll read below. If you’re in Switzerland during Christmas celebrations, a market visit is a must.
With so many wonderful markets across the country, it’s hard to pick a clear favourite but in the following guide, you’ll get the lowdown on some of the best Christmas markets in Switzerland.
Click here to see the Switzerland Christmas Markets operating dates for this year.
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Top Christmas Markets in Switzerland
Zurich Christmas Markets
Not content with just one Christmas Market, Zurich boasts an impressive four main markets as well as some smaller ones.
Located in the Old Town, Niederdorf is the oldest Christmas market in Zurich. Visitors are invited to soak up the festive ambience and browse the traditional Christmas goodies.
Here you will find ornate Swiss Christmas decorations and plenty of unique gifts on offer – and do make sure you treat yourself to a steaming mug of mulled wine.
There’s also the well-known Christkindlimarkt, located in the main train station at Zurich, Switzerland. Christmas markets don’t come much bigger than this one (it’s one of the largest in Europe).
You can stroll around the 150 stalls and browse the handmade gifts painstakingly created by skilled artisans.
The Christkindlimarkt also boasts a majestic 50-foot Swiss Christmas tree, decorated with sparkling Swarovski crystals. (You can also find a singing Christmas tree not far away at Werdmühleplatz.)
A rather grand Switzerland Christmas village market is held on the steps of the Opera House. The market is great for families, with a designated area for kids, a cinema chalet showing movies, a traditional carousel, and an ice-skating rink.
Visitors can also browse the large shopping chalets and pick up beautiful Christmas tree decorations.
Based near the shores of Lake Zurich, Wienachtsdorf is a large urban Christmas village featuring around 100 stalls. Local craftsmen and women bring their goods to sell, and you will find tasty Swiss treats to try.
When you tire of shopping, you can slip on a pair of skates and enjoy the ice rink, which proves popular with all ages.
Bern Christmas Markets
If your destination is Bern Switzerland, Christmas markets grace the medieval streets of this city in numerous locations.
Head to the Cathedral Square market (Münsterplatz) to enjoy one of Bern’s finest Christmas Markets. You can expect a charming and tranquil ambience as you wander around the stalls.
There are plenty of regional wares available too, in the form of homemade goods such as carefully crafted jewellery and baked treats.
The city is also home to a well-known market on Orphanage Square (Waisenhausplatz). This Christmas market features an array of festive goods and mouth-watering treats such as caramel and gingerbread.
If you’re seeking something a little more bespoke, seek out the Artisan Market in front of the Munster (Cathedral). A visit to this market allows you to peruse and buy exclusive handcrafted products – there’s plenty to choose from, with 100 stalls dotted around the marketplace.
Basel Christmas Market
There’s no need to go looking for Christmas markets near Basel, Switzerland as the city itself hosts two main markets, both offering plenty of festive cheer. You’ll find them at Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz.
The Basel Christmas Market at Münsterplatz, in the Old Town, is Switzerland’s oldest and largest market, with over 180 stalls). It has a magical backdrop and is a picture-perfect real-life Christmas village.
Switzerland’s city on the Rhine has many attractive landmarks, and the majestic Basel Minster Catholic Cathedral is one such place. The Münsterplatz Christmas market occupies the large square in front of this place of worship and is a popular winter attraction.
Twinkling fairy lights adorn the trees, and there are stalls selling everything from nativity figurines to silk scarves and tasty fried apple doughnuts (Öpfelchüchli).
Taking pride of place in the square is a huge Christmas tree adorned with exquisite ornaments made by local artisan, Johann Wanner. More of his wares are on display (and for sale) at the Johann Wanner Christmas House not far from the market.
There’s lots for younger visitors at this Swiss Christmas village, too. Gather the family and head to the Fairytale Forest; here, the children can immerse themselves in traditional festive pastimes such as baking cookies and making candles.
Another renowned Christmas market, Barfüsserplatz sits in a busy transport hub at a tram intersection and is a popular and bustling market. Visitors to Barfüsserplatz will find all sorts of handicrafts, including wooden toys and candles.
If you’re feeling a bit peckish, you must try a traditional Chäsbängel (a fondue filled baguette).
Lucerne Christmas Markets
In the city of Lucerne, Switzerland, Christmas is celebrated with several Christmas markets, including the traditional Lozärner Wiehnachtsmärt.
Situated in the square adjacent to Franziskaner Kirche (Franciscan Church), Lozärner has a real buzz and is frequented by tourists and locals alike. You will often find Lucerne citizens sharing a mulled wine after work!
Visitors can feast on homemade biscuits and Glühwein and browse the many gifts, including sheepskin gloves, hats, and pretty candles.
Luzerner Handwerksmarkt is another Christmas Market, this one featuring handmade goods only. Located in the Old Town, this is a great place to pick up bespoke items such as ceramics and glassware, which make perfect Christmas gifts for friends and family.
Alternatively, you could pay a visit to Venite, a multicultural Christmas market based in the Kapellplatz area. The 20 stalls showcase cuisine and beverages from a variety of countries, and musicians are on hand to entertain the crowd.
Geneva Christmas Markets
Just like in other major cities in Switzerland, Christmas markets can be found in Geneva during the Switzerland Christmas holiday period.
You will find one of the most traditional markets on the pedestrianised Rue du Mont-Blanc. There’s plenty on offer, including appetising baked delicacies, unique gifts and pretty trinkets.
Noël aux Bastions is another popular Christmas Market in Geneva, Switzerland. Christmassy fairy lights decorate its location in Bastions Park, and the market showcases the works of local artisans and allows discerning visitors the chance to purchase unique gifts for loved ones.
You will also find a carousel and an ice rink, should you fancy a break from browsing. Noël aux Bastions doubles as a street food mecca, too. You’ll find it difficult not to fill your face at the Chalet of Fondue!
Ascona Christmas Market
There are many traditional Christmas markets in Switzerland, and the Via Borgo in Ascona hosts one of the prettiest. It may be a little smaller than some of the other markets, but it has lots to offer.
Allow the warming scent of gingerbread to tickle your nose as you amble along the promenade of Lake Maggiore.
Browse the stalls, where you can pick up gifts and souvenirs. Savour a glass of mulled wine or tasty punch, and soak up the unmissable festive atmosphere.
Montreux Christmas Market
The Christmas Market in Montreux (Montreux Noël) boasts a magical setting and many attractions. Situated on the banks of Lake Geneva, the Montreux Switzerland Christmas market has been operating for over a quarter of a century and now features more than 150 chalet stalls.
Each night, the market welcomes a very special guest of honour – the star of the show himself, Santa Claus, when he flies across the sky in his reindeer-drawn sleigh.
While you’re there, take in the light show on Montreux Palace’s façade, or perhaps enjoy the gastronomic delights on offer. You can also browse the gifts and artisan crafts, before enjoying a drink or two at the late-night bar.
If you have more time to spend, head to nearby Chillon Castle, a fairytale medieval fortress, where you can enjoy Christmas activities for the whole family, or board the cogwheel train to Rochers-de-Naye to visit Santa Claus at his mountain-top house.
Baden Christmas Market
Christmas in Switzerland wouldn’t be complete without the wonderful festive markets, and the Baden Advent Market manages to offer something for everyone.
Situated by the Kirchplatz in Baden, the market is romantic enough for couples to stroll around hand in hand, but has plenty going on for families and groups of friends, too.
Visitors can expect plenty of stalls, an ice rink, and entertainment courtesy of street performers who are well versed in wowing the crowd.
Check out the shimmering artworks that line the alleyways throughout the town – and don’t forget to grab a bite to eat at the large Cheese and Grill House.
Bellinzona Christmas Market
Considered one of the best Swiss Christmas markets due to its size and reputation, Bellinzona’s market is positioned in the historic heart of the city.
Just like at most other markets in Switzerland, Christmas food and drinks are a focal point at the Bellinzona Christmas Market. There are approximately 200 stalls selling tasty treats, handicrafts and Christmas gifts galore.
The atmosphere is notable too, with plenty of music contributing to the seasonal good cheer.
Chur Christmas Market
When you’re keen to get yourself in the festive spirit, it’s time to hit the Christmas markets. Switzerland’s oldest town, Chur holds a market that is one of the biggest and best.
There are just over 150 stalls to peruse, featuring crafted treats and regional goods.
Purchase wooden toys for the kids and souvenirs to commemorate your visit to Switzerland. Christmas decorations such as handmade wreaths, are bound to bring cheer to your home for years to come.
Festive shopping can be tiring, so stop off at one of the gastro stalls to recharge your batteries with a warming barley soup or mug of hot glühwein.
Lugano Christmas Market
The city of Lugano loves to embrace its Switzerland Christmas traditions. It is known for hosting festive events, displaying beautiful decorations, and staging a customary Christmas market.
The market typically kicks off with the lighting of the seasonal Christmas tree on the Piazza della Riforma, which will really get you into the spirit of Yuletide.
There are plenty of stalls where you can pick up carefully crafted goods such as pretty Swiss Christmas ornaments and gifts for family and friends.
The Lugano Christmas market will also please foodies as there are numerous huts serving delicacies to hungry visitors.
Families are catered for too, with plenty going on to keep younger visitors busy.
Thun Christmas Market
Known as the Castle City, Thun comes alive with its Swiss Christmas market. Located on the Waisenhausplatz, Thun’s market is known for its plentiful Christmas lights and decorations, which give the city a warm and welcoming feel.
Local tradespeople tout their goods and regional offerings, and there’s plenty of delicious food on offer. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to try your hand at candle-dipping.
Winterthur Christmas Market
You’ll find all the Swiss Christmas market staples at Winterthur, including an abundance of Christmas crafts and products sold by friendly vendors from the wooden chalets.
Situated in the heart of Winterthur Old Town, the market has been running for several years.
Along with the festive goods on offer, the Winterthur market is renowned for its appetising refreshments, such as hot wine and brandy punch.
St. Gallen Christmas Market
The Romantic Old Town of St Gallen is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and provides the perfect setting for a charmingly festive market.
Referred to by the locals as “The City of Stars” during the Christmas period, you will find decorated stalls lining the winding streets, selling handmade crafts and goods such as traditional Christmas ornaments.
There’s also a magnificent Christmas tree sitting proudly in the Abbey area of St Gallen, dazzling visitors with no less than 18,000 lights.
The market itself runs from Market Square, along Bohl and to Waaghaus, and features around 70 stalls.
Savour barley broth, enjoy traditional raclette, or sip a mulled wine or beer as you wander around.
You can even take a ride on the Merry-Go-Round for a memorable festive treat.
Stein am Rhein Christmas Market
The small town of Stein am Rhein becomes a real-life Christmas card when its market takes place each December. The market is known as Maerlistadt which translates as ‘fairytale town’, and you couldn’t get a more apt description.
With twinkling fairy lights strung across the bridge over the Rhine, the half-timbered buildings of the Old Town lovingly decorated, and the delicious aromas of roasted chestnuts, grilled sausages and warming mulled wine alerting the senses, there’s no more magical place to be.
There’s a carousel and storytellers to keep the children entertained, and Santa Claus is known to visit with his ponies, too.
You can even download the Märlistadt Stein am Rhein app to keep up to date with the latest Christmas Market events and opening times.
Solothurn Christmas Markets
The town of Solothurn has two main Christmas markets, so you can look forward to ample festive delights and Swiss Christmas traditions in abundance.
Chlausemäret Solothurn is located in the oldest square in the city and boasts 70 stalls; take your time to browse the festive wares on offer. Peruse the regional products and homemade crafts as you wander the stalls.
Make sure you keep your eyes open – Samichlaus (the Swiss Santa Claus) often drops by to sample a warming mug of mulled wine!
Solothurn also hosts the Grenchen Christmas Market, with its pleasant atmosphere and family-friendly attractions. There are around 50 stalls featuring products to buy and edible treats to sample.
The bistro tent is the place to be if you are a foodie, while the Märliwald forest also delights with its entertainment programme and plentiful attractions.
Lausanne Christmas Markets
Running right through until New Year’s Eve (closed Christmas Day), Lausanne’s Christmas Market offers a host of entertainment for all ages.
A number of themed markets form the Bô Noël festival, and these can be found amongst the alleyways and in the squares of Lausanne, all within walking distance of each other.
At the Saint-François covered market in the heart of the city, everything from raclette to oysters can be purchased under the glass roof, whilst the Marché du Terroir is the place to go to sample local wine, cheese and other homemade products from the Vaud region. You’ll find it on Place d’Europe.
If fashion and jewellery is your thing, head to Place Pépinet where you’ll find a wonderful selection of stalls where local designers sell their unique creations.
There’s also a Children’s Village (Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday only) where kids can take part in activities and maybe even get to meet Santa!
The Lausanne Christmas Market also takes place during the annual Festival of Lights (Lausanne Lumières) so keep an eye out for these stunning illuminations as you stroll amongst the stalls and through Lausanne’s streets.
Interlaken Christmas Market
In the holiday town of Interlaken, take a break from skiing or sightseeing to stroll amongst the romantic wooden chalets that form the Christmas Market along the Höheweg in Interlaken.
From tasty food and drink to regional specialties, handicrafts and Christmas decorations, you’re sure to find the perfect gift or memento of your visit.
The festive atmosphere is enhanced with Christmas music, you can join Santa Claus aboard the Christmas train for a ride through town, or don a pair of skates and glide around the ice rink at the Top of Europe ICE MAGIC site beside the market.
With the snow-capped mountains of the Jungfrau Region as a backdrop, this is a magical Christmas market to visit.
Einsiedeln Christmas Market
It may only open on seven days but the Christmas Market at Einsiedeln is still worth visiting.
Wooden chalets are set up in front of the impressive Einsiedeln Monastery, a Christmas tree takes pride of place and the festive illuminations create a charming ambience.
Numerous concerts take place during the market, there are children’s activities and the opportunity to see the highlight of any Einsiedeln Christmas – the world’s largest Christmas crib.
Right beside the market you’ll find another Einsiedeln delight – its gingerbread (lebkuchen) museum. The museum also houses a bakery so be sure to treat yourself to this delicious festive sweet.
Frequently Asked Questions and Facts about Christmas in Switzerland
Where are the best Christmas Markets in Switzerland?
Choosing the best of all the Swiss Christmas Markets is a tough choice and it really just comes down to personal preference. You’ll find the larger markets in the main cities like Zurich, Bern, Basel and Geneva but there are plenty or reasons to visit the other markets, too.
What is the oldest Christmas Market in Switzerland?
Switzerland’s oldest Christmas Market can be found in Münsterplatz in the city of Basel. It is also one of the largest, with approximately 180 stalls selling Christmas goods.
When do Christmas Markets start in Switzerland?
Most Christmas markets in Switzerland begin in the first week of Advent, towards the end of November. Some smaller markets may only operate on specific dates (usually weekends) in December.
You can check the opening and closing dates for the most popular Swiss Christmas markets here.
When do Christmas Markets end in Switzerland?
The closing date for the majority of Christmas markets in Switzerland is December 24 (Christmas Eve), however a couple of markets open beyond Christmas Day. Check the link at the top of this article for closing dates.
Does it cost to visit the Swiss Christmas Markets?
In most cases there is no cost to visit the Swiss Christmas Markets but some activities may incur a fee (for example, hiring ice skates if you wish to go ice skating).
Where is the best place in Switzerland for Christmas?
What makes the perfect Christmas destination? Crisp white snow, jingling sleigh bells, the aroma of chestnuts and fresh pine, or the warming taste of a steaming cup of mulled wine?
How about all that and more?
Nothing quite delivers the magic of the festive season like a stroll through a traditional Christmas market.
With so many wonderful Swiss Christmas markets to choose from, you’ll be hard-pressed to choose just one or two. Why not make the most of what’s on offer by visiting more than one destination?
There are plenty of great Switzerland Christmas breaks on offer, and a vacation during this time of celebration will allow you to witness the snow-clad peaks of the Alps and the glacial lakes, and soak up the ambience of a festive market in full swing.
That’s got to be the best Christmas present ever!
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