If you’re dreaming of a Christmas spent in quaint Swiss villages, and surrounded by market-stalls brimming with treats, then (in true holiday spirit) we have you covered. Ho, ho, ho..
We can’t think of a better place to immerse yourself in Christmas cheer, with a mug of hot mulled wine, than the spectacular markets that adorn the streets of Switzerland.
Arguably, this small but mighty European country is THE original home of the Christmas holiday.
Just imagine taking to the slopes during the day at one of the nearby mountains, easily accessible using a Swiss Travel Pass from the major cities, and then spending the evenings getting jolly with locals and other tourists as you fill your belly with the incredible local Swiss cuisine (did someone say fondue?)
To kickstart your winter cravings, we’ve compiled a list of some of the BEST Swiss Christmas markets out there. Prepare to feel the Christmas magic…
Basel, the cultural capital of Switzerland on the banks of the Rhine, has a reputation for putting on the largest Christmas market in the country, with over 180 traders and artisans helping visitors get well into the festive sprit – think mulled wine, waffles, gingerbread, delicious Swiss raclette and grilled sausages. Mmm!
If what goes into your belly isn’t enough to put you in the mood, then the festively adorned houses and monuments of the Old Town, plus a magnificently decorated Christmas tree which acts as the centre piece of the market grounds (located on Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz, right in the centre of the city), certainly will.
Imagine being serenaded by the sound of Christmas carols as the sweet smells of cinnamon and mulled wine wafts through the air inside the historic main hall of Zurich’s main station.
As you amble through the cozy quarters, over 150 stalls, selling everything from toys to artisan crafts to food (oh the food – waffles, sausages, cheese, oh my!) stimulate all the senses, making you feel like a kid again. And then, to top it off, a giant 50-foot tall Christmas tree decorated with 7,000 Swarovksi crystals sparkles against the fluorescent glow of fairy lights.
The Christmas market at Zurich’s main train station is one of the largest indoor Christmas markets in Europe. If this spectacle isn’t enough to get you excited about Christmas, then we don’t know what else will…
Taking place every year at Franziskanerplatz, located in the heart of the Old Town, around 70 artisans and traders colonise the central square in Lucerne with their little timber houses with the sole intention of getting the city into the festive spirit.
With rides for the kids, mulled wine for the adults, and delicious waffles, sausages and sweets for all, locals and tourists alike come together and soak up the ambiance for the Lucerne Christmas market every year – all in the name of the that jolly fat man with a beard!
Warning: the mood here is contagious, and you’ll definitely find yourself lingering around longer than you originally intended.
True, Basel and Zurich may have the largest Christmas markets in Switzerland, but the one at Montreux is definitely the most beautiful.
Smeared along the shores of Lake Geneva, the setting of the Montreux Christmas market could not – I repeat, could not – be any more stunning. Each year, 150 decorated and illuminated chalets trading in culinary specialties and gifts pop up along the quays of the lake, attracting on average around half a million visitors from Switzerland and around the world who come here for an almost fantastical Christmas-y experience.
Sweet Christmas carols, plenty of entertainment (such as workshops, a BIG ferris wheel, and a Christmas contest), and enough activities for the kids (for example, they can visit Santa at his house at the nearby Rochers-de-Naye), keep the mood at a ten throughout Montreux’s Christmas market season.
Celebrated in the shadows of the charming Benedictine monastery in Abbey Square and along the town’s main street, the Einsiedeln Christmas market brings together over 130 merchants trading everything from locally made handicrafts to gingerbread and mulled wine.
A brightly lit Christmas tree, along with the illuminated market stalls decorated in festive cheer, throw a warm orange glow over the entire square, creating the kind of ambiance you can only associate with Christmas!
Whilst in town for the Christmas market, don’t forget to visit the world’s largest Christmas crib in the Diorama Bethlehem, and make sure you visit the gingerbread bakery museum at the “Goldpafel.”
To learn more about having a Merry Swissmas, visit www.myswitzerland.com