Posted by on 22 Sep 2023
When it comes to Switzerland winter activities, visiting ski resort towns and scoping out the stunning snow-capped mountaintops is at the top of everyone’s list. But those who have a special affinity and love for the Christmas season should add another activity to their bucket list—spending time at Swiss Christmas markets.
Christmas markets in Switzerland are like no other. There’s a lot to do, from gobbling up some of the local delicacies to watching the glittering light shows in the busiest village squares. Today, we’ll take a look at five of the best seasonal markets Christmas lovers need to visit during their visit to Switzerland in the winter. Keep reading to find out which ones made the list!
Christmas Markets are Huge in Switzerland
People from all around the world do different things when Christmastime comes around. Some like to stay at home and spend time with family. Others book a trip to popular holiday destinations with good weather, like the Maldives. But in Switzerland, locals love to flock to the town square to celebrate the season together in their jovial Christmas markets.
Spending time and having fun at these seasonal markets is one of the most popular Christmas activities in Switzerland. It’s a European tradition dating back to medieval times—one that the Swiss still hold close to their hearts today.
The atmosphere and vibe at these Christmas markets are something else. Busy streets and cities are decked out in exuberantly decorated stalls and yuletide exhibits. Many towns boast huge Christmas trees and exciting light shows that rival the winter light displays of Vancouver and other cities around the world.
But perhaps the best part of going to these Christmas markets in Switzerland is being able to experience the rich culture of the Swiss. The stalls at these festive markets have tons of local crafts and delicacies you can try out, from luscious Swiss chocolates to creamy fondues.
The Top 5 Christmas Markets in Switzerland
Want to visit a Christmas market as part of your list of must-do Switzerland winter activities this year? Here are five that you need to check out:
Zürich Christmas Markets
Zürich is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland for its majestic architecture and busy shopping streets. During Christmastime, Zürich transforms into the most dazzling, festive city with tons of lights. From the downtown Bahnhofstrasse street to the gigantic, lit-up Christmas tree near the train station, the city bursts at the seams with the holiday spirit.
Some of the best Christmas markets in Zürich can be found at Niederdorf, one of the old towns in the city, as well as the city’s main train station, which hosts the biggest indoor Christmas market in all of Europe.
Basel Christmas Markets
Basel is one of the most interesting regions to explore in Switzerland because it sits right in the middle of three countries, as it shares a border with Germany and France. And in the winter, the old town is even more intriguing because it turns into a merry winter wonderland during the Christmas market season!
There are two popular Christmas markets in Basel—one in Barfüsserplatz and another in Münsterplatz. Whichever you end up visiting, you’ll get a glimpse of the plethora of lit-up pine trees all over the town. The biggest trees even have Christmas ornaments for a festive touch.
At the markets, make sure to try some of the local delicacies, such as Basler Läckerli (an almond biscuit with nuts and spices) and Swiss chocolates.
Bern Christmas Markets
The capital of Switzerland is also a terrific city to visit if you want to check out vibrant Christmas markets in the winter. The city has a couple of Christmas markets smack in the middle of the city, all within walking distance from each other. The markets here have the beautiful Zytglogge clock tower and Federal Palace as their backdrop.
For a more traditional market with an old-town vibe, check out the one in Waisenhausplatz. If you’re looking for something more modern and trendier, scope out Sternenmarkt in Kleine Schanze. Whichever market you end up in, make sure to shop for stunning local products, from jewellery to baked goods.
Lausanne Christmas Market
The big Christmas market in Lausanne, Switzerland is also known as the “Lausanne Marché de Noël,” which happens at the Place Saint-François.
It’s one of the most awaited seasonal events of the year. And trust us, the city really goes all-out with their Christmas décor. You’ll see everything from glittering lights to poignant nativity scenes and live performances. Sometimes, they even have an ice skating rink for the more adventurous travellers and families to enjoy.
What’s awesome about the Lausanne Christmas market is that it extends all the way to the end of the year. That way, locals and travellers alike can enjoy the yuletide décor, market stalls and culinary delights until New Year’s Eve.
Lucerne Christmas Market
The Lucerne Christmas Market usually happens in the old town, near the old quarters of Franziskanerplatz. Like the other markets, Lucerne’s festive market is filled with twinkling Christmas lights and stalls selling delicious Swiss delicacies and products.
But what makes this Christmas market unique is its picturesque views of Lake Lucerne. The lakeside promenade adds a more whimsical and enchanting vibe to the seasonal market. If you love lake views, this is the Christmas market for you.
Visiting A Christmas Market is A Must-Try Switzerland Winter Activity
There’s nothing like visiting Christmas markets in Switzerland, where they’re known to go all-out with lights, handicrafts, culinary delicacies and other festivities. With the country’s frozen lakes and alpine mountains as your backdrop, you’re sure to feel the holiday spirit even more as you explore these festive, vibrant seasonal markets.
If you’re visiting Switzerland around Christmastime, be sure to hit at least one of the spots mentioned above. Make the most out of your winter holiday in the gorgeous, alpine country by booking some of our other Switzerland holiday packages, too!