From soft carpets of snow, spicy mulled wine, mirror-lakes reflecting twinkling fairy lights to a variety of Swiss Christmas markets ringing in the merry vibes, Switzerland’s warm and fuzzy Christmas vibes are second to none. By Bayar Jain
Switzerland is undoubtedly the personification of ‘winter wonderland’. As the holiday season inches closer, this European nation lights up with Christmassy magic in each corner. The soft snows are ideal to engage in light-hearted snowball fights with family, followed by rounds of spicy mulled wine by the fireside. As the sun sets, the mirror-lakes reflect sparkling fairy lights twinkling across the streets. And of course, who can give a miss to the various Swiss Christmas markets that effortlessly ring in the merry vibes.
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This year, most Swiss Christmas markets opened their doors during Advent, around November 25. While the pandemic has introduced a mandatory valid COVID-19 certificate to enter these merry spaces, the festive vibes remain unchanged. So, strap on your Rudolph nose, don your red Santa hats, and choose from these must-visit Christmas markets in Switzerland for your festive vacation this year.
During Advent, the city on the Rhine unravels a special charm. The Basel Christmas market at Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz sits in the city centre of the Old Town, with its signature historic splendour shadowing over the festivities. Münsterplatz comes paired with a Christmas tree on the Claraplatz, and culinary offerings at the Sennenhütte. The iconic tree is done up by the well-known decorator Johann Wanner, which makes it a must-visit sight.
The Christmas market at Barfüsserplatz is unique in its own right. Home to delicious Christmas delicacies and gorgeous views from the white roofs of the market stalls, this magical land truly lights up during the year-end holidays.
Tradition lies at the heart of the Bern Minster Christmas market. Wowing guests for almost 40 years, this market is organised by local communities and sells crafts made by local artisans. The cultural oasis is designed to impress guests with its quiet and subtle atmosphere—a happy respite from the otherwise chaotic spaces ordinarily found during the festive madness.
The Montreux Christmas market attracts visitors with its wooden stalls set up on the lakeshore. Montreux Noël, Switzerland’s second largest Christmas market, impresses with its diverse range of events and attractions for all ages. This a Christmas World for the senses or even a fondue at one of its restaurants, ideal to warm up in the region’s signature chilly winds.
During Advent, more than 600 stars shine over St. Gallen’s squares and alleys. The UNESCO World Heritage City sparkles under the festive sea of lights, with the Old Town immersing itself in historical splendour.
When in Zurich, trot along from one Christmas market to another, each brighter than the other. The Christkindlimarkt in the station hall is one such shining glory. It is home to a 16-metre-high Christmas tree adorned with 7,000 Swarovski crystals. Countless charming market stalls, an ice rink, and many other attractions elevate the market to a dream-like setting.
During Advent, the Christmas magic here unfurls in the form of magical impressions and culinary highlights. Kids can get lost in the world of fairy tales, while adults can splurge on unique items that make perfect gifts. As the day progresses, enjoy a festive evening with regional products. This year, the 7th edition of Bô Noël will take place from November 18 to December 31, 2021. At the same time, from November 24 to December 24, 2021, the 10th edition of the Lausanne Lumières Festival will illuminate the city.
The Christmas market at Geneva transforms the English Garden into an enchanting place. Backdropped by the Jet d’Eau and dotted with abundant lights in the middle, the path here leads guests to a Christmas village. Here, local producers, designers, and craftsmen have wonderful surprises and delicacies on display. The crowning glory, however, are the culinary offerings. Home to delectable street food, melted cheese in different shapes, and decadent mulled wine, Geneva’s Christmas market is a gourmand’s delight. In the children’s corner, a beautiful old-fashioned carousel awaits.
Click here to check the best Christmas markets in Switzerland.