Switzerland’s Christmas markets are a highlight of the holiday season, and often feature activities and attractions geared towards children and families. They’re a wonderful way to enjoy traditional Swiss foods (such as fondue and raclette), as well as mulled wine, a variety of performances and demonstrations of local crafts. Below, we’ve rounded up a list of some of the markets that will be held throughout Switzerland from late November through January:
Basel Christmas Market: Open daily in the old town at Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz from 28 November – 23 December. Münsterplatz also hosts a special “fairy-tale forest” for children, featuring a range of activities and opportunities to make holiday crafts. Click here for more information.
Bern Christmas Market: This market in the charming old town is held at the Münsterplatz and Waisenhausplatz from 30 November – 24 December. Click here for details.
Biel/Bienne Christmas Market: The market is centrally located and runs from 5 – 24 December, with over 80 stalls featuring local delicacies, crafts and mulled wine, as well as glass blowing demonstrations. Opening times vary – click here for more details.
Bremgarten Christchindlimärt: Open from 5 – 8 December, this market features hundreds of stalls in a medieval walled city, along with a beautiful display of lights. There will also be a number of activities for children, including a Samichlaus (Santa Claus) in residence at Obertorplatz. We advise you to go early, especially if you are bringing children. Click here for details.
Einsiedeln Christmas Market: A beautiful setting on the Klosterplatz below the church, featuring musical programs, mulled wine and Lebkuchen (gingerbread) from 29 November – 8 December. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the church and see the famous Black Madonna. Einsiedeln also hosts the Diorama Bethlehem, the world’s largest Nativity scene. Click here for details.
Gruyères Christmas Market: The Christmas Market takes place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 13 – 22 December in the center of this charming town. Visitors can also pay a visit to the famous Gruyère cheese dairy. Click here for details.
Lucerne: There are several markets located in various areas of Lucerne. The Lozärner Wiehnachtsmärt will be held daily at Franziskanerplatz from 5 – 22 December. Click here for details.
The Venite Market will also be held from 12 – 15 December at the Kapellplatz. This unique market highlights the Christmas traditions and customs of countries around the world. Click here for details
Lugano Natale in Piazza: This market will be held in central Lugano from 30 November through 6 January and will also host New Year’s celebrations. Click here for details.
Montreux Noël: The Christmas Market stretches along the lake from 21 November to 24 December. There are many family-friendly attractions, including an “Elves’ Square” and daily visits from a Santa Claus who flies over the market in his sleigh (check the website for times). Families can also book tickets for the cog railway departing from Montreux to visit Santa Claus on the Rochers-de-Naye mountain. Click here for details.
Rapperswil-Jona Christkindlimärt: This Christmas Market is one of the largest in Switzerland. The market begins with a smaller Advenstdörfli at Fischmarktplatz from 6 – 11 December, followed by the larger market from 13 – 15 and 17 – 22 December with stalls throughout the old town and along the lake. Click here for details.
Sion Marché de Noël: The Christmas Market will run from 7 – 23 December. This market features a “living Nativity” and also provides numerous activities for children, including free donkey rides in the late afternoon. Click here for details.
St. Gallen Christmas Market: The “City of Stars” features market stalls throughout the old town beautifully illuminated by hundreds of stars. The market runs from 28 November through 24 December. Click here for more details.
Stein Am Rhein Märlistadt: The “fairy-tale” market runs from 4 – 31 December, surrounded by the beautiful half-timbered buildings of the old town. There is also a smaller medieval market from 13 – 15 December in the former abbey. Click here for more details.
Zurich: Zurich hosts Christmas Markets at various locations around the city. The Wienachtsdorf Christmas Village at the Sechseläutenplatz has a number of food vendors as well as ice-skating and a fondue chalet. The market runs from 21 November through 23 December. Click here for details.
The Old Town Christmas Market is located in the narrow streets of Zurich’s Niederdorf. Open daily from 21 November through 23 December. Click here for more details.
The Münsterhof Christmas Market is conveniently situated in the plaza next to Zurich’s Fraumunster Cathedral, just steps from Bahnhofstrasse and the Christmas lights at Paradeplatz. Open daily from 21 November through 24 December. Click here for more details.
The Christkindlimarkt at the Hauptbahnhof (Main Station) features a large tree filled with glittering Swarovski ornaments, as well as a large array of vendors and stalls. The location is especially convenient for travelers and commuters who would like to do some Christmas shopping! The market is open daily 21 November through 24 December with extended hours Thursdays-Saturdays. Click here for more details.
The Christmas Market at Werdmühleplatz will be open daily from 21 November through 23 December. This venue features the “Singing Christmas Tree,” a large tree-shaped stage with daily performances by choirs and musical groups. Check out the website for a complete schedule of events and performances – click here for more details.
For a comprehensive listing of Christmas markets throughout Switzerland with dates and times, check out the My Switzerland website. SBB also offers discounts on travel to some markets – check their website for details.
If you have a favourite Christmas market not listed here, please share it by adding it in the comments below. Thanks!
By Tracy Wellons
Tracy has collected a large selection of gluhwein mugs and makes a point of seeking out raclette at every Christmas market in Switzerland.
Updated from previous listings by Mary Bider and Andrea Snashall
This photo is from the Basel Christmas Market