The 12 Best Christmas Markets in Switzerland You Can’t Miss

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Looking for the best Christmas markets in Switzerland? You’ve come to the right place!

The Swiss Christmas market scene is quite varied, with beautiful old-fashioned options along with more contemporary and quirky markets to explore. You’ll also get to enjoy market destinations with mountains or lakes as a backdrop since Switzerland has some great natural scenery too.

From the wonders of Lausanne’s contemporary Christmas Markets to the magic of Basel Christmas Market, here are our top picks for Swiss Christmas markets.

NOTE: Most of these destinations have multiple Christmas markets to choose from, but if you’re in town, we figure you’ll probably be visiting them all anyway! So, just know when we say “Best Christmas Markets Switzerland”, what we’re really talking about is the Best Places to Visit for Christmas Markets in Switzerland. Enjoy!

Zurich’s Christmas Markets

As the largest city in Switzerland, you can count on plenty of incredible markets, decorations and events in Zurich come Christmas!

Zurich hosts a number of Christmas markets during the season, including a Christmas Village near the Opera House, a market in the Old Town, one inside the main train station and another in the main shopping street. All of Zurich’s markets are great for finding gifts and tasting yummy treats, but there are also a lot of other fun things to see and do in the city as well.

Along with market stalls, Zurich is famous for a pretty incredible 50-foot-high Christmas tree decorated with Swarovski crystals (inside central station) and a street lined with 12,000 lights that even have their own name – Lucy! There’s also an ice-skating rink, Bavarian curling, a traditional carousel and plenty of entertainment to delight both young and old.

For more information, visit our full Zurich Christmas Markets Guide

Geneva’s Christmas Markets

Geneva’s lakeside location makes it a beautiful destination at any time of year and during the festive season the city gets an added layer of gorgeous decorations.

There are a few Christmas markets in Geneva but the most famous and celebrated is the Noël au Jardin, which takes place in the English Garden (Jardin Anglais) right on the bank of Lac Léman where the Rhône River meets the lake.

This lovely park looks very magical when the trees are decorated for Christmas and chalets pop up selling everything from gifts to gluhwein. Along with stalls, there’s a special fondue chalet, a Christmas pub AND a Christmas children’s yurt. Don’t miss out on a ride on the Ferris Wheel for stunning views over the lake and city!

For more information, see our full Geneva Christmas Markets Guide

Basel’s Christmas Markets

If you want to pack in as much festive fun as possible, head to Basel, which hosts one of the biggest Xmas markets in Switzerland!

The iconic red sandstone Münster in Basel is the backdrop for one of the best Christmas markets in the city, with a giant Christmas tree placed in front of the beautiful cathedral adding to the ambience. One of the best things about Basel’s Christmas markets is that they sell lots of handmade gifts and foods that anyone will be delighted to receive as a gift.

Basel also hosts a children’s fairytale forest at Christmas time, along with markets in Barfüsserplatz, on the main marketplace (with the epic red sandstone City Hall as a backdrop), and the Adväntsgass in Glaibasel.

For more information, here’s our full Basel Christmas Markets Guide

Montreux’s Christmas Markets

Montreux contains one of the top Christmas markets in Switzerland, mostly because the whole thing is just so pretty!

Like Geneva, Montreaux has an incredible lake backdrop which makes all the Christmas decorations look even more enchanting. One of the most famous parts of Montreaux’s Christmas market is the real-life Santa who ‘flies’ across the lake in his sleigh three times a day.

You can also visit Santa in a special grotto on Rochers-de-Naye which you need to ride a cogwheel train to get to, making this a must-visit Christmas destination for those with children, or just the young at heart!

Then, of course, there are also plenty of stalls, a Ferris Wheel, rides and activities for children, along with some spectacular light displays on the lake at night.

For more information, visit our complete Montreux Christmas Markets Guide

Lucerne’s Christmas Markets

Lucerne is one of the prettiest cities in the country and it transforms into the best place to spend Christmas in Switzerland, in our humble opinion!

Like many of the Swiss Christmas market destinations, Lucerne is located next to the picture-perfect Lake Lucerne, so it looks gorgeous anyway and that is just ramped up when you add in gorgeous festive decor. One of the city’s Christmas markets is also held inside the swanky Hotel Schweizerhof, which would be incredible to stay at during the season.

There are also multiple outdoor markets in the city, including the traditional Lozärner Wiehnachtsmärt (Lucerne Christmas Market), a handmade-focused market and Rudolfs Weihnacht (Rudolf’s Christmas) for families.

We also loved the Wintervergnügen Vögeligärtli (Winter Fun Vögeligärtli) which focuses on food and culture with delicious dishes to try from all over the world!

For more information, check out our full Lucerne Christmas Markets Guide

Lausanne’s Christmas Markets

Lausanne offers some of the best Swiss Christmas markets, including some rather unique and contemporary options to enjoy.

In fact, the city runs a Christmas program known as “Bô Noël” which combines a funky winter festival with diverse Christmas markets, light installations, ice-skating, a Ferris Wheel and fondue horse-drawn carriage rides (yes, you read that right!).

There are some great Christmas markets in Lausanne, with a real focus on handmade or regional delights, including one that takes place in an igloo.

Our favorite part of Lausanne at Christmas is the light installation trail, where you can find lots of cool and unique light displays throughout the city.

For more information, read our complete Lausanne Christmas Markets Guide

Lugano’s Christmas Markets

Since it’s right on the border with Italy, Lugano is a lovely part of Switzerland to visit at any time of year but especially so at Christmas.

The main Christmas market takes place in the city center, with more than 60 traditional wooden huts scattered around Piazza Manzoni, Via Nassa, Piazzetta Maraini, Piazza San Carlo and Piazza Dante. The huge Christmas tree in Piazza della Riforma attracts many visitors on the 1st of December when the lights are switched on, along with lots of food stalls for winter specialities throughout the month.

Lugano’s Parco Ciani next to the lake is also transformed into an enchanted forest, complete with magical illuminations just a stone’s throw from the city center. A special Christmas chalet offers plenty of fun themed activities for those traveling with children.

The city of Lugano in Switzerland blanketed in snow at night.
Photo by Edson Ugalde on Unsplash

St Gallen’s Christmas Markets

St Gallen is known as the ‘city of stars’ during Advent because 700 stunning stars are hung over the main market during the Christmas period.

The Old Town of St Gallen is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and with the lights of the stars combined with the 18,000 lights on the 20-meter-high Christmas tree in front of the cathedral, this area really sparkles!

Around 70 Christmas stalls stretch from one end of the old town to the other, selling seasonal decorations, jewellery, local textiles, wooden toys, candles and delicious treats like Swiss raclette, Swiss chocolate and St. Gallen bratwurst.

The magnificent cathedral also hosts numerous choir concerts, performances and readings during Advent.

Chur’s Christmas Markets

Surrounded by the Swiss Alps, Chur is another Swiss city that gets a delightful makeover during Advent and it’s also apparently the oldest city in Switzerland, so you know it’s going to be stunning!

A traditional Christmas market is held in the Old Town of Chur, with more than 160 stalls selling mostly handmade or regional goods including everything from wooden toys and Christmas wreaths to Christmas-themed baked goods and plenty of mouthwatering refreshments.

There’s also a Christkindl market held in St. Martin’s Church square on the December weekends leading up to Christmas, which focuses on regional items. The streets of Poststrasse and Bahnhofstrasse (Rodel) are additionally turned into an adventure location with activities like ice curling to entertain visitors.

Bern’s Christmas Markets

Switzerland’s de facto capital of Bern holds some charming Christmas markets and since the Old Town of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can bet the place looks adorable with Christmas decorations added!

There’s a Christmas market in front of Bern Minster as well as one on Waisenhausplatz which both offer stalls selling handmade items and lots of delicious treats. At the Bern Star Market there are stalls and food trucks along with a children’s village featuring a carousel and entertainment. Don’t miss out on the fondue chalet either.

As well as the enchanting markets, Bern has a number of popup bars, alpine chalets and huts for people who want to spend time enjoying food and drink with friends during the season. In particular, Winter at the Berner Generationenhaus features a program of concerts, game evenings, curling, candle drawing, speed dating, pony rides, a bicycle carousel, fairy tales and much more!

For more information, visit our full Bern Christmas Markets Guide

Winterthur’s Christmas Markets

Winterthur is a gorgeous old city dating back to Roman Times and just a 27-minute train journey from Zurich – which means a visit to the Winterthur Christmas market can be perfectly combined with the ones in Zurich!

A Christmas market has been held in Winterthur’s Old Town for the last 25 years, and more than 60 cute chalets are set up to offer baked goods, punch, hot brandy and gluhwein to guests as they shop for gifts. Gift items on display include everything from candles to organic jams and gingerbread to jewelry and textiles. 

Best of all, the Winterthur Christmas market takes place from the end of November right up until Christmas Eve, so you have plenty of time to fit in a visit!

Gruyères Christmas Market

If you like cheese and traditional handicrafts, or just delightful old towns, then you will love the Christmas market in Gruyères!

In December the cobblestoned streets of Gruyère’s medieval Old Town area are filled with beautiful Christmas decorations and a charming Christmas market takes place during the two weekends leading up to Christmas. This market focuses on traditional handmade items that local craftspeople make, so you can bet you’ll find some unique gifts here.

Located at the foot of the Pre-Alps, Gruyères is the ideal location if you want a small, cozy and white Christmas experience that feels like you’ve traveled back in time.

For more information, visit our full Gruyères Christmas Markets Guide

Did we miss any of your favorite Switzerland Christmas markets?

Let us know in the comments so we can update our list!

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