When the end of the year rolls around and snow starts to fall from the sky, Switzerland’s amazing Christmas markets start to pop up. Many of the towns all across the country have their own special markets for this magical time of year, and here are the top ten that are worth visiting.
1. Einsiedeln Christmas Market
Not far from the cities of Zurich and Lucerne, the Einsiedeln Christmas Market has started to become quite popular over the years. With nearly 130 vendors now, the Einsiedeln Christmas Market draws guests from all over the world. It currently holds the world’s largest Christmas crib with nearly 450 wooden figures to complete the scene. It depicts the full biblical story of Jesus’ birth, starting with the birth of Jesus Christ all the way until the three wise men flee to Egypt.
2. Bremgarten Christmas Market
Only a few miles outside of the city of Zurich, the popular Bremgarten Christmas Market brings in thousands of visitors every year. Besides its dozens of vendors selling holiday-themed gifts and treats, one of the market’s most popular attractions is its white horse-drawn carriage that rides through the town. Grab your partner, sip on some mulled wine, and enjoy the twinkling lights on this unforgettable romantic ride.
3. Waisenhausplatz Christmas Market
Located in Bern, the capital city of Switzerland, the Waisenhausplatz Christmas Market is definitely worth a trip. The vendors at this Christmas market sell traditional goods, including cookies, small ornaments, and knit sweaters. Just around the corner, the Waisenhausplatz Christmas Market also has a sister market, the Münsterplatz Christmas market, where guests can buy handmade goods that make fantastic Christmas presents as well.
4. Maerlistadt, Stein Am Rhein
The Christmas market of Maerlistadt, which literally means “fairy town”, transports people into a magical world filled with holiday spirit. This Christmas market is centered around the fairytale “Sleeping Beauty”, proving visitors with opportunities to dress up in medieval costumes, play with ponies (just like Prince Phillip’s horse, Samson), and even fight with swords! It truly feels as if you have been transported into a children’s storybook.
5. Lausanne Christmas Market
The Lausanne Christmas Market is unlike any other on this list. Unlike the other Christmas markets, Lausanne does not have one large center where all of the vendors gather. As a matter of fact, the vendors are not the main attraction at the Lausanne Christmas Market. Instead, visitors and locals alike come to see the “Festival of Lights”. Spread all around the city, from the bright lights on the train station to the ice skating rink in the Flon to the giant bow on the Lausanne Palace, Christmas-spirit seekers can simply wander to find bits and pieces of this unique festival.
6. Franziskanerplatz Christmas Market
In the lakeside town of Lucerne, the Franziskanerplatz Christmas Market is perfect for guests looking for a little taste of the Swiss Christmas spirit. Its small size, along with a fantastic ice skating rink and Christmas carousel, makes it a great Christmas market for families with children to visit. So hand your little ones some freshly baked cookies and wander around the market with them, and they will feel as if they have traveled to Santa Claus’ workshop.
7. St. Gallen Christmas Market
Home to the tallest Christmas tree in Switzerland at nearly 66 feet tall, the St. Gallen Christmas Market has managed to make a name for itself. Referred to as the “city of stars” by the locals during this time of year, the small town shines due to the 18,000 lights adorning the towering tree, as well as all of the lights decorating the town. These lights, along with the smell of mulled wine and the sounds of Christmas carols, fill St. Gallen with the spirit of Christmas.
8. Mount Pilatus Christmas Market
At over 2,000 meters high, the Christmas Market at Mount Pilatus is the highest Christmas market in all of Europe. It is actually so high up, you have to take the world’s steepest cogwheel-railway to get there! With only about fifty vendors, the market itself is smaller than most of the others on this list. Nevertheless, it is an experience unlike any other, so if you find yourself near the city of Lucerne during the Christmas season, be sure to make the journey up.
9. Barfüsserplatz Christmas Market
In the town of Basel, just on the border of both France and Germany, the Barfüsserplatz Christmas Market is considered to be the largest Christmas market in Switzerland. It is estimated that almost one million visitors come to the Barfüsserplatz Christmas Market each year! The vendors sell traditional goodies and gifts like gingerbread cookies, Swiss raclette, scented candles, and beautiful glass ornaments, out of small traditional wooden chalets, creating the perfect Christmas atmosphere.
10. Montreux Christmas Market
The Montreux Christmas Market is definitely the most picturesque Christmas market on this list. With amazing views of Lake Geneva (locally known as Lac Leman) and the French Alps, it truly feels as if you have been transported to a magical land. This market is also open for about a month each year – from the end of November to the end of December, so, if you are visiting a few weeks before Christmas and the other markets have not opened yet, this is definitely the place to visit.
Updated: October 5, 2017