Christmas is that time of the year where the air is filled with love and magic. While Christmas is becoming increasingly commercial in many countries, Switzerland has managed to stay loyal to its tradition. The Swiss Christmas typically lasts from the beginning of Advent (Sunday 3rd December 2017) to the end of Epiphany (6 January 2018). Several Christmas Markets are seen during this period in Switzerland which makes this festive season even more delightful for visitors who come from different parts of the world.
Christmas Markets are scattered throughout Switzerland in almost every town and village and offer a wide variety of arts and craft. They include decorations for the Christmas tree, candles, glass, porcelain, ceramics, and earthenware, Advent wreaths, wooden toys, and crib figures. Let’s check out the top 5 famous Christmas Markets to indulge in this winter:
Montreux has a complete fairy-tale ambience and is one of the most beautiful Christmas Markets. Situated on Lake Geneva, this town is nestled between steep hills and the lakeside and had a magnificent view of the snow-capped Alps. More than half a million visitors flock there each year and for its wide variety of Christmas souvenirs and delicacies. The main attraction for children is the Santa’s House which can be visited on Rochers-de-Naye – a special cog-wheel train that goes from Montreux to the top of the Alpine peak overlooking Lac Léman.
Basel is proud to be known as the largest and most beautiful ‘Christmas City’ in Switzerland. Buildings and bridges are magically lit up during this festive period and numerous pine trees are decorated on Europe’s longest ‘Christmas Street’. The two main Christmas markets in Basel can be found in Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz, right in the centre of the city. Over 180 traders and artisans offer their goods for sale in small, rustic wooden chalets along with an array of delicious snacks such as waffles and sausages and off course a warm glass of mulled wine to enjoy this festive atmosphere. Basel also offers a variety of interesting events during this festive period including Salvation Army concerts, a Christmas exhibition at the Toy Museum, a special performance at the Puppet Theatre, and a musical Advent door opened each day the Basel Theatre.
Come December, Switzerland’s largest city – Zürich transforms from a financial hub into an enchanting winter wonderland filled with lights and music. Zürich plays host to quite a few Christmas markets every year like the Christmas market in the Old Town, the one by the Zürich Opera House, the Romantic Rappers will market and the Einsiedeln markets. But the one that attracts visitors the most is the Christmas Market from the main train station for the fact that it is one of the largest indoor Christmas markets in Europe. The pride and joy of this Christmas market is the massive Christmas tree which is adorned with more than 7,000 Swarovski crystal ornaments.
The Lucerne Christmas Market is a charming affair with a canopy of twinkling Christmas stars and the fragrance of gingerbread, toffees, spices, punch and mulled wine. Every year several talented craftsmen, performers and chefs do a great job by entertaining and feeding visitors from around the world. A dozen of Christmas stalls offer all types of handmade Christmas gifts right from traditional wooden toys and nativity scenes, to cosy knitted hats and scarves and also unique jewellery to delightful candles. To make this an even more festive ambience, a huge advent wreath is placed across the fountain which serves as a striking centrepiece, with hundreds of pretty lights and candles.