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 (December 3, 2017) to the end of Epiphany (January 6, 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. Below are the top five Christmas markets to indulge in this winter:
Montreux has one of the most beautiful Christmas markets. Situated on Lake Geneva, this town is nestled between steep hills and the lakeside. 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 known as the largest and most beautiful ‘Christmas City’ in Switzerland. Buildings and bridges are 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 snacks such as waffles and sausages and a warm glass of mulled wine. 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 at the Basel Theatre.
Come December, Switzerland’s largest city, Zurich, transforms from a financial hub into a winter wonderland filled with lights and music. Zurich plays host to quite a few Christmas markets every year like the Christmas market in the Old Town, the one by the Zurich 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 Lucerne Christmas Market features 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 candles. A huge Advent wreath is placed across the fountain which serves as a centrepiece, with hundreds of lights and candles.