The Swiss Christmas markets, and more
The Christmas markets are a good reason to visit Switzerland in late November or December. Combine a city trip, one or more Christmas markets, and a visit to the snowy mountains for the ultimate Christmas feeling. There's only day light from about 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, so you'll have plenty of time to enjoy the illuminated Swiss cities and towns.
Famous Christmas markets
There are smaller and larger Christmas markets all over Switzerland, mainly between mid November and December 24. Some are open for weeks, others just a day or two. There is even one on top of Mount Pilatus (1 cancelled for 2020).
The main Christmas markets in 2020
- Basel, 26 November to 23 December: www.basel.com/en/Christmas-in-Basel/Christmas-Market;
- Bern, 28 November to 29 December (at the Münsterplatz only to 24 December): www.weihnachtsmarktbern.ch;
- Einsiedeln, no Christmas market in 2020: www.einsiedler-weihnacht.ch;
- Lausanne, 19 November to 31 December: bo-noel.ch;
- Lucerne, various dates and places from 3 to 23 December, but partly cancelled in 2020: www.luzern.com/en/highlights/christmas-in-lucerne/christmas-markets/;
- Lugano, several festivities from 28 November to 6 January: ticino.ch/en/Lugano-Natale/124122.html;
- Montreux, no Christmas market in 2020: www.montreuxnoel.com;
- St. Gallen, no Christmas market in 2020: sternenstadt.ch/weihnachtsmarkt;
- Zurich, 19 November to 24 December: www.zuerich.com/en/visit/christmas-in-zurich/christmas-markets.
Ideal December itinerary
Our proposal for an ideal December visit to Switzerland: start with a few days in a city to experience the cosy December feeling and of course the Christmas markets. Then travel to the mountains, preferable by a scenic train. Explore the peaks of the Swiss Alps and enjoy the views, before returning home to celebrate Christmas. Do note that this time is considered low season, so do check the timetables and opening hours of places you'd like to visit. Some cableways and mountain trains may not be operational.
Itinerary suggestion: Zürich and Wengen
First spend a few days in Zurich. Your can visit the Christmas markets in Basel, Bern, Lucerne and Zurich from here if you wish. Then spend a day on scenic railroads: take the train to Chur, then the Glacier Express route to Brig, and finally travel to Wengen to enjoy the mountains. A shorter route is Zurich - Lucerne - Interlaken - Wengen via the Golden Pass line.
Itinerary suggestion: a week in Lucerne
The city of Lucerne offers many options, including a Christmas market. Your can also make day trips to the Christmas markets in Basel, Bern and Zurich from here. Apart from that, mountains like Pilatus, Rigi and Titlis are nearby and make for an easy day trip.