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Christmas Markets in Switzerland. Need Advice.

Christmas Markets in Switzerland. Need Advice.

Jul 28th, 2019, 06:52 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10
Christmas Markets in Switzerland. Need Advice.

We have enjoyed visiting the Christmas Markets all over Germany for years. We are in the process of planning to visit Switzerland the week of Thanksgiving to visit the Christmas Markets. Departing Houston. Could use advise on least expensive city to fly into, where to stay and Markets and places to visit, Any info would be appreciated. Thanks
eickenhorst is offline  
Jul 28th, 2019, 04:08 PM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,711
I've only ever been to ZURICH Christmas Market,
but I have good things about Bern as well.
Try this site, and I am sure others will chime in.
mokka4 is online now  
Jul 28th, 2019, 09:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,782
Hi eickenhirst,

Christmas markets are not a traditional Swiss thing, though more and more towns are adding them. For instance, one Christmas I headed to one of my favorite towns, Gstaad, and all I saw was one fat Santa doll. I think they mostly occur in the cities -- Zürich, Bern, Basel, Luzern, Montreux. The Montreux market is getting pretty famous, I think, and has several locations, like along the lakefront as well as up in Caux and at Chillon. I've been to the Montreux market a few times, and note that it's not at all similar to German type markets. While you can find Glühwein and Wurst, you'll see more of fondue, fois gras, pizza, and raclette. Also, the stalls don't sell a lot of Christmas gear; I saw stalls for cell phone accessories, kitchen gadgets, shawls (actually one of my favorite places to buy shawls), pottery, etc. It was more like an upscale flea market. It may have changed, as the last one I saw was a few years ago.

I just did a search at www.myswitzerland.com, and it looks like more places are having markets, like Bellinzona and Murten.

I would suggest that you plan your trip according to the places you want to see, and then look for nearby markets.

Another thing to note -- November isn't a great time to see the Swiss Alps, as they will be between the summer-events tourist season and the skiing season. Many cable cars shut down for annual maintenance at this time, the weather will be chilly and wet, and the landscape will not have many flowers left, and the snow may not have arrived yet. It *can* be wonderful, as many Fodors folks like to travel in the off season, but you should be aware of what you may expect.

Have fun as you plan!

swandav2000 is offline  
Sep 8th, 2019, 03:13 PM
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Thanks so much for your replies. I has been a big help!
eickenhorst is offline  
Sep 11th, 2019, 07:20 AM
Join Date: Nov 2008
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There are a lot of Christmas markets here and some are very very good. Montreux, Basel and Bern are the largest. Basel and Bern actually have two each - one general one and one with "arts and crafts". Luzern has a very very pretty small market.

Christmas markets reflect the local culture so naturally Montreux, being in the Suisse Romande, has things like crèpes etc. As far as things to buy I see no appreciable difference between the markets in Basel, Bern and Montreux. Montreux is delightful because its market is along the lakefront and at night the reflections of the lights in the lake look lovely. There is also a "medieval market" on weekend at the ch teau de Chillon near Montreux that is well worth a visit (so is the ch teau...)

Zürich has several markets none of which I find fantastic - there is a big one in the main station which looses a lot of ambiance because it IS in the station. Things are also very expensive there compared to the other markets. There is another market near the Opera which is almost all food. (To eat on the spot or take out). And one in the Niederdorferstrasse which is pretty but not too many interesting things.

I have been visiting Christmas markets all over France, Switzerland and Germany for over 20 years now and for the last 5 or 6 taking my granddaughter to do her Christmas shopping there. Her favourites are Luzern and Bern. Last year we went to Zürich and she said "it was a waste of time! how can I buy a raclette and put it under the tree for Daddy?" !! (she is 12...). This year we are going to Colmar in Alsace which is a market (really 5 markets) where I have been before. Colmar is a quintessential "Christmassy" town, very gingerbread in feel and the markets are really great there.

There is a small market around the place St François in Lausanne. Another small one on the rue du Mt Blanc in Geneva with a larger one on Plainpalais there. There are even markets in smaller towns like Sion and Martigny. But not generally - or not at all - in the ski resorts which is sort of a shame because there things would look more Christmassy than elsewhere.

I would go to Bern and Luzern. Base yourself in Bern (lots of lovely small shops there too) and make a day trip to Luzern which is an hour by train. Thanksgiving is late this year and more than likely all the markets will either have started or will start that weekend but before making a hotel reservation - check with the local tourist office to be sure the market will be open. Would be a shame to get here and be staying in a town where the market would not start until the following weekend!!
Hambagahle is offline  
Sep 14th, 2019, 09:12 AM
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Awesome! I appreciate your detailed response. We look forward to our trip and visiting the place you listed!
eickenhorst is offline  
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