Christmas in the Rhine region has a very strong traditional cultural atmosphere. The Rhine River spans Central Europe and Western Europe, A journey along its banks is very varied. There are eleven UNESCO World Heritage sites along, or close to, the course of the Rhine. Wandering between European classical small cities and experience the natural scenery and historical civilization of Europe. Christmas markets here are usually distributed in the historic city center, and festive decorations are set against the backdrop of various medieval buildings, showing characteristics different from other regions.
Rhine is a major navigation way and played an important role in history and culture of Europe.Shipping on the Rhine and its tributaries has a long tradition, and important economic and industrial areas of Europe were connected via the river system. The Rhine River flows through or along the borders of Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France and The Netherlands. Among the largest and most important cities on the Rhine are Cologne, Rotterdam, Düsseldorf, Duisburg, Strasbourg, Nijmegen, and Basel.
The Christmas tradition in the German-speaking area is known worldwide, and there are Christmas markets based on this model in many countries. The beautiful, traditional, romantic, popular Christmas markets sell special goods, such as handicrafts for Christmas decorations and food. Many Christmas markets also offer visitors rides, music and performances such as nativity plays.
Many fascinating towns and communities, castles and palaces show their romantic side during Advent. Stroll through the Christmas market between the first Advent and Christmas Eve. The time of longing for harmony and closeness, culinary delights, Christmas decorations and gifts for loved ones and our children. All of this is a festive part of the traditional Christmas markets
It is the most contemplative time of the year, characterized by candlelight and the smell of cookies, frost flowers on the window, mysterious Christmas stories, the freezing cold and romantic nights by the blazing open fire. Gingerbread, Printen, Stollen, Spekulatius, cinnamon stars, mulled wine and hot apple juice are all part of it, and there is a large selection and the best quality at the Christmas market.
November darkness and Advent heralds the approach of Christmas with its special colours, scents, contemplative sounds and fragrant Christmas baking. Mulled wine, roasted almonds, gingerbread and festive booth magic at the Christmas market, there is a lot to discover at traditional Christmas markets.
In addition to events in winter, the Christmas markets in particular ensure an atmospheric ambience everywhere. Children can look forward to all sorts of exciting, entertaining activities, nostalgic merry-go-rounds, storytellers, Nicholas, Christkind and Santa Claus with his horde of helpers, while adults admire the wonderful displays, the sparkling Christmas tree and the lovingly designed nativity scene with steaming mulled wine. A varied stage program surrounded by Christmas sounds guarantees entertainment for young and old and makes a stroll through the Christmas market an unforgettable experience for the whole family.
Dutch Christmas markets are one of the most glorious Christmas markets in Europe, enjoy the coziness of the holiday atmosphere where all kinds of Swiss Christmas and New Year’s events help brighten the festive season. Enjoy the best part of the Christmas season, viewing Christmas decorations all over the streets, twinkling lights, enticing aromas, Christmas music and a fairytale ambience.
Discover the best part of the Christmas season, white Christmas with snowflakes, twinkling lights by strolling through the city. Marvel at the Christmas lights and festive decorations, walking through the romantic main squares and towns, embrace the romance and Christmas atmosphere in the shadow of mediaeval churches, and enjoy the light show on the bustling streets decorated with Christmas lights in the evening.
With additional Christmas events, the Netherlands is an excellent place to share in the Christmas spirit. In many Dutch cities, temporary ice rinks are set up so that locals can practice their favorite hobby in winter: ice skating. Rinks to celebrate winter with the family, many chalets offering handcrafted objects, clothing, accessories and pop-up restaurants. Christmas markets are often found around the rinks, which you will find all the ingredients you need to prepare your festive meals there, also something to have a good time.
Enjoy Christmas delights such as glühwein and oliebollen. The return of the famous Christmas markets with tasting sessions, gift ideas, and many more magical and enchanting discoveries. With sparkling lights, Christmas trees full of bright decorations, munch on roasted chestnuts, and sample delicious sausages, cheese and chocolates while shopping for arts and crafts, festive Christmas decorations, regional food specialties, candies, and other gifts…
The christmas towns adorned with thousands lights with magnificent Christmas illuminations, just like put on the most beautiful finery of the. Rain of stars, twinkling garlands, luminous fireflies, shimmering fir trees and multicolored balls animate. Cinnamon scenting the air,, sample the sausages, biscuits and all manner of melted cheese, listen to musical sounds and enjoy this magical atmosphere.
Strasbourg is the capital of the Grand-Est region of France and is most widely known for hosting a number of important European institutions. In history, Germany and France have alternated sovereignty over Strasbourg many times, so this city has the characteristics of both Germany and France, the fusion and collision of the two cultures has shaped its unique style. Strasbourg belonged to the Rhine area whose Christmas traditions were very strong with the famous St Nicholas’ Day.
As Christmas approaches, Strasbourg gets decked out in all its finery. As night draws in, the magic begins to work across the city. Thousands of Christmas lights and decorations sparkle and twinkle to create a bewitching atmosphere in the Alsatian capital. Taste the famous mulled wine or Alsatian cider, or a good hot apple juice, many activities on site, a Ferris wheel, an ice rink, rides and horse-drawn carriage rides with a magnificent fireworks display overwhelm you in the magical magic of Christmas.
The Christmas Market is spread across more than ten sites, all located within the Grande Île district. There are some Christmas markets spread out across the Grande Île. The most famous Christmas markets in Strasbourg are at Place de la Cathédrale, Place Kléber, Place Gutenberg, Place Broglie and Place du Château. In addition to this, you’ll find several smaller ones, all located on the Grande Île.
For the four weeks of the Christmas Market, as soon as the night falls, the city lights up with magnificent illuminations that add magic to the air. The big Christmas tree on Place Kléber Square is the most enchanting of all. This majestic, beautifully decorated tree stands proud and impressive, at thirty metres high. A symbol of an Alsatian tradition that goes back five centuries, it is the ambassador of a city bathed in light.
Switzerland is one of the best places to spend Christmas. With its picture perfect scenery and centuries old traditions, As the days get shorter, the Swiss employ all kinds of ways to bring warmth back into their lives, All kinds of Swiss Christmas and New Year’s events help brighten the festive season. Enjoy the best part of the Christmas season, twinkling lights, enticing aromas, Christmas music and a fairytale ambience: the festive season is particularly magical in Switzerland.
Switzerland has countless experiences to delight both young and old in the run-up to Christmas. Walking through the romantic main squares of Switzerland’s cities and towns, crisp, sometimes snowy air around you in the shadow of mediaeval churches, cinnamon scenting the air, embrace the romance and Christmas atmosphere, sample the sausages, biscuits and all manner of melted cheese, and taste with mulled wine.
Surprised by the delights of a European white Christmas, Switzerland is the ideal destination. Arrange skiing in the morning, visit Switzerland’s Christmas markets in the afternoon, and enjoy the light show on the bustling streets decorated with Christmas lights in the evening. Whether you’re wandering around a Christmas market, enjoying a mulled wine or fondue, finding inspiration in the decorated streets or whizzing around the ice rink: There’s a festivity in the air in Switzerland during Christmas time that visitors of all ages will enjoy.
Stroll through the city, marvel at the Christmas lights and festive decorations, listen to musical sounds and enjoy this magical atmosphere with a mulled wine in between. Discover the best part of the Christmas season, white Christmas with snowflakes, twinkling lights, mulled wine and indulgent confections heralding the wonder and carol singers wrapped up in woollen hats and scarves spring to mind.
Settle into an indulgent of revelry and shopping, stroll in the well-decorated high-end commercial streets of Swiss cities, or visit the winter-specific Christmas markets. Exquisite luxury goods, characteristic local snacks, or Christmas-themed souvenirs, there is something for everyone. Popular items include nativity scenes crafted from wood; handmade toys for the younger people on your shopping list; handmade beeswax candles; and plenty of sweet treats to take home, from gingerbread to chocolates.
Swiss cities are simply magically beautiful at Christmas time. Wander around the city, admire the Christmas lights and festive decorations, listen to the music and enjoy the magical atmosphere with a mulled wine: Swiss cities are enchanting at Christmas time. As the days get shorter, a host of light festivals bathe Swiss cities in a dazzling array of colour, transforming public spaces into fairytale worlds of twinkling lights. Artists give their imagination free rein, enchanting audiences around the country with spectacular sound and light animations.
Discover the best Christmas markets with mulled wine, Christmas music, twinkling lights and enticing aromas. Basel has been voted the most beautiful Christmas market in Europe, this pedestrianized city is a perfect destination for families. For a romantic Christmas getaway stay in Lucerne, its bridge is ranked among the best places for a marriage proposal in Europe. For a Christmas city break combining shopping, culture and comfort, choose Bern and for a winter holiday with a festive après-ski atmosphere, stay in Lausanne.
The rhine river cruises stop at multiple destinations along the way, including some historical and cultural cities, leading guests to explore Europe in depth Authentic local customs. The river cruise include guided tour of famous sights, experience some folk activities, or taste well-known local delicacies. The rich itinerary truly immerse in the fun of travel.
Christmas Markets in the Netherlands
There’s plenty of opportunity to get festive in Amsterdam, first with the Amsterdam Light Festival, and later with Christmas markets. From mid-December until just after Christmas, Ice Village Amsterdam fills Museumplein with merriment. With a combination of ice skating and shopping, it really doesn’t get more Christmassy. The ever-popular Funky Xmas Market is a one-day Christmas market in the trendy Westergasfabriek venue at Frankendael Park. Expect local foodies, home-made crafts, music, and art, you could wade through the stalls full of homemade sweets, original gifts, festive interior accessories, and savory food.
During the Amsterdam Light Festival, the canals of Amsterdam are illuminated with works created by the best light artists in the world. During Christmas, the City adorning itself with its finest sparkling finery. See these mesmerizing pieces by foot or by boat. Get out of the city center and visit Winter Village Amstelveen. This Christmas market takes place in the suburb of Amstelveen, just south of Amsterdam. Despite being further out of the big city, it’s still an exciting occasion.
A full Christmas market can also be found in Deventer as part of the Dickens Festival. One weekend in December sees the historic city center transform back to the time of Charles Dickens. Over 900 characters from his books come to life here, helps you plunge into the atmosphere of the 19th-century world. As a further part of the festival, a Christmas market is held in Deventer’s central square with roughly 200 stalls. Stroll along 75 different stalls around St Lebuinus Church, that sell joyful Christmas toys, decorations, garments, and handiworks. On the indoor terrace, you can taste delicious snacks and drinks.
The Dordrecht Christmas market is the largest of its kind in the Netherlands, with close to 300 stands spread over 2.5 kilometers. Numerous handmade, high-quality articles are offered here. Test your skills on the skating rink or simply sit back and enjoy a glass of glühwein (mulled wine) and join a Christmas sing-a-long.
Gouda’s city center radiates in the glow of thousands of candles during “Gouda by candlelight”. The candle-lit evening takes place on the city’s central market square.
Grote Markt in Haarlem is a estive Christmas market, located at the center of Haarlem transforms into a winter wonderland full of Christmas delicacies, holiday sounds, and magical twinkling lights.
Taking place at Castle De Haar, Country & Christmas Fair in Haarzuilens is one more Christmas market full of excellent Christmas entertainment, such as a water show, Santa’s house, different workshops, and a lot of delicious food.
Royal Christmas Fair The Hague is one of the Netherlands’ most magical Christmas markets. It’s located in the tree-lined Lange Voorhout, a perfect place for a winter wonderland. The historic center of The Hague (Den Haag) turns into a wonderland with 110 Christmas houses, thousands of dazzling LED lights, ambient fires, Christmas songs, and numerous cups of mulled wine. The Lange Voorhout is filled with various market stalls that offer mouth-watering snacks and drinks. It has over a hundred Christmas stalls to buy decorations and gifts, a bar, and even a stage where you can be entertained by talented performers and carollers.
Maastricht is a fascinating city to visit no matter the time of year. The city is filled with plenty of splendid landmarks and excellent places to shop. Over the Christmas period, Maastricht receives an extra magical touch, the town turns into a winter fairytale, featuring a warm atmosphere and thousands of twinkling lights all over the streets. Visit Maastricht’s Christmas market at the Vrijthof features lots of stalls, an ice rink and carousel, with glühwein and oliebollen galore. Numerous stalls with bratwurst and Glühwein, an outdoor ice rink, a cup of coffee with Schrobbelèr liqueur, the illuminated Ferris wheel with a breathtaking view of the market, many decorated alleys. You can also go ice skating or check out the panoramic sights from the Ferris wheel.
Valkenburg is a charming town in South Limburg, its unique christmas experience unlike any other where underground christmas markets can be found in the Fluwelengrot and the Gemeentegrot. Well known as the No.1 Christmas city in the Netherlands, Valkenburg christmas markets features over 50 amazingly decorated stalls along with historical charcoal drawings on the walls, and festively decorated corridors feature hundreds of small lights and stalls with Christmas gifts. Enjoy Christmas parades or the Route d’ Amuse culinary route in Valkenburg’s city center. Visit the Velvet Cave and Municipal Cave for all the festive happenings while the Wilhelmina Caves are home to the sand sculpture nativity scene.
Christmas Markets in Germany
Every year in the run-up to Christmas, Duisburg city center is transformed into an atmospheric, glittering sea of lights with well over a hundred lovingly decorated wooden huts, festively decorated fir trees and all kinds of light installations. For many, the magical atmosphere at the Christmas market heralds the loveliest time of the year. In addition to around 100 stalls, the Christmas market in Duisburg has even more to offer. There are several rides on the event site, especially carousels for children. In the Steinsche Gasse/Kuhtor area there is again a Ferris wheel – similar to the Christmas market in Essen, the Christmas market in Oberhausen (at the Centro), the Christmas market in Düsseldorf or the Cranger Christmas Magic.
The stands of the Christmas market are distributed in the pedestrian zone in Duisburg (Königstrasse). The booths are in the area between Münzstraße and König-Heinrich-Platz. The range of stands includes everything you would expect at a Christmas market: it ranges from gifts, decorations and handicrafts to clothing and jewellery. Changing traders also offer their goods in several changing huts. When it comes to drinks, the classic mulled wine is just as important as mead or Feuerzangenbowle. At the numerous food stalls at the Duisburg Christmas market, visitors can choose between bratwurst and other grilled specialties, but also tarte flambée and Spanish specialties. Those who prefer vegan dishes and products will find what they are looking for at the “Veggie-Glück” winter market on Münzstraße.
Christmas music, craftsmanship and culinary specialties, there are seven individual themed markets in Düsseldorf that are decorated in different ways to create a Christmassy atmosphere. Since they are all within walking distance of each other, they are perfect for a leisurely stroll during the Advent season. Also the large ice skating rink on Corneliusplatz, on the Ferris wheel on Burgplatz or at the fairy tale market on Schadowplatz. All markets are in close proximity to the shopping streets Königsallee, Schadowstrasse and the old town.
In front of the Düsseldorf town hall, the historic craft market with its handicraft presentations is waiting to be discovered with a glass of mulled wine. The little angel market on Heinrich-Heine-Platz offers a “heavenly atmosphere” with angel figures. Other lovingly designed markets such as the idyllic Sternchen market in the inner courtyard of the Wilhelm-Marx-Haus or the huts in the middle of the old town, reminiscent of old Düsseldorf town houses, also offer cozy Christmas flair. Attractive shops combined with the Christmas atmosphere make Düsseldorf a real experience. Large department stores and smaller shops alternate on Schadowstraße and offer the right thing for every taste.
Germany’s most popular Christmas market is located right in front of the magnificent backdrop of Cologne Cathedral. Up to four million people enjoy the unique atmosphere here every year. The largest and probably most famous Christmas market in Cologne is the Christmas market at Cologne Cathedral, almost 130 stands await visitors on Roncalliplatz right next to the landmark of the Rhine metropolis. In addition to the classic stalls with mulled wine and food, there are also handicrafts and gifts. The organizers have also put together a diverse stage program. More than 100 stands are spread around Alter Markt. A highlight of the winter fairy tale in 2022 is the ice rink on the Heumarkt. If you don’t dare to skate on ice, you can try your hand at curling on several lanes, which is also possible at the Christmas market in Bochum.
More than 80 dealers offer their goods and products in stands decorated in Christmas market in the Stadtgarten. The offer ranges from arts and crafts to fashion and jewelry. In addition to winemaker mulled wine, visitors to the Stadtgarten can look forward to a “diverse culinary offer”, as the organizers announce. There is a child-friendly cultural program for the youngest guests. The “Market of Angels” near the popular shopping streets Schildergasse, Mittelstraße and Ehrenstraße offers many special features.
The harbor Christmas market at the chocolate museum in the Rheinauhafen in Cologne exudes maritime flair. Around 70 stands await visitors and offer goods and handicrafts on the themes of Christmas, Cologne, the port and seafaring. In addition, there are many drinks and foods at the Christmas market at the Chocolate Museum, including some fish specialties. Nikolausdorf located against the historical backdrop of the Hahnentorburg. In addition to the usual Christmas market offerings, the Nikolausdorf also offers a program for children. In the heated Nikolaushaus they can take part in daily changing, free handicraft and painting offers. Various artists perform on the stage.
The Christmas market on Chlodwigplatz in the south of Cologne, retailers, restaurateurs, clubs and artists from the “Veedel” and the region will present themselves there. “Rooftop-Xmas” is a top parking deck of the Brückenstraße multi-storey car parktransformed into the highest Christmas market in Cologne. The organizers promise an “extraordinary Advent experience with a view of the Cologne skyline”. At the market itself, visitors can expect a wide range of gastronomy, stalls with handicrafts and a wine bar.
Enjoy the fantastic Christmas spirit in Bonn and the entire region. The Bonn Christmas market in the city center sparkles with colorful lights every year and attracts thousands of visitors. Gingerbread and mulled wine are once again exuding their enticing scents at the Christmas markets in Bonn city center and the region. Handicrafts are well represented here. With 170 exhibitors, everyone is sure to find one or the other Christmas present. The Santa Claus market takes place in Bad Godesberg every year.
Numerous Christmas markets are also held in the rest of the region. Here you will find a wide variety of pre-Christmas gift ideas, but also various culinary delicacies, not to mention the classic mulled wine and gingerbread. Only a few kilometers away from Bonn, on the medieval market in Siegburg, the visitor finds a completely different Christmas market. In an authentic medieval town of stalls, jugglers, minstrels and craftsmen will show their skills for the 25th time this year. The market in Ahrweiler with romantic ambience in the heart of the red wine metropolis, which is completely surrounded by a medieval city wall. The romantic Königswinter landmark, Drachenburg Castle under the motto Unique Christmas time, in addition to the usual stands, also offers a wide children’s program and live music.
The popular Koblenz old town squares are transformed into a Christmas paradise during the Advent season. Every year during Advent, the Roman town Koblenz is transformed into an atmospheric pre-Christmas: the scent of freshly roasted almonds, mulled wine and gingerbread fills the streets. At the arts and crafts market, numerous stands with handcrafted individual pieces. Stroll through the festively decorated city center, a particularly contemplative sight on Jesuitenplatz, the largest advent calendar in the city, composed of the colorfully illuminated dormer windows of the baroque town hall.
In Deutsches Eck, the cable car takes you up to the cultural center Festung Ehrenbreitstein, where the Christmas light and sound installation “Christmas Garden” is one of the event highlights in Koblenz at Christmas time. The Christmas Garden invites you on a magical journey through the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress in the open air. Experience unique lighting designs with individually composed sound worlds on a circular route of around two kilometers.
The Christmas market in Bingen am Rhein is part of a large number of events related to Christmas as part of “BINweihnachtlich”, because there is also a lot going on in Bingen am Rhein on the other Advent weekends. The market squares in the city center are festively decorated for the Christmas market in Bingen am Rhein. The culinary offer in particular is impressive. It ranges from tarte flambée to suckling pig and from fire tongs punch to mulled wine. Artisans display their exhibits in the cultural center. The little visitors look forward to a visit from Santa Claus with a sleigh full of presents, a children’s carousel and hands-on activities such as face painting and Christmas painting. In addition to live music, the supporting program includes the carefree elf and the snow angel with a soap bubble show.
The Christmas season in Mainz is so atmospheric: sparkling lights, Christmas stands with delicacies and handicrafts, the smell of roasted almonds is in the air. Against the historical backdrop of the 1,000-year-old St. Martin’s Cathedral, the Mainz Christmas market shines with festively decorated stands. The Christmas market in Mainz can look back on a long tradition: the “Nikolose market” was here more than 200 years ago. Today, the historic market square in front of the mighty St. Martin Cathedral is transformed into a sea of lights during Advent. Numerous stands present their Christmas offerings and invite you to mulled wine and delicacies. The colorful Renaissance facades of the historic market houses are particularly beautiful to look at.
Numerous cathedral concerts and matinees, the traditional fairy tale performance in the Mainz State Theater and the popular Christmas card printing in the Gutenberg Museum printing shop are among the special Christmas attractions in Mainz. The eleven meter high, richly decorated Christmas pyramid enchants directly at the small courtyard, the main entrance to the market. Just a few steps further, the hand-carved, life-size nativity figures in front of the Gotthard chapel of St. Martin Cathedral are impressive. At the lower entrance to the market, 18 hand-carved angel figures leisurely do their rounds on the roof of the nine-metre-high music box.
The Christmas market in Würzburg spread splendor on the upper and lower market square as well as in Eichhornstraße. Experience one of the most atmospheric Christmas markets in Germany. With around 100 stands, the wide range of offers from the dealers fits into the historical backdrop of the Falcon House and the Gothic Marienkapelle. The Würzburg Christmas market is and remains committed to tradition. In addition to mulled wine, hot drinks and “delicacies” to eat, it also offers the extensive and varied range of a real sales fair, to which the city of Würzburg still attaches particular importance. In addition to typical Christmas goods such as candles and nativity figures, there are also objects for domestic use: household goods, baskets, pottery, tablecloths, brooms, overalls, small tools and much more.
Mannheim is one of the oldest and largest Christmas markets in Germany. Christmas sounds from the more than 130-year-old organ of the multi-storey carousel, lovingly decorated huts with traditional Christmas decorations, handicrafts from all over the world and beautiful gift ideas, plus the scent of mulled wine and wintry delicacies. For children, carousels, a children’s Ferris wheel and a children’s railway make their rounds. Choirs, wind ensembles and dance groups present their skills on stage. In the heart of the city of squares, enjoy the diverse offerings of the lovingly decorated huts around Mannheim’s landmark like through Hirtenpfad and Engelsgasse.
On the largest square of the Heidelberg Christmas market, Universitätsplatz, enjoy the picturesque alleys and sights, discover a large number of Christmas stalls that offer enchanting gift ideas for sale on various squares in the old town. If you are looking for sporting activities, one of the most beautiful ice rinks in Germany with a view of the world-famous castle ruins. The highlight of the market on the market square in Heidelberg is the Heidelberg barrel. A large wooden barrel with a capacity of 120,000 liters. Around the statue of the chemist Robert Bunsen, who once taught in Heidelberg, there are a few Christmas booths in the anatomy garden during the Advent season, where you can linger comfortably.
Christmas Markets in France
In the heart of the Grande Île in Strasbourg, a UNESCO world heritage site, the Strasbourg Christmas market is one of the oldest in Europe. Strasbourg, the birthplace of Christmas celebrations, invites you on a true sensory journey. Christmas traditions have been rooted in the customs of Alsatians since 16th century. For four centuries now, the emblematic Christmas market has been working its magic in the European Christmas capital. The city was in a fairytale atmosphere with over 300 wooden chalets, spread around different squares, everywhere there are fresh surprises waiting to be discovered.
Strasbourg is a popular tourist destination for its famous and rich Christmas decorations. Every year, Christmas markets delight the hearts of visitors all over the world. From the fairy-like lights to the delicious aromas, let yourself be carried away by the city’s warm atmosphere, marvel and wander around the 300 wooden chalets set up in the city’s historic centre. With its majestic Great Christmas Tree sporting a dress of lights, and its countless illuminated streets, the Capital of Christmas takes you into an enchanted and richly decorated city that will enthral young and old.
The Christmas market is the oldest in France, and one of the oldest in Europe. Strasbourg is, throughout the month of December, one of the most lights of Europe. Come and experience an authentic Alsatian Christmas, filled with magic and traditions from bygone days. It is also the ideal occasion to visit Strasbourg’s Grande Île, the particular charm of which peaks during this period of winter festivity.
A real fairy tale atmosphere, which enchants all visitors. The atmosphere that reigns in the city is unique. The streets are adorned with their most beautiful finery, the windows sparkle, the smells of cinnamon and spices evoke childhood memories, Christmas carols resound in the depths of the churches. The whole city is transformed into an enchanting setting.
Alsatians have always had these Christmas traditions, since November, they get together as a family to prepare the end of year celebrations as well as their famous bredeles, small shortbreads of all shapes and sizes. Some make their own Advent wreath, others prepare the crib, the fir tree with its garlands, mulled wine or gingerbread. Even today, all these traditions are still part of Alsatian life until December 24.
“Strasbourg, capital of Christmas” is exceptionally renowned. Every year, close to two million visitors flock to the Alsatian capital to experience its enchanting market. Its large Christmas tree, pretty wooden chalets, spicy smells, choirboys’ songs, magical Christmas decorations and illuminations attract thousands of people to Alsace at this time of year. For over a month, Strasbourg is imbued with a festive, spiritual ambiance with few parallels anywhere else in Europe.
Discover the magic of Christmas in Strasbourg where the whole town gets taken over by all things Christmassy. Shop windows are transformed into winter wonderlands and the streets are decorated with twinkling lights and festive garlands. Strasbourg Christmas market is the perfect destination for a bit of Christmas shopping. The Christmas markets in Strasbourg spreads out across the centre of the town, focused around Cathedral square and Place Broglie where hundreds of stalls sell ornaments, toys, food and mulled wine to keep you warm as you browse.
Take one last stroll along the Promenade aux Étoiles (a star-studded walk) and enjoy the heritage of Strasbourg, made even more beautiful by the shimmering Christmas lights. From Pont du Corbeau (Raven Bridge) to St. Guillaume bridge, 400 stars fill with the spirit of Christmas.
The historical Petite France district with a unique, magical ambiance thanks to the subtly decorated half-timbered houses, beautifully reflected in the canal, and, in Louise Weiss and Suzanne Lacore Squares, you’ll find the Advent Village. In this festive village, you’ll get to discover the traditions of Christmas in Alsace, see a show, or taste the products of the “Irréductibles petits producteurs d’Alsace”
Next, make your way to the “Off” Christmas Market on Place Grimmeissen. At this local, socially aware market, about thirty stalls, staffed by players of the social and solidarity-based economy. The charming Christmas markets on the squares of Place Benjamin Zix and Place Saint-Thomas. At lunchtime, you can grab a bite to eat at one of the many stalls; a great way to try some of the delicious Christmas Market specialities not to be missed!
Place Kléber, where the Village du Partage (Village of Sharing) is spread out around the Great Christmas Tree. At 5 o’clock, the Great Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, set to music, on Place Kléber. It’s always spectacular and moving. The historic market “Christkindelsmärik” is considered the heart and soul of the Christmas experience in Strasbourg. Admire the facade of City Hall, beautifully adorned with festive decorations honoring the characters of the history of the Christkindelsmärik.
Strasbourg offers everyone the emotion of being transported in the Christmas magic. As Christmas draws near, Strasbourg dons all its finery. From Pont du Corbeau up to Pont Saint-Guillaume, close to 400 stars hanging here and there and enhance the rich historical and architectural heritage of Strasbourg. The streets, houses, bridges, church facades and most beautiful monuments are clothed in light and offer everyone the emotion of being transported in the Christmas magic. Discover the many illuminated decorations produced by Vitrines de Strasbourg in partnership with the City of Strasbourg. The air, water and land are all lit up to create a unique atmosphere.
Towering over Place Kléber, the Great Christmas Tree is the iconic symbol of Strasbourg Capitale de Noël. It shimmers majestically in an enchanted setting and appears like a dream of a starry night. For this 2022 event, its decorations revisit some of our ancestral traditions with a modern twist. It is decorated with rough wood shapes, light and airy white spheres and red baubles.
At the pont du Corbeau, you reach rue du Vieux-Marché-aux-Poissons. Go through the Gate of lights and enter the magical world of Strasbourg Capitale de Noël. Christmas baubles with surprise decorations edged with red fringes will guide your steps towards the Great Christmas Tree. At the intersection of rue Mercière lead you to the Place de la Cathédrale. On rue des Tonneliers, look up and admire the illuminated suspended barrels, a few steps away is the Blue Tree and the giant manneles of rue des Hallebardes, and rue de la Mésange with its giant forest. On Grand’Rue, notice the giant chandelier and its magical decorations. After the twinkling stars of the Petite France, make your way towards rue du 22 Novembre and place des Halles to see other illuminations.
In Colmar, exhibitors are carefully selected for the quality and appeal of their products. They are mostly from Alsace. Nearly 200 exhibitors set up shop at the Colmar Christmas market. the Gourmet Christmas Market, Place de la Cathédrale with its Alsatian local products, the Christmas Market in the Place de l’Ancienne Douane, around the Schwendi Fountain and at the foot of the Koïfhus. The Artisans Christmas Market at Koïfhus offers ceramists, potters, master glassmakers, cabinetmakers, wood carvers, hatters, jewelers and other older creations. The Children’s Christmas Market in the Little Venice district, with its horse-drawn carousel, its mechanical nativity scene and its stalls. The Place Jeanne d’Arc Christmas Market and its gourmet products such as Alsatian specialities, foie gras, charcuterie, wines, brandies, Christmas bredalas, gingerbread…
Christmas Markets in Switzerland
On the occasion of the Advent sparkle, Rheinfelden is ablaze with light. The town park with its mighty trees is transformed into a fairytale forest during this time. Light artist Tobias Degen illuminates the Storchennest and Obertorturm with changing subjects and the Rhine bridge and the adjacent island are also staged with various light installations.
Baden located at northwest of Zürich in the Limmat Valley, its mineral hot springs have been famed since at least the Roman era. The village of Baden is designated as part of the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites. A historical city with a very lively present, is worth a visit, not just because of the Grand Casino Baden. The old town, the Tagsatzung room in the city hall, the 1847 railway station and the building of the Stiftung Langmatt are listed as heritage sites of national significance.
With sparkling lights in all the alleys, Baden invites you to enjoy its winter magic in Baden exudes its Christmas atmosphere. The unique festive lights in the city centre and the three Christmas villages give the whole of Baden a magical feeling during the Christmas season. The Badener WunderDorf on the Theaterplatz enchants with its Christmas market and delicious street food. Several Christmas villages and festive events await you in Baden. Stroll through the city centre and immerse in the sea of lights and let yourself be enchanted.
Located in the northwest corner of Switzerland, Basel is the third largest city in Switzerland and the chemical and pharmaceutical center of Switzerland. It is world-renowned for its superb watchmaking skills. The Rhine is Basel’s unofficial emblem. The Rhine River passes through the city and divides Basel into two parts. There are art galleries, 40 museums and avant-garde buildings in the city. Narrow streets and paths are all over the city, and you can see the beautiful scenery of the Rhine everywhere. Home to the world-renowned Art Basel and the dazzling Basel Watch and Jewellery, a city full of culture, quaint and modern, precise and intelligent.
The river is the perfect place to take a dip. The pivotal point of Switzerland’s commodity supply is located here, where Germany, France and Switzerland meet and the ships ply towards the North Sea.The best way to see the city from the water is while on a passage though the locks to Rheinfelden or during a harbour cruise on the Basler Personenschifffahrt company’s white fleet. Experience the wide world in miniature. In summer you will find life in all its facets here as sun worshippers, walkers, students and businesspeople all gather on the shore. The river is a perfect place for a refreshing dip or a pleasant ferry trip.
Home to 40 museums, the city of culture for connoisseurs has the highest concentration of museums in the country. Basel is Switzerland’s oldest university city. Historic landmarks of the city include the large market square with its richly decorated red sandstone town hall and the late Romanesque-Gothic cathedral. During a walk through the old town, past small boutiques, antique book shops but also shops of modern designers.
Basel’s old town is always worth a visit. Even more so in the run-up to Christmas, when the city is transformed into a magical winter wonderland. Most Swiss towns are pretty much taken over by festive markets at this time of year and the atmosphere is incredible. Basel Christmas Market is the biggest and arguably the best around. Separated into two different sections at Barfusserplatz and Munsterplatz, it’s made up of nearly 200 fabulously decorated stalls selling Christmas spices, decorations and candles.
Stroll through the historic Old Town, past lovingly decorated houses and festively adorned shop windows, and you’ll be charmed by the care that Basel puts into celebrating the Christmas season. With 100 decorated Christmas trees, kilometres of fairy lights and festively decorated houses, the people of Basel know how to transform their city into a tantalising treat for the senses. Families will particularly enjoy the Christmas fairytale forest at Munsterplatz thanks to activities such as gingerbread and candle decorating, a star workshop and a festive train.
Bern is the capital of Switzerland. The old town of Bern managed to retain their historic features quite as successfully, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site The medieval air of this city with its many fountains, sandstone facades, narrow streets and historic towers is unique. The elevated Rose Garden above the Bear Park and the platform of the 101-metre-high cathedral tower offer the best views of the old town round which the River Aare flows. The 6 kilometres of arcades boasts on of the longest weather-sheltered shopping promenades in Europe. The boutiques, bars and cabaret stages of the old town, some of which are located in vaulted cellars, and the small street cafes attract locals as well as a lot of tourists.
A variety of Christmas markets, creative winter pop-ups, fairytale ice palaces and many more winter experiences besides: visitors and guests will enjoy a truly special festive season in Bern. Bern boasts several delightful Christmas markets, each with its own unique character: there’s the traditional market on Waisenhausplatz, the handicrafts market by Bern Minster and the trendy Sternenmarkt (star market) in Kleine Schanze, all of these are within walking distance of each other.
Biel / Bienne
Biel is the largest Swiss city in which German and French are equally spoken. The town of Biel lies at the eastern end of Lake Biel, at the foot of the Jura in the delightful Lake Region. Biel is a town of many facets. The modern part of the city with its high-rise buildings lies at lake level, the intact old town with its gothic town church stemming from the 15th century. The town has been an industrial and watchmaking heart of Switzerland since the 19th century. The town of Biel is a tradition-imbued watch metropolis in which this Swiss craft is still fostered. Swatch, Rolex, Omega, Tissot, Movado and Mikron are all located here. Biel has additionally also positioned itself in the field of other industries and in communication.
Every year in December the christmas houses in and next to Nidaugasse open daily for the traditional christmas market of Biel. Christmas music, a glittering sea of lights and the smell of gingerbread and mulled wine await visitors. The glassblower in the Nidaugasse is certainly a highlight.
Chur located on the right bank of the Rhine, is reputedly the oldest town of Switzerland. Chur charms visitors with its fine mountain setting, twisting alleys and historic buildings. Numerous boutiques, restaurants, bars, museums and galleries in the largely traffic-free Old Town create a Mediterranean-style atmosphere. Chur is the gateway to important trade routes and alpine passes, remains its 5000-year history, discover witnesses to the past and stories, documented by Early Stone Age and Bronze Age finds anc artifacts from the Roman period, as well as testimonies to more recent history.
The Christmas market of Chur in Graubünden is as rustic and magical as the historical Alpine city itself. Handmade crafts, home-baked festive treats and, of course, nutritious, freshly prepared barley soup are sure to delight all visitors at Christmastime.
Geneva is a well-known international city in Switzerland offers a urban nature, the city’s symbol is a fountain with a 140-metre-high water jet. Most of the large hotels and many restaurants are situated on the right-hand shore of the lake. The old town, the heart of Geneva with the shopping and business quarter, holds sway over the left-hand shore. It is dominated by St. Peter’s Cathedral, however the actual centre of the old town is the Place du Bourg-de-Four, which is the oldest square in the city. Quays, lakeside promenades, countless parks, lively side streets in the old town and elegant shops.
The Jardin Anglais in Geneva will be transformed into a magical winter wonderland. There’s plenty on offer for those who love Christmas: see what gift ideas you can discover on the craft stalls, sample traditional delicacies in the street food village and be enchanted by the railway and entertainment chalet.
Lausanne, the second-largest city on Lake Geneva, combines a dynamic commercial town with the locality of a holiday resort. The setting of Lausanne is extremely picturesque, the town is built on three hills, surrounded by vineyard-covered slopes, with Lake Geneva at its feet. Rising impressively from the opposing French lakeshore are the Savoy Alps. Lausanne is also a lively university and convention town. Sports and culture are given a high profile in the Olympic capital. Small alleyways with cafes and boutiques shape the streetscape in the medieval city centre.
Lausanne shows its most glorious side in the run-up to Christmas. A magical ambience awaits visitors at the various Christmas markets in the city centre, where the most beautiful live nativity scene in Switzerland and its moving performance await. A children’s village is set up for the youngest visitors, where they can play and listen to stories. Held each year since 2012, the “Lausanne Lumières Festival” illuminates this city on the shores of Lake Geneva with a stunning array of light installations. International and local artists alike create a festive atmosphere in the streets of Lausanne with their original works of light.
Lugano is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Switzerland. The city is home to a number of historic buildings and museums, whilst the surrounding area has many natural sights. Lugano lies in a bay on the northern side of Lake Lugano, surrounded by numerous mountains offering splendid viewpoints. The traffic-free historic town centre, the numerous buildings in Italianate Lombardy style, the exclusive museums, the mountains, lake and a packed calendar of events all invite visitors to see the sights, soak up the atmosphere. With Mediterranean flair, Lugano offers all the advantages of a world-class city, combined with the cachet of a small town.
Unforgettable moments in Switzerland’s southernmost city: with its festive lighting, beautifully decorated Christmas tree, lovingly displayed market stalls and the scent of cinnamon wafting through the alleyways, Lugano is sure to delight both young and old.
Lucerne, the gateway to central Switzerland, sited on Lake Lucerne, is embedded within an impressive mountainous panorama. Complete with gable paintings, the covered, medieval Chapel Bridge forms the centrepiece of Lucerne’s townscape and is considered to be one of the oldest, covered wooden bridges in Europe. A further landmark of the town is the Museggmauer, a wall which, with the exception only of one of its towers, has been preserved in its original, well-fortified state. Lucerne also offers a beautiful lakeside setting and the nearby excursion mountains of the Rigi, Pilatus and Stanserhorn.
The Olympic city of Lausanne with world-class Swiss food and wine, where more than 20,000 litres of Swiss mulled wine and 1.2 tonnes of cheese are consumed by visitors each December. During Advent, the whole of Lucerne is lit up as far as the eye can see. Glittering lights and city tours at Advent attract visitors to the city lit up in all its winter glory. A stroll around the sights of Lucerne is always a delight, but in January the experience becomes a truly magical one. Squares, sights and streets throughout the picturesque old town and along the shores of the lake are decked out with a myriad of lights.
The Lozärner Christmas market in Lucerne boasts the Franziskanerbrunnen fountain, which adorned with metre-high candles, twinkling lights and pine fronds is transformed into the largest Advent wreath in Central Switzerland. The concerts in the church of St. Maria and the unique nativity scene with life-size figurines are also worth seeing. On Place St-François, locals shop in a hangar-sized market while caroling along with festive concerts. At Bô Caveau, beneath the arches of Grand-Pont, the region’s winegrowers offer copious samples.
Tradition seeps in at Place Pépinet, where local designers marry medieval customs with muted luxury, while the Lausanne Lumières festival channels the spirit of a modern art gallery. Expect light sculptures from both up-and-coming and well-established artists. Here, for those who want a bit more than tradition, tourism chiefs have mapped out the perfect Christmas itinerary. The giant fir tree at La Palud, treasure hunts and igloos in which you can enjoy cheese, charcuterie and – surprisingly – iced platters of oysters. Then, the pièce de résistance is the Bô Quartier du Flon, where a giant geodesic snow globe shelters the Esplanade fountain and a union of bauble-lit restaurant terraces.
Located in the centre of a region named Riviera, Montreux has been an important tourist destination since the 19th century due to its mild climate. The region includes numerous Belle Époque palaces and hotels near the shores of Lake Geneva. From the lake to the mountains and vineyards, Montreux Riviera offers a postcard landscape. Montreux Riviera is especially rich in cultural events, including the unmissable Montreux Jazz Festival.
Yuletide markets in Lake Geneva’s resort town are almost an art form. From the shores of Lake Geneva to the surrounding mountains, Festive Montreux (Montreux Noël) offers a great many activities in conjunction with the traditional Christmas Market. Exploring the 150 bauble-lit chalet stalls at Hunter’s Place, which extends for more than a kilometre along Lake Geneva’s frigid shoreline on Quai Edouard-Jaccoud. Join the romance of the holiday season bursts to life, thanks to covered walkways and frontier-style Logger’s Cabin, the city’s post-work meeting place at the train station. Locals mix things up with pizza and so-called “logger’s tea” here, but the vibe quickly gets restored thanks to advent concerts and carols.
This fairy-tale Christmas market offers a traditional festive experience on the lakeside promenade of Montreux. Santa & His Flying Sleigh, another of Montreux’s highlights, is a mind-tricking spectacle which sees the man in the red suit somehow transport himself over the lakeside promenade in a whoosh of bells and reindeer brays. This is often the warm-up for a ride on the Santa Train, and can glide along the tracks in a cogwheel carriage to visit Father Christmas in his grotto at Rochers-de-Naye. Be mesmerised by even more festive highlights behind the walls of Chillon Castle, which is adorned with Christmas decorations.
The little mediaeval town of Murten, located on a small hillside overlooking Lake Murten. On the south-eastern shore of the lake of the same name has preserved its original appearance, with the picturesque lanes and alleys of the Old Town and the pleasant shady arcades. The town bordering German and French-speaking Switzerland also boasts a lovely lakeside promenade with a wide range of water sports and plenty of culture to discover, excursions and outings.
Murten welcomes in the new year with a sparkling array of light animations created by regional and international artists. The streets will be decked out with numerous colourful light installations for visitors to admire as they stroll around the city.
Olten is a town in the canton of Solothurn, lies between Solothurn and Aarau at the southern foot of the Jura on the river Aare. Olten’s railway station is within 30 minutes of Zürich, Basel, Bern, and Lucerne by train, and is a rail hub of Switzerland. Thanks to its central location in the Swiss Mittelland, the town is a popular venue for conventions and meetings.
With a combination of Christmas market and Advent magic, the first Olten Advent Village is being created in Olten’s city centre. There are many small, lovingly decorated chalets with vendors that change weekly. For the little ones, there is a Christmas carousel and an ice rink.
Schaffhausen is a town with historic roots, in the northernmost corner of Switzerland, in the “knee” of the Rhine in Eastern Switzerland on the border with Germany. The traffic-free Old Town of Schaffhausen is considered one of the prettiest in Switzerland, on account of its many oriel windows and lavishly painted facades. Many of the fine guildhouses and merchant’s houses date from Gothic and Baroque times. The old town has many fine Renaissance era buildings decorated with exterior frescos and sculpture, as well as the old Munot fortress.
For two days in December, the cloister of the Allerheiligen Monastery in Schaffhausen is the backdrop to a wonderful Christmas market. Visitors can amble from the cloister to the old town, past small yet exclusive market stalls and enjoy the romantic atmosphere of the run-up to Christmas.
Solothurn is regarded as the finest Baroque town in Switzerland, where Italian grandeur is combined with French charm and German practicality. The town got its name from Salodurum, a Roman-era settlement. The old town, shows an impressive array of Baroque architecture, combining Italian Grandezza, French style, and Swiss ideas, was built between 1530 and 1792. So-called “ambassador’s town”, it was then the seat of the French ambassador to Switzerland.
A variety of regional exhibitors present their creations at the Christmas market in the Capuchin monastery. Visitors are invited to enjoy and browse the wares on offer which range from culinary delicacies to handicrafts.
St.Gallen is a university town with a focus on the economic sciences. The compact metropolis of eastern Switzerland between Lake Constance and Appenzellerland has a charming, traffic-free old town. Colourfully-painted oriel windows are a town feature. The Abbey precinct with the cathedral and Abbey Library has been accorded UNESCO World Heritage listing. The home town of the renowned “Mummenschanz” theatre group offers a varied cultural offering with theatres and museums. In summer, the romantic art-nouveau Dreilinden-Weiher open-air pool with its splendid views over the town attracts visitors to swim.
Above the squares and streets of St. Gallen’s old town, 700 stars sparkle and bathe the historic facades of the UNESCO World Heritage site in seasonably festive splendor. The Christmas market in the winding alleys of the old town has something for everyone who loves Christmas – from St. Gallen artistic handicrafts to mouth-watering delicacies.
Thun is a town with its historic buildings, towering raised promenades steeped in history, the white castle on the Schlossberg and the fantastic views over the lake set against the backdrop of the imposing Bernese Alps. Thanks to its enormous diversity, the city of Thun is worth a visit at any time of the year: While the charming old town and the delightful river and lakeside promenade are bursting with life in the spring, cultural open-air events such as the popular Lake Thun Festival get everyone in the mood for a summer of fun.
In the run-up to Christmas, the Bälliz shopping promenade becomes a playground for young and old. Children can try their hand at candle making or enjoy a ride on the merry-go-round. Decorated market stalls make up the heart of the Thun Christmas Market. With panoramic views of the Alps, they offer pretty wood carvings, regional specialities and other treasures.
Winterthur is a service and high-tech industrial satellite city within Greater Zürich. Winterthur has blossomed from a former industrial town to a lively venue for all ethnic groups and types of culture. Being a city small enough to get around conveniently while also having a big-city atmosphere makes Winterthur a popular destination. Shops, restaurants, markets and festivals bring the charming Old Town to life and provide a meeting place for locals, visitors and businesspeople alike.
It is not just the Chlausenumzug that helps draw 350,000 visitors to the Neumarkt square in Winterthur each year – they also marvel at the beautifully decorated Christmas huts, the colourful gifts and the hundreds of Father Christmases.
Capital of the Swiss canton of Zug, a stylish town that values public art, and goes together with the town’s business world, which lends the pretty town a certain international flavour. Zug is a high quality of life, a view of the Rigi and Pilatus, and a jewel of a historic centre.
At the Advent Market in Zug, around 26 exhibitors have the opportunity to present their handmade products on site. Mulled wine and various delicacies are not to be missed during a visit.
Zurich is Switzerland’s centre of economic life and education. The cosmopolitan city by the water combines creative urban life with nature in all its glory. Zurich is abuzz with activity day and night with its countless events, diverse museums, food festival and Switzerland’s most vibrant nightlife. Zurich is a boutique city that offers all the modern amenities of a cosmopolitan metropolis, and has for years ranked among the world’s top cities in terms of quality of life.
Christmas markets, Advent concerts and Christmas shows: Zurich is simply enchanting at Christmastime. The whole city is bathed in warm light, there’s a scent of cinnamon and mulled wine in the air and Christmas melodies ring out everywhere. Sunday opening and night shopping provide the opportunity to splash out on gifts.
Zurich at Christmas is star-spangled and carnival-like. Here, the festive markets keep getting bigger and better, and the historic core fills out with half-timbered stalls and evergreen trees. Zurich boasts a great many magical Christmas markets, from culinary delicacies in the Christmas village at Bellevue to the festively decorated hall of the main railway station. The choirs that provide the perfect accompaniment at the oldest Christmas market in the romantic old town of Niederdorf are without doubt a special attraction in Zurich.
In particular, the Christkindlimarkt at the Main Train Station, located underneath the tinsel-wrapped arches of the main ticket hall, is a one-stop shop for that special Swiss Christmas feeling. Micro-chalets sell handmade toys, wooden puppets, glühwein (mulled wine) and gingerbread cookies as if it were still the 19th-century, and a showpiece tree sparkles with 7,000 dazzling Swarovski crystals.
One of Europe’s largest indoor markets, the Christkindlimarkt brims with some 140-odd stands, but never fails to deliver what locals really want at this time of year: melted cheese raclette, scraped onto pickles and potatoes. The city’s oldest Christmas market was however hidden away in the twisted alleys and cobblestone squares of the Niederdorf quarter of the Old Town. A stroll to Lake Zurich reveals Wienachtsdorf, the city’s Christmas village. Here the draw is a cluster of 100 stalls, spread like a stretched nativity scene beside the spectacular Opera House.
Every year at the end of November, things get a little magical on Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse: the Christmas lights are switched on during late-night shopping and shine throughout the entire Advent season. For several weeks, the inner courtyard of the National Museum will be transformed into a winter wonderland of light, illusion, music and culinary delights. The almost 30-minute light show featuring mysterious mythical creatures will enchant young and old alike. Food and drink will be available aplenty at the event, with catering options including an illuminated bar, restaurant and a broad range of different food stands.