When Christmas is just around the corner, all we can think about are lights, decorations, mulled wine and gift ideas. Is there any better way to combine all these things to a whole day with your friends in one of Switzerland’s most famous Christmas markets? We think there isn’t. Whether you are in the French part of Switzerland or not, we have a list that you’ll want to cross off.
When: from November 20th to December 31st 2019
This Christmas market is made up of 5 different markets, a children’s village, 2 lively squares and 11 satellites around the city.
This market offers many different activities, including a special brunch in a heated tent with sofas and sheepskins. What better way to end a busy week? Not a fan of brunch? Then this option will fully satisfy you: a curling aperitif, perfect for a sporty evening with friends to end the day in an unusual way.
Christmas time is often synonym with food, and Lausanne’s market offers plenty of delicacies: foie gras and salmon, roasted chestnuts, nougat gingerbread, churros… to be accompanied by delicious drinks, such as mulled wine, Christmas tea, beer…
Last but not least, Christmas markets are ideal to find great presents for your friends and family. Here, you can participate in some workshops to create your own jewellery pieces, you can find locally made honey products, scented candles and even vintage bikes!
Montreux – Montreux Noël
When: from November 21st to December 24th 2019
This Christmas market celebrates this year its 25th anniversary and you definitely do not want to miss out the special things they have planned: there will be new entertainment every weekend!
With its 172 stalls, the market will delight each one of you. Every afternoon, you can see Santa Claus flying on his sleigh before enjoying a refreshment in a lounge atmosphere at the Bar des Etoiles. Another special activity is the Lumberjack Village. It is the hangout of all local associations and they will delight you with pizza and hot tea.
With its many restaurants, you will have plenty of choice to taste different Christmas specialties: from classic fondue and raclette to foie gras and fish specialties. On the drink side, you can go to one of the many mulled wine bars that will make you feel the Christmas atmosphere even more.
Finally, it is a great place for last minute yet delicious gifts, such as the collector’s cup or Christmas chocolates from the Läderach chocolate factory.
Also, do remember that every year, Montreux Noël has a different “Guest of honour” and this year it will be Russia. Make sure you go check its Christmas traditions, including culinary specialties and folklore in a reconstruction of the Red Square.
Chillon - Noël au Château de Chillon
When: from November 30th to December 15th 2019
This Christmas market is organized as part of the Montreux market. The castle will feature storytelling, festive workshops and shows. The fortress will be specially decorated in red and green and enticing aromas will complete the atmosphere.
As opposed to the Montreux Christmas market, you will need to pay a small fee however, the ticket will also allow you to visit the castle in its most wintery atmosphere.
Geneva – Noël aux Bastions
When: from December 4th to December 31st 2019
This Christmas market is the perfect place for children (or the child in you) with its ice-rink and carrousel, and for adults as well with its magic atmosphere that we all look for at this time of the year.
With its many activities, you will spend a fantastic day with your friends. Ranging from craftsmanship (to give you many unique gift ideas), to the carrousel with its light effects, not forgetting the ice-rink, the market will ensure a fun afternoon and unforgettable memories.
Over 30 restaurants are here to ensure you won’t miss out on the winter treats. From raclette and fondue in a very cosy chalet to the Christmas pub (the only pub named by Santa Claus) where you can drink a mulled wine to the rhythm of Mariah Carey’s playlist as of 11am.
This market offers many workshops which are all very different and are sure to satisfy each one of your friends: decoration of gingerbread men, creation of your greetings cards and snow globes (a nice souvenir for your family) and the Geneva Lux (a festival of lights). These are only a few of the activities offered by the market.
Gruyères – Marché de Noël de Gruyères
When: December 13th - 5th and 20th - 22nd
Even though this Christmas market does not last very long, it will bring you to a fairy place with all its lights, typical Advent fragrances and music.
The 35 craftsmen will present their hand-made products amongst which you will surely encounter the perfect gift for your loved ones. In addition, many animations will delight you and level up this whole experience.
To make up for the short exhibition, Gruyères does offer different Christmassy activities throughout the month of December such as a gift scavenger hunt, a Christmas concert or an exhibition at the Gruyères Castle.
Neuchâtel – Les Artisanales de Noël
When: from December 7th to December 15th 2019
This Christmas market is the biggest indoor market of craftsmanship of all Switzerland. You will discover how people’s imagination can create unique products and you will be surprised by the savoir-faire that comes with years of experience and tradition.
While wandering in the various heated tents, you’ll see all the products on display which include: paintings, tea and spices, watches, chocolate and by-products, jewels and accessories, natural skincare products, hand-sewn products, candles, wine, zero-waste items and many other amazing gifts you can bring back to your family.
Villars-sur-Ollon – Marché de Noël de Villars
When: from December 20th, 2019 to January 5th, 2020
Of course we couldn’t forget to put in our list a Christmas market in a village in the Alps. In this typical Christmassy setting, you will be delighted with entertainment and delicacies. Typical terroir products could not miss from the stalls, just like hand-crafted products.
The market is made up of seven chalets and offers each evening many activities and concerts that make it come alive and delight tourists. If you are around on Christmas Day, make sure you don't miss Santa Claus’ visit in the afternoon!
Let yourself be enchanted by the cinnamon, orange and chocolate smells that fill the air in these Christmas markets and enjoy this holy season!
Author: Chiara Eckenschwiller