The Basler Weihnachtsmarkt is the best and biggest Christmas advent market in Switzerland and draws visitors from nearby Germany and France to Basel.
The Swiss city Basel, which lies on the border with France and Germany, arguably has the best and largest Christmas market in all of Switzerland. The Basler Weihnachtsmarkt has the atmosphere and attractions that made German Christmas markets popular all over the world. During the whole advent period, three Christmas markets in old town Basel are further enhanced by beautifully decorated streets, shop windows, and private residences.
The Basel Christmas markets are open from November 28 to December 23, 2019, daily from 11 am to 6 pm on Münsterplatz and 8 pm on Barfüsserplatz.
Christmas Markets in Basel, Switzerland
Basel has three main Christmas markets: the largest is on Barfüsserplatz in the old town, a new market next to the cathedral on Münsterplatz, and a smaller market on the right bank of the Rhine on Claraplatz. These markets are within easy walking distance of each other and in between Basel impresses with beautifully decorated shop windows and buildings.
The Basler Weihnachtsmarkt on Barfüsserplatz adjacent to the main shopping streets of central Basel is the largest and busiest Christmas market in the city. Here around 140 stalls sell Christmas-related crafts and items as well as a range of food and drink. Artists are often at work and happy to answer questions. Stalls are fairly tightly packed at places making the market feeling crowded even when not particularly busy.
A wide range of food is available, including typical Swiss specialties such as raclette (melted cheese) with potatoes and Flammkuchen (like thin pizza) from neighboring Alsace. Sausages, potato cakes, pancakes, waffles and other baked items are very popular too. Glühwein comes in many varieties while non-alcoholic drinks are also served.
The second large Christmas Market in Basel is the Weihnachtsmarkt on Münsterplatz. Here around 40 stalls offer Christmas wares. The spacing here is more generous and the square is completely flat making it easier to navigate for families with strollers. From the square, travelers have wonderful views not only of the lovely Romanesque-Gothic Basel Minster but also of the Rhine River.
A smaller Christmas market is located on the opposite side of the Rhine River on Claraplatz in Kleinbasel. The market here has longer opening hours – daily from 11 am to 9 pm.
Christmas in Basel, Switzerland
The advent period is a beautiful time of the year to visit Basel. In addition to the Christmas markets, most shops will have decorated shop windows while many streets will have special Christmas lighting too. Tall Christmas trees can be found in many public squares with particularly large ones inside the red Rathaus courtyard and in front of the Basel cathedral.
Basel has 40 museums – many will stage special events during the Advent period. Music, not necessarily religious in nature, can be enjoyed in many churches and theaters throughout the city.
Basel is a prosperous city and therefore relatively expensive, as is clear from the high-class shops that predominate its main shopping streets. Ironically, and fairly helpful for the budget, Basel Airport (BSL) is popular with low-cost airlines with many cheap flights from European cities. Getting to Basel Airport is fast and cheap by public transportation too. Very good railway connections are available to all parts of Switzerland, southern Germany, and the Alsace region of France. TGV Lyria trains go all the way to Paris.