Last Updated on 7th December 2022 by Sophie Nadeau
Dating back centuries and surrounded by the ruins of castles dating back centuries, Chur is the oldest town in Switzerland. Characterised by its historic car-free old town, cobbled lanes, and stunning Swiss architecture, there’s perhaps no more magical time to visit Chur than at Christmastime. Here’s a guide to visiting the Chur Christkindlimarkt, i.e. the Chur Christmas Market.
2022 Chur Christkindlmarkt: 25th November – 23rd December. Friday – Sunday, 11 – 19h, food from 11 – 21h
If you’re looking for even more information and inspiration, then be sure to check out our guide to the best-kept secrets of Switzerland. For an idea on where to go and how long to spend there, be sure to check out our guide on ‘how to spend three days in Switzerland‘ and ‘how to spend one week in Switzerland’.
- Will the Chur Christmas Market take place in 2022?
- Chur Christmas Market, Christkindlimarkt in the oldest town in Switzerland
- How to visit the Chur Christkindlimarkt
- Food at the Chur Christkindlmarkt
- Things to see and do while in Chur
Will the Chur Christmas Market take place in 2022?
Please note that, while the majority of big Christmas Markets in Germany wefe cancelled as of mid-November 2021 (including those in Berlin and Munich). Many Christmas Markets in Switzerland were also been cancelled.
Despite all this, a few Christmas Markets went ahead as scheduled, including the market at Chur, albeit with restrictions. Please note that, due to the ongoing health crisis, the 2020 Chur Christmas Market was cancelled. In 2022, the Chur Christmas Market will go ahead as usual.
Chur Christmas Market, Christkindlimarkt in the oldest town in Switzerland
Chur is a fairytale town to the East of Switzerland. And as the starting point for the magical train that is the Bernina Express to Tirano, Italy, you can’t go wrong by dedicating a weekend to escaping reality and enjoy the delights this historic town has to offer.
Pronounced (as my Swiss friend put it ‘like a cat purring’,) Chur is easily one of the most difficult words to pronounce in Swiss German! Highlights of this Swiss city include plenty of medieval architecture and the opportunity to take day trips to Arosa and Davos.
There are festive celebrations in Chur on an annual basis, though the main highlight of this event is all of the Swiss food. So whether you enjoy raclette, hot chocolate, or simply want to sample some Glühwein (if you want a taste of the Christmas Markets at home, be sure to check out this vin chaud recipe), you’re sure to love this market.
The name itself ‘Christkindli’ is directly translated into English as ‘Christ’s Child,’ while the market is often said to be among the best of Christmas markets in Switzerland (those of Basel, Zurich, and Bern aside). Free to visit, the festivities are designed to be enjoyed by all ages, with rides for smaller children and plenty of spiced wine stalls for the adults.
How to visit the Chur Christkindlimarkt
Whether you want to shop for gifts (and even purchase a Christmas tree) or simply want to hang out with your friends and sip on Glühwein, the Christkindli Market can be found spread out across the historic part of the city. In total, there are around 160 stands.
Streets where you’ll find market stalls include Alexanderplatz, Obere Bahnhofstrasse, Poststrasse, Kornplatz. The market runs from the first Thursday before advent right up until the 23rd of December.
Other festive highlights of the town include ice skating and plenty of twinkling lights draped across the historic and cobbled town streets.
Food at the Chur Christkindlmarkt
If you go to the Christmas Market expecting as many food options as at other more established and larger Christmas markets then you will be surely disappointed. With this being said, there are still several foodie options on offer, including the more popular offerings of Glühwein and Bretzels.
After all, if there’s one thing Christmas markets across Europe are known for, it’s the delectable smorgasbord of treats on offer, of both the sweet and savoury variety. So if you’re looking for even more drool worthy foodie inspo, be sure to check out our Christmas market food guide, as some of it is available at Chur.
Things to see and do while in Chur
MANOR Chur, Bahnhofstrasse
Though this shop may just appear to be a department store at a first glance, one of the better-hidden gems of Chur (or at least one of its best viewpoints) can be found in the form of a rooftop terrace overlooking the old town towards the train station from the top floor.
Wander the old town
World-famous and car-free, one walk along the historical streets of Chur is akin to stepping back in time. Medieval architecture remains painted with frescoes, while much of the historic heart of the city is dominated by a cathedral dating back centuries.
Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption
With a spire reaching towards the heavens and a history dating back to the 12th-century, it’s hard to miss the Middle Ages constructed Chur Cathedral in the centre of the old town. Within the walls of the cathedral, the relics of St Lucius of Britain are alleged to be located.
Take the Bernina Express
Of course, one of the main reasons many visitors to Switzerland opt to visit Chur is so that they can hop on the Bernina Express and head down towards Italy. A magical experience lasting a full day, you can’t go wrong by booking tickets for the magical train ride that is the Bernina Express.
Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, travel, pizza, and history. A fan of all things France related, she runs solosophie.com when she’s not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming something sweet. She currently splits her time between Paris and London. Subscribe to Sophie’s YouTube Channel.