Mulled wine, twinkling lights, and even a fifty-foot tree featuring sparkling Swarovski crystals, Zurich may not be the first festive destination you imagine when you think of this landlocked country, but it’s certainly home to many a festive light display and Christmas market. Here’s your complete guide to the best of Zurich Christmas Markets, including what to see and how to visit!
Why you should experience Christmas and advent in Switzerland
The pretty city of Zurich can be found in the North of Switzerland and, thanks to its many public transport links, is an easy base from which to explore the rest of the country. From here, much of the mountainous country is no more than two hours away, with day trips to Basel (Switzerland’s art city), Lucerne (the fairytale town of Switzerland), and Chur (the oldest city in Switzerland) within easy reach.
Chur has a Christmas market, as do Basel, and Bern. If you’re looking to visit Switzerland for several days or more, then it wouldn’t be out of the question to consider making a trip to several European Christmas markets during your visit. Plan a ‘Swissmass’ trip to the landlocked country, and you’ll soon discover that Raclette, Swiss Chocolate, and spiced wine are never too far away…
Things to know before visiting the Christmas markets of Zürich
Planning to enjoy the best of the largest city in Switzerland’s Bavarian-style markets? Well, you should know before you go that Switzerland is not a cheap place to visit. As such, you’ll want to plan your visit well in advance, as well as booking all of your transportation ahead of time, and of course, securing accommodation.
If you’re looking for the ultimate luxury experience, then you’ll want to look no further than this hotel. Otherwise, more affordable (and yet still well-reviewed) options include this well-reviewed hotel and this well-known hotel.
Though I was hoping to enjoy a little bit of snow alongside the Zurich Christmas Markets, my friend said that prior to January, the weather is honestly pretty hit and miss! With this being said, the landlocked country is still ever-so-cold and you’ll want to wrap up warm. Your number one priority will be to pack a warm coat. I love and use one very similar to this one.
Wienachtsdorf Christmas Market Bellevue
Opening times | 21st November – 23 December 2018
Location | Sechselaeutenplatz in front of the Opera House
In a rather prestigious venue (on the steps of the opera house no less!), one of Zurich’s largest Christmas markets can be found in the form of a ‘Christmas Village’. All outdoor in terms of venue and free to visit, this event even includes a dedicated children’s area complete with a Santa Claus, Kino “cinema” chalet, and various teeny tiny wooden chalets filled with games.
In the main market, which is home to a hundred chalets, you’ll also find an ice skating rink, a fondue chalet, as well as a beautiful traditional carousel. Several of the chalets are slightly larger, incorporating indoor shopping areas (specifically for Christmas tree decorations) to the outdoor arena. Nearby, a Christmas tram operates for children, providing a magical tour of Zurich city centre.
Christkindlimarkt (Hauptbahnhof Market), Zurich Central Station
Opening times | November 21 – December 24, 2019
Location | Zurich Central Station
If you’re planning a visit to Zurich, then no doubt you’ll likely arrive via its main central station. And, if you’re visiting during the festive season, then no doubt you’ll end up experiencing the magic of the Christkindlimarkt. It’s also here where you’ll find a fifty-foot tree basking in the glow of five thousand Swarvoski crystals.
Home to various venues vending all kinds of locally produced gifts, traditional Swiss fare, and mulled wine, the entire market is set against the backdrop of the beautiful train station. At close to a hundred and fifty stalls, this is one of the largest indoor Christmas markets in Europe (though you’ll want to wrap up warm because the central station remains pretty chilly and more than a little breezy!)
Dörfli Christmas Market in the Niederdorf
Opening times | 22nd November – 23 December 2018
Location | Zurich old town
Truth be told, the most enchanting of the Zurich Christmas Markets is that of the old town. This pedestrian-only zone is home to a maze of cobbled streets, little restaurants, and independent boutiques that make this area a must-see all year ’round.
During December, this area of the city is decorated in plenty of overhead Christmas lights and the scent of cinnamon and freshly simmered Glühwein (glowing wine- find my mulled wine recipe here) is ever-present. Many shops in the area also have special Christmastime prices.
The Dörfli is the oldest Christmas market in Zurich and places a particular focus on handmade crafts and locally produced wares, as well as vendors selling hand-made goods from across the world. Locations for the Dörfli Christmas Market include Hirschenplatz, Niederdofstrasse, and Rosenhof.
City Christmas Market, Werdmühleplatz Market
Opening times | November 21 – December 23, 2019
Location | Close to Bahnhofstrasse, in Werdmühleplatz
If you’re looking for that festive feeling but prefer your Christmas markets to be smaller in size, then you simply must head to Werdmühleplatz. Close to the River Limmat, this cosy festivity is centred around a giant Christmas tree.
The festive pine is known locally as the ‘singing Christmas tree’ thanks to the ninety performances or so that are to be performed during advent, often by choirs of children standing beneath the great fir. Other highlights of this market include fondue and Glühwein stalls.