basel-feature

Basel Christmas markets in Barfüsserplatz.

The sparkle behind the Swiss Christmas markets will stay with you forever. There is a particular type of magic behind the Christmas markets in Basel, Switzerland and there’s a reason why this city was awarded the Best Christmas Market in Europe for 2021.

Over the years, the Swiss Christmas markets have adopted the charm of the traditional German Christmas markets, but what makes Switzerland’s festivities stand out are its rustic wooden chalets that serve heartwarming Fondue, mulled wine pyramids and the vibes of an après-ski experience after a day on the slopes.

Basel, Switzerland is located on the Rhine River in the Northwestern part of the country. It borders France and Germany. In fact, it’s not far from the Alsace region of France, which also offers Christmas markets in their storybook villages, making it a wonderful place to visit before or after visiting Basel.

Basel Christmas markets in Münsterplatz.

Even though Basel borders two different countries, it’s in Switzerland’s German-speaking area. The city was established in the 4th Century and played an essential role during the Medieval period. Basel’s history is portrayed all throughout the well-preserved Old Town.

I visited Basel for holiday festivities in early December 2022. In this article, discover why you should visit Basel’s Christmas markets and the best things to do in Switzerland’s most beautiful Christmas city.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like. During my time in Basel, the Radisson Blu Hotel, Basel hosted me for one night.


Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

Magical Christmas Markets in Basel, Switzerland.

Traveling to Basel, Switzerland at Christmas:

Basel, Switzerland Christmas Markets

Traveling to Basel from anywhere in the world can easily be done by flying into EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg. If you’re flying within Europe, it’ll be easier to find nonstop flights to Basel, but if you’re traveling internationally, you will most likely have a layover in cities like London, Paris, Frankfurt, etc. You can find affordable flights through Skyscanner.

I traveled to Basel from Strasbourg in Alsace, so I took the TGV Lyria to Basel SBB. The main lines that go into this station are the SBB (Swiss trains), the SNCF (French trains) and the Badische Bahnhof by Deutsch Bahn (German trains). You can figure out and book all public transportation in Europe through Omio. The Basel SBB also has direct access to Zurich, which also has incredible Christmas markets!

You can also take a FlixBus to Basel, Switzerland!

Grindelwald, Switzerland

If you plan to travel around Switzerland and explore the rural mountain towns beyond the larger cities, renting a car is best!

Please note that you must have an international driver’s permit in addition to your regular license if you plan to rent a car in Switzerland. If you live in the U.S., you can easily obtain one by visiting your local AAA office.

Since I stayed at the Radisson Blu Basel, the train station was a short walk from the hotel. When you stay at a hotel, hostel or rental property in the city, you’ll be given a BaselCard. With the BaselCard, you will get free access to Basel’s public transport, which mainly consists of a network of trams.

A Christmas tree at Rathaus in Basel, Switzerland.

Taking the city’s tram network is the easiest way to get around Basel, but when you’re in the Old Town, the main Christmas markets, museums and popular restaurants are within walking distance.

Other ways to get around Basel, Switzerland during the Christmas season are via rideshare (Uber or Bolt), the ferry across the Rhine River and city taxi.

Best Hotel Near the Basel Christmas Markets:

A Christmas tree at Radisson Blu Hotel, Basel.

Radisson Blu Hotel, Basel is the best place to stay near the Christmas markets, train station, Old Town, Riverwalk, shops and wonderful restaurants in the city center. It’s also not far from Basel’s airport.

This modern, luxury hotel has spacious and cozy rooms, a restaurant and bar, meetings and event spaces as well as excellent service.

Staying at Radisson Blu Hotel, Basel:

The lobby of Radisson Blu Hotel, Basel.

There are 206 rooms and suites to choose from at Radisson Blu Basel. Each room and suite features an upscale, contemporary interior design and convenient amenities.

While at the Basel Christmas markets, I stayed in the spacious Premium Room, which included a comfortable king bed, a large ensuite bathroom with a rain shower, modern amenities and high-speed WiFi.

Since I stayed at Radisson Blu Basel during the holiday season, my room was decorated and I was welcomed with white wine and Swiss chocolate.

The other rooms and suites you can book at Radisson Blu Hotel, Basel are the Individual Room, Standard Room, Superior Room, Junior Suite, One Bedroom Suite and Family Room.

The buffet breakfast at Radisson Blu Basel.

Radisson Blu Basel also has a restaurant and bar called Rein, which pays homage to the Rhine River that goes through the city. In the morning, Rein holds a buffet breakfast for guests to enjoy. You can savor a selection of pastries, fresh fruit, cold cuts, eggs, coffee, tea and more.

For lunch and dinner, Rein Bar & Restaurant boasts elevated Swiss cuisine where you can enjoy a variety of local wines and beer, craft cocktails, small bites and a savory three-course meal. It’s perfect for all occasions!

Best Christmas Markets in Basel 2023:

A woman enjoying the Basel Christmas markets.

The traditional Basler Weihnachtsmarkt was the winner of the European Best Christmas Markets for 2021 due to its charm, wide range of food options, festive decorations, tall Christmas trees and magical atmosphere. Visiting the Basel Christmas markets undoubtedly will get you into the Christmas spirit!

The Basel, Switzerland Christmas Market dates for 2023 are November 23 through December 23. If you’re looking to beat the crowds, planning your Swiss Christmas market trip in late November is best.

Basel holds the largest Christmas market and is also considered the largest Christmas city in Switzerland. Below is a detailed Basel Christmas market guide:

There are two main Christmas markets in Basel, Switzerland’s Old Town. One is in Barfüsserplatz, in front of the Barfüsserkirche and the other is in Münsterplatz, in front of this historic cathedral.

When you visit Basel from late November through December, you’ll quickly find out that it’s no secret this charming city has Switzerland’s most beautiful Christmas market! It’s also one of Europe’s most romantic holiday markets, making it the perfect place for a marriage proposal.

Barfüsserplatz Christmas Market:

The mulled wine pyramid at the Basel Christmas markets.

Located in the heart of Basel’s festively decorated Old Town, across from a major tram stop and by the Barfüsserkirche historical museum, is the Barfüsserplatz Christmas market.

This market will leave anyone who visits feeling jolly! There are little chalets that are decorated festively for the holiday that sell products made by local artisans, along with incredible food and drinks.

What is cool about the Barfüsserplatz Christmas market is that there is a large mulled wine pyramid where you can enjoy glühwein – the most popular Christmas market drink!

Overall, the Barfüsserplatz Christmas market is the best place to do Christmas shopping in Basel. You can find local handmade trinkets, warm clothing items, beautiful ornaments, stunning jewelry, wooden toys and Christmas decorations that make for a great souvenir.

Münsterplatz Christmas Market:

The fairytale forest of the Münsterplatz Christmas market in Basel, Switzerland.

The most spectacular and largest Christmas market in Basel is the one in Münsterplatz. Situated next to the Gothic cathedral, Basler Münster, this Christmas market resembles a fairytale forest with sparkly lights, a giant Christmas tree and an overall festive atmosphere.

The Münsterplatz held the most beautiful Christmas market I visited in Switzerland. Since it’s situated in one of the most gorgeous squares, surrounded by the Medieval buildings of the Old Town, visiting this market will make you feel like you stepped back in time.

There’s a wide selection of delicious food to get at the Münsterplatz Christmas market and there are a plethora of fun activities for children, such as candle-making demonstrations, cookie decorating, Christmas craft workshops and more.

Essential things to remember are that Basel’s two main Chrismas markets are within easy walking distance from each other and even though many stands accept credit cards, it’s best to go to an ATM and take out Swiss Francs.

You can find smaller markets, various light displays and other fun holiday events scattered throughout the city of Basel.

What to Eat and Drink at the Switzerland Christmas Markets:

A woman enjoying glühwein at the Basel Christmas markets.

Glühwein: Every European Christmas market has its own version of mulled wine, which is one of the best hot drinks during a cold wintery day. At the Basel Christmas markets, glühwein, a classic German Christmas drink is served at numerous wooden market stalls.

If you’re visiting a Christmas market in the French-speaking areas of Switzerland, then you’ll find vin chaud, the French version of hot wine. Please note that vin chaud is not as sweet as glühwein.

At the Central European Christmas markets, you are usually served mulled wine in a festive mug that you can keep. Remember that when you get glühwein at the Basel Christmas markets, you’ll pay more if you keep your cup and take it home; if you bring your mug back to the stand, you’ll get a partial refund. Of course, these mugs make great souvenirs that remind you of the special memories made during Christmas in Europe.

Heisse Schokolade: A visit to the Basel Christmas markets is incomplete without having Swiss chocolate made with milk. Not only can you purchase bags of chocolate at these dreamy markets to enjoy for yourself or take home as gifts for loved ones, but you can also order hot chocolate from the stands. Enjoy it plain or add rum or amaretto to this sweet hot drink!

Fondue: Swiss Fondue is an Alpine classic! It includes a communal pot over a portable stove heated with melted Swiss cheese, usually gruyère. You typically enjoy Swiss Fondue with freshly baked bread, vegetables and sometimes meat. Swiss wine and beer are great drinks to enjoy with this meal.

What’s wonderful about visiting the Switzerland Xmas markets is that there are cozy rustic wooden chalets where you can sit with your party and make memories over tasty Fondue. Please keep in mind that some of these wooden chalets require a reservation ahead of time, especially on weekends and at night.

Raclette: Another popular Alpine staple is Swiss raclette; you can also find it at the Basel Christmas markets and it is considered one of the top foods. Raclette is Swiss cheese that is melted using coupelles, a small pan. When the cheese base is melted, it’s scraped off and served over boiled potatoes. You can enjoy it with bread, charcuterie meats (typically sausages) and vegetables.

Chäsbängel: A Christmas food that is a tradition for the Basel markets is the chäsbängel, which is a fresh baguette that is filled with melted cheese. If you’re a lover of cheese, then you must try this!

Smoked Sausages: Like many other European Christmas markets, you can find stands selling grilled sausages at the Basel Christmas market. You can enjoy bratwurst, a pork sausage; schweinsbratwurst, a spicy pork sausage and cervelat, a smokey sausage. There are also vegetarian options.

Flammlachs: If you’re a seafood lover and wondering what to eat at a Swiss-German Christmas market, you must try flammlachs. It’s a flame-grilled salmon that has a smoky flavor and is served with a cream sauce.

Rösti: Also known as potato pancakes, rösti is a Swiss comfort meal that you can find at the Basel Christmas markets. It’s usually served with a veal or mushroom cream sauce or cheese.

Marroni: Christmas in Switzerland is incomplete without snacking on marroni, roasted chestnuts served in a bag. Many people enjoy marroni while walking around the Christmas markets because they warm your hands on a cold winter’s day.

A chocolate waffle from the Basel Christmas markets.

Crêpes and Waffles: One of the best sweet treats to warm you up at a Swiss Christmas market are crêpes or waffles made with melted chocolate, powdered sugar, fresh fruit and more. Whether you choose a crêpe or waffle, you will not be disappointed by these delicious treats.

Gingerbread Cookies: Festive gingerbread cookies are a leading Christmas market snack you’ll find almost everywhere in Europe. One of my favorite things to do is get a giant gingerbread cookie from a Christmas market stand and enjoy it as a snack during long train or bus rides.

Grittibänz: A delicious, sweet bread that you must enjoy at the Basel Christmas markets is Grittibänz. This traditional Christmas treat is made into a bread man and includes sugar, chocolate or raisins.

Top Things to Do in Basel, Switzerland during the Festive Season:

Explore Basel’s Old Town:

Marktplatz in Basel, Switzerland during Christmas.

One of the best things to do in Basel, Switzerland is to explore the Altstadt, the Old Town. Basel’s Altstadt is magical and showcases beautiful Medieval and Romanesque architecture that will transport you into a storybook.

There is a lot to see and explore in the Old Town. One of the first places to visit is the Marktplatz, which features the Rathaus (Town Hall). It’s an ornate red brick building built in the early 16th Century after Basel joined the Swiss Confederation. It’s considered one of Basel’s most attractive landmarks.

During the Advent period, a beautiful large Christmas tree towers over the square. It’s a stunning site to see. The Rathaus also holds the Basler Wunschbuch, a traditional Basel wish book for hopes of peace, love and health in the New Year.

Basel, Switzerland Old Town.

As you wander deeper into the Old Town, get lost in the charming alleyways like Imbergässlein. One of the most picturesque spots you’ll come across is the Gemsbrunnen fountain. It was built in 1861 and is one of Basel’s most important fountains.

Other significant buildings you’ll come across in Basel’s Old Town are the Blue and White Houses, which are known as Wendelstörferhof and Reichensteinerhof. They were built in the 18th Century by architect Samuel Werefels as homes for silk and ribbon manufacturers Lukas and Jakob Sarasin. You can tour these homes during your trip to the Basel Christmas markets.

The Basler Münster.

Walking around Basel, you’ll come across the original three gates to the walled city, St. Johanns-Tor, Spalentor and St. Alban-Tor. The fortifications were destroyed during an earthquake in 1356.  

The other landmarks in the Altstadt are the Basler Münster (cathedral), Martinskirche (the oldest Parish church in Basel, now used as a concert hall) and the Tinguely Fountain.

Basel, Switzerland at night.

Along the Rhine, you must visit the Basler Pflaz, which offers some of the city’s best views, and the Mittlere Brücke, a bridge from the Middle Ages currently used for local traffic. It was an international trade route over the Rhine River in the Middle Ages.

Visit a Museum in Basel:

The Doll Museum in Basel, Switzerland.

In addition to enjoying the charming areas of the city and all its Christmas festivities, Basel is also renowned for its museums. With the BaselCard, you can get up to 50% off many museums.

Below are the top museums to visit in Basel, Switzerland:

Kunstmuseum (Museum of Fine Arts): This art museum has collections that date back to the 15th Century, making it the world’s oldest public art collection. You can see pieces from Picasso to El Greco.

The Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel (Toy Worlds Museum): This toy museum features the most extensive collection of historical dolls, teddy bears, doll houses, carousels and more. At The Spielzeug Welten Museum, you can enjoy window displays of these historical collections dating back to the early 1900s.

Historical Museum: There are three sites throughout Basel where you can learn about the city’s history. The locations for these museums are at Barfüsserkirche, Haus Zum Kirschgarten and Musikmuseum.

Tinguely Museum: Known as one of the most epic museums in Basel, the Tinguely Museum showcases the works created by 20th-century Swiss sculptor and painter Jean Tinguely. He was famous for creating kinetic art from metal or old items.

Vitra Design Museum: Known as one of the leading design museums in the world, the Vitra Design Museum has two large temporary exhibitions, a big solo exhibition as well as themed exhibitions.

Check Out the Unique View from the Basler Münster:

The Basel Christmas markets.

Recognized as the most iconic landmark in Basel, the Basler Münster was originally a Catholic cathedral that became a Reformed Protestant church. It features Gothic and Romanesque architecture and was founded in 1091.

This beautiful cathedral is famous for its red sandstone walls, colorful roof tiles and stunning towers. One of the best things to do during a Christmas market trip to Basel, Switzerland is to climb the church tower and appreciate breathtaking views of the city and Münsterplatz markets.

Make Your Way through the Main Shopping Streets of Central Basel:

If you want to complete your Christmas shopping and prefer to visit mainstream department stores and boutiques, you must walk along Freie Strasse off the Marktplatz.

On this street, you’ll find beautiful Christmas lights, holiday window displays and stores for everyone, like Lacoste, Zara, Apple, L’Occitane, Cartier and more.

Stand in Three Countries at Once at the Dreiländereck:

The Dreiländereck in Basel.

A place you cannot miss out on visiting when you travel to Basel, Switzerland is Dreiländereck. Located on the Rhine River, the Dreiländereck is a marker that resembles a futuristic rocket and it’s where three countries come together – Switzerland, Germany and France.

Please note that you don’t need a passport to visit this spot and once you get off the tram, you’ll have to walk around 20 minutes to reach the monument. Even though it’s a safe area, I suggest heading there during the daytime.

Eat at Basel’s Best Restaurants:

Pizza and wine.

In addition to savoring the incredible food at the Basel Christmas markets, you must also make your way to eateries around the city and get a taste of the local food. Below are the best restaurants to visit in Basel:

Walk through the Johann Wanner Christmas House:

In addition to all the Christmas markets in Basel, all holiday lovers must visit the Johann Wanner Christmas House along the Spalenberg. Johann Wanner was the biggest supplier of hand-made Christmas decorations.

Like Käthe Wohlfahrt in Germany, the Johann Wanner Christmas House is the perfect place to wander through, purchase ornaments and trinkets and get into the festive spirit. You can visit this magical location year-round.

Ride the Basel Christmas Tram:

Basel's classic Christmas train.

If you are traveling with little ones, riding Wiehnachts-Drämmli, Basel’s classic Christmas train, is a must. During the month of December, Santa Claus takes children and their families around the city and offers them a magical experience!

Please book tickets for this experience early, as spaces sell out quickly each year.

Enjoy a Festive Winter Cruise on the Rhine River:

One of the most romantic things to do in Basel, Switzerland during Christmas is to take a festive winter cruise on the Rhine River. On this cruise, you can enjoy beautiful views, delicious Fondue, sweet treats, music and cozy vibes.

Do a Day Trip from Basel:

Doing a day trip from Basel, Switzerland to Colmar, France.

If you plan to spend a few days in Basel, Switzerland, during Christmas time, it’s best to do a day trip to one of the other fairytale European cities with Christmas markets. Below are the best cities to visit from Basel:

  • Strasbourg, France
  • Colmar, France
  • Zurich, Switzerland
  • Bern, Switzerland
  • Lucerne, Switzerland
  • Freiburg Breisgau, Germany
  • Interlaken, Switzerland

The Basel Chrismas markets at night.

Love Basel? You’ll also adore Christmas in the following European cities:

Salzburg, Austria

Bratislava, Slovakia

Riga, Latvia

I hope you all enjoyed discovering the most magical Christmas markets in Basel, Switzerland and learning about the best things to do during the festive season. If you have any questions, please email me at info@browneyedflowerchild.com.

Basic Facts of Switzerland:

Currency: Swiss Franc, Capital: Bern, Time Zone: Central European Standard Time

*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

In addition, a great and secure luggage storage to utilize during your summer Europe trip is Nannybag! It is easy to use; all you do is download the Nannybag app, type in the city that you will be visiting and when you plan to arrive and depart. At a small cost per luggage, Nannybag will list the stores, restaurants or hotels where you could drop your bag off at the city you are visiting.

Nannybag is also insured against theft, loss and breakage. It’s a convenient way to store your bags when you are traveling from one city to the next in Europe.

Shop my Basel Christmas Look:

Click here to shop my Poshmark closet!

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2 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on November 9, 2023 at 2:22 pm

    Wow, loved this beautiful Christmas market blog ~ it is getting me in the spirit of the holidays. I need to go to one of these magical markets one year. Thank you for the great guide on this beautiful country~ Merry Christmas ~ love you, mom 👩🏻 ❤️ xoxo

    • Taylor Deer on November 12, 2023 at 8:55 pm

      Thank you mom! Merry Christmas!

Leave a Comment





basel-feature

Basel Christmas markets in Barfüsserplatz.

The sparkle behind the Swiss Christmas markets will stay with you forever. There is a particular type of magic behind the Christmas markets in Basel, Switzerland and there’s a reason why this city was awarded the Best Christmas Market in Europe for 2021.

Over the years, the Swiss Christmas markets have adopted the charm of the traditional German Christmas markets, but what makes Switzerland’s festivities stand out are its rustic wooden chalets that serve heartwarming Fondue, mulled wine pyramids and the vibes of an après-ski experience after a day on the slopes.

Basel, Switzerland is located on the Rhine River in the Northwestern part of the country. It borders France and Germany. In fact, it’s not far from the Alsace region of France, which also offers Christmas markets in their storybook villages, making it a wonderful place to visit before or after visiting Basel.

Basel Christmas markets in Münsterplatz.

Even though Basel borders two different countries, it’s in Switzerland’s German-speaking area. The city was established in the 4th Century and played an essential role during the Medieval period. Basel’s history is portrayed all throughout the well-preserved Old Town.

I visited Basel for holiday festivities in early December 2022. In this article, discover why you should visit Basel’s Christmas markets and the best things to do in Switzerland’s most beautiful Christmas city.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like. During my time in Basel, the Radisson Blu Hotel, Basel hosted me for one night.


Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

Magical Christmas Markets in Basel, Switzerland.

Traveling to Basel, Switzerland at Christmas:

Basel, Switzerland Christmas Markets

Traveling to Basel from anywhere in the world can easily be done by flying into EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg. If you’re flying within Europe, it’ll be easier to find nonstop flights to Basel, but if you’re traveling internationally, you will most likely have a layover in cities like London, Paris, Frankfurt, etc. You can find affordable flights through Skyscanner.

I traveled to Basel from Strasbourg in Alsace, so I took the TGV Lyria to Basel SBB. The main lines that go into this station are the SBB (Swiss trains), the SNCF (French trains) and the Badische Bahnhof by Deutsch Bahn (German trains). You can figure out and book all public transportation in Europe through Omio. The Basel SBB also has direct access to Zurich, which also has incredible Christmas markets!

You can also take a FlixBus to Basel, Switzerland!

Grindelwald, Switzerland

If you plan to travel around Switzerland and explore the rural mountain towns beyond the larger cities, renting a car is best!

Please note that you must have an international driver’s permit in addition to your regular license if you plan to rent a car in Switzerland. If you live in the U.S., you can easily obtain one by visiting your local AAA office.

Since I stayed at the Radisson Blu Basel, the train station was a short walk from the hotel. When you stay at a hotel, hostel or rental property in the city, you’ll be given a BaselCard. With the BaselCard, you will get free access to Basel’s public transport, which mainly consists of a network of trams.

A Christmas tree at Rathaus in Basel, Switzerland.

Taking the city’s tram network is the easiest way to get around Basel, but when you’re in the Old Town, the main Christmas markets, museums and popular restaurants are within walking distance.

Other ways to get around Basel, Switzerland during the Christmas season are via rideshare (Uber or Bolt), the ferry across the Rhine River and city taxi.

Best Hotel Near the Basel Christmas Markets:

A Christmas tree at Radisson Blu Hotel, Basel.

Radisson Blu Hotel, Basel is the best place to stay near the Christmas markets, train station, Old Town, Riverwalk, shops and wonderful restaurants in the city center. It’s also not far from Basel’s airport.

This modern, luxury hotel has spacious and cozy rooms, a restaurant and bar, meetings and event spaces as well as excellent service.

Staying at Radisson Blu Hotel, Basel:

The lobby of Radisson Blu Hotel, Basel.

There are 206 rooms and suites to choose from at Radisson Blu Basel. Each room and suite features an upscale, contemporary interior design and convenient amenities.

While at the Basel Christmas markets, I stayed in the spacious Premium Room, which included a comfortable king bed, a large ensuite bathroom with a rain shower, modern amenities and high-speed WiFi.

Since I stayed at Radisson Blu Basel during the holiday season, my room was decorated and I was welcomed with white wine and Swiss chocolate.

The other rooms and suites you can book at Radisson Blu Hotel, Basel are the Individual Room, Standard Room, Superior Room, Junior Suite, One Bedroom Suite and Family Room.

The buffet breakfast at Radisson Blu Basel.

Radisson Blu Basel also has a restaurant and bar called Rein, which pays homage to the Rhine River that goes through the city. In the morning, Rein holds a buffet breakfast for guests to enjoy. You can savor a selection of pastries, fresh fruit, cold cuts, eggs, coffee, tea and more.

For lunch and dinner, Rein Bar & Restaurant boasts elevated Swiss cuisine where you can enjoy a variety of local wines and beer, craft cocktails, small bites and a savory three-course meal. It’s perfect for all occasions!

Best Christmas Markets in Basel 2023:

A woman enjoying the Basel Christmas markets.

The traditional Basler Weihnachtsmarkt was the winner of the European Best Christmas Markets for 2021 due to its charm, wide range of food options, festive decorations, tall Christmas trees and magical atmosphere. Visiting the Basel Christmas markets undoubtedly will get you into the Christmas spirit!

The Basel, Switzerland Christmas Market dates for 2023 are November 23 through December 23. If you’re looking to beat the crowds, planning your Swiss Christmas market trip in late November is best.

Basel holds the largest Christmas market and is also considered the largest Christmas city in Switzerland. Below is a detailed Basel Christmas market guide:

There are two main Christmas markets in Basel, Switzerland’s Old Town. One is in Barfüsserplatz, in front of the Barfüsserkirche and the other is in Münsterplatz, in front of this historic cathedral.

When you visit Basel from late November through December, you’ll quickly find out that it’s no secret this charming city has Switzerland’s most beautiful Christmas market! It’s also one of Europe’s most romantic holiday markets, making it the perfect place for a marriage proposal.

Barfüsserplatz Christmas Market:

The mulled wine pyramid at the Basel Christmas markets.

Located in the heart of Basel’s festively decorated Old Town, across from a major tram stop and by the Barfüsserkirche historical museum, is the Barfüsserplatz Christmas market.

This market will leave anyone who visits feeling jolly! There are little chalets that are decorated festively for the holiday that sell products made by local artisans, along with incredible food and drinks.

What is cool about the Barfüsserplatz Christmas market is that there is a large mulled wine pyramid where you can enjoy glühwein – the most popular Christmas market drink!

Overall, the Barfüsserplatz Christmas market is the best place to do Christmas shopping in Basel. You can find local handmade trinkets, warm clothing items, beautiful ornaments, stunning jewelry, wooden toys and Christmas decorations that make for a great souvenir.

Münsterplatz Christmas Market:

The fairytale forest of the Münsterplatz Christmas market in Basel, Switzerland.

The most spectacular and largest Christmas market in Basel is the one in Münsterplatz. Situated next to the Gothic cathedral, Basler Münster, this Christmas market resembles a fairytale forest with sparkly lights, a giant Christmas tree and an overall festive atmosphere.

The Münsterplatz held the most beautiful Christmas market I visited in Switzerland. Since it’s situated in one of the most gorgeous squares, surrounded by the Medieval buildings of the Old Town, visiting this market will make you feel like you stepped back in time.

There’s a wide selection of delicious food to get at the Münsterplatz Christmas market and there are a plethora of fun activities for children, such as candle-making demonstrations, cookie decorating, Christmas craft workshops and more.

Essential things to remember are that Basel’s two main Chrismas markets are within easy walking distance from each other and even though many stands accept credit cards, it’s best to go to an ATM and take out Swiss Francs.

You can find smaller markets, various light displays and other fun holiday events scattered throughout the city of Basel.

What to Eat and Drink at the Switzerland Christmas Markets:

A woman enjoying glühwein at the Basel Christmas markets.

Glühwein: Every European Christmas market has its own version of mulled wine, which is one of the best hot drinks during a cold wintery day. At the Basel Christmas markets, glühwein, a classic German Christmas drink is served at numerous wooden market stalls.

If you’re visiting a Christmas market in the French-speaking areas of Switzerland, then you’ll find vin chaud, the French version of hot wine. Please note that vin chaud is not as sweet as glühwein.

At the Central European Christmas markets, you are usually served mulled wine in a festive mug that you can keep. Remember that when you get glühwein at the Basel Christmas markets, you’ll pay more if you keep your cup and take it home; if you bring your mug back to the stand, you’ll get a partial refund. Of course, these mugs make great souvenirs that remind you of the special memories made during Christmas in Europe.

Heisse Schokolade: A visit to the Basel Christmas markets is incomplete without having Swiss chocolate made with milk. Not only can you purchase bags of chocolate at these dreamy markets to enjoy for yourself or take home as gifts for loved ones, but you can also order hot chocolate from the stands. Enjoy it plain or add rum or amaretto to this sweet hot drink!

Fondue: Swiss Fondue is an Alpine classic! It includes a communal pot over a portable stove heated with melted Swiss cheese, usually gruyère. You typically enjoy Swiss Fondue with freshly baked bread, vegetables and sometimes meat. Swiss wine and beer are great drinks to enjoy with this meal.

What’s wonderful about visiting the Switzerland Xmas markets is that there are cozy rustic wooden chalets where you can sit with your party and make memories over tasty Fondue. Please keep in mind that some of these wooden chalets require a reservation ahead of time, especially on weekends and at night.

Raclette: Another popular Alpine staple is Swiss raclette; you can also find it at the Basel Christmas markets and it is considered one of the top foods. Raclette is Swiss cheese that is melted using coupelles, a small pan. When the cheese base is melted, it’s scraped off and served over boiled potatoes. You can enjoy it with bread, charcuterie meats (typically sausages) and vegetables.

Chäsbängel: A Christmas food that is a tradition for the Basel markets is the chäsbängel, which is a fresh baguette that is filled with melted cheese. If you’re a lover of cheese, then you must try this!

Smoked Sausages: Like many other European Christmas markets, you can find stands selling grilled sausages at the Basel Christmas market. You can enjoy bratwurst, a pork sausage; schweinsbratwurst, a spicy pork sausage and cervelat, a smokey sausage. There are also vegetarian options.

Flammlachs: If you’re a seafood lover and wondering what to eat at a Swiss-German Christmas market, you must try flammlachs. It’s a flame-grilled salmon that has a smoky flavor and is served with a cream sauce.

Rösti: Also known as potato pancakes, rösti is a Swiss comfort meal that you can find at the Basel Christmas markets. It’s usually served with a veal or mushroom cream sauce or cheese.

Marroni: Christmas in Switzerland is incomplete without snacking on marroni, roasted chestnuts served in a bag. Many people enjoy marroni while walking around the Christmas markets because they warm your hands on a cold winter’s day.

A chocolate waffle from the Basel Christmas markets.

Crêpes and Waffles: One of the best sweet treats to warm you up at a Swiss Christmas market are crêpes or waffles made with melted chocolate, powdered sugar, fresh fruit and more. Whether you choose a crêpe or waffle, you will not be disappointed by these delicious treats.

Gingerbread Cookies: Festive gingerbread cookies are a leading Christmas market snack you’ll find almost everywhere in Europe. One of my favorite things to do is get a giant gingerbread cookie from a Christmas market stand and enjoy it as a snack during long train or bus rides.

Grittibänz: A delicious, sweet bread that you must enjoy at the Basel Christmas markets is Grittibänz. This traditional Christmas treat is made into a bread man and includes sugar, chocolate or raisins.

Top Things to Do in Basel, Switzerland during the Festive Season:

Explore Basel’s Old Town:

Marktplatz in Basel, Switzerland during Christmas.

One of the best things to do in Basel, Switzerland is to explore the Altstadt, the Old Town. Basel’s Altstadt is magical and showcases beautiful Medieval and Romanesque architecture that will transport you into a storybook.

There is a lot to see and explore in the Old Town. One of the first places to visit is the Marktplatz, which features the Rathaus (Town Hall). It’s an ornate red brick building built in the early 16th Century after Basel joined the Swiss Confederation. It’s considered one of Basel’s most attractive landmarks.

During the Advent period, a beautiful large Christmas tree towers over the square. It’s a stunning site to see. The Rathaus also holds the Basler Wunschbuch, a traditional Basel wish book for hopes of peace, love and health in the New Year.

Basel, Switzerland Old Town.

As you wander deeper into the Old Town, get lost in the charming alleyways like Imbergässlein. One of the most picturesque spots you’ll come across is the Gemsbrunnen fountain. It was built in 1861 and is one of Basel’s most important fountains.

Other significant buildings you’ll come across in Basel’s Old Town are the Blue and White Houses, which are known as Wendelstörferhof and Reichensteinerhof. They were built in the 18th Century by architect Samuel Werefels as homes for silk and ribbon manufacturers Lukas and Jakob Sarasin. You can tour these homes during your trip to the Basel Christmas markets.

The Basler Münster.

Walking around Basel, you’ll come across the original three gates to the walled city, St. Johanns-Tor, Spalentor and St. Alban-Tor. The fortifications were destroyed during an earthquake in 1356.  

The other landmarks in the Altstadt are the Basler Münster (cathedral), Martinskirche (the oldest Parish church in Basel, now used as a concert hall) and the Tinguely Fountain.

Basel, Switzerland at night.

Along the Rhine, you must visit the Basler Pflaz, which offers some of the city’s best views, and the Mittlere Brücke, a bridge from the Middle Ages currently used for local traffic. It was an international trade route over the Rhine River in the Middle Ages.

Visit a Museum in Basel:

The Doll Museum in Basel, Switzerland.

In addition to enjoying the charming areas of the city and all its Christmas festivities, Basel is also renowned for its museums. With the BaselCard, you can get up to 50% off many museums.

Below are the top museums to visit in Basel, Switzerland:

Kunstmuseum (Museum of Fine Arts): This art museum has collections that date back to the 15th Century, making it the world’s oldest public art collection. You can see pieces from Picasso to El Greco.

The Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel (Toy Worlds Museum): This toy museum features the most extensive collection of historical dolls, teddy bears, doll houses, carousels and more. At The Spielzeug Welten Museum, you can enjoy window displays of these historical collections dating back to the early 1900s.

Historical Museum: There are three sites throughout Basel where you can learn about the city’s history. The locations for these museums are at Barfüsserkirche, Haus Zum Kirschgarten and Musikmuseum.

Tinguely Museum: Known as one of the most epic museums in Basel, the Tinguely Museum showcases the works created by 20th-century Swiss sculptor and painter Jean Tinguely. He was famous for creating kinetic art from metal or old items.

Vitra Design Museum: Known as one of the leading design museums in the world, the Vitra Design Museum has two large temporary exhibitions, a big solo exhibition as well as themed exhibitions.

Check Out the Unique View from the Basler Münster:

The Basel Christmas markets.

Recognized as the most iconic landmark in Basel, the Basler Münster was originally a Catholic cathedral that became a Reformed Protestant church. It features Gothic and Romanesque architecture and was founded in 1091.

This beautiful cathedral is famous for its red sandstone walls, colorful roof tiles and stunning towers. One of the best things to do during a Christmas market trip to Basel, Switzerland is to climb the church tower and appreciate breathtaking views of the city and Münsterplatz markets.

Make Your Way through the Main Shopping Streets of Central Basel:

If you want to complete your Christmas shopping and prefer to visit mainstream department stores and boutiques, you must walk along Freie Strasse off the Marktplatz.

On this street, you’ll find beautiful Christmas lights, holiday window displays and stores for everyone, like Lacoste, Zara, Apple, L’Occitane, Cartier and more.

Stand in Three Countries at Once at the Dreiländereck:

The Dreiländereck in Basel.

A place you cannot miss out on visiting when you travel to Basel, Switzerland is Dreiländereck. Located on the Rhine River, the Dreiländereck is a marker that resembles a futuristic rocket and it’s where three countries come together – Switzerland, Germany and France.

Please note that you don’t need a passport to visit this spot and once you get off the tram, you’ll have to walk around 20 minutes to reach the monument. Even though it’s a safe area, I suggest heading there during the daytime.

Eat at Basel’s Best Restaurants:

Pizza and wine.

In addition to savoring the incredible food at the Basel Christmas markets, you must also make your way to eateries around the city and get a taste of the local food. Below are the best restaurants to visit in Basel:

Walk through the Johann Wanner Christmas House:

In addition to all the Christmas markets in Basel, all holiday lovers must visit the Johann Wanner Christmas House along the Spalenberg. Johann Wanner was the biggest supplier of hand-made Christmas decorations.

Like Käthe Wohlfahrt in Germany, the Johann Wanner Christmas House is the perfect place to wander through, purchase ornaments and trinkets and get into the festive spirit. You can visit this magical location year-round.

Ride the Basel Christmas Tram:

Basel's classic Christmas train.

If you are traveling with little ones, riding Wiehnachts-Drämmli, Basel’s classic Christmas train, is a must. During the month of December, Santa Claus takes children and their families around the city and offers them a magical experience!

Please book tickets for this experience early, as spaces sell out quickly each year.

Enjoy a Festive Winter Cruise on the Rhine River:

One of the most romantic things to do in Basel, Switzerland during Christmas is to take a festive winter cruise on the Rhine River. On this cruise, you can enjoy beautiful views, delicious Fondue, sweet treats, music and cozy vibes.

Do a Day Trip from Basel:

Doing a day trip from Basel, Switzerland to Colmar, France.

If you plan to spend a few days in Basel, Switzerland, during Christmas time, it’s best to do a day trip to one of the other fairytale European cities with Christmas markets. Below are the best cities to visit from Basel:

  • Strasbourg, France
  • Colmar, France
  • Zurich, Switzerland
  • Bern, Switzerland
  • Lucerne, Switzerland
  • Freiburg Breisgau, Germany
  • Interlaken, Switzerland

The Basel Chrismas markets at night.

Love Basel? You’ll also adore Christmas in the following European cities:

Salzburg, Austria

Bratislava, Slovakia

Riga, Latvia

I hope you all enjoyed discovering the most magical Christmas markets in Basel, Switzerland and learning about the best things to do during the festive season. If you have any questions, please email me at info@browneyedflowerchild.com.

Basic Facts of Switzerland:

Currency: Swiss Franc, Capital: Bern, Time Zone: Central European Standard Time

*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

In addition, a great and secure luggage storage to utilize during your summer Europe trip is Nannybag! It is easy to use; all you do is download the Nannybag app, type in the city that you will be visiting and when you plan to arrive and depart. At a small cost per luggage, Nannybag will list the stores, restaurants or hotels where you could drop your bag off at the city you are visiting.

Nannybag is also insured against theft, loss and breakage. It’s a convenient way to store your bags when you are traveling from one city to the next in Europe.

Shop my Basel Christmas Look:

Click here to shop my Poshmark closet!

2 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on November 9, 2023 at 2:22 pm

    Wow, loved this beautiful Christmas market blog ~ it is getting me in the spirit of the holidays. I need to go to one of these magical markets one year. Thank you for the great guide on this beautiful country~ Merry Christmas ~ love you, mom 👩🏻 ❤️ xoxo

    • Taylor Deer on November 12, 2023 at 8:55 pm

      Thank you mom! Merry Christmas!

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