The holiday season is a very special time of year for me. I have many fond memories of past Christmas celebrations with family and friends. Although being far from home is difficult, I get into the spirit by visiting Switzerland’s numerous Christmas Markets and celebrations. l’eXposé.ch is a wonderful way for me to share a bit of the season with loved ones, near and far, and with all of you!
There are so many Christmas Markets and it’s impossible to get to them all! If you are out enjoying the festivities, please share your experiences with us here and/or on Facebook and Google+ ! I enjoy seeing Switzerland through your eyes too, whether you’re justing visiting or experiencing Swiss living daily, like me!
For a summary of Switzerland’s Christmas Markets in 2012, visit Christmas Market Maps and click to “view larger map”. You will find a list of markets — including the ones I highlight here, a blurb about each, dates/times and links to more information!
Happy Holiday to All of You and Yours !!
NOTE: I’ll update this post as I visit more markets so bookmark this and enjoy the journey with me! Now, Read on ….
The Basel Christmas Market marks my farewell to Advent 2012!! It’s been fun …
Having so many wonderful markets to visit throughout Advent is one reason I enjoy being in Switzerland this time of year. I had a wonderful time sharing my experiences with you and I hope you enjoyed getting a glimpse of some of why I find this country so enchanting!
Hergiswil, a small village in the crook of Mount Pilatus and the Loppersal between Luzern and Stans, is most well known for their handmade glasswork produced by the Glasi since 1817! In fact, the Glasi factory and shop are two of the highlights you can enjoy when visiting the “Dorf-Advent in Hergiswil am See” on the first weekend of Advent every year. The market lasts only two days so you need to mark your calendars!
I visited the market on the evening (December 1) which is when the outdoor markets feel especially festive. Held mostly in the Dorfplatz, a few meters from the train station, and the small streets surrounding it, the market was calm yet jovial. I had the distinct impression that the visitors were mostly from Hergiswil so it felt like a big block-party which was perfect for me!
The craft booths were varied, but the nick-nacks were not of the same caliber as the larger markets. Nevertheless, I stumbled upon some very interesting peices that I regret not buying or, at least, grabbing a business card!
The most entertaining part for me was the campfire cook-out! Men with long wooden spoons stirred pasta in two giant metal bowls over a wood-fed fire. It smelt devine, both the pasta and the fire! I could have stood their all night warming myself and enjoying the smell of good food, the crackle of the fire and the murmur of happy voices. On the air, the sound of Swiss horns added to the “only in Switzerland” feel of the evening.
I enjoyed, of course, a cup of homemade Glühwein and an Apfelstrudel with my husband before we headed off toward the Glasi factory to watch the men-at-work. It was interesting to watch them make plates and vases and unique Christmas decorations, plus it was nice and warm inside!
Hergiwil is only about 15 mintues from Luzern by train. Next year, enjoy a homey & festive atmosphere at the Hergiswil Christmas Market!
Luzern hosts their main Christmas Market called “Christkindlmarkt” on the shop level of the train station from November 23 – December 23, 2012. I was slightly disappointed with the market because of it’s size. I expected it to be much larger. Nevertheless, I discovered a few vendors with gastronomic delights that I really enjoyed:
In addition to the stands with food and crafts, there are several musical performances to enjoy. It is quite enchanting to arrive at the station to the sound of a children’s choir. For details on musical performances and more, visit Christkindlemarkt Agenda. (If you don’t read German, copy + paste the whole URL into google translate to read the full agenda easily)
As an added bonus, you can visit the outdoor market at the Franziskanerplatz from December 1-19, 2012. This market winds it’s way around the Franziskanerplatz and nearby streets making it a cozy and comfortable place to enjoy the season. There are plenty of good food stands and interesting crafts. I found it very eclectic and more interesting than the indoor market.
Taken together, the indoor and outdoor Christmas Markets in Luzern provide a nice balance of foods, crafts and entertainment. The beautify old town and the infamous Kapellrbrücke in Winter are also very enchanting !
One of Europes largest indoor Christmas Markets and home to the giant Christmas tree decorated with Swarkovski Crystal, the Zürich Christmas Market in the Main Train Station is a must see! The 2012 Festivities started November 22 and continue until 4pm on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2012! If you have to pick among the markets of Central Switzerland, the Zürich Christmas Markets are a definite must see. However, with so many in and around Zürich, you might want to make a schedule and plan to see several!
Zürich also hosts a Christmas Market in Old Town which is the oldest in Zürich and one of the most traditional from December 6 to 23, 2012. I have not yet been able to see it so send in your photos and comments of this years event or past years!
The Main Station event fills the entire station: main level and shop level. The crafts are quite remarkable and the variety of food and drinks make it possible to spend the day in the market and be fully satisfied! Furthermore, you can walk out to the Bahnhofstrasse and visit the many shops and, ideally, get all your shopping needs met easily!
I visited the market on the evening on November 24th because I mistakenly understood that was when 12,000 crystal lights lining the Bahnhofstrasse would be illuminated at percisely 6pm and you could shop until 10pm. When we got there, the lights were already on. In fact, they went on the day the Market opened — November 22nd ! Although the lights are pretty, they were less dramatic than I had expected and not entirely worth the special trip we were making. Nevertheless, my husband and I had a nice evening in the city and enjoyed the festivities!
I can hardly believe that in 5 days it will be Christmas Day! I lost some rhythm mid-month but managed to regroup and get to one more Christmas Market and in the nick of time!
I went to Basel yesterday to visit the Market on the Barfüssplatz and it was the best for three reasons:
- It occupies the square in front and streets around the Basel Historical Museum. The beautiful architecture adds tremendous character and a coziness to the event. ** I will caution that the trams which pass in front of the square could be hazard to the merry revelers if your are not accustomed to them. I felt like I was playing chicken across a highway, but fortunately you could find “solace” and safety in the merry community of booths and festivities !
- The variety of the booths and the quality of artisans seemed to be the most rounded. There were plenty of worthwhile items on sale to delight just about anyone. Had I been there to “shop” , there were many goodies I would have enjoyed offering and taking home myself. I was delighted by a booth with items made from spoons and forks. Super creative and very well done!
- I drank a dream!!! I ate a cloud in Luzern but here, I had the best hot chocolate ever from Sprüngli ! It rivals my favorite from Café Balzac in Morges! It was just the warmth and sweetness I needed to finish my holiday market exploration
I should also mention …
It is easy to get there! From the train station, it is a 10 minute walk or 6 minute tram ride. Super easy! Finally, the light set-up was delightful even in broad-daylight! You could imagine what a spectacle the market is at night. Where as the Swarkovski Christmas Tree in Zürich is stunning, the lights in Basel are just fun!
I highly recommend Basel Weihnactmarkt!! You have until the 24th so get out there and enjoy the last days of Advent 2012!