Christmas Pyramid at the Christmas Market in Basel, Switzerland
· · ·

Best Christmas Markets in Basel Switzerland 2023 Guide                           

Christmas Markets in Basel begin on November 23 – December 23, 2023

Are you ready to get into the festive spirit? Basel, Switzerland, is an excellent destination for experiencing the magic of Christmas. With several incredible Christmas markets scattered throughout the city, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to soaking up the festive cheer.

Whether you’re looking for traditional crafts, delicious food, or a cup of mulled wine, the Christmas markets in Basel have everything you need. So start planning your Christmas Market trip to Basel, Switzerland.

The Christmas Pyramid was the centerpiece of the Christmas Market in Basel's Old Town

Overview of Basel Christmas Market as a Destination

Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz have been voted the most beautiful and largest Christmas Markets in Switzerland. When researching this trip, the one constant was that Basel was a not-to-be-missed city for Christmas Market trips. In the late 1990’s, my parents hosted a foreign exchange from Basel. Ever since then, I have wanted to visit Basel. Once we started planning a Christmas Market trip, it made sense that we added Basel to the itinerary.

The Basel markets seemed small after visiting Strasbourg, Colmar, and Zurich. Don’t get me wrong, they were filled with great vendors and food. Basel shouldn’t have been at the end of our trip but at the beginning. If Basel isn’t high on your list for a place to visit or you are short on time, I would spend more time in Colmar or Strasbourg.

The markets are the busiest on weekends. If you prefer less crowds, try to visit during the weekday.

The language is Swiss German, and the currency is the Swiss Francs (CHF). Although credit cards are used here, many Christmas Market vendors will only take cash. It will cost you more if you pay in your country’s currency. Always use the local currency for the best rate. Use Xe to determine the cost in your country’s currency. I like to use the Xe app.

Old Town Basel, Switzerland

Activities to do in Basel beyond the Christmas Markets

The city of Basel is home to more than 40 museums. There is much to see and do here besides visiting the Christmas Markets.

Basel borders on the French and German borders. While in Basel, step foot in Three Countries at The Dreiländereck (Three Country Corner). How many people say they have been to Three Countries at once?

Three Country Corner in Basel Switzerland

Visit the famous Johann Wanner store, with a vast store of hand-painted and hand-blown Christmas ornaments.

A Christmas wish book is available at the Basel City Hall, where you can write your Advent wishes or notes to Santa.

Signing the Basel Wish book at the Basel City Hall

December 2 – 20, 2023: Climb St Martin’s Tower (CHF 5.00) for incredible views across the illuminated Old Town.

Take a ride on the Klingental ferry, which is transformed into a Christmas ferry during the Christmas season.

Walk through at nighttime for lights on the Freie Strasse; it is Basel’s most beautifully decorated street.

Experience a traditional Fondue meal. We enjoyed our meal at Walliser Kanne.

Fondue dinner in Basel

Take in the Rhine River – boats use a cable to cross it.

Boat crossing the Rhine River using a cable in Basel

Take a walking tour of Old Town Basel.

The Christmas Tree at the Old Town City Hall in Basel

Best Christmas Markets in Basel for 2023

Christmas market on Barfüsserplatz

Located in the city’s heart, the Barfüsserplatz Christmas Market is the perfect place to soak up the festive atmosphere. Look for the large mulled wine pyramid that is the center feature of the Barfüsserplatz. With over 80 market stalls selling homemade crafts and delicious treats, you will indeed find the perfect gift for that special someone. Be sure to try a Basel Christmas Cake, a local specialty made with cinnamon, gingerbread, and nuts. This festive market has a giant Christmas pyramid at the top of the stairs. The markets spread past the square into Kaufhausgasse towards Freie Strasse.

Location: Weihnachtsmarkt Barfüsserplatz,  Barfüsserplatz,  4001 Basel

Dates: November 23 – December 23, 2023

Times: daily from 11 am to 8:30 pm
(closes at 8 pm on 12/23/23)

Gluhwein ceramic cup at the Christmas Market in Basel

Christmas market on Münsterplatz

The Münsterplatz Christmas Market is in front of the stunning Basel Minster, a Gothic church dating back to the 15th century. This market is a must-see, with over 120 rustic wooden stalls selling handmade crafts and local delicacies. A giant Christmas tree is decorated with ornaments created by the famous ornament designer Johann Wanner.

The Christmas tree outside of Basler Munster Cathedral, Basel Switzerland at the Weihnachtsmarkt

Location: In front of the historic Basler Munster Cathedral
Weihnachtsmarkt Münsterplatz,  Münsterplatz,  4001 Basel

Dates: November 23 – December 23, 2023

Time: daily from 11 am to 8.30 pm
(closes at 6 pm on 12/23/23)

The stalls to the Christmas Market in Basel next to the Cathedral

Märchenwald – at Münsterplatz

The Christmas fairy-tale forest is an adventure playground for kids next to the Münsterplatz Christmas Market. This quaint market is geared towards creating hands-on experiences for kids.

Location: In front of the historic Basler Munster Cathedral
Weihnachtsmarkt Münsterplatz,  Münsterplatz,  4001 Basel

Dates: November 23 – December 22, 2023

Time: daily from 11 am to 8.30 pm
(closes at 6 pm on 12/23/23)

Entrance to the Kids Christmas Market next to Basler Cathedral

Adväntsgass im Glaibasel

Located just a short train ride from Basel, the Rheinfelder Weihnachtsmarkt is a charming market not to be missed. With over 50 stalls selling handmade crafts and delicious treats, this market is perfect for those looking to escape the crowds. Be sure to try a steaming bowl of Swiss fondue, a traditional Swiss dish with Gruyère cheese.

Location: Verein Adväntsgass im Glaibasel,  Sägergässlein 5,  4058 Basel

Dates: November 24 – December 23, 2023

Time: Throughout the week: 5 pm–10 pm
On Saturdays: 2 pm–10 pm
On Sundays: 2 pm–8 pm

CT Tip: Save this market to eat lunch or dinner. We only had one weekday evening in Basel and made advanced dinner reservations. Please don’t make the mistakes that we made and miss out on all the delicious food at this market.

What to wear to the Christmas Markets in Basel, Switzerland

Late November and December are between 50-32 degrees F in Basel. It does snow in Basel; it averages 3 inches in December. Rain is also possible; pack a waterproof coat and or an umbrella.
Best Travel Essentials for Packing a Carry-on Bag 2023

Pack layers. In 2022, we got lucky as it wasn’t too cold.  There were days that I was comfortable with a puffer vest, sweater, and a base layer shirt. Below is a list of what I packed for two weeks in Zurich, Strasbourg, Colmar, Basel, and London.

  • Two merino wool thermal shirts
  • Two Long Sleeves T-shirts
  • Two Long Sleeves blouses
  • Pullover
  • Three sweaters
  • Packable down jacket
  • Black puffer vest
  • Long maxi dress
  • Two jeans (black and blue)
  • Two pants
  • Two fleece-lined leggings
  • Scarf
  • Gloves, not mittens
  • Beanie or stocking hat
  • Waterproof Boots
  • Walking shoes
  • Thermal merino wool leggings
  • Socks, merino wool
  • Thick black tights
  • Small cross-body bag
  • Reusable, foldable grocery bag
    Carry-on versus check-in luggage tips
One of the wooden chalets at the Christmas Market in Basel

What to eat and drink at the Christmas Markets in Basel

Öpfelchüchli – deep-fried apple donuts

Apfelküchlein – a Swiss apple Fritter.

Swiss Raclette Sandwich – melted cheese over fresh bread. It’s easily portable while walking around the markets.

Chäsbängel, a baguette filled with fondue cheese

Basler Läckerli is a spiced cookie made with citrus peel, crushed nuts, brandy, and honey.

Swiss Lebkuchen Switzerland’s form of gingerbread. Instead of icing, they are glazed with sweet syrup.

Rosti – thinly fried potato pancake much like our American hashbrowns, served with a side of applesauce

Flammkuchen is a thin flatbread covered in cheese, creme freche, onions, and unique toppings (usually bacon).

Glühwein – a Christmas market staple of mulled wine, usually made with red wine. It’s a warm, comforting drink to sip while exploring the Christmas Markets.

Feuerzangenbowle, a mulled wine spiked with caramelized rum-soaked sugar.

Glühbier beer flavored with Christmassy spices, honey, and brown sugar

The Gluhwein stand at the Christmas Pyramid at the Christmas Markets in Basel

Shopping for gifts or Sounveirs at the Christmas Markets in Basel

  • Handmade Ornaments
  • Unique cookie molds
  • Candles of every shape and style
  • Swiss Cheese
  • Swiss Chocolate
  • Basler Läckerli
  • Wickelfisch, waterproof bag

Where to stay when visiting the Christmas Markets in Basel

Basel is very popular during Christmas; I recommend booking your accommodations well in advance. I started planning our 2022 trip in June of 2022.

Our Pick
Motel One lobby

Motel One Basel

We loved this location for the Christmas Markets! It was outside our door, yet it wasn’t loud at night. Our hotel lobby was hopping with visitors entering the bar area to warm up with Gluhwein. They had several varieties, and it was great to sit and relax. We highly recommend this hotel for visiting Basel.

Best Choice

Grand Hotel LES TROIS ROIS

  • Old Fashion grandeur
  • Located on the banks of the Rhine
  • 5 Star rating
  • 3 Michelin stars restaurant
  • Excellent Location
Best Value

Hotel Spalentor

  • 5-minute walk to Old Town Basel
  • Tram station steps away
  • Friendly Staff
  • Relaxing courtyard
  • Comfortable, spacious rooms

Getting around Basel

It is very walkable between the two main markets. There is an extensive tram system in Basel. We used that to get to the Adväntsgass im Glaibasel and other sites in Basel.

Basel Card includes public transportation (Basel has a great tram system) and city wifi, sightseeing bus. Our hotel gave us free Basel Cards included in our hotel booking.

Getting to Basel

By Train – The best mode of transportation to Basel is the train. Direct lines from Zurich to Basel take less than one hour.
As part of our personal itinerary for the 2022 Christmas Market trip, we took the train from Colmar to Basel, which was under one hour. Then we went from Basel to Zurich, which again was one hour.

By Air – Fly into Basel Euroairport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg (BSL) or Zurich Airport (ZRH).
It is an hour train ride from the Zurich Airport to Basel train station.

By car – If you fly into Zurich and want to take a trip to Basel by car, it is approximately one hour drive.

The Basel train station

Swiss German phrases

Grüezi – Hello

Guete Morge – Good Morning
Guete Daag – Good Day
Gueten Oobe – Good Evening

Adieu/Ciao – Goodbye

Merci Vilmal – Thanks a lot

Wie gaats dir – How are you?

En Guete! – Enjoy your meal

Proscht/Pröschtli – Cheers!

Wo isch d’Toilette? – Where’s the toilet/bathroom?

Schöni Fäschttäg – Christmas greetings

Christmas lights along the street in Old Town Basel

Travel Insurance

While nobody wants to think about accidents, illnesses, or other unforeseen events during their travels, being prepared is essential. That’s why getting travel insurance is crucial for any traveler. This can cover medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost luggage. Travelex and Travel Guard are some of the best travel insurance companies that provide comprehensive coverage at reasonable rates.

How to stay Connected while Traveling to Basel, Switzerland

How to use an eSIM Card

Are you going on a trip and want to stay connected without racking international roaming charges on your cell phone? Here’s what you need to do: set up wifi calling before you leave home. It’s easy to do and will allow you to call and text using wifi even when your phone is in airplane mode.

If you have an Apple phone, you can even FaceTime with other Apple users. Android users can communicate with WhatsApp.

Another great option is to buy an eSIM card via Airalo. Upload an eSIM to your phone (don’t delete your eSIM from your cell phone carrier; switch it off for Data usage). Your eSIM provider will give you instructions on how to do this. Be aware that the eSIM is for data only and will only work in the countries where you’ve purchased the service. If you need to make calls or text using data, you can still use WhatsApp. Stay connected and save money with these tips!

FAQ about the Christmas Markets in Basel

Is Basel Christmas Markets Open on Sundays?

Christmas Markets are open on Sundays from November 23 – December 23, 2023.

Is Basel a good Christmas market?

Yes, Basel is a great Christmas Market to visit. Two markets are walkable between the two sights. There are a lot of stalls for shopping and wonderful traditional market food.

What language is spoken in Basel?

They speak Swiss German, which is spoken in Basel. They border on the France and Germany.

What currency is used in Switzerland?

Switzerland uses the Swiss Franc (CHF) as its currency.

Final Thoughts on the Best Christmas Markets in Basel

Basel truly comes alive during the festive season, with its many Christmas markets providing a magical experience for visitors and locals alike. From its traditional crafts and delicious food to its lively atmosphere, Basel is the perfect destination to get into the Christmas spirit. So, whether you’re looking to shop for gifts, try local delicacies, or soak up the atmosphere, the Christmas markets in Basel have something for everyone.

Happy Exploring! Go grab life.

 

Similar Posts

2 Comments

  1. Great post! Christmas is always a festive cheerful time all over the world, Basel seems to have some impressive traditional Fondue meal and mulled wine. Great tips on what to wear and eat in Basel. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.