On the border of France, the Swiss city of Basel (or Basle) hosts Switzerland’s largest Christmas market (der Basler Weihnachtsmarkt). Easily accessible from Mulhouse, France, you will be amazed by the local traditions of Advent. You will discover the decorated chalets of the Basel Christmas market, the great Christmas tree on the Marktplatz, and the Christmas lights in the historic part of town. Without forgetting the scents of mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and leckerlis. At Christmas, Basel is a destination you will not want to miss.
The Basel Christmas market in Switzerland
The Basel Christmas market takes place in two sites in the historical centre: Barfüsserplatz and the Münsterplatz. With 180 stallholders, Switzerland’s largest Christmas market is renowned for being one of the country’s most traditional markets. During the four weeks of Advent, it welcomes over a million visitors: people from Basel and tourists from Switzerland and the neighbouring countries of France and Germany. Alongside the Christmas markets of Strasbourg, Mulhouse, Colmar, Heidelberg and Freiburg im Breisgau, the city of Basel shares the traditional Christmas values specific to the Rhineland.
At the Basel Christmas market you will find many stalls selling great ideas for Christmas presents and decorations. Gastronomic dishes are essential features of the market: waffles, ginger bread and leckerlis, mulled wine, grilled sausages and Swiss raclette. Without forgetting Swiss chocolate!
The Christmas market on the cathedral square
As its name suggests, the Cathedral Square (Münsterplatz) is bordered by the impressive Gothic cathedral of Basel (Basler Münster). In the Middle-Ages, builders used blocks of pink sandstone to construct the sanctuary. During Advent, a glittering Christmas tree stands in front of the cathedral.
The Christmas market includes about 40 little chalets. It is located at the centre of the square under horse chestnut and a myriad of twinkling stars.
Each year, the Cathedral Square hosts the Enchanted Forest of Christmas much to the delight of children. The forest offers an array of activities: creation and decoration of candles and baubles, cooking and decoration of biscuits and gingerbread, making of torchlights… There is also a Swiss tree nursery that sells Christmas trees.
The Christmas market on the Barfüsserplatz
The Barfüsserplatz (or Barfi as called by the people of Basel) is situated in the very centre of the city. The square is bordered by the former Franciscan Church (Barfüsserkirche), today the Historic Museum of Basel. About 140 chalets make up the Christmas market. The rustic chalets made out of wood occupy the whole square and also surround the church (Barfüssergasse and Theatre Passage). There are a few rides for children.
The gastronomic market of the Claraplatz
In the Little-Basel district (right bank of the Rhine), a little Christmas market is devoted to gourmet food. It is situated on the Claraplatz.
Christmas lights in Basel
If you take the time to stroll in the streets of the old town you will discover many Christmas trees, beautifully decorated shop windows, and strings of light hanging above the streets.
Practical info about the Basel Christmas market
The city of Basel is renown for the magical atmosphere of its Christmas market. More than one million visitors attend the market each year.
Getting there by car
- The city of Basel is situated:
- 35 kms from Mulhouse (A35)
- 140 kms from Strasbourg (A35)
- 250 kms from Dijon (A36 and A35).
- 410 kms from Lyon (A39, A36 and A35)
- Paris is located 500 kms from Basel (A5, N19, A36 and A35)
Getting there by rail
- Frequent train services operate from Strasbourg via Mulhouse to Basel, taking approximately 1 hour 30 minutes. TGV services run from Paris Gare de Lyon with a 3 hour journey.
- To get more info on public transports in Basel.
- To get more info on taxi rides in Basel.
For more info about the Basel Christmas market (dates, opening hours, access, stall holders, concerts), visit the official site of the event.
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Here are a few photos we took on our last visit to the Basel Christmas market: