Winter brings a stark elegance to Montreux, Switzerland’s loveliest lakeside city. Located on the shores of Lake Geneva, this city becomes a festive centre when its renowned Christmas market lights up the icy waterfront.
As you approach Montreux Christmas Market, you’ll find Christmas decorations spread throughout the city, enchanting lights and the warm scent of spiced mulled wine and traditional Swiss pastries.
This guide can help you plan your visit, offering insights into the 2023 Christmas market, including dates, opening times, location, highlighted stalls and local specialties to look out for.
Winter casts a magical charm over Montreux, transforming it into a snowy Swiss spectacle.
It’s a time when the entire city is draped in lights, creating a warm ambience that beautifully contrasts the chilly Swiss winter.
Montreux Christmas Market 2023
Montreux Christmas Market is vibrant and teeming with over 160 decorated and illuminated chalets. Each chalet is unique, with vendors selling a range of products, from handmade crafts to artisan foods.
The twinkling lights reflecting off Lake Geneva create a spectacular sight, while the music from the live bands playing festive tunes adds to the experience.
The enormous Ferris wheel, perched at the edge of the lake, provides panoramic views of the city, making the visit truly worth your while.
Be sure to try local Swiss treats such as raclette and fondue, guaranteed to keep you cosy in the winter chill. You can find them at the Christmas markets and in restaurants around town.
Dates and Location
Montreux Christmas Market dates: 23rd November to 24th December 2023.
Location: Grand’ Rue, Lake Geneva, Montreux.
Opening times: 11am to 10pm, from 10am to 5pm on Christmas Eve.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Admission: Free, no tickets required.
Christmas lights: Yes, switch on date: 23rd November.
Ice skating: Yes, at Montreux Ice Rink.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, but limited.
Gluten-free: Yes, but limited.
Pet-friendly: Yes, dogs are allowed on a lead.
Reason to visit: Breathtaking alpine scenery, unique crafts, Swiss specialties and festive events by Lake Geneva.
Specialities: Raclette, fondue, vin chaud, Swiss pastries, such as pain d’épices, and local Swiss chocolates.
Where to stay: La Rouvenaz is a well-rated hotel 7-minutes from the Christmas market.
Hotels near Montreux Christmas Market
For proximity to the Christmas market, consider a stay in the city centre of Montreux. This busy area of the city is a short walk away from the market, making it an ideal location near the Christmas market and other sights.
I recommend staying at La Rouvenaz for its excellent location, high standards and reasonable price.
Location of Montreux Christmas Market
Christmas in Montreux
For a comprehensive look at other festive markets in Switzerland, I recommend checking out my guide to the best Christmas markets in Switzerland, which can help you plan a trip filled with Swiss tradition, delicious food, and regional specialities.
Christmas Specialties in Montreux
- Fondue: The epitome of Swiss comfort food, fondue is a communal dish that brings people together. It’s made with a mix of Swiss cheeses melted in a traditional caquelon pot with white wine and garlic. You dip cubes of bread into the creamy, melted cheese using long forks.
- Raclette: Another delicious, cheese-based dish, raclette, is named after the semi-hard cheese used in it. A wheel of raclette cheese is melted, traditionally over an open fire, and then scraped onto boiled potatoes, gherkins and pickled onions.
- Zopf: This is a special type of Swiss bread that is commonly eaten during breakfast on Sundays and festive occasions. Zopf is easily recognisable due to its braided form and golden crust. Its soft and slightly sweet texture pairs well with Swiss cheeses or sweet spreads.
- Lebkuchen: A Swiss take on gingerbread, Lebkuchen are spiced biscuits that come in various shapes and sizes. These biscuits are laden with nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon and are typically decorated with icing sugar.
- Rösti: Originally a breakfast dish from the Swiss-German part of Switzerland, rösti has become a popular accompaniment for many meals. It’s a hearty, vegetarian dish made from grated and pan-fried potatoes, often seasoned with pepper and melted butter for added richness.
- Roasted Chestnuts: A common sight in Montreux during Christmas and winter, roasted chestnuts are sold by street vendors and enjoyed as a warming snack.
- Veggie Tartiflette: This is a vegetarian version of the traditional Savoyard dish from the French Alps. It’s a hearty, creamy potato dish made with Reblochon cheese, onions and white wine, but in this version, smoked tofu replaces the lardons, offering a vegetarian alternative without compromising on the comforting, rich flavours.
Food at the Christmas Market
- Vin Chaud: Also known as mulled wine, vin chaud is a traditional festive drink that’s popular at Christmas markets across Europe. It’s red wine, simmered with an array of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and sweetened with sugar. Often, it’s served with a slice of orange peel for added zest. It’s a great way to keep your hands warm while you wander around the Montreux Christmas Market.
- Swiss Sausages: Montreux’s Christmas market stalls are a paradise for meat eaters, with a wide variety of Swiss sausages on offer. From the smoked and richly flavoured Berner sausages to the spicy Luganighe from Ticino, each region of Switzerland has its own specialty. Sausages are typically grilled and served in a crusty bread roll with a dollop of mustard.
- Chocolate Fondue: A twist on the classic Swiss fondue, chocolate fondue is a beloved dessert at the Montreux market. Melted Swiss chocolate is served in a pot, into which you can dip pieces of fruit, marshmallows, or biscuits.
- Pain d’épices: A traditional French Christmas cake, pain d’épices is spiced bread that is moist, dense and full of flavour. It’s usually made with honey and a mixture of spices like anise, cinnamon and cloves. Often, it’s decorated with icing sugar and makes for a tasty Christmas market snack.
- Bratwurst: A Christmas market staple from Germany, bratwurst is a sausage made from pork, beef, or veal. The sausages are usually grilled and served in a bread roll with mustard. It’s a satisfying street food that pairs perfectly with a cup of mulled wine.
- Churros: Originally from Spain, churros have become a popular snack at Christmas markets around the world, including Montreux. Their deep-fried dough pastries are often dusted with sugar and served with a pot of melted chocolate for dipping.
What to Buy at Swiss Christmas Markets
- Swiss Chocolate: Swiss chocolate is world-renowned for its quality and smoothness. You’ll find beautifully packaged chocolate assortments at the Christmas stalls in Montreux, perfect for gifting. Some stalls even offer special holiday-themed shapes and flavours.
- Handcrafted Decorations: Unique to this region, there are stalls selling handcrafted Christmas decorations, including wooden ornaments and intricately designed snow globes. Made by local artisans, these decorations often depict scenes from Swiss folklore and landscapes, making them distinctively regional and beautiful souvenirs.
- Cheese Products: Given the region’s love for cheese, you’ll find stalls dedicated to cheese products. From cheese knives to fondue sets, these items make for a delightful gift, especially for food lovers.
- Handmade Jewellery: Stalls showcase handmade jewellery at the Christmas market, often incorporating traditional Swiss designs. These unique pieces, crafted by local artisans, make for a personalised and thoughtful gift.
- Traditional Swiss Clothing: For something truly Swiss, look for traditional Swiss clothing like the dirndl or lederhosen. While these garments are more commonly associated with festivals, they’re also available at the Christmas market, making for a unique and authentic souvenir.
- Local Wine: Switzerland’s vineyards produce some excellent wines, many of which are available at the Montreux Christmas chalets. You can find bottles of local wine, such as those from the Lavaux region nearby, making for a thoughtful gift for wine drinkers.
You’ll find plenty of useful information for planning your visit at Montreux Riviera, an excellent resource for all things Montreux.
Sustainable Christmas Tips
Many of us are increasingly concerned about climate change and sustainability. Here are a few tips on how we can travel more responsibly in Montreux at Christmas.
- Use Renewable Energy Sources: Montreux has several hotels that prioritise sustainable practices, including the use of renewable energy.
- Reduce Food Waste: At the Christmas market, try to plan your meals and snacks to reduce food waste. It’s common to get excited by the array of delicious Swiss foods available, but try to buy only what you can eat. Montreux also has several initiatives to compost organic waste, so look out for the appropriate bins to dispose of food scraps.
- Ethical Consumption: When shopping at the Christmas market in Montreux, consider supporting local artisans who create handmade, sustainable products. Items like handcrafted ornaments, locally made jewellery, and regional specialities make unique gifts, support the local economy, and reduce the carbon footprint associated with mass-produced goods.
- Sustainable Diets: Consider incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet during your visit. While Switzerland is famous for its cheese and sausages, Montreux also has a variety of vegetarian options. Local staples like raclette can be enjoyed with pickles and onions, and the Christmas market usually has stalls selling delicious vegetable soups.
- Sustainable Transport: Montreux is well-connected by public transport, including trains, buses and ferries. Use these methods of transport instead of hiring a car to reduce your carbon footprint. For local travel, consider walking or cycling – Montreux has a beautiful lakeside promenade and the Christmas market is centrally located, making many of the city’s attractions accessible on foot.
The Montreux Christmas Market takes place from 23rd November to 24th December 2023 and is closed on Christmas Day.
The Christmas market is located in the heart of Montreux, stretching along the Grand Rue and the beautiful lake promenade.
The Montreux Christmas Market opens at 11am in the morning on weekdays until 10pm.
Montreux can be quite cold in December, with temperatures often hovering around 0-5°C. However, this frosty weather adds to the festive atmosphere, making it an ideal time for a Christmas market visit.
Apart from the Christmas market, winter in Montreux provides opportunities for scenic walks along the lake, a visit to the famous Chillon Castle, or even a trip to nearby ski resorts like Rochers-de-Naye.
Yes, the Christmas market in Montreux caters to various dietary preferences, and you can find stalls offering vegetarian dishes, including vegetable soups, cheese fondue and raclette without meat.
Absolutely, Montreux is quite walkable, especially around the city centre and lake promenade. The city has an efficient public transport system for longer distances, including buses and trains.
To be near the Christmas market, the city centre is the best area to stay. A highly-rated hotel in this area is La Rouvenaz, which is conveniently located near the market.
The charm of Montreux in winter is undeniable. The city sparkles with the spirit of the holidays, and the Christmas market provides a warming contrast to the frosty weather.
You’ll find a vibrant atmosphere, local culinary treats and unique gift ideas. I assure you, a winter trip to Montreux is well worth it.
If you would like to leave a review of Montreux Xmas Market, comment below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Montreux, Switzerland. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.