In winter, Interlaken’s snow-capped mountains and twinkling lights make it an appealing winter escape. Central to this experience is the Interlaken Christmas Market, or Weihnachtsmarkt as it’s known locally, a vibrant mix of Christmas chalet stalls rich with the scent of Swiss delicacies and family-friendly activities.
In this guide, expect to find all the information for your 2023 visit – from dates, opening times and locations to popular stalls and local specialties.
During the Christmas season, Interlaken transforms into a winter wonderland framed by the snow-capped peaks of the Swiss Alps.
With twinkling lights reflecting off the pristine waters of Lake Brienz and Thun and the town’s quaint chalets blanketed in snow, it presents a picture-perfect setting for a festive getaway.
Interlaken Christmas Market 2023
The Christmas market in Interlaken is renowned for its charming alpine setting, nestled between two beautiful lakes.
It typically features around 100 stalls where visitors can browse an enticing variety of handmade crafts, regional produce and holiday decorations. Many of these goods are locally sourced, reflecting the rich tradition and artistry of the Interlaken region.
Alongside shopping, you’ll find a selection of regional delicacies at the food stalls. A highlight for many is the diverse programme of live entertainment, including local bands, choirs and performances by traditional Swiss musicians.
The spectacle of the market, set against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains, creates a remarkable festive atmosphere that truly sets this market apart.
Note: The Interlaken Christmas Market will likely be cancelled once again in 2023 due to insufficient funding. However, there are several markets taking place in the region. Click here for the full 2023 list.
To make the most of the festive season in Switzerland, I recommend taking a look at my Switzerland Christmas markets 2023 guide. Consider adding one of these destinations to your winter itinerary.
Dates and Location
Interlaken Christmas Market dates: Cancelled in 2023.
Location: Höheweg Promenade.
Opening times: 11am to 8pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Admission: Free, no tickets required.
Christmas lights: Yes.
Ice skating: Maybe. The Ice Magic ice rink is cancelled in 2023.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, plenty of options.
Gluten-free: Yes, but limited.
Pet-friendly: Yes, dogs are allowed on a lead.
Reason to visit: Alpine setting, local artisan crafts, regional delicacies, live Swiss music, dramatic snow-capped mountain backdrop.
Specialities: Raclette; Swiss fondue; chocolate truffles; gingerbread cookies; mulled wine.
Where to stay: Hotel Bernerhof is a popular hotel 10-minutes from the Christmas market.
Hotels near Interlaken Christmas Market
The Höheweg Promenade area serves as an ideal base for your Interlaken visit, conveniently located near the bustling Christmas market. This area brims with a warm festive atmosphere, making it perfect for fully embracing the Christmas spirit.
I suggest considering Hotel Bernerhof for your stay, renowned for its comfort and prime location within walking distance of the market.
Location of Interlaken Christmas Market
Christmas in the Interlaken Region
Christmas Specialties in Interlaken
Zürcher Geschnetzeltes: A traditional Swiss dish that I highly recommend, Zürcher Geschnetzeltes is a creamy delight. It’s made from thinly sliced veal cooked in a delectable white wine and cream sauce, often served with rosti, a Swiss-style grated and fried potato.
Raclette: A comforting Swiss cheese dish, Raclette is typically served melted. A half-wheel of raclette cheese is usually heated until it’s gloriously gooey, then scraped onto boiled potatoes, pickles, and onions, creating a heartwarming combination.
Swiss Fondue: No visit to Switzerland is complete without trying Swiss Fondue. This dish consists of a pot of melted cheese, into which you dip pieces of bread using long forks. It’s a communal eating experience that’s sure to make your Christmas meal interactive and fun.
Lebkuchen: This Swiss gingerbread cookie is a Christmas classic. Baked with aromatic spices, honey, and nuts, Lebkuchen is typically cut into various festive shapes, making it a delightful treat for the senses.
Roesti: Considered a Swiss national dish, Roesti is a type of potato pancake. Grated potatoes are pan-fried until they’re crispy on the outside and tender within. While traditionally served as a side dish with meats, it also makes a hearty main dish for vegetarians.
Vegetable Tart: A popular vegetarian option, the Swiss Vegetable Tart is a savoury treat. It features seasonal vegetables encased in a crisp pastry shell and is often flavoured with Swiss cheese and cream. It’s a delicious way to enjoy Switzerland’s fresh produce.
Swiss Chocolate: Renowned worldwide, Swiss Chocolate needs little introduction. It’s smooth, rich, and creamy, making it the perfect indulgence for the festive season. You’ll find Swiss chocolates in all forms, from bars and truffles to hot chocolate drinks.
Nusstorte: A specialty from the Engadine region, Nusstorte is a nut-filled pastry. The rich, sweet filling made from walnuts, cream, and honey is encased in a shortcrust pastry. This treat offers a delightful contrast of textures, with the crunchy nuts complementing the flaky pastry.
Food at the Christmas Market
Bratwurst and Bürli: A common sight at the Interlaken Christmas market is Bratwurst and Bürli. The Swiss-style bratwurst sausage is perfectly grilled and served in a small bread roll known as Bürli, making for a hearty and satisfying snack as you wander the market.
Glühwein: An essential part of any Christmas market experience, Glühwein is a warm mulled wine. It’s spiced with cinnamon, cloves, and citrus, offering a sweet and warming treat that is ideal for chilly winter evenings.
Magenbrot: A distinctive Christmas market snack, Magenbrot is a type of gingerbread biscuit. It’s glazed with sweet icing and spiced with cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. You’ll find these little delights at many of the market stalls.
Chestnuts: Roasted on open fires, chestnuts are a classic Christmas market staple. They’re warming and satisfying, their sweet, nutty flavour offering a delicious respite from the cold.
Swiss Pastries: Alongside local treats, Interlaken’s Christmas market features a variety of Swiss pastries. One particular favourite is Butterzopf, a traditional Swiss bread that’s braided and sprinkled with a generous layer of butter before baking to a golden finish.
Pretzels: A common sight at Christmas markets across Europe, pretzels are also popular in Interlaken. These twisted bread products, often sprinkled with coarse salt, provide a satisfying snack during your market visit.
International Snacks: Besides the local Swiss offerings, you’ll also find a wide array of international snacks at the Interlaken Christmas market. The market provides a culinary tour of Europe, from French crepes to Italian pizzas and German bratwurst.
What to Buy
Handcrafted Ornaments: Stalls brimming with handcrafted ornaments add a unique touch to the market. These decorations, made with traditional Swiss craftsmanship, range from intricate wooden carvings to delicate glass baubles, each one adding a touch of Swiss charm to your Christmas tree.
Swiss Cheese: As a country famous for its cheese, you’ll find an array of Swiss cheeses available for purchase. From creamy Gruyère to sharp Appenzeller, these make great gifts for foodies back home.
Swiss Chocolates: Swiss chocolates are a crowd-pleaser, perfect for gifting. At the Christmas market, you’ll find an array of handmade truffles, pralines and chocolate bars, each one a testament to Swiss confectionery skills.
Hand-knitted Winter Wear: Traditional hand-knitted items like scarves, gloves, and hats are a common sight. These items are crafted with warm, high-quality Swiss wool and make practical and stylish winter gifts.
Artisan Crafts: A wide range of artisan crafts are available at the Interlaken Christmas market. From hand-painted ceramics to beautifully carved wooden items and delicate lace textiles, these products reflect the artistry and craftsmanship of local artisans.
Swiss Wines: Although less known internationally, Swiss wines are highly appreciated for their quality and variety. A bottle of Swiss wine, perhaps a crisp white from the Lake Geneva region or a hearty red from Valais, would make an excellent gift for the wine lover in your life.
For additional resources and insightful tips for your visit to Interlaken, I suggest exploring the extensive information available at Interlaken Tourism, an excellent resource for travelling around this beautiful region.
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 Interlaken at Christmas.
Support Renewable Energy: Consider choosing accommodations in Interlaken that actively support renewable energy initiatives.
Reduce Food Waste: When sampling the delicious Swiss cuisine at the Christmas market, be mindful of food waste. Choose portion sizes carefully and try sharing dishes with your travel companions so nothing goes to waste.
Ethical Consumption: The Interlaken Christmas Market is full of local artisans selling unique crafts. By purchasing these, you’re supporting local businesses and reducing the demand for mass-produced goods, which often have a larger carbon footprint. Also, be sure only to purchase what you can use and need.
Sustainable Diets: While Swiss cuisine is rich in dairy and meat products, there’s also a growing movement towards more plant-based foods. Many stalls at the Christmas market offer vegetarian or vegan options requiring less resource-intensive farming methods.
Sustainable Transport: While in Interlaken, take advantage of the excellent public transport system. Trains, buses and boats are all efficient ways to explore the region without contributing to excess carbon emissions. For shorter distances, consider renting a bicycle or simply exploring on foot to reduce your carbon footprint further.
Interlaken Christmas Market is cancelled in 2023. It typically starts around mid-November until the 19th December.
Interlaken Christmas Market takes place in the central Höheweg Promenade area.
The market generally opens around 11am and continues until 8pm in the evening.
Winter in Interlaken usually sees temperatures below freezing, so expect snowy conditions. Do dress warmly when visiting the Christmas market.
At Interlaken Christmas Market, you’ll find traditional Swiss foods like Raclette, Swiss fondue, and Zopf bread. There are also many stalls selling sweet treats like Swiss chocolates and Lebkuchen.
If you would like to leave a review of Interlaken 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 Interlaken, Switzerland. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.