Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and one of the most popular with visitors. You’ll experience a wonderful combination of urban and nature while in Zurich.
The city has a gorgeous historic old town that sits on the shores of Lake Zurich while surrounded by snow-capped mountains.
Zurich Christmas Market is one of the highlights of a city break in Zurich in winter.
Zurich Christmas Market 2023
Zurich Christmas Market and Advent events take place all over the city from late November until New Year’s Eve.
The festive Christkindlimarkt is held inside Zurich’s central train station, while the traditional Christmas market in Niederdorf is Zurich’s oldest and is known as the Village Christmas Market.
The Christkindlimarkt is where you’ll find Zurich’s famous Swarovski Christmas tree, a 16-metre high tree that is decorated with 7,000 Swarovski crystals.
You might like to start your visit to the Niederdorf Christmas markets in Zurich with a stop at the markets at Mühlegasse followed by Hirchenplatz and ending at Grossmünster.
At Mühlegasse you’ll be welcomed with the scent of cinnamon and mulled wine. At Hirchenplatz, you can shop for Christmas gifts and Swiss culinary specialties, while Grossmünster is famous for the fondue stands and delicious Swiss raclette.
Dates and Location
Zurich Christmas Market: Niederdorf – the old town neighbourhood of Zurich that is known for its medieval streets, squares and cathedrals.
Zurich Christmas Market dates: 23rd November to 23rd December 2023.
Location: Between Mühlegasse and Grossmünster in the Niederdorf District. There are 5 other locations too.
Opening times: 11am to 9pm. Closes at 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 4pm on the 23rd December.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Admission: Free, no tickets required.
Ice skating: Yes.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, but limited.
Gluten free: Yes, but limited.
Accessible: Yes, if you can manage cobblestones.
Pet-friendly: Yes, dogs are allowed on a lead.
Reason to visit: The mountain and lakeside landscapes and the stunning Swarovski tree.
Recommended tour: This city tour is a fun and popular way to take in the highlights.
Specialities: All kinds of food dipped in fondue, Swiss raclette, local handmade chocolate, artisan bakeries.
Travel tips: Switzerland can be very expensive. If you’re on a budget, consider shopping at the indoor food markets to prepare a some delicious meals in your room for a reasonable price. Look for affordable street food options as you wander the old town.
Where to stay: Ruby Mimi Hotel is a stylish, yet affordable, centrally located hotel near the Christmas markets.
Hotels near Zurich Christmas Market
One of the newest hotels in Zurich is Ruby Mimi Hotel. This modern boutique hotel is light, bright and exceptionally well-located. This hotel is excellent value for money and is my top pick.
Given there are several market locations in Zurich, I’ve written a guide to hotels near Zurich Christmas Market to help you decide where to stay.
Location of Niederdorf Christmas Market
City and Christmas Tours
A city tour of Zurich is an excellent opportunity to explore the city’s rich history and culture. With a captivating old town, vibrant facades and remarkable architecture, Zurich is a city that genuinely has something of interest for every visitor.
I recommend this city tour of Zurich, where you can enjoy many of the city’s highlights with a local guide for a reasonable cost. This is a particularly good tour for those visiting for the first time.
On a city tour, you’ll see the city’s most iconic landmarks and attractions, including the historic Bahnhofstrasse, the stunning Zurich Lake and the imposing Grossmünster Cathedral.
Alternatively, you might want to consider taking this food tour to learn about the local culture through their cuisine. Food tours are growing in popularity, and having participated in several during my career as a travel blogger, I can wholeheartedly recommend this kind of experience.
Other Christmas Markets in Zurich
There are a number of lovely Christmas markets in Zurich that you might come across as you walk around the city. Or you can search them out to experience those that are less touristy or with different themes and specialties.
- Christkindlimarkt: Zurich train station, Zürcher Hauptbahnhof. Closes on the 24th December. This is a great market to visit when the weather is poor, as it is Zurich’s only indoor Christmas market.
- City Christmas Market: City Weihnachtsmarkt, Lintheschergasse. Situated on Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich’s famous shopping street. This is one of the more modern Christmas markets in Zurich.
- Urban Christmas Market: Zürcher Wienachtsdorf, Sechseläutenplatz. Located next to the Opera House and Lake Zurich is a large market with 120 Christmas stalls with a large Christmas tree at its centre point. Note that this is a cashless market.
- Regional Christmas Market: Weihnachtsmarkt Münsterhof, Münsterhof. A market specialising in regional products designed or manufactured in Zurich or the surrounding region. This is a great market to visit if you’re looking for unique gifts to take home from Switzerland. This market closes on the 24th December 2023.
- Musical Christmas Market: Weihnachtsmarkt, Werdmühleplatz. Known for the Singing Christmas Tree, a choir performance by local children. Read the program if you’re interested in attending.
Zurich in Winter
There are many exciting things to do in Zurich in winter, including visits to the incredibly beautiful mountains surrounding the city.
Skiing, tobogganing, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing are some favourite sports of locals, and tourists can easily participate too.
If winter sports aren’t your thing, Zurich has excellent world-class museums, gourmet experiences, indoor markets, spas and hammams.
If the weather is good, you can walk around peaceful Lake Zurich, one of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland. You won’t be short of things to do during a short stay in Zurich.
There is more to see in this part of the world during Christmas. Winter is a great time for exploring cosy Swiss cities, towns and villages. Several great places to visit are not far from Zurich, so you could potentially include them in your trip. Read my guide to the best Christmas markets in Switzerland for ideas on where to go.
Christmas Specialties in Zurich
Raclette: A dish originating from Switzerland and highly popular during Christmas is Raclette. Named after the cheese used in the recipe, this dish involves melting Raclette cheese and scraping it onto boiled potatoes, pickles and onions. It’s an excellent vegetarian option if you simply omit the traditionally served cured meats.
Zürcher Eintopf: An authentic Zurich stew, Zürcher Eintopf is often savoured during Christmas. It’s a hearty blend of beans, potatoes, carrots, leeks and onions, simmered until tender in a rich broth. It makes for a warming, filling meal, particularly suitable for vegetarians.
Zürcher Geschnetzeltes: For meat lovers, Zürcher Geschnetzeltes is a delicious traditional dish. Comprising thinly sliced veal cooked in a creamy white wine and mushroom sauce, it’s usually served with Rösti, a Swiss-style grated and fried potato.
Tirggel: In the realm of festive sweet treats, Tirggel are traditional Christmas biscuits from Zurich. These thin, hard honey biscuits bear intricate designs, often depicting historical or religious scenes.
Lebkuchen: Another sweet specialty found around Christmas time is Lebkuchen. This Swiss-style gingerbread is mildly spiced, often heart-shaped, and can come either plain or coated with a sugar glaze or dark chocolate. A particularly delicious variation is the Basler Leckerli, loaded with honey, candied peel and Kirsch liqueur.
Christmas Turkeys: While not typically Swiss, it’s becoming increasingly common to find Christmas Turkeys on the festive table. These are often prepared uniquely Swiss – marinated in local herbs and spices, then roasted to perfection.
Vegetable Tarts: The assorted vegetable tarts are also worth mentioning for our vegetarian friends. They usually consist of a buttery pastry crust filled with a mixture of local seasonal vegetables and a creamy egg custard.
Food at the Christmas Market
Raclette Sandwiches: As you wander the festive stalls, the aroma of Raclette sandwiches will likely tempt you. Essentially, this snack involves freshly melted Raclette cheese scraped onto a piece of crusty bread. It’s a simpler take on the traditional Raclette dish but no less delicious.
Bratwurst and Rösti: Bratwurst sausages served alongside a golden brown Rösti are a classic street food option. The Swiss-style sausage is typically grilled to perfection, while the Rösti, a pan-fried grated potato dish, adds a delicious crispy contrast.
Swiss Fondue Bread Bowl: Imagine tucking into a warm, gooey Swiss cheese fondue but in a portable, eat-as-you-go format. That’s what the Swiss Fondue Bread Bowl brings to the table. The bread acts as an edible, comforting container for the cheese – a perfect handheld feast for a winter evening.
Glühwein: While not a food, no Christmas market experience would be complete without sipping on glühwein. This mulled wine is heated and spiced with cinnamon, clove, citrus and sugar and is often enjoyed outdoors.
Churros with Chocolate: A favourite treat that hails from Spain, churros have become a familiar sight at Zurich Christmas markets. These are fried dough pastries dusted with sugar and served with a rich chocolate dip. They’re an indulgence, but one that’s well worth it.
Roasted Chestnuts: Roasted chestnuts are an iconic street food during the Christmas season. These are roasted on an open fire, resulting in a warm, nutty treat that’s both nutritious and comforting in the winter chill.
Gingerbread Cookies: An international Christmas staple, gingerbread cookies are adored by all ages. In Zurich markets, these cookies come in various shapes and sizes, often beautifully iced. Biting into one is like a little moment of Christmas cheer. These also make great gifts that you can take home with you.
Stollen: Hailing from Germany but widely appreciated in Zurich, Stollen is a rich, fruit-filled loaf dusted with icing sugar. This festive bread contains dried fruit, nuts, and marzipan, offering your market food adventure a sweet finish.
What to Buy
Swiss Chocolate: Known worldwide for its quality, Swiss chocolate is a go-to purchase at Zurich’s Christmas markets. Many local chocolatiers set up stalls showcasing an array of their best products. From beautifully moulded pralines to indulgent truffle collections, you’ll find something that caters to every taste.
Handcrafted Wooden Toys: Zurich markets often feature stalls selling traditional handcrafted wooden toys. Each piece is meticulously crafted, imbued with a charm that modern plastic toys often lack. They make for wonderful, long-lasting gifts for children and collectors.
Swiss Cheese: An array of Swiss cheese is also available at the market. You can select from a variety of well-known types like Emmental, Gruyère and Raclette, as well as lesser-known local specialties. Many vendors offer samples, so you can try before you buy.
Locally Made Ornaments: To add a Swiss touch to your Christmas tree, look out for stalls selling locally made ornaments. These might include miniature Swiss chalets, alpine animals, or other designs inspired by the local culture and landscapes.
Swiss Watches: While a more expensive option, Swiss watches are renowned for their quality and craftsmanship. Some stalls feature a selection of these timepieces, providing a unique opportunity to purchase a lasting souvenir or a special gift. But for the best quality watches, head to Zurich’s famous shopping streets.
Handmade Jewellery: Zurich Christmas markets also often feature local artisans selling their handmade jewellery. From intricate beadwork to pieces made from local stones or recycled materials, these items provide a unique, wearable memory of your visit.
Artisan Candles: Artisan candles, often featuring festive scents like cinnamon and pine, are another item to look out for. Hand-poured and often made from natural materials, these candles can bring a cosy, festive atmosphere to any home.
Warm Winter Clothing: You might come across stalls selling warm winter clothing items such as handmade woollen hats, gloves and scarves. Often made from high-quality Swiss wool, these items serve a practical purpose and make for stylish gifts.
Local Artwork: Local artists often take advantage of the bustling market to showcase their work. From paintings and prints depicting beautiful Swiss landscapes to more contemporary pieces, you can pick up a truly unique piece of art.
Sustainable Travel Tips
When visiting the Christmas markets, keeping sustainability in mind is important.
- Shop mindfully. Only purchase what you really need.
- Walk, cycle and use public transport to get around.
- Stay in a sustainable hotel powered by renewable energy.
- Avoid using plastic or buying items made or packaged with plastic.
- Try to eat locally sourced organic food where possible.
- Limit your consumption of meat and dairy.
- Be open to diverse cultures and experiences.
- Explore more than just the main tourist areas.
- Support the arts and attend local events.
- Visit fewer places but stay longer at each destination.
All of Zurich’s Christmas markets are closed on Christmas Day, however, you can still enjoy the Christmas lights and decorations that will continue to be displayed. The city’s museums and attractions are also closed on the 25th December. If the weather is good, I suggest visiting some of the 1,300 open air works of art that are free to visit around the city.
There are 6 different Christmas markets in Zurich, most starting on the 23rd November 2023.
In German-speaking regions that include Zurich, the Swiss say ‘Fröhlichi Wiehnacht’. In French-speaking regions, they say, ‘Joyeux Noël’; in Italian regions, it’s ‘Buon Natale’, and in the Romansh language, it’s ‘Bellas festas da Nadal’.
If you have any questions regarding your visit to the Zurich Xmas market in 2023 or would like to know more about visiting Zurich or elsewhere in Switzerland in winter, please leave a comment below.
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Hi, we will be in Switzerland from Dec 3 to 9 , we will be visiting Zermatt and Interlaken. Is it worth buying the Swiss Travel Pass? We’ve been doing our research and seems everyone saying to get one. It’s pretty pricey so we’re having second thought of buying it.Maybe you can give us good suggestion? Thank you for your time and looking forward to hear from you.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any experience with that particular part of Switzerland. Maybe ask the Swiss or Interlaken tourist offices.