The Christmas market in beautiful Basel is spread between two city squares; Barfusserplatz in the heart of the Old Town and Munsterplatz next to the famous Basel cathedral .
Why did I chose to go to Basel? It was easy to get to from Milan, I had never been to northern Switzerland and it is on the border of France and Germany. This way I could make the most of my getaway and see something in another country if I wanted to….which I did!
Basel is a delightful city located on the Rhine River and it comes alive at night when the city is illuminated with tasteful holiday lights and decorations. The Christmas market spans across two areas which are walking distance from one another.
The first evening I arrived I went to the Barfusserplatz area which is in the Old Town section of Basel. Hundreds of wooden stalls illuminated with lights welcomes you! Wonderful hand crafted items, ornaments, sweets and other local traditional food fills the market. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Christmas Market in Switzerland without the Gluhwein (warm mulled wine). There was a very cozy feeling to this market and it seemed to be filled with the city’s locals instead of just tourists. Since I had just arrived to Basel that evening, I made sure to explore Old Town which was captivating as well. Lovely architecture, cobblestone streets accented by holiday decorations.
The following day I made a day trip to Colmar, France to visit that Christmas market.
On the third day, I went to the other part of the Basel market, in Munsterplatz. For me this market had a unique charm, set in a courtyard of the Basel Cathedral. It happened to be a rather grey and wet day, but I think this enhanced the charm of the setting; a dark gothic cathedral, black bare branched trees with hundreds of huge white snowflake sculptures dangling overhead and then the illuminated wooden tents of the market made it seem as though I walked into a storybook village in the forest. I would have liked to see this part of the Basel market at night, it must be enchanting, but I had a train to catch to get home. Next time 🙂
The Basel Christmas markets are open daily from the 25th November – 24rd December 2015.
It is an easy and inexpensive trip from Italy (where I was living at the time). If you plan ahead you can get the 22€ each-way ticket to Basel from Milan. From Basel you can buy a regional train tickets from SBB.ch (Switzerland’s main train company) if you care to explore other nearby towns and cities. SBB does offer discounted train tickets to visit the Christmas Market towns within Switzerland and France.
If you plan to be in this area for a few days, plan on visiting the markets in Mulhouse and Colmar, France as well.
TIP: Staying in a hotel in France is less expensive as compared to Switzerland. Switzerland is beautiful, but it is an expensive country!
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