Switzerland is a particularly favorite destination and a great choice for any time of the year. In fact, lately, we have noticed an increased interest for Switzerland by the Travel Market, especially during Christmas holidays.
During Christmas, Switzerland is on the spotlight, because of its wide diversity of customs and traditions, as well as its delicious local cuisine!
In this article, we will discover what 'Christmas in Switzerland' really means, and we will provide you with some interesting facts about Switzerland!
Christmas Customs & Traditions
The Christmas Customs and Traditions of Switzerland have been heavily influenced by its nearby countries: Italy, Germany, Austria and France. The main difference, compared to Western customs, is that Santa Claus plays a far less important role during this season.
It is the Christ Child, or else called 'Le petit Jesus', who comes to take Santa Claus' place, with his peaceful and divine presence. The Christ Child is being described as a divine being with wings, dressed in white, with a golden crown and a wand. It is said to represent young Jesus!
One week before Christmas, kids dress up and visit homes holding small ringing bells and singing carols. Close to midnight, families gather together, sharing homemade doughnuts and hot chocolate.
Christmas Food... Yummy!
Switzerland is not famous for its traditional Christmas dishes. There are some particular foods however, that locals prefer to eat on that day. The recipes differ though, depending on the region!
Fondue Chinoise is a classic dish, eaten mainly during holiday season, which is actually, a simple common cheese fondue. Thin slices of meat are placed into a shared pot of steaming broth and it is served along with various accompaniments like vegetables etc.
In the French speaking areas of Switzerland, the locals usually serve roast, while in the Italian speaking regions, they usually eat trotters with lentils, a rare dish, hard to find in other parts of the country.
The Christmas log is the most popular dessert choice, not a traditional one, but one that has won the hearts of the Swiss people.
Christmas in Geneva & Other Swiss Cities
Basel is one of the most popular cities for your Christmas vacations when visiting Switzerland, featuring one of the oldest and biggest Christmas traditions in the country. The city's amazing Christmas market and the fairy-tale forest located on Munsterplatz are something worth visiting. Watching the Christmas lights of the city from the top of the Basel Cathedral is a unique experience.
Zurich, the capital city of Switzerland, offers a big number of activities to do during this time of the year. From the huge "Wienachtsdorf" Christmas Market to the other popular Christmas events. Of course, no one can miss watching the stunning fireworks on New Year's Eve, which are set up by the city's hoteliers.
Bern is a beautiful city with historical importance, named an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The picturesque medieval streets of Bern add to the perfect setting, which is created for its annual Christmas Markets. There are currently two Christmas markets, one located near the Cathedral Square called Münsterplatz and the second one at the Orphanage Square called Waisenhausplatz.
Geneva is popular for its astonishing traditional decorations all over the city. The Christmas Market of Geneva has a privileged location, at the center of the main shopping area, so that you can combine your Christmas walk, with a shopping experience!
Christmas in the Engadin and the Swiss Countryside
Christmas in the countryside of Switzerland is only about three things: Snow, Hot Chocolate and Cheese Fondue. The Swiss countryside is painted white during the Christmas season, for that reason, there are many locals and travelers who choose it as the perfect skiing location.
St. Moritz in Engadin is among the most popular and luxurious ski resorts in Switzerland, featuring its own Christmas market, located on Fussgängerzone street. There you may find various regional products, from local delicacies to small gifts to get back home. Moreover St. Moritz features various winter resorts where you can enjoy your winter vacations in luxury!
If you are not a fan of all these Christmas lights and decorations, then St. Gallen is ideal for you. St. Gallen is an old town consisting of 16th and 18th century houses, as well as very few cars around the area. Snow fills the streets during winter, and the peacefulness of the village will definitely steal your heart. Don't forget to pay a visit to the 20 meter Christmas tree!
Lake Maggiore owes its beautiful Christmas atmosphere to its Italian influence. The towns are decorated with all kinds of lights that make Lake Maggiore's water shine like thousands of tiny stars. The Christmas Markets are also amazing, offering gift ideas to take back home for your friends and family. Last but not least, Living Nativity scenes are performed in the streets and the squares of the town!
Recommended Hotels in Switzerland to spend your Christmas!