The Basel Christmas market details you’ve been looking for!
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The Basel Christmas markets are a bit of a sleeper destination. While they do make top 10 lists sometimes, people gravitate more to the bigger German or Austrian cities. But that means that Basel felt a little less crowded!
Basel Christmas Markets Logistics
For the 2023 season, the Basel Christmas markets run from November 23 to December 23. The main two are open at 11 am, and Adväntgass im Glaibasel opens for afternoons and evenings only.
The big question: how long do you need? As always, it depends. I don’t like seeing them all in a day – too rushed. But if that’s the time you have, or you get bored easily, you can. I’d recommend giving yourself two days, or at least two evenings. These markets felt cozy and somewhat less crowded than some of the other major European Christmas markets!
A few hotels to save you the research! Just a reminder that Switzerland is expensive, and even hostels run more than you might expect! These are organized generally from cheapest to most expensive.
Basel Christmas Market Specialties
First off, let’s talk food. Basel has all the Christmas market classics, but there are a few Swiss dishes you should try while you’re here!
Fondue – Can you visit Switzerland without eating fondue? Several little mini restaurants are set up with seating areas for a fondue meal. Don’t be surprised by the price tag, though – fondue is a pricey meal in an always pricey country!
Raclette – If you’re traveling solo and a fondue meal isn’t what you’re feeling, raclette is a much more manageable way to go!
In a restaurant, raclette is served as a block of cheese with a little grill for melting, and you scrape off the melty bits and eat it along with meat/bread/pickles and such, similar to fondue. At the markets, you can get it on a sandwich or sometimes over potatoes.
Chäsbaängel- is a baguette filled with melted cheese! Think of it a bit like a fondue for one on the go. It’s messy and one of my favorite things I ate on my two-week Christmas market trip! Don’t skip it. If they offer, get the fried onion bits on top, too.
Outside of food, I loved the range of great craft souvenirs available! Especially at Munsterplatz, every booth is homemade and different! Whether you want something Christmas-themed or not, there are plenty of handmade options.
Finding the Basel Christmas Markets
Munsterplatz is my favorite one, and where you’ll find yourself the most. It’s the perfect mix of cozy wooden booths stocked with artists’ crafts and great food options, all decked out with lights and decor.
Come during the day to soak up the scene in daylight, but at night it really gets going! The trees within the square make it feel less like the middle of a city and more like a Christmas village transplanted under the Basel Cathedral.
Barfüsserplatz is Basel’s biggest Christmas market. The stalls have white roofs, reflecting the Christmas lights everywhere! It also has the biggest Christmas pyramid, which is always a favorite.
You absolutely have to get chäsbaängel here! Plan your meals around this, seriously. It’s the one thing I most recommend eating in Basel. It also has a bit more generic/made-in-China souvenirs. So save your shopping for the other spots!
Adväntgass im Glaibasel
There’s another market across the Rhine River. While it’s further from the main part of the city, it’s much more local and focused on food!
Adväntgass im Glaibasel should be on your list for a gluhwein and dinner one evening. Booths dot the street alongside restaurants, making it feel less like a major city and more like a quaint local hangout.
It runs every evening, starting at 5 pm during the week and 2 pm on Saturday and Sunday. It also typically opens a week earlier than the other two markets, so if you find yourself here before the Christmas season kicks off, try here first!
If you need to confirm something, also check the Basel official website – it’s the most up-to-date information available!
Basel is also really close to some other Christmas markets: Colmar is about 1 hour on the train and Strasbourg is 2! Those are two of my favorite Christmas markets of all time, so I highly recommend putting together a multi-stop market trip. You can do all three without a car!
Want more Christmas market guides? I have them for cities all over Europe!