Picture-perfect towns and villages in Switzerland during Christmas
We’ve all seen those stunning pictures of quaint, Christmassy villages and towns in Switzerland, but where are they and what are they called? To help you celebrate Christmas in Switzerland in style, here are some picturesque Swiss towns and villages to visit during the holidays!
Towns and cities to see in Switzerland during Christmas
Every Swiss canton does Christmas slightly differently, which makes the country a great destination for tourists and expats who want to see different aspects of Swiss life. From high alpine villages to bustling cities, here are some of our favourite places to visit in Switzerland in winter.
In Gruyères, the home of Switzerland's favourite cheese, you can enjoy stunning Christmas markets, delicious food and carol singers. Thanks to the warm Christmas lights that line the streets of the old town, Gruyères is at its cosiest in the winter.
Local specialities like cheese fondue and Raclette are enjoyed here throughout the whole winter season, and the La Maison de Gruyère cheese factory will welcome all visiting foodies with open arms. The town also hosts many events and festivals during the festive period.
Situated in Italian-speaking Switzerland, Locarno is one of the most Christmassy Swiss towns out there, thanks to its stunning old town that borders Lake Maggiore. The historic town centre is equipped with its very own ice rink during the winter - an ideal activity for families.
Like Gruyères, Locarno has a number of Christmas markets that are great spots to try some traditional Swiss food, especially cuisine that is native to the Italian region of Switzerland: anyone for a hot minestrone soup with a delicious fresh bread roll?
Montreux is a Swiss Christmas classic. The town, located between the dramatic Swiss mountains and the beautiful Lake Geneva, is one of the most well-known Christmas spots in the country.
Montreux hosts Switzerland’s largest Christmas market, which makes it a popular holiday spot for tourists seeking a winter getaway. Montreux also has a magical novelty railway that transports children and families to the house of Santa Claus (Samichlaus) in the nearby mountains. Those interested need only take the MOB service from Montreux to Rochers de Naye to visit the home of Santa Claus.
Home to seven different Christmas markets, Lucerne is a great spot for Christmas shoppers looking for that perfect festive gift. If you really want to experience all of the Christmas sights and lights of the city, there are several great walking tours and routes that can take you to every attraction, with solo or guided tours bookable at the local tourist information office.
Aside from this, the region is great for skiing, with some of Switzerland’s best ski resorts located nearby!
Just a stone's throw from the German border, the stunning city of Schaffhausen is the home of great wine, good food and stunning old architecture. Situated on the River Rhine, the old town is well worth a wander around, especially during the local Christmas market, which features a number of delicious local produce like wine, cheese and Schaffhauser Züngli cookies.
Stein am Rhine
No list of stunning towns in Switzerland would be complete without mentioning Stein am Rhine. The small village is a must-see for any traveller or keen expat, especially at Christmas time. Of special note are the immaculately decorated houses with murals that depict famous moments in Swiss history. For many people, a visit to this small town is like stepping onto the set of a fairytale, which is made even more magical during the holidays.
The gateway to stunning scenery and adrenaline-fuelled snow sports, Grindelwald is a great spot to visit at Christmas. Like Lucerne, there are plenty of opportunities to ski, ice skate and have fun in the snow with all the family!
The stunning Alpine chalets are lit golden yellow during the dark winter nights, providing the perfect setting for a cosy winter evening stroll with a cup of mulled wine!
Other towns and villages in the Swiss Alps
Aside from Grindelwald, there are several other great towns and villages in the Swiss Alps. For those who love a little luxury, St. Moritz is the place to be at Christmas! The town boasts plenty of high-end hotels and restaurants, as well as great ski slopes.
Christmas in the Alps is perfect for those who want to be certain to see some snow. Though the Swiss weather is not entirely reliable, there is plenty of snow in the mountains during the winter months, so a winter wonderland is practically guaranteed. Other great towns in the Swiss Alps to explore during the winter include Zermatt, Gstaad and Andermatt.
Don’t miss these towns and villages in Switzerland at Christmas time
Now that you know some of the best spots to visit in Switzerland, it’s time to plan a trip! Don’t forget to check the roads if you are planning on driving through the mountains and keep an eye on public transport if the snow starts falling! Merry Christmas!