On 24 November 2016, stall owners opened their lovingly decorated stands at Basel’s 39th Christmas market. I set out to discover what Basel has to offer in the run-up to Christmas and was captivated by the atmosphere as I wandered through the city’s streets.
As Basel’s city centre is pedestrianised and it might be nice to indulge in a cup or two of warming Glühwein at the Christmas market, it’s a good idea to journey here by train. In addition, with the RailAway combined offer, SBB offers a 50% reduction on the rail journey to Basel and back as well as other great deals that can be redeemed at Basel’s Christmas market.
I began my tour through Basel at the Marktplatz because the Town Hall is home to Basel’s Wish Book. Visitors from near and far can record their wishes, hopes and thoughts in this book until 6 January 2017. The magical Town Hall with its charmingly decorated Christmas tree in the courtyard is also incredibly beautiful.
A trip to see world-famous Johann Wanner is an absolute must. It is Christmas all year round in his Christmas House on Spalenberg street. The shop will never cease to amaze and you can find exclusive and charming Christmas decorations there.
In Schneidergasse, between the Marktplatz and the Christmas House, lies Johann Wanner’s Christmas Parlour, which is open exclusively during the winter months. You can marvel at the gorgeous Christmas decorations and be inspired as you enjoy an aperitif, a cup of tea or coffee and a bite to eat in a festive atmosphere.
After my visit to Johann Wanner, which got me completely into the Christmas spirit, my path led me to Kleinbasel, or more specifically, into the Rheingasse.
But first I stopped off at the Schifflände, at Xocolatl, the chocolate shop par excellence. I have been visiting this charming shop for many years. It started out small but has now grown and is even home to a lovely little café. I chose a delicious hot chocolate from the exquisite range to take away and marvelled at the magnificent Grand Hotel Drei König and its sparkling Christmas tree while crossing the Mittlere Rheinbrücke (Middle Bridge).
I came across a wonderful scene in the Rheingasse: Basel’s first Advent street had been decorated and was looking all festive. Along the Rheingasse, in addition to the stalls, various courtyards are waiting to be discovered, and on afternoons (Wednesday to Friday, 13:30-19:00), Saturdays and Sundays (11:00-19:00) the Kinderstadt (Children’s city) welcomes its younger guests and offers an attractive children’s programme. The Adväntsgass im Glaibasel (Advent street in the Kleinbasel area) is really lovely and a true labour of love which will enchant visitors with a number of great events up to 23 December 2016.
Back to the Grossbasel side and up the Rheinsprung to the Münsterplatz, where some of the Christmas market stalls are located. I treated myself to a Glühwein, just to keep the cup as a souvenir, and joined the people in the Münsterplatz eagerly awaiting the opening speech by District President Dr Guy Morin. At the end of the speech, the Christmas lights were switched on and the entire Münsterplatz was bathed in beautiful light. I particularly like the bright snow globes that illuminate the Christmas market under the small group of trees next to the Minster.
Finally, my path led me to Barfüsserplatz, where stand upon stand line up on the square in front of the Barfüsser church. Around the church, there are all manner of market stands to gaze at. The Christmas pyramid behind the Barfüsser church is my personal favourite because it always reminds me of Christmas with my grandparents, who had a Christmas pyramid like this on their lounge table.
For me, the trip to the Christmas market in Basel was just the right way to get in the mood for Advent! There is something to discover around every corner here and it is not just the market participants who lovingly decorate their stands; the whole city gets involved! Restaurants, museums and shops decorate their premises and shop windows with a great deal of love, and magnificent Christmas lights brighten the dark, wintry streets.
Finally, I would like to share some facts about the Basel Christmas market with you:
- 180 stalls offer a wide range of products (food/non-food)
- Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz are the main areas and there are also a few stands on Claraplatz
- The Christmas market is open from 11 a.m. to 8.30 p.m. daily until 23 December 2016
I think that a trip to Basel’s Christmas market would also be wonderful if it was combined with other great adventures in the region. Here are a few ideas:
- Near Münsterplatz: The Natural History Museum of Basel
- Near Barfüsserplatz: Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel (Toy Worlds Museum Basel), the museum’s beautifully decorated facade is also worth a look and the shop sells very special Christmas baubles
- Accessible by S-Bahn: Relax and warm up in Sole Uno or Aqua Basilea
I wish you a wonderful advent season and would be delighted for your comments to give me and other readers your impressions of the Basel Christmas market as well as your top tips.