Celebrating Christmas in Switzerland

Christmas in Switzerland: a market and Christmas tree in Lugano.

Snow-capped mountains, twinkling lights, hearty meals, festive markets, magic in the air… Around the world, the holidays are a special time for family, friends, and food. But spending Christmas in Switzerland will make you feel like you’re celebrating the most wonderful time of the year inside a snow globe.

Christmas countdown:

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After all, this alpine country is always charming, and it becomes absolutely enchanting during the holidays.

This December, if you’d like to escape the crowded shopping malls or skip your office party, we have a suggestion. Why not spend Christmas in a country where the festivities feel a little more magical — and a little more meaningful?

Christmas in Switzerland: in Zurich, a large building lights up at dusk.
Christmas in Zurich. Photo by swiss-image.ch/Christof Sonderegger.

Christmas in Switzerland: traditions

In Switzerland, the Christmas season officially begins on December 6 when a jolly visitor knocks on the door. Samichlaus — a red-hooded man who you probably call Santa — steps inside each home, offers the family a bag of goodies, and talks to the children about their behavior throughout the past year.

But Samichlaus doesn’t usually visit the families alone. His friend Schmutzli tags along, wearing dark clothes and swatting naughty kids with a broom. Don’t be nervous though — Schmutzli is really just there to put on a show.

Christmas in Switzerland: Lucerne is a beautiful destination during the holiday season.
Christmas in Lucerne. Photo by swiss-image.ch/Jan Geerk.

Throughout the following weeks, most Swiss towns celebrate the Christmas season with parades, special events, and lively markets. Humdrum town centers become cheery and bustling. At the markets, shoppers purchase gifts, indulge in treats and hot drinks, and ogle pretty lights.

On December 24, families unveil their Christmas trees, exchange presents, sing carols, and attend midnight mass. It’s a day spent with loved ones, and quality time comes first.

Of course, the Swiss enjoy another happy day with their family and friends on December 25. In fact, they spend the rest of the week visiting the people they love, sharing food, and making memories.

From the beginning of December all the way to the end, Christmas in Switzerland is a beautiful celebration of what matters most.

Christmas in Switzerland: in the foreground, a tree decorated with green and gold ornaments. In the background, a well-lit Christmas tree.
Photo by swiss-image.ch/Ivo Scholz.

Enjoying Christmas in Switzerland: what travelers should know

Although the Swiss traditions are lovely, many travelers might not know how to make the most of Christmas in Switzerland. And that’s where Alpenwild comes in.

The holidays are often stressful, but we want you to focus on relaxing, enjoying, and celebrating the true meaning of Christmas. We’ll take care of the planning as we take you from city to city, train to train, and castle to castle. That way, all you need to worry about is soaking in every moment.

Together, we’ll shop at markets, join in at traditional festivals, embark on lake cruises, taste chocolates, and even go sledding. We’ll celebrate Christmas in the German-, French-, and Italian-speaking regions of Switzerland. We’ll learn about different customs and bring new traditions home.

Throughout the trip, we’ll spend time with loved ones and make new friends. We can’t wait to see you there.

With only six months until December 25, our official Christmas countdown begins today. Join us in Switzerland for an unforgettable holiday season — this year’s tour dates are December 3-11 and December 5-13.

Cover photo by swiss-image.ch/Jan Geerk

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