Basel Christmas Markets Review

Hold on to your Santa hats because we’re diving into the magical wonderland of Basel Christmas Markets!

After travelling to Budapest, Vienna, Kraków, Berlin and Cologne to check out their Christmas markets, I arrived in Switzerland’s medieval city of Basel. With its enchanting markets scattered across the city, this Swiss gem is a winter paradise that draws in visitors from near and far.

Basel Christmas Markets
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Basel Christmas Markets are perfect for getting you in the festive mood. They’ve got quirky crafts, mouthwatering treats and Christmassy gifts. In my review, I’ll be dishing out all the details on what they have to offer and sharing my honest take on whether Basel Christmas Markets are worth the visit.

Everything You Need To Know About The Basel Christmas Markets

I decided to hop around Basel’s two main markets: Barfüsserplatz Christmas Market and Münsterplatz Christmas Market. It’s super easy to explore the two together as they’re so close to each other – both are on the city’s South Bank and are only a 5 minute walk away.

Basel Christmas Markets

What Christmas Markets Are There in Basel?

Barfüsserplatz Christmas Market is nestled around the charming Barfüsser Church. This is Basel’s largest market which snagged the title of Best Christmas Market in Europe in 2021 – no small feat! Wander through the market’s 140 stalls, where you can score everything from snazzy tree decorations to one-of-a-kind artisanal gifts. And it’s not just about shopping; they’ve got activities like candle dipping and a mulled wine pyramid to keep things fun and festive.

Barfüsserplatz Basel Christmas Markets

Münsterplatz Christmas Market offers 40 stalls serving up all sorts of festive goodness. And the backdrop? Oh, just the Romanesque-Gothic Basel Minster and the Rhine river. It’s like a postcard come to life. You can shop your heart out, sip on something warm, and soak in the views – all in one go.

Münsterplatz Basel Christmas Markets

If you fancy venturing outside of the city, it’s worth seeing if any of the local areas are running their own Christmas Markets too. My hotel reception recommended Sissach which you can easily reach by tram in just 25 minutes – though there isn’t much information online about it! There’s also a well known market in Rheinfelden which is 12 minutes by train.

When do Basel Christmas Markets Open in 2023?

Basel Christmas Markets tend to open in late November and close just before Christmas. Opening dates may vary so make sure you check the details of the markets you want to visit.

Münsterplatz Basel Christmas Market

Is Basel a Good Destination for Christmas Markets?

Basel Christmas Market is across two areas – Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz – and has a mix of food, drink and local arts and crafts on sale. It’s on the smaller side so you can easily explore them both in a day, and makes a good festive bonus to add onto your city break to Basel.

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How Expensive are Basel Christmas Markets?

Basel Christmas Markets are surprisingly affordable given the stereotype that food and drink prices in Switzerland are very high! You can absolutely do the Christmas Markets on a budget and check out my review below for the specific costs I found when I was visiting.

Barfüsserplatz Basel Christmas Market

My Review of Basel Christmas Markets

Münsterplatz Basel Christmas Market

Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz Opening Dates and Times

Opening dates
Thursday 23 November 2023 – Saturday 23 December 2023

Monday – Sunday: 11am–8:30pm

On 23rd December, Barfüsserplatz Christmas Market closes at 8pm and Münsterplatz Christmas Market closes at 6pm.

My First Impressions

I was lucky to be staying in a hotel that was literally in the middle of the Christmas markets! And so as I stepped out, I was surrounded by cute huts and twinkling lights.

Basel Christmas Market

The markets used to be split into three, but the man at my hotel reception shared that it’s just two this year but they are a little bigger.

The one I was staying near was Barfüsserplatz Christmas Market, which was just a five-minute walk away from Münsterplatz Christmas Market up by Basel Cathedral.

Münsterplatz Basel Cathedral

My first impression was that it was on the smaller side – not that that’s a bad thing! And not too busy, which is wonderful compared to others I’ve visited. I also liked how many of the stalls at Barfüsserplatz were dotted around the streets, rather than just in a square.

Basel Christmas Market Barfüsserplatz

My only concern was for the prices, since Switzerland has a reputation for being very expensive but we shall learn more about that soon!


At Barfüsserplatz, I found bratwurst being served under the heads of two singing moose – yes really! It cost 8 CHF (£7.30) for a sausage, bread and mustard.

Barfüsserplatz Market

Over at Münsterplatz, I tucked into a similar offering for 8 CHF (£7.30) and whilst taking a photo it rolled off my plate.


Especially as at this point, I wasn’t aware of the conversion and when it finally revealed that 8 CHF is £7.30, I was pleasantly surprised. The same food is more expensive in London!

Skinny Bratwurst sausage at Europe Christmas market

I also tried a smaller spicy sausage in a bun for 7 CHF (£6.35) which was a tasty little snack, though not very filling.

Basel Christmas Markets food hut stall
Basel Christmas Markets food stall

Other food I spotted included a fondue dog (exactly what it sounds like) for 10 CHF (£9.20). Fries cost 5.5 CHF (£5), fresh potato pancakes were 9 CHF (£8.20) and fried apple rings coated in sugar cost 9 CHF (£8.20). There was also a fondue restaurant which cost from CHF 26.50 (£24.08) for two people sharing, or CHF 28.50 (£25.90) for one person.

For vegetarians, I did spot a veggie food truck over at Barfüsserplatz and so there’s definitely some choice there too.

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There were your main huts serving mulled wine but I spotted a couple of ‘breakout’ stalls serving it too!

I trotted over to the main one at Barfüsserplatz and ended up getting a German grammar lesson because I’d asked for a red mulled wine more as a question rather than a statement, which in turn changed the words I used. I’ve heard German is a hard language to grasp but WOW.

Chelsea cheap holiday expert at Basel Christmas Market

Anyway, the mulled wine was one of the best I’ve had all week and cost 5 CHF (£4.55) plus a 3 CHF (£2.75) mug deposit, which I thought was really affordable given where I was! If you fancied a shot of rum and amaretto in there, it would have cost an extra 3 CHF (£2.75).

The mugs are also really cute – pale green with a cartoon winter scene on! I would have kept this one had I not been travelling light, but instead I returned it and got my 3 CHF (£2.75) back which I left for the hotel staff.

Basel Christmas Market green mug

There was also beer on sale – 5 CHF (£5) for 300ml and 8 CHF (£7.30) for 500ml. Bizarrely, the soft drinks were also 5 CHF (£5), though the alcohol free mulled drink called Weihnachtspunsch was only 4 CHF (£3.65).

I liked that there were designated areas for drinking with tall tables, though there weren’t any seats.


There are lots of stalls at both Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz selling your standard hats, candles, smellies, food, drink, jewellery – your classic Christmas Market fare. However, I did also see a few unique stalls including dog food (think festive shapes!) and a record stand too.

Münsterplatz festive shopping

Overall, I’d say that it’s the perfect size for a browse and there may well be something lovely that catches your eye, but it’s not a stand-out market for shopping given what’s on offer.

Münsterplatz festive shopping


Beyond eating, drinking and shopping there isn’t too much to do at Basel Christmas Market. However, I was there on a quiet Tuesday evening and I have seen that there is live music at some other points. There’s also a carousel for the kids on Münsterplatz.

Münsterplatz kids carousel

That, and you can enjoy the sparkling sea of lights from Basel Cathedral. From 4 December till 22 December, St. Martin’s tower offers a great view across the Old Town for CHF 6 (£5.45) per person. It’s only open between 4–6pm Monday to Friday and for groups of two people or more, and the last entry is 5:30pm.

You can also go and write down your wishes in the Basel Wish Book which is located in the inner courtyard of the City Hall.

Where I Stayed

I stayed at Motel One Basel which is literally in the Barfüsserplatz Christmas Market! You couldn’t choose a better located hotel if you ask me.

Motel One Basel double room

Now, I’ve heard lots of good things about Motel One but have never had the chance to visit before, so I was very excited to try it out. Stepping into the main lobby, you wouldn’t think it’s a 3 star hotel. It was low lit with modern furniture and some of the best customer service I’ve experienced on my trip so far.

As for my room, it was super clean and modern with plenty of space. I loved the touch of there being a crackling fire playing on the TV when I entered! The bed too was very comfy and all in all, it was an incredibly comfortable stay. I can understand the hype!

Motel One Basel double room
Motel One Basel double room

The next day, I checked out the breakfast and whilst the selection was a little basic – think cold cuts, boiled eggs and breads – the quality of everything was really high. I ended up really enjoying it. One point though is that there’s only one table that seats around eight people. Otherwise, you eat your breakfast sitting at the same seats that you would use to drink at the bar. This was more than fine for me, and a good use of the hotel’s space, but worth noting that it’s quite a casual affair.

Motel One Basel bathroom

I booked at the very last minute – in fact, the hotel was booked up and I had to spend the day refreshing their website in the hope that someone would cancel which they did. I paid £161.50 including breakfast, though I’ve spotted room only rates in the future for around £133.

Motel One Basel bathroom mirror and hairdryer

My top tip is to sign up for the Motel One membership programme where you will get a free breakfast voucher when you register, which you’ll have three months to redeem. You’ll also get a free bottle of water with every stay, and 3pm check out on Sundays for no extra charge.

Take advantage of the free transport card they give you (currently when you book an overnight stay in the city you get this card for free) and hop on public transport to explore – the guy on reception recommended I check out Sissach Christmas market which is a 25 minute journey and you can use the card to get there.

Are Basel Christmas Markets Worth Visiting?

My Overall Thoughts

Basel Christmas Markets are really cute and a wonderful way to spend a festive weekend, I’d actually go as far to say that they’re a great way to do a Swiss weekend on a budget, thanks to their affordable mulled wine and bratwurst prices!

Chelsea cheap holiday expert Christmas market

However, I’d also plan to do other things in the city as the markets are quite small and so you could easily explore them in a day. That, and as the markets close up for the evening around 8:30pm, it gets quiet pretty quickly! So if you’re after a late night kind of thing, you’ll need to find somewhere else to go.

Overall, I’m rating Basel Christmas Market a 6/10!

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Other European Christmas Markets to Visit

Follow my Christmas Market Crawl challenge where I visit seven markets in seven days, as voted for by my followers on Instagram.

See what I thought of Budapest, Vienna, Krakow, Berlin and Cologne Christmas markets plus you can browse our rundown of the top Christmas markets in Europe.

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Basel Christmas markets

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