A Night at the Lucerne Christmas Markets

 

One of my favorite times of the year is Advent Season in Switzerland. Lights twinkle in the city and Christmas Markets begin to open, one by one.

I've been to many Christmas Markets in Switzerland — from Interlaken, Bern, Basel, Zurich and now finally, Lucerne.

Sunset on Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke)

The sun is about to set. I make my way across the famous Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke) in search of the Christmas Markets. I know I'm getting close when I see a building disguised as an Advent Calendar.

Visiting Lucerne's Old Town

Across the bridge and around the corner, a charming courtyard awaits. This is Franziskanerplatz, which lies at the heart of Lucerne's Old Town. Swirling at its center, a Christmas carousel carries children up and down on small carriages and animal statues.

The courtyard is filled with dozens of market stalls, where the Swiss sell warm food and of course, mulled wine (Glühwein). It seems that everyone has a mug in hand.

You can keep your special mug from the Christmas market if you like or return it to the vendor for a deposit back.

Each year, I save a mug from one the Swiss Christmas Markets. This year, I found an adorable boot-shaped mug at the Basel Christmas Markets.

Candle wreaths line the fountains at Franziskanerplatz, and they glow brighter as dusk approaches.

Delicious food at the Christmas Markets

Following the crowd, we turn the corner and discover another row of market stalls. Everything from cheese raclette, sausages and crepes are on display — but these Christmas cookies catch my attention.

I'm in love with these Christmas mugs that feature Lucerne's iconic water tower (Wasserturm), which is found in the middle of Chapel Bridge.

Night falls and the Christmas Markets burst into life. The crowd multiplies and lines for food grow longer.

There's a certain magic in the Christmas Markets after dark. Small wooden houses glow with lights and friends huddle for warmth with hot ciders in hand.

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Decorations, once disguised in daylight, suddenly appear down every street. The spirit of Christmas fills the air.

On the way back to Lucerne railway station, I cross a bridge lined with hundreds of sparkling lights. Flashes of green and purple light dance all around me.

Looking over my shoulder, I catch one last glimpse of Chapel Bridge. It's a sight to behold, and I think to myself,

"What a beautiful city to be in at Christmas time."

Ready to Visit?

If you plan your holidays in Switzerland anytime from late November through Christmas Eve, you'll find plenty of Christmas Markets in every canton, including Lucerne.

This year, the Lucerne Christmas Markets are open from December 3rd - 21st. The market stalls are open with food from 11am to 9pm daily. Handcrafts are only sold until 8pm.

You can find the Lucerne Christmas Markets at Franziskanerplatz.  With a Swiss Rail Pass, you can take a train to Lucerne railway station (Luzern Bahnhof), and it's 5 minute walking distance from here.

 

For the most up to date information, you can visit the Lucerne Tourism website. They have a calendar of Christmas events listed here.