Christmas in Basel – my guide to the festive season in the city

Basel is the most beautiful dressed for Christmas. (No wonder that our Christmas markets were voted the most beautiful in Europe!). This year’s holiday season is a little bit different though, since there is no Christmas markets and because of restaurants, bars and cafes being closed for a few weeks now. But somehow for me, this year is also very special – I appreciate more of what we have (Christmas lights and decorations around the city never made me so happy!) and focus on creating new holidays traditions.

There might be no Glühwein sipping while strolling around Christmas stalls at Barfüsserplatz – but there are Glühwein takeaway stands that we can enjoy and make a nice festive walk in the city. Might be no Raclette under Münster – but we can still (hopefully from the 21th) have a tasty fondue in one of the chalet-like restaurants. In collaboration with Basel Tourism I am sharing the list of things to do in this festive time and places to stop for a tasty winter food.

The Johann Wanner Christmas House

Definitely one of the best spots to find a true Christmas atmosphere around Basel. They sell insanely beautiful and high quality Christmas ornaments for over 50 years and are responsible in part for decorating the city with its Christmas vibes – a highlight on the Basel’s festive map. Plus if you search for an unique present – they have a lot of themed baubels that make a great Christmas gift.

Big wheel ride at Munsterplatz

Such a beautiful idea to watch the Christmas-dressed Basel from above – a ride on the one of the largest big wheels in Europe that is now at Munsterplatz until January 3rd. Operating daily from 12:00 to 20:00.

Sweet treats from the oldest Confiserie in Basel

If you need an idea for a tasty Gift or want to sweeten up your holidays – getting some Weihnachtsgüetzli or sweet Marzipan angels from Confiserie Schiesser are the best idea. Also if you would want to create some sweet treats yourself – I shared the original Schiesser recipe for the Zimtsterne here.

Light show in the Rathaus

Beautiful illumination shown inside the Rathaus – a free and a very festive activity in the heart of Basel. Daily from 17:00 to 22:00 and one show lasts 5 minutes. Remember to wear you mask inside 🙂

There’s no Wish Book this year inside (for the safety reasons), but you can leave your wishes in an online Wunschbuch created by Basel Tourism. Linking it here.

Fondue in Basel

Baracca Zermatt

Visiting Baracca Zermatt is an one in a kind experience. Rustic chalet-like decor,with a fireplace in the central spot, serving the best quality cheese fondue and meat platters. I love their truffle fondue. So good! More info here.

Fondue am Fluss

On the terrace right by the Rhine at the Hotel Merian. Cosy atmosphere and a Riesenrad view. A few delicious options – classic, beer or truffle fondue. My tip: take the wine soup as a starter! More info here.

Winterdorf at Sandoase

Summer oasis turned into a winterly village on the edge of Basel – they have a very wide menu: Cheese fondue, Raclette, Fondue Chinoise and Tatarenhut – We chose Walliser cheese fondue, with tomatoes and herbs – something I always wanted to try – and it was delicious! More info here.


A classic Swiss restaurant in the old town – I feel like there’s no need to introduce it since it’s a Basel “classic”. They serve fondue all year long, so it’s a location often chosen by the visitors – haven’t been yet but hipefully will head there for a fondue lunch once they reopen! More info here.

Dandy Pop Up restaurant at Viertel Dach

Biggest and extravagant raclette cheese selection and delicious cheese fondue in a cosy, wintery setting. They use cheese produced by Mylk in the Basel region. Also on my to-visit list once they open. More info here.

Hot Chocolate

My top 3 places to have a cup of liquid heaven :)):
1. Confiserie Schiesser – with the best views in town (on the picture above);
2. Xocolatl – big variety of drinking chocolate, delicious cakes and pralines;
3. Eiscafé Acero – italian-style hot chocolate so thick, it should be eaten with a spoon. Yumm!

Festive walk with takeaway Glühwein:

A nice way to spend a cold evening in the city – with the cup of warm Glühwein in your hands, Christmas trees shining beautifully and all the holiday lights on. The places below serve the Glühwein from Friday to Sunday (with no. 2 and 4 also serving it on Thursdays).

1. Chez Jeannot by the Tinguely Museum – this is where the tour starts and from there you can stroll along the Rhine to your next stop;
2. East West Side Hotel – near the Mittlere Brücke – it’s nice to cross the river with the Vogel Gryff afterwards;
3. Rollerhof Bistro at Münsterplatz – by the Riesenrad 🎡
4. Kohlmanns at Barfüsserplatz serves takeaway Glühwein in the weekends so if you continue after these three stops, it’s nice to finish there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s