Christmas Markets In Geneva: Your Ultimate Guide (2023)

christmas markets geneva

Geneva is a fabulous city to visit in the winter, and the Christmas Markets are a big reason why. With countless wooden stalls and chalets selling everything from scented candles to cured meat, the Swiss Christmas Market is undoubtedly an event you need to experience.

Christmas lights, mulled wine, fondue, unique crafts, open-air ice skating, and live music are just some of the things associated with Switzerland’s Christmas Markets and Geneva is no exception. The city comes alive during the holidays and the stunning decorations make it so easy for locals and visitors in Geneva to embrace the festive atmosphere.

So, without further ado, here’s all you need to know about the best Christmas Markets Geneva has to offer!

Dates and Locations (in 2023)

Noël au Quai

Christmas in Geneva
  • When: November 16th – December 24th
  • Where: Quai du Mont Blanc

Noël au Quai is Geneva’s main Christmas Market event and probably the best out of the bunch. It takes place at Quai du Mont Blanc, so in addition to delicious food and stunning decorations, you’ll also enjoy scenic views of Lake Geneva.

It’s important to note that the location for this Christmas Market used to be Jardin Anglais. This year, they have moved it to Quai du Mont Blanc for 2023.

This Christmas market traditionally opens in mid-November (in 2023 the opening day is November 16th) and closes on Christmas Eve. The Christmas Market is open daily, usually from 11 AM until 10 PM, but keep in mind that different parts of the Christmas Market observe different opening times.

The three main parts of the Christmas Market at Quai du Mont Blanc are the wooden stalls with food and souvenirs, the Christmas Pub, and the Fondue Chalet. The wooden stalls and chalets are the central part of the Christmas Market, with all the best foods, drinks, and souvenirs.

The Fondue Chalet is always the place to be if you’re in the mood for Fondue, and the Christmas Pub is the perfect destination for afternoon drinks with friends.

Christmas Walking Tour

If you just want to be take to the very best spots during Chrismas ni Geneva, then why not indulge in a walking tour. This Geneva Christmas Tour takes you to all the highlights including:

  • The most beautifully decorated places
  • Christmas Market Rue de Mont Blanc
  • The Miracle Ship
  • To find the best Christmas gifts
CHECK AVAILABILITY

Mont Blanc Christmas Market

Christmas in Geneva
Christmas in Geneva
  • When: 24 November to 25 December
  • Where: Rue du Mont-Blanc 22

Another popular market is the Mont Blanc Christmas Market, and the great news is that it is quite close to the main train station (Cornavin). It will be here for a whole month, from late November until Christmas.

The market is set up in the pedestrian zone, making it the perfect spot for rustic chalets and local specialty stands to set up. The stands will offer typical Christmas market fare such as mulled wine, burgers, baked goods and candy. And it is a great spot to grab a unique Chrismas gift from the local artisans selling:

  • scarfs, shawls, hats
  • jewelry, necklaces
  • wooden crafts, wooden kitchen accessories
  • candles, calendars, books, and toys

Noël au Jardin (Not This Year)

  • When: Currently not scheduled
  • Where: Jardin Anglais

Jardin Anglais used to host the main Christmas Market event in Geneva for several years, but that’s no longer true as of 2023. In previous years, Noel au Jardin featured Christmas lights, beautiful decorations, and numerous wooden stalls with mulled wine, local foods, fondue, cured meats, cheeses, and handmade items.

However, there’s still no information on whether there will be any Christmas Market event at Jardin Anglais in 2023. I contacted the organizers of the Noel au Quai, and they weren’t sure if Jardin Anglais would host anything this year. I will update the post if any new information comes to light.

Christmas Market at Place de la Fusterie

Christmas Market at Place de la Fusterie
Christmas Market at Place de la Fusterie – Image courtesy of Matteo Castelli
  • When: 15 days before Christmas
  • Where: Place de la Fusterie

Place de la Fusterie is a public square in the old town of Geneva. The square hosts flea and produce markets every couple of days throughout the year, with a more permanent Christmas market on the days leading up to Christmas.

The market here lasts only about ten days, but it’s very different from the other Christmas market events in Geneva. There aren’t as many street food stalls, and you’ll mostly see vendors selling antiques, crafts, and loads of second-hand items.

You can buy clothes, shoes, books, art, and so many other things here, and it will be cheaper than in most other stores in Geneva. The second-hand books got me, and I genuinely think that’s reason enough to visit and check out what’s available at this market.

You’ll also find more traditional Christmas decorations here, but Merche de la Fusterie is mostly about local artisans promoting their work.

Ice Skating At Parc des Bastions

The Christmas Market at Parc des Bastions in 2018
The Christmas Market at Parc des Bastions in 2018
  • When: November 18th – February 25th
  • Where: Parc des Bastions

Parc des Bastions is a beautiful public park on the grounds of the University of Geneva which used to host its own Christmas Market event. However, as of 2023, the wooden stalls that used to be in this park are being moved to Quai Mont Blanc, so I’m not really sure if there will be a proper Christmas Market event at Parc des Bastions.

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The entire place will be decorated with Christmas lights and the park will still get a big open-air ice skating rink, so there are still ways to have fun here. The Bastions Ice Rink is free for everyone, and the fee to rent skates is just 2 CHF, which is probably the cheapest in all of Switzerland. The rink stays in the park from late November until late February.

Carouge Christmas Market

Carouge
Carouge
  • When:
    • Friday December 15 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    • Saturday December 16 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
    • Sunday December 17 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Where: rue Saint-Joseph and Place du Marché, Carouge

If you are in Geneva in mid-December, the Carouge Christmas market might be worth a visit.Just a 10-minute tram ride from the heart of Geneva, so you can easily visit the charming Geneva suburb, see the Christmas Market, and be back in the city in under an hour. Just be aware it is only on for three days.

During this time, the lovely town is adorned with traditional Christmas lights and many other decorations, giving the alleys in the historic center that winter wonderland feel. They are also adding a Santa’s mailbox on Place de Sardinia, where you can send a letter to Santa and get a response if you post it by December 16th!

And, there are lots of other Christmas attractions in the area like an ice skating rink, light installations, sculptures, and Sunday shopping, if you want to make a day of it.

The Carouge Christmas Market is a much smaller scale than the main event in Geneva proper, but it’s equally charming. You can still get mulled wine, delicious local treats, and shop for unique souvenirs, plus you’ll probably spend less money here than at Noel au Quai.

Montreux Christmas Market

Christmas in Montreux
Christmas in Montreux
  • When: November 23rd – December 24th
  • Where: Grand’ Rue 24, Montreux

The Montreux Christmas Market is not technically in Geneva, but it is on the shore of Lake Geneva. It’s also just an hour away from the city by train, and I think that’s doable for a half-day excursion. If you’re in Geneva for a while during Christmas, it’s worth it to get out of the city and explore other events in the region.

This is one of the best Christmas Markets in Switzerland, especially for families. Montreux Noël has hosted Santa’s house for twenty years, and children are welcome to visit it and meet Santa. They can also see Santa flying above the market, which doesn’t happen that often during Advent.

There’s even a Christmas Village where you can see the hardworking elves, and I think Montreux embraces the festive atmosphere better than many Christmas Markets elsewhere in the world.

The Christmas Market in Montreux takes place from late November until Christmas Eve and it’s open every day from 10-11 AM until 10-11 PM. The artisan stalls close shop a little earlier in the evening (around 8-9 PM), but the stalls with food and drinks stay open longer.

Food & Drinks

Farmers market in Geneva
Farmers market in Geneva

The best thing about Christmas Markets is the wide selection of food and drinks. Well, it’s my favorite part and I can’t tell you how many times I struggled to decide between mulled wine and hot chocolate so much I ended up getting both.

Obviously, the best food at any Christmas Market in Switzerland is going to be fondue. It’s the perfect dish to warm you up on a cold evening in December, and it always tastes amazing. Raclette cheese is also a close second – the cheese is the star of this dish, and potatoes and meat are nowhere near as important.

You’ll also see loads of traditional Christmas cookies and sweets on sale at the various vendors, as well as a tonne of chocolate, cheeses, and cured meats.

What To Buy

If you don’t spend all your money on chocolate snacks, mulled wine, and fondue, you can spend it on Christmas decorations and unique souvenirs instead. Christmas Markets are the perfect opportunity to buy artisan Christmas decorations that you won’t find elsewhere, but also artisan baked goods and desserts.

Most street food vendors at Geneva Christmas Markets also sell cheese and chocolates, which are the two most important ingredients in Switzerland. If you want to take home some perishable goods, you’ll find loads of options at the Geneva Christmas markets.

Also, don’t forget to look for festive souvenirs. Many items that are considered traditional Swiss souvenirs get the Christmas upgrade – think music boxes playing Christmas songs, a festive fondue set, and loads of handmade wooden items.

Hotels Near the Christmas Market

Geneva Hotel
Hotel in Geneva

Geneva is not a very big city, and all of the hotels in the historic center of Geneva will be within easy walking distance of the main Christmas Market event. Fairmont Grand Hotel Geneva is on the same street as the Christmas Market, so you can start browsing the wooden stalls as soon as you exit the lobby. It’s also a 5-star hotel with a nightly rate of almost 600 CHF.

Hotel d’Angleterre Geneva is another five-star hotel just a short stroll away from the Christmas Market. This hotel is at least 620 CHF per night, and it’s worth it for the premium location and exceptional service.

Beau-Rivage Genève, Le Richemond, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel de la Paix, and Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues are all five-star hotels with exorbitant nightly rates that offer a view of Noel au Quai. In general, the area around Quai du Mont Blanc is home to some of Geneva’s most expensive hotels, so accommodation super close to the Christmas Market does not come cheap.

Consider staying at Pâquis-Temple, Cornavin, and Grottes-Saint-Gervais for more affordable accommodation that’s still super close to the Geneva Christmas Market (a 5-10 minute walk). Novotel Genève Centre, ibis Genève Centre Lac, Tor Hôtel Genève, Hôtel Astoria Genève, and Hôtel St-Gervais are all significantly more affordable (100-300 CHF per night) and still very close to Quai du Mont Blanc.

Tips for Visitors

Bains de Paquis
Bains de Paquis

Don’t stay in one place if you’re in the city for several days. Although Noel au Quai is the main Christmas Market event in Geneva, it’s certainly not the only one, and it might not even be the best one. Check out all the Christmas Markets in the city, and if you have enough time in Geneva, I highly recommend visiting other nearby cities and seeing what’s happening there.

Reserve tables at the Christmas Pub and Fondue Chalet. The Christmas Market in Geneva gets very busy in the evenings, and it’s unlikely you will be able to get a table without a reservation.

Visit the market at noon for shopping. The crowds will be the smallest because most locals are at work and the children are at school.

Stay outside central Geneva for cheaper accommodation. Most tourists in Geneva are eligible for a free public transport card and you can commute into the city for free. Most suburbs are 10-20 minutes away from central Geneva by public transport, so it’s a short commute.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Geneva worth visiting during the Christmas Season?

Geneva is absolutely worth visiting during the Christmas season. It’s an entirely different experience of the city than a summer trip, but nonetheless a worthwhile one.  

Is it worth going to Geneva Christmas markets?

Yes, it’s worth going to the Geneva Christmas markets. They’re an excellent opportunity to try local foods, buy unique trinkets and souvenirs, and also just get into the Christmas spirit with the locals. 

What time do Christmas markets in Geneva open?

The Christmas markets in Geneva usually open around 11 AM. Some parts of the Christmas Markets (pubs) might open later in the day, normally in the afternoon. 

Written by Ashley Faulkes
As a twenty-year resident of Switzerland, I am passionate about exploring every nook and cranny of this beautiful country, I spend my days deep in the great Swiss outdoors, and love to share these experiences and insights with fellow travel enthusiasts.

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