The Christmas market at Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz in Basel is one of the prettiest and largest in Switzerland. Many Christmas markets were originally set up at the base of grand cathedrals of Europe. In Basel, two churches share the honors: the Münster, the town’s former cathedral, and Barfüsserkirche, a church named after its original founders, the barefoot Franciscans. New this year, an impressive Christmas pyramid in the passageway beside the church.
At “Barfi”, as the locals call the square, vendors of handmade goods vie for attention with Glühwein stands and a tiny ferris wheel for children. Everything is set against a backdrop of the Barfüsserkirche and across the square, the hilltop Lohnhof, a convent-turned-prison-turned fine hotel and apartment building.
Traditional displays include a hat maker, stands selling Bratwurst, fruit bread, candies, and potato puffs with salmon or apple compote sides. One of my favorite stops is the crepe and waffle stand just beside the church.
Surrounded by history
Plenty to eat and drink
A lively gathering place
Barfüsserplatz is a hive of activity year-round. A twice-monthly flea market, concerts, even sporting events draw crowds of locals and visitors. The church houses the primary location of the wonderful Basel Historical Museum, well worth a look-see.
Don’t know Basel? Head around the corner to the tourist information office in Stadt-Casino. The helpful staff there offer brochures and visitor advice, as well as Basel-themed mementos.