Barfüsserpl., Basel, Switzerland
Switzerland's Biggest, Best, and BrightestHome to one of Switzerland's biggest and best Christmas markets, Basel shines like a Johann Wanner handblown tannenbaum ornament from late October through December every year. The market has expanded to two locations: the Barfüsserplatz and the Münsterplatz in the center of town where you'll find close to 200 artisans selling their wares from wooden chalets. In the center of the magic is a huge Christmas tree on the Münsterplatz festooned with handcrafted ornaments from Johann Wanner, the King of Christmas, whose Christmas House store in the Old Town is a year round celebration of the holiday (during the holiday season, there's also a Christmas-themed restaurant). A visit to the store will make you feel like you've gotten to the North Pole and have snuck into the elves' workshop! The market is also a wonderful place to try Basel food specialties like Läckerli—a hard spiced biscuit whose name means delicious. Don't let anyone tell you it's just gingerbread! One of the main ingredients is a splash of the local Kirsch.
Check out the Holiday Spirit itinerary, created by Judy Perl of Judy Perl Worldwide Travel, on AFAR Journeys.