Here is an updated summary for 2017 of my favorite events around the Christmas theme in Alsace and nearby Germany and Switzerland. They are ordered by date and alphabetically by towns and villages. Scroll down the page to find yours

Christmas market in Riquewihr
Christmas market in Riquewihr, Alsace – Dawn over the upper part of main street with Dolder tower

The Christmas period in the upper Rhine valley (Alsace and nearby Germany and Switzerland) starts every year more or less one month before Christmas. A lot – a big lot of Christmas events are organized all over the region: Christmas markets, concerts, story telling and nativity scenes. Some of them are daily and permanent and last for several weeks (see at the bottom of the page). I would recommend to visit them on weekdays, away from the crowd. Some others only happen at a specific date. Here are some of the events I like most. In order for every visitor to plan his holiday I classified them according to the calendar and dates of happening. All those events are happening every year more or less in the same order.

Permanent Christmas markets and events in Nov-Dec (alphabetical order).

ALTKIRCH – Dec 2, 2017 – January 7, 2018
The Enchanted Forest Special celebration in 2017, this going to be the 20th anniversary of the event. It i
s a magical forest with characters taken from fairy tales and legends of the Sundgau area (South of Alsace). It brings to life all the imagination of a region. The Enchanted Forest invests the city center for 4 weeks. Nearly 200 people and animals are involved in 26 illustrated stories. A wonderful experience out of the beaten track. After sunset.

Basel Christmas market
Basel Christmas market.
Every year Basel, a major Swiss city on the border between Switzerland, France and Germany, presents a beautiful and high quality Christmas market.

BASEL – From 23 November to December 22, 2017. Every day 11:00 – 20:30
The Basel Christmas market takes place on the Barfüsserplatz in the heart of the old town and in front of the cathedral. In a warm and magical atmosphere, merchants and craftsmen from the region and throughout Switzerland offer their products and demonstrate their skills throughout some 130 stalls and wooden illuminated chalets. The Christmas market in Basel is the largest in Switzerland. Easy access by train from Colmar.

Christmas market in Colmar, Alsace
Christmas market in Colmar, Alsace

COLMAR – Friday Nov 24, 2017 to Saturday Dec 30, 2017
The city of Colmar holds the second largest Christmas market in France after Strasbourg. Opening festivities of Christmas in Colmar start on 24 of November 2017. In fact, in Colmar, there is not only one Christmas marketThere are five Christmas markets with different historical contexts that await you in the old town center of this beautiful city of Colmar. Feel free to go there during the week and as early as the end of November. It will be less crowded and it will be more enjoyable. You will be able to see all things in detail without being jostled by the crowds that flock here on weekendsSee our dedicated page and pictures.

Baking Christmas cookies as in the past. Alsatian Living Museum in Ungersheim.
Baking Christmas cookies as in the past. Alsatian Living Museum in Ungersheim.

ECOMUSEE d’ALSACE – Alsace Living Museum –
Every day from November 25 2017 to January 7, 2018

The Living Museum of Alsace is located in Ungersheim between Colmar and Mulhouse. It is a complete village built with historical houses rescued over years everywhere in Alsace. Secrets for an authentic Christmas is a collection of exhibitions, storytelling, guided tours, etc. that take place every day from November 25 to January 1. A must see not to be missed!

Christmas market in Eguisheim, Alsace
Christmas market in Eguisheim, Alsace

EGUISHEIM – Saturday, Nov 25, 9:00 to 20:00Sunday, Dec 22 from 9:00 to 19:00 and from Dec 28 to Dec 31, from 9h to 19h and saturday until 20h.
Eguisheim is another beautiful medieval village on the Alsace wine route, a halfhour drive of Riquewihr. Beautiful Christmas market with a different theme each week followed after Christmas until Dec 30 by the market of the Magi.

FREIBURG im BREISGAU (Germany) – Nov 24 – Dec 24, 2017. Mon-Sat 10:00 am-8:30 pm, Sun 11:30 am-7:30 pm.
Located in the very heart of Freiburg’s beautiful old historical quarter, the Freiburg Christmas Market is held on the Rathausplatz, the Franziskanerstraße, the Unterlindenplatz and on the Kartoffelmarkt.

Gengenbach, Germany and the giant Advent Calendar
Gengenbach, Germany and the giant Advent Calendar

GENGENBACH (Germany) – The giant Advent Calendar — 28 November 2017 – Dec, 22Monday to Friday from 15:00 – 20:00, Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 – 20:00
Gengenbach is a beautiful historical city on the German side of the Rhine valley with plenty of romantic old houses with wooden frameworks, very similar to the houses we have in Alsace actually. In 2016 from the 25th of November until the 23rd of December (a day before Christmas Eve), the magnificent 200 year old Town Hall facade comes to a new life.
The opening ceremony of a new window is happening every day exactly at 18.00 o’clock.
The opening times of Gengenbach Advent market: Monday to Friday from 15:00 – 20:00, Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 – 20:00.
See our report and pictures of Gengenbach.

MEISENTHAL – The Craddle of the Christmas bauble.
From Saturday, November 11 to the end of december. Every day 14:00 – 18:00. Closed Dec 24-25.

Glass has been produced in Meisenthal since the early 18th century, and since the 19th century Christmas decorations from Meisenthal were famous. They say the Christmas baubles hanging in the Christmas firs were first invented and created there. It is possible to watch glassblowers in their activity of glassblowing, especially during the holiday season, when they make thousands of Christmas baubles in the old traditional and artisanal way. Take some home to decorate your own Christmas fir!
See our report and pictures about Meisenthal glass factory and Christmas baubles.

A drive to Meisenthal is to combine with a visit to the Cristalleries Royales de Saint-Louis (nearby) and the beautiful Musée Lalique, 40 Rue du Hochberg, 67290 Wingen-sur-Moder. In December, end the day on your way back with a stop at the Christmas market of Strasbourg.

Take home your own original Christmas baubles from Meisenthal
Take home your own original Christmas baubles from Meisenthal

MULHOUSE – From Nov 24, 2017 to Dec 28, 2017Every day from 10:00 to 20:00, closed Dec 25. 
A wonderful Alsatian Christmas market beautifully decorated in the heart of the historic center of Mulhouse. This Christmas market has an outstanding feature: the Christmas Fabrica fabric created each year for the occasion and which refers to the rich industrial and artistic past of Mulhouse on weaving.

Mulhouse Christmas market and Christmas Fabric.
Mulhouse Christmas market and Christmas Fabric.

OBERNAI – Saturday 25/Nov to Saturday 31/Dec. 2017  Monday-Thursday 10:00 – 19:00, Friday and Saturday until 20:00, Sunday opening at 09:00. Except DEC 24 and 31: 10:00 – 16:00, Dec 26 14:00 – 20:00. Closed on Dec 25 Christmas Day.
Obernai is another beautiful medieval city of Alsace. The thirty wooden chalets of the “Christmas Gastronomy in Alsace” Market invite you in an enchanting setting between scents of gingerbread and mulled wine scent to fill your baskets of local produce and crafts gifts.

The main Christmas market in Riquewihr, near the town hall, in the lower part of the village.
The main Christmas market in Riquewihr, near the town hall, in the lower part of the village.

RIQUEWIHR – Nov 25 to Dec 24, 2017From 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays and from 10:00 to 19:30 on Saturday and Sunday. Opens at 02:00 pm on Dec 25. Inaugural Nov 24.
Riquewihr is one of the most beautiful villages in France. The stalls of the plaza near the City Hall are open daily. But there are also other stands in some private courtyards of Riquewihr and even in some side streets.
See our dedicated page with pictures and practical hints and tips.

SELESTAT- historical craddle of the Christmas fir – Dec 1 2017, to Dec, 24, 2017 for the Christmas Markets.
Several exhibitions can be seen up to Jan, 7 2018.

Beautiful Christmas events. Sélestat in Alsace is the craddle of the Christmas fir (first written mention dating back to the year 1521) and presents beautiful exhibitions about the Christmas tree and its history. Not to be missed. The Christmas market itself starts on DEC 1 until DEC 24. Saint-Nicholas parade on DEC 6 afternoon. Some exhibitions last until JAN 7, 2018.
See our dedicated page with pictures and practical hints and tips.

Selestat in Alsace, hometown of the Christmas tree deserves a visit in any season but especially during the Christmas period, from end of November to beginning of January.
Selestat in Alsace, hometown of the Christmas tree deserves a visit in any season but especially during the Christmas period, from end of November to beginning of January.

STRASBOURG – From 24 November to 30 December 2017 : Christmas market every day from 10:00 to 20:00 (until 21:00 on Fridays and Saturdays). December 24: 10:00 to 18:00.
Strasbourg is certainly the world capital of Christmas. The whole historical city center is listed as World Heritage by UNESCO. Apart from the 300 wooden chalets of the several Christmas markets the scenery and the Christmas lights and decorations are absolutely beautiful.
See our dedicated page with pictures and important practical hints and tips.

Christmas market near the cathedral of Strasbourg with famous Kammerzel house in background
The Christmas market near the cathedral of Strasbourg, Alsace, dates back to 1570. See famous Kammerzel house in background.

THANN – Friday, Nov 24 to saturday, Dec 23 2017. Closed on Mondays. Tuesday to Thursday: 14:30 – 19:00, Friday 14:30 – 20:00, Saturday 10:00 – 20:00 – Sunday 10:00 – 19:00 – December 24: 10:00 – 17:00.
Thann is a little Alsatian city nested in a narrow valley near Mulhouse. It is famous for it incredible wine (on the Rangen hill) and for its beautiful church (Collégiale St-Thiébaut). From November 24 to December 23: Enter the magic of Christmas on the theme of White Christmas and discover the Christmas market around the Collegiate Church nestled in the heart of a decorated forest of firs. In the Middle Ages, during the Advent time before Christmas, holy tales and stories were played in front of churches. So it is in Thann on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Christmas celebration in Thann, Alsace
Christmas celebration in Thann, Alsace

First weekend of Advent (Nov 25-26, 2017)

On this first weekend of Advent all the permanent Christmas markets (see my list at the top of the page) will be open: Strasbourg, Riquewihr, Colmar, Mulhouse or Altkirch as well as the Christmas markets held on weekends only like Kaysersberg.

OSTHOUSE Christmas Trails  — The last edition was in 2015 … the next one will be in 2017!
Official website: www.lessentiersdenoel.fr

A superb sound and light show is taking place in Osthouse, a village beside Erstein, south of Strasbourg. The word “show” is probably a misnomer. It is an experience. It is a colorful immersion, cheerful and naive, in the world of fairy tales and legends of Christmas in Alsace. The last and tenth edition of this superb sound and light event has taken place in 2015. The next one will be in 2017. Stands regardless the weather
See my report and pictures on the 2012 Osthouse Christmas Trails.

Christmas market in Kaysersberg, Alsace
Christmas market in Kaysersberg, Alsace

Second weekend of Advent (Dec 2-3, 2017)

Again, all permanent Christmas markets listed at the bottom of this page plus all events related to St Nicholas’s Day. As I was a child St Nicholas’s Day was a major event. It is still like that in Alsace. Do not miss the St Nicholas’s Parade in Sélestat (see below).

OSTHOUSE Christmas Trails  — in 2017!
Official website: www.lessentiersdenoel.fr

A superb sound and light show is taking place in Osthouse, a village beside Erstein, south of Strasbourg
See my report and pictures on the 2012 Osthouse Christmas Trails.

RIBEAUVILLEDec 2-3 and 09-10, 2017. Saturday 10:00-19:00 and Sunday 10:00-18:00.
A well known and spectacular Christmas event. Everything as it might have been in the Middle Ages.
With dances, costumes and colourful characters …

Mediaval Christmas market at Ribeauvillé, Alsace
Mediaval Christmas market at Ribeauvillé, Alsace. Takes places every second and third weekend of Advent.

SELESTAT Procession of Saint-Nicholas, December 6, 2017 from 16:30
Procession of Saint-Nicholas and opening of the Christmas market. Spectacular night parade in the streets of downtown (from 16:30), speech by the saint patron of schoolchildren (18:00 – Victory Square) and distribution of sweets and hot chocolate to good children.

Sélestat remains a city somewhat unknown to tourists. Perhaps because they often rush on the highway from Strasbourg to Colmar without thinking of stopping at Sélestat. What a pity! Sélestat is a beautiful city with a rich historical and architectural heritage. Christmas animations are nice and tidy. It is also the historical birthplace of the Christmas tree, with the oldest written reference in the world dating back to 1521.

Saint Nicholas opens the Christmas market in Sélestat, Alsace.
Saint Nicholas opens the Christmas market in Sélestat, Alsace.

Third weekend of Advent (Dec 09-10, 2017)

This third weekend of Advent, the choice will become even more difficult as there are so many beautiful events to attend. I am afraid you will need several years to get it all done!

BERGHEIMDec 08 and 09-10, 2017. Friday 15:00-21:00, Saturday and Sunday 10:00-21:00.
Bergheim is another beautiful village on the wine route close to Ribeauvillé and Riquewihr. Combining tradition and creativity, this Christmas market will delight you with its warm and authentic atmosphere in the heart of the walled city of Bergheim. Also do not miss the beautiful exhibition of Nativity Scenes.

Nativity scene in Bergheim Alsace
Naive but beautiful Nativity scene displayed behind a window in Bergheim Alsace

BOUXWILLER (Bas-Rhin) – Dec 09 and 10, 2017. Saturday 11:00-20:00 and Sunday 11:00-19:00. Bouxwiller is a pretty Alsatian village of the Kochersberg, a small region between Saverne and Haguenau, famous for its preserved colorful traditions and painted Alsatian pine furniture. Every year in mid-December during a single weekend, stands a large Christmas market with nearly 150 exhibitors. Many of them offer delicious local produce, wines and gastronomic specialties, but also crafts, Nativity scenes and other Christmas decorations manufactured in Alsace. There are always lots of people, mostly locals who like to meet here. An authentic Christmas market off the beaten track.

Bouxwiller Christmas market
Bouxwiller Christmas market. Here some beautiful Nativity Scenes created locally are for sale at a very reasonable price.

BLACK FOREST OPEN AIR MUSEUM in GUTACH (Germany)
Dec 8-09-10, 2017. Friday 17:00 – 21:00, Saturday & Sunday 13:00 – 18:00.
The open air museum is normally closed in Winter but will open for a special Christmas Market event mid December every year. A very special place in a different atmosphere. See our report and pictures about a previous Christmas market at the Gutach Black Forest Living Museum.

Gutach Black Forest open air farm museum - Christmas market 2012
Gutach Black Forest open air farm museum – White Christmas market in 2012, a very special atmosphere.

NEUF BRISACH – Dec 08-10, 2017. From 14:00 to 19:00 on Friday, 10:00 to 21:00 on Saturday and 10:00 to 19:00 on Sunday.
Neuf-Brisach stronghold is listed as World Heritage by UNESCO. They present live Christmas traditions at the time of Vauban, the famous architect who built the stronghold in the 17th Century. Exhibitors and extras in period costumes, old trades, tavern, boar on the spit, farm animals … back in time with the Christmas Market as it was in the years 1700!

ORSCHWILLER  DEC 09 and 10, 2017
The «Authentique Village de Noël» (Authentic Christmas village) is an event that only takes place every 2 years. Therefore it is not to be missed this year 2017. Orschwiller is a small village on the Alsace wine route at the foot of Haut-Koenigsbourg. Family atmosphere of religious and popular tradition of the Nativity. Lively village, decorated and illuminated with passion by associations and residents. Enjoy an evening of lights and emotions. A beautiful moment indeed

Christmas time in Ottmarsheim, Alsace
Christmas market in Ottmarsheim near Mulhouse, Alsace.

OTTMARSHEIMDec 09 and 10, 2017. Saturday 10:00-20:00 and Sunday 10:00-19:00.
Unique in France, the Christmas market of Ottmarsheim owes its originality and success to the fact that museums come to exhibit and sell the products of their shops in addition to high quality artists who are also invited. Entertainment, strolling, concerts, storytelling … And last but not least, part of the celebration, one of the most original and beautiful medieval churches in Alsace on site hosts concerts and storytelling. Snacks by village associations.

RIBEAUVILLEDec 2-3 and 09-10, 2017. Saturday 10:00-19:00 and Sunday 10:00-18:00.
A well known and spectacular Christmas event. Everything as it might have been in the Middle Ages.
With dances, costumes and colourful characters …

Fourth weekend of Advent (Dec 16-17, 2017)

The giant illuminated Christmas fir of Grendelbruch
The giant illuminated Christmas fir of Grendelbruch near the mount St Odile, Alsace

See also the permanent markets: Strasbourg, Riquewihr, Colmar, Mulhouse or Altkirch as well as the Christmas markets held on weekends only like Kaysersberg.

GRENDELBRUCH Christmas with the woodcutters in a lonely village in the mountain. Dec 16-17, 2017. Concert on Sunday at 17:00. Christmas market with a beautiful nativity scene in the church of the village. Giant Christmas fir illuminated at the edge of the forest, in the mountain. This Christmas tree is illuminated every evening at sunset from end of November until mid-January. Beautiful and mysterious. Off the beaten path. I love it. Combine this with a visit to the little city and Christmas market of Rosheim in the same area or Obernai.

A spectacular show ends the Night Parade of Hans Trapp and Christkindel in Wissembourg, Alsace.
A spectacular show ends the Night Parade of Hans Trapp and Christkindel in Wissembourg, Alsace.

WISSEMBOURGNight Parade of Hans Trapp and Christkindel, Sunday, December 17, 2017 – 17:00
Wissembourg is just at the north end of Alsace. From Riquewihr or La Vancelle, it takes a good hour and a half drive (highway). The Christmas market in Wissembourg is held every weekend from end of November. But if you are looking for a different event, then spend the afternoon of December 20 with a trip to Wissembourg. You will participate in the torchlight procession around Christkindel and Hans Trapp (two typical Alsatian tale characters of the Christmas time) and discover this great magical event taking place in Wissembourg only.

Christmas markets happening on several weekends in December

Kaysersberg, a weekend's evening in December
Kaysersberg, a weekend’s evening in December

KAYSERSBERGFriday 24 November to Sunday 10 Dec  2017, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10:00 – 20:00. Then again every day from Friday 18 to Wednesday 23 December, 10:00 – 19:00.
The medieval town of Kaysersberg, protected by the shadow of the ruins of its castle, invites you to an enchanting ride in the heart of a picturesque and authentic 17th century city … A wonderful moment guaranteed for young and old!

Church of Mount Sainte Odile overlooking the plain of Alsace
Church of Mount Sainte Odile overlooking the plain of Alsace in the Winter. Fantastic view reaching as far as the Black Forest.

MONT SAINT ODILE Every Saturday and Sunday in the Advent time. From 10:00 to 17:00.
With its local art and c
rafts, the small Christmas market of the Mont Sainte-Odile will amaze you as much as its prestigious monastery. Fantastic view on the plain of Alsace and as far as the Black Forest. Take some time to visit the monastery, one of the most famous shrines in Alsace. When night has come drive back to the valley and make a stop at Rosheim and Obernai to visit their Christmas markets.

Christmas lights and market in the romanesque city of Rosheim, Alsace
Christmas lights and market in the romanesque city of Rosheim, Alsace.
Every weekend in December.

ROSHEIMFrom Saturday Dec 02 to Sunday Dec 17, 2017. From 16:00 to 20:00 on Saturdays and 14:00-19:00 on Sundays.
Rosheim is a pretty little medieval city near Obernai and the Mount St Odile monastry. Rosheim has a unique old medieval church where you will see a great Nativity scene. Beautiful Christmas light shows after sunset.

TURCKHEIMFriday 24 Nov to Sunday 17 Dec. 2017 Fridays from 16:00 to 20:00, Saturdays and Sundays 11:00 to 20:00. Then again from Monday 21 Dec to Sunday 27, 15:00 – 20:00.
Turckheim celebrates Christmas every year, with the Christmas ceremonial of the Advent calendar … Not to mention his famous night watchman in his traditional costume. You are invited to go with him in his nocturnal round. He will tell the story of the city of Turckheim while punctuating the route of anecdotes and Alsatian songs. The night watchman’s round starts at 22:00 in front of the city hall.

Stay in a beautiful accommodation with a festive Christmas atmosphere

To make your visit in Alsace a memorable one, stay at les Remparts Riquewihr in one of our new holiday apartments, set in a historic winery facing the vineyards of Riquewihr.

We also have a holiday home in the beautiful mountain village of La Vancelle. La Vancelle is a haven in a prime location opposite the castle of Haut-Koenigsbourg. It is away from the noise and bustle but easily accessible in all seasons.

Riquewihr and Vancelle are very practical bases for visiting and touring throughout Alsace, Vosges and even nearby Germany and Switzerland.

Our White Stork luxury apartment in Riquewihr. From mid-November to mid-January, all our apartments, small or large, have their own Christmas tree.
Our White Stork luxury apartment in Riquewihr. From mid-November to mid-January, all our apartments, small or large, have their own Christmas tree.

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