Christmas Lights in Switzerland

The Swiss and their love of Christmas Lights.

Christmas lights in Switzerland simply make the dull nights of winter more exciting. With the sun setting at 4.30pm, sparkling golden lights bring a sense of magic to those short dark winter days.  It is so lovely to having the yellow sparkling lights to look forward to each evening! But it isn’t just those twinkling lighhts that light up the dark winter’s night, light shows and even lantern lite paths can be found all over the country.

Lights at home 

No need to travel—that Christmas feeling can be had simply by sitting with a warm drink at home surrounded by Christmas lights. And while the Swiss don’t traditionally put up their Christmas tree until around the 24th December, they put their Christmas lights up inside and outside the home at the beginning of December. 

In our family we keep it massively simple and hang our lights outside our lounge room window and draped over the hedges on our balcony. Hanging out lights is a 5 minute process as I don’t take my lights down in January, but after the Christmas season we just turn them off. So come the end of November all we have to do is plug them back in again.  Not only do I enjoy the lights on my own home, but also as we go about our normal activities - seeing homes decorated just brings a smile to my face when I would much prefer sitting at home with a book under a blanket. 

Lights around cities and villages 

It seems like every village in Switzerland has some sort of Christmas lights hanging along the roads. From simple stars hanging off lampposts to more elaborate lights that hang illuminate entire streets - going for a walk on a winters evening turns magical during the Christmas season. Locals love the lights at Hotel Seeburg in Luzern, and of course the magical LED lights “Lucy” hanging down over the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich. The Christmas tree in Lugano is also worthy of a visit, and you can see the giant tree standing proudly each day in December in the Piazza Reforma. 

Light Events

It isn’t just Christmas lights decorating the streets—some towns and cities put on light shows to entertain the holiday crowds. 

  • Klingendesadvents fentster, Rheinfelden on 13th December with light projections and a brass band. 

  • Illumniarium, Zürich: daily during December the courtyard of the LandesMuseum in Zurich is turned into a festive show for the eyes, ears  as well as the tummy.

  • Lenzerheide:  The forest in the ski resort of Lenezerheide illuminates with lights, musical entertainment each evening and a mini village of wooden chalets dotted through the forest selling everything from specialities from the regions to glühwein and soup. Open daily from the 14th December, pre order your tickets to avoid disappointment.

  • Lichterschwimmen, Zürich : Made by students of the local Zurich schools, you can watch the lights swim down the Limat River from 6pm on December 20thPerhaps you can  combine this with a visit to the Zurich Christmas markets.

  • Lichternacht, Thun: Visit Thun on 22nd December for the “lichternacht” or light night - where the Castle, Parliament building and church are specially lit up. Not just pretty lights, there also is a special program including fairytales in the castle, a display about Christmas in Switzerland as well as food trucks and a Middle Ages Market. 

Light up the path 

Twinkly fairy lights are not the only way to bring a bit of light into your dark winters evening. Many villages also create a lichterweg - walking paths filled with candles or lanterns. All you need is a dusting of snow to make these paths even more magical. Bring along a Thermos filled with glühwein or punsch for the kids and make an evening of it. Some of the paths do have places to eat and drink, too.

  • Unterägeri, Zug  - 3km long path with 304 lanterns 

  • Baar, Zug  - 1.5 km long path light by around 2000 LED lights 

  • Hünenberg, Zug: 1.5km long path 

  • Säntis, Appenzell: On Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings between until the 16th March, but between 25th December - 6th January every evening the 2km prepared winter path lit with lanterns will take you through the winter snowy wonderland Naturerlebnispark Schwägalp/Säntis. Combine it with a raclette or fondue on one of the local hotels. 

  • Valanave in Filisur, Graubünden: open daily with a special programme on Sundays.

  • Weihnachstweg Heiligenschwend, Bern: open most weekends and around Christmas during December with 150 lanterns. 

  • Lichterweg near Aarau: open only 15, 16 and 17th of December as long as the weather is not rainy and stormy. 

  • Berghof Montpelon, Solothurn: On a small farm in the village of Gänsbrunnen, close to the border of Bern you will find a Christmas Path. 

  • Estavyer Le Lac, Vaud: Each years business and private homes create nativity scenes for visitors to walk around and enjoy - visit in the evening where lights add a touch of magic. 

  • Sattel Hochstuckli, opens each Saturday evening from 15.12

Light up the slopes 

Many ski areas will reserve an evening (or more) during the winter season when they light up the slopes and open it up to either nighttime skiing or sledding.  Check out these options or google “Nachtschlitten” in your region. 

Christmas Lights to enjoy in Switzerland