December is a wonderful festive month to enjoy lights, festive activities and Christmas carols, especially at the Bellinzona Christmas Market in Ticino Switzerland. Do you want to explore a Christmas Market surrounded by historical UNESCO castles? Then Bellinzona is your place to be this December!
With over 200 market stands, a huge ice skating rink and the most delicious items you can buy, the Bellinzona christmas Market is well worth visiting during Christmas. The market is held on only two Sundays before Christmas, so you need to plan this in your diary to not miss out.
Read on to see the dates and opening times, what you can see, our festive photos from 2023 and the best way to arrive in Bellinzona for the event.
Where Is BellinzonA, Switzerland?
Bellinzona is the capital of the Ticino Canton, in the South of Switzerland. This is one of the Italian speaking cantons situated below the Alps, where it is mostly warm and sunny – even in December!
As the capital, it is home to around 45,000 residents. The city is surrounded by the Lepontine Alps to the east and west, and the Lugano Prealps to the south.
Bellinzona is known for its three beautifully UNESCO status castles, Castelgrande, Sasso Corbaro and Montebello. All are visitable and open to the public, where you can also learn their important roles in history.
You can check our Ultimate Guide about Bellinzona for more information, history, things to do and places to eat!
When Is The Bellinzona Christmas Market?
Bellinzona Christmas Market 2023
The market for 2023 is held only twice on the 10th and the 17th December. Both dates are on a Sunday.
The opening times are from 10am to 6pm.
Bellinzona Christmas Market 2024
The market for 2024 has not yet been announced officially, but we can expect this to be on 15th and the 22nd December 2024 as the last two sundays before Christmas 2024.
The opening times are from 10am to 6pm.
What Activities Are There At The Bellinzona Christmas Market?
The Christmas Market
First things first, it’s great to share they have around 200 market stalls. They start on the main street not far from the Bellinzona train station, and continue all the way along the cobblestone main street to the Independence Square. Throughout this route, the shops and restaurants are also open with festive menu’s and things to buy too!
The market stands have such a wide range of items and gifts, for yourself and loved ones. We saw jewellery, cuddly toys, wooden home decorations, dolls, knitted items, felted birds, glass designs, handing decorations, scarfs and gloves, winter clothing and so on!
We also saw lots of items to buy that you can eat, such as chocolates, fudge, cakes, sweets, cookies, ticino wines, honey, cheeses, meats, jam spreads, bread, crackers and more!
Many stalls also have a range of refreshments to eat or drink straight away, like gluhwijn, hot chocolate and cakes. You can also get some warmer choices like freshly made polenta!
TIP: If you are local and interested in having a stand for your own local products or homemade items, you can usually rent one for CHF 70 per Sunday.
There are a few activities for children to join in while at the Christmas markets. For example there is a bouncy castle that allows children to climb to the top and jump down. There is also ice skating, which we share more about below.
Check also the Christmas Village for more children activities during the day!
Live Festive Music
Throughout the market there are people (local bands and residents) that are playing live music. It’s very festive, so that when you are walking along the market, you hear the music as you go.
For 2023 there were quite a few live music locations we heard, such as a girl singing beautifully to a recorded track, a couple singing with their guitars and also two ladies singing very happy festive songs! so fun!
Situated at the piazza next to the main castle of Bellinzona, you can find a huge Christmas tree surrounded by an ice skating rink. Such a beautiful spot for photos, as well as location to grab a bite to eat or drink in the local food stands surrounding the rink.
You can take your own ice skates, else there is the possibility to rent them for all sizes. There are also the plastic chairs (as shown in the photo) that you can rent to help skate around the rink for your balance.
Tip: Make sure to dress appropriately for ice skating – with gloves and suitable warm clothing!
We have a fully-loaded, high content Ticino Guide listing local things to see, do and explore with each season: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.CLICK HERE
How To Get To Bellinzona?
If you are in Ticino, we can highly recommend that you visit with public transport. Depending on where you’d be visiting from, there are multiple trains a day stopping in the capital of Ticino.
Parking in the city center of Bellinzona is very limited, however if you do wish to try and find parking, you can consider the following:
- Autosilo Piazza del Sole SA – parking garage open 27/4 and you can pay by cash or card
- Parcheggio Tatti – giant parking area but payment with cash only
- Parcheggio Ex Stallone – a short walk from the center and possible to pay with the app or sms