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Sample the best local produce, buy yourself a unique souvenir or join in the fun of a folklore festival with an all you can drink wine tasting event at Switzerland’s must-visit markets.
A short tram ride from Geneva’s centre is Carouge, where you’ll find a lively weekly market. Although smaller than the Plainpalais market, there is plenty of local produce on offer from fresh fruit and veg, honeys and jams to cheese and wine. You won’t be disappointed by the variety on offer and it’s the ideal place to grab breakfast or lunch to start off your weekend.
Opening hours: Wednesdays and Saturdays – early morning to 5pm
Every Wednesday and Saturday, Geneva’s Plainpalais square turns into Geneva’s largest flea market full of odd trinkets, antiques, clothes, old books and food stalls. It’s the perfect place to pick up a unique gift or grab a cheap bite to eat from the food trucks. On Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, Plainpalais hosts the biggest farmers’ market where you can pick up fresh local produce for cheap prices.
Flea market opening hours: Saturday and Wednesday – 8am-5pm.
Farmers’ market opening hours: Sunday – early morning to 5pm. Tuesdays and Fridays – 2pm – 5pm
Along Lake Geneva, the pretty lakeside town of Nyon is the one of the region’s best and most picturesque flea markets. Stalls stretch along the lake’s shore for over a kilometre and you can pick up anything from unusual crockery to vintage clothing. When the market hits town, all of Nyon’s shops and restaurants stay open, which is unusual for Switzerland, so it’s a great time to explore.
Opening hours: Last Sunday of the month – 8am – 6.30pm
The Lausanne market takes over the city’s pedestrianised streets twice a week. You can browse antiques or whet your pallet with local delicacies in a relaxed atmosphere. Along Rue de St-François and Rue de Bourg you can sample beers from the region and seasonal fruits and vegetables, alongside spice sellers and cheese and meat vendors.
On Tuesdays and Saturdays, Vevey’s Place du Marché turns from a car park into a marketplace. During July and August, the casual market turns into a celebration of Swiss folklore. Traditional arts and crafts are sold, alphorns are played, dancers dance and local wine makers set up tasting stalls. Buy a glass (you only pay for the first drink) and join in the riotous fun. Traditional costumes are encouraged but not compulsory.
The folklore market talks place between 9th July and 26 August.
Off-beat doesn’t cut it at the Rosenhofmarkt in Zurich’s old town. First started by a group of hippies in 1973, the market has retained its free spirit and you can buy anything from precious stones, Native American silver jewellery to hand-woven scarves and antiques. While you’re soaking up the positive vibes, you can also peruse a few stands with traditional Swiss creations.
Opening hours: March – October on Thursday 10am – 8pm, Saturday 10am – 5pm
There are plenty of great Christmas markets in Switzerland, but few match the splendour of the Montreux Noël festival. Around half a million visitors every year take the trip to the month-long celebrations. Among the many other attractions, Montreux’s famous Chillon Castle is turned into a medieval wonderland, with jugglers, storytellers and deliciously tempting meat roasting over open fires.
Opening hours are available at the Montreux Noël website.