Switzerland has some of the most picturesque, wintery landscapes around, but when Christmas returns, its capital, Zurich, goes all out. We're talking Swarovski-studded markets galore.
The air is suffused with the scents of cinnamon from gingerbread and mulled wine, beeswax from freshly dipped candles and caramel from roasted nuts, while the night sky is filled with the glow of 12,000 LED fairy lights all twinkling on, rivalling the stars. On the 23rd November the lights are officially switched on and from that moment onwards, Christmas cheer is carolled through the sparkling air.
With no shortage of festive Christmas markets around the city, the one at Zurich’s main station is possibly the grandest. The largest covered market in Europe, it has an extravagant centrepiece of a 15m tall Christmas tree that is literally dripping in Swarovski crystals and a plethora of little wooden huts selling roasted almonds, mulled wine and handmade gifts.
For children (or indeed those that are young at heart) there is the adorable and very popular Sechseläutenplatz Christmas village that also opens on November 22nd 2018, directly in front of Zurich's striking Opera House. An interactive live installation that opens Santa’s home to anyone who has Christmas spirit in their heart. Then there is the Santa Claus Christmas Parade, which sees Zurich’s streets lined with children all welcoming in their favourite Christmas figure.
Should you wish, you could also slip on some skates and hit the ice at three equally stunning rinks around Zurich – in a forest, beside Lake Zurich itself and in front of the Opera House in Old Town, let's be honest - ice-skating doesn’t get much better than this.
Sip on a mug of mulled wine or hot chocolate, aware of the distant glow of white-capped mountains, and realise with a sigh that you will simply have to come back every year; if you don’t, Christmas just won’t be the same.
For a fabulous place to stay we recommend culture kid favourite, The Widder, now with its brand new renovated Widder Bar & Kitchen, the gastro hotspot for those stylish fiends in the know (and those who like their wintertime tipple, too).
For more on all things festive fun peek in out travel journal for a very Viennese Christmas.
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