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Switzerland

Festive Cheer at Zurich’s Christmas Markets

“A day filled with twinkling lights, mulled wine, sparkling Christmas trees  and festive cheer”

white icicles on the bottom of photo with a star at the top. The rest of the photo is a blurry orangey white lit background

 

 Christmas Holidays

We had been travelling Europe for eight months and were leaving the campervan in Athens for a couple of weeks, to head to Bettmeralp, Switzerland for a family ChristmasWe were arriving in Switzerland at Zürich airport so we decided to stay overnight before heading onwards to Bettmeralp. We could then experience the magic of the Zurich Christmas markets. Our mission was to get our fill of Christmas Cheer by exploring the four main Christmas Markets in the city.

Four Christmas Markets in Zurich

Niederdorf Christmas Market

Zürich’s oldest Christmas Market (Weihnacht Market) is held in the  Niederdorf quarter of the picturesque Old Town. Here, the festive market stalls lined the main thoroughfare and festooned off into side streets. The perfect place to lose yourself in the Christmas Atmosphere. 

multi-coloured hanging plastic stars in Christmas market stall
Christmas colour

Christmas was only four days away.  However, as we had been travelling through rural Greece for the past few weeks, we hadn’t experienced any of the usual frivolity and Christmas scenes that get you in the Christmas mood. Therefore, it was a treat to be surrounded by the sights and smells of Christmas in these meandering alleyways. 

Merry Christmas Sign in the Christmas Markets

The 11th Century Fraumunster Church, across the River Limmat made for an eye-catching backdrop to a couple of the Christmas market stalls here, with its elegant copper-topped spire standing out against the pale, winter sky.

Two Christmas market stalls selling bags and clothes with a church in background with green-blue spire
Looking across the Limmat River towards the Fraumunster Church

We walked back along the Limmat river front towards our next Christmas Market, the Wienachtsdorf Market. Even the winter covered fishing boats added a certain charm and crispness to the already chilled air.

several boats with blue covers - buildings on other side of river
Zürich along the River Limmat

Wienachtsdorf Market – the Urban Christmas Village

Red building with large toy soldiers either side and white doors leading inside
Stall with intricate Christmas decorations of all sorts.

Zurich’s ‘Wienachtsdorf’, the urban Christmas Village, can be found near the Lakeshore, in front of the Opera House. Around a hundred stalls formed the ‘village’, with a range of culinary delights, local handicrafts and even an ice rink. Unfortunately, the music playing was general pop songs rather than Christmas songs, which didn’t lend itself to creating a Christmassy vibe. This market might be better to visit at night with the Christmas lights lending a festive mood.

With numb hands and lips turning blue, we headed back to the hotel to warm up and have a small break, before venturing back out to visit the remaining two Christmas markets. 

Werdmuhleplatz Christmas Market with the ‘Singing Christmas Tree’

A couple of hours later, we were thawed out and raring to go again. We made our way to the central train station and followed the signs for the Bahnhofstrasse in the pedestrian subways.

As we came near the top of the steps at the exit, we were welcomed by a surreal image of thousands of twinkling stars. This sight was made even more beautiful by the reflections on the shimmering rain-soaked street.

Nightime with rain on street and reflections of christmas fairy lights which are hanging down in vertical lines from above
Zürich’s Bahnhofstrasse Christmas lights at night

Further along the street was the Werdmuhleplatz Market with its renowned unique attraction, the ‘Singing Christmas Tree’. Unfortunately, the rain gave no thought to the evening’s festivities. It bucketed down, just as the ‘Singing Christmas Tree’ prepared to serenade its audience. Nevertheless, the choir took its place on the tiered podium, in the shape of a giant Christmas tree, seemingly unperturbed by the relentless downpour. Meanwhile, visitors and locals alike, sipped mulled wine huddled beneath umbrellas and hoods enjoying the impressive spectacle.

A podium shaped as a christmas tree with choiur singers dressed in red on the different tiers
The famous ‘Singing Christmas Tree’

Christkindlimarkt – Train Station Christmas Market

With warm mulled wine pleasantly flowing through our veins, we headed back to the train station and Zurich’s most central Christmas Market, Christkindlimarkt. It is one of the largest indoor Christmas markets in Europe and is in the main concourse of the Train Station.

The centrepiece of this market is the 50 foot Swarovski Christmas tree. It looked oddly out-of-place in a train station, but stood majestically, with its thousands of sparkling crystals dripping from its branches.

A 50 ft christmas tree with crystals hanging on the branches
The 50ft Swarovski Christmas tree

This was by far the busiest market so far, but that may have been due to our timing.  The stalls, decked out in all their glory, enticed onlookers with their festive temptations. We lost count of the many varieties of mulled wines on offer and there were an array of food stalls to choose from. We settled on a steaming veggie curry and dhal. Not particularly Christmas fare, but delicious none the less. 

Christmas cheer full to the brim, and the warmth of the mulled wine wearing off, we decided to call it a day. Four Christmas Markets in one day’s not bad going after all. 

Good To Know

Accommodation

We stayed at the Bristol Hotel, a 5 min walk from Zürich main train station.
A good basic and relatively cheap hotel that was perfect for our one night stay.

Getting there

We left the Campervan at  Athens Mega Air parking (booking completed online via Parkcloud) who provide a free shuttle to Athens airport. 

Flight from Athens to Zürich Airport about 2 ½ hours long

Zürich Airport to Zürich Main Train Station (Zürich HB) by train takes about 15 minutes (Trains are on the level below airport)

 

Have you visited any European Christmas Markets you would you recommend? Leave us a comment in the section below.

Pin for later

Pinterest pin with shiny cloured stars and heading Zurich Christmas Markets

Michelle

Author: Michelle

After finishing my Law Degree I decided to become a teacher. I am passionate about teaching, learning and most of all, about inspiring others. Now, as a writer and blogger, I love sharing our travels and our musings on life’s journey. I hope, through these, we can play a part in inspiring you to do whatever ‘satisfies your soul’.

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