After 3 days of intensive skiing and snowboarding in the Swiss Alps, we were ready for a slower pace in Zurich. We arrived in the mid afternoon, checked in and got settled into the Swissotel Zurich, and then headed out to our very first Christmas Market!
There are a number of Christmas Markets in Zurich, big and small, so figuring out which ones were worth visiting required some research beforehand. Our first Christmas Market was Zurich’s “Wienachtsdorf” (aka Christmas Village), which was right in front of the Zurich Opera House. This is one of Zurich’s biggest Christmas Markets, with about 100 stalls, plus an enormous Christmas tree and a beautiful ice rink. When we arrived, we were immediately swept away into the festive ambiance!
The weather was not great though. It rained sporadically, and was quite windy and cold. But, such weather made for a great environment to eat raclette! #silverlining
We retreated back to our hotel early that evening to get more rest (travel days are always tiring even if it was just a 3.5 hour train ride), and even slept in the next morning since we didn’t have much plans! Now that we travel so frequently, I try not to pack our days with too many activities so that we have adequate time to rest and the chance for spontaneity.
The next day, we decided to go to Christkindlimarkt at the Main Train Station, which is one of the largest indoor Christmas Markets in all of Europe. Its main attraction is the 50 ft. tall Christmas tree decorated with thousands of sparkling Swarovski crystals.
There really are no shortage of Christmas markets in Switzerland. As we strolled around town throughout the day and evening, we stumbled upon a few more smaller ones. After you’ve been to a few, you’ll find that most of them pretty much sell the same (or similar) items. But, it’s still fun to peruse through each market because they’ve all got such festive vibes!
Another great place in Zurich to stroll through is their Old Town, with its Medieval houses, bustling shopping streets, and charming cafes that face the Limmat River. We spent a leisurely afternoon walking along the river bank, enjoyed a nice afternoon coffee break at a local cafe, and browsed through some of the cute shops like the Lindt chocolate store!
We loved Old Town so much that the following day, when Alan had to work, Bridge and I went back to Old Town! We found this little park area that gave us a spectacular view, and we just sat there for the longest time looking out towards the river.
A really fun place to go in Old Town is Cafe Schober, where they are said to have the best hot chocolate in town. Bridge and I went for afternoon tea, and fell in love with the charming decor of the place that was filled to the brim with Christmas lights. I ordered a classic hot chocolate while Bridge got wild and ordered a hot chocolate with ice cream! Both were decadent and delicious, although no hot chocolate would ever beat the one we had in Barcelona. Still, Cafe Schober is a really cute place to check out if you’re in Zurich.
One of our highlights in Zurich was getting to catch up with our friend Ben and his family, who moved to Zurich a few years ago. They took us out to an awesome fondue dinner, and ofcourse, Bridgette was over the moon to eat her favorite food again! It’s especially nice to see familiar faces when you travel, as it gives you a sense of home and belonging. We’re so grateful they made time to reconnect with us!
After Zurich, it was time for Alan to head back to the Bay Area while Bridgette and I continued forward to our next stop–Lucerne!
Oh, before I end this post, it’s worth mentioning that we had the most expensive bowl of pho (Vietnamese beef noodle soup) while in Zurich. After all the cheese fondue, we were really craving for a nice, hot bowl of noodle soup. Our friend recommended Asiaway, which was close to our hotel. The food there was indeed very delicious, but it came with a very steep price tag. We paid about USD $70 for a bowl of pho, a fried rice, and some spring rolls. Ouch!!
Our other Switzerland posts include our time in: