On my recent winter trip in Europe, I had the opportunity to spend 2 days in the city of Zurich in Switzerland. I had travelled to Switzerland before but hadn’t had the opportunity to explore its most prominent city. So, I was already looking forward to my time in Zurich. Plus, it was exactly a month to Christmas and I was looking forward to the Christmas Markets of Zurich. Here’s how I spent my 48 hours exploring the many aspects of Zurich.
Exploring the oldest vegetarian restaurant in Europe: Hiltl
Vegetarian food has repeatedly been a major concern for most Indians travelling out of the country. While I have no qualms about local foods and meats, Parichay is a pure vegetarian. And his survival methods as a vegetarian travelling across Europe are quite a thing. So, to find out that Europe’s oldest vegetarian restaurant, that understands the concept of no meats, eggs or fish in food we had to head here to lunch.
Hiltl sells food by the kilo, has the widest range of vegetarian products on the buffet, including a wholesome range of desserts and makes sure to mention all key ingredients and allergens by the side. The vegetarian restaurant has over 6 branches across the city, each with a unique theme and are open all day.
We also visited the Hiltl Butchery where popular non-vegetarian eats like sausages and salamis were recreated with vegetarian ingredients, interestingly, the taste and the look of these dishes was also very similar to the non-vegetarian products.
There are 4 major churches in Zurich and we visited the Grossmunster Church, a romanesque Protestant Church in the city with origins dating back to the 15th century. The simple architecture and the beauty of the church were indeed noteworthy. From the outskirts of the church, we also got to see a gorgeous panoramic view of Zurich, making it the perfect photo spot. The Grossmunster Church also had a lovely Christmas Market surrounding it.
The bustling and vibrant Bahnhoff Strasse was where all the lively crowds in the city could be spotted. This was the shopping area of Zurich with major branded stores down the street, accessible by all forms of public transport. It was also where you could find a wide range of eateries and fine dining restaurants in the city. Bahnhoff Strasse was also one of the prime spots in the city with a Christmas Market and other key attractions in the surroundings like the National Museum, Zurich Hauptbahnhoff and more.
Christmas Markets of Zurich
The best part about being in Zurich at the end of November was the onset of Christmas Markets. A month to Christmas and the city of Zurich was already dressed in the Christmas mood, with lit-up streets, festive decorations and Christmas trees and markets spanning across the various key points in the city.
We enjoyed strolling around the Christmas markets, soaking in the holiday vibe while gulping down some delicious food.
Sunset by Bellevue
After a fun day of exploring the city of Zurich and its Christmas Markets, we hopped over to the Bellevue to catch the sunset. With birds and swans flocking around as the sun began to set, the sight was truly one to enjoy.
We spent quite some time by the Lake Zurich before we headed towards the Zurich Hauptbahnhoff.
Christmas Markets of Zurich
Zurich literally owns the Christmas cheer in every nook and corner of the city. Big and small Christmas Markets, trees, celebrations, holiday discounts, sweets and more, fill the city with a cheerful vibe for the upcoming holiday season. While kids enjoy their merriment, youngsters and elders enjoy the Christmas treats by catching up with friends and enjoying some mulled wine and sweet and savoury treats at the many Christmas markets in the city. No matter what day it is, Zurich is a happy sight to eyes and the soul in the Christmas season.
Here are some of our favourite Christmas markets in Zurich:
Opera House Christmas Market
Right in front of Zurich’s Opera House, is one of the biggest Christmas markets in the city. With over 300 stalls with food, drinks, handicrafts and shopping, this market is inviting to people of age groups with ample space to sit back and enjoy the spirit of the season.
You can also find an ice rink for children and adults alike, where you could simply watch or go out there to skate on the ice.
The Opera House Christmas Market in Zurich is indeed one of the best and the most cheerful in the city.
Just at the entrance of the Zurich Hauptbahnhoff, you will find the Christkindlmarkt. Another one of the key Christmas Markets in the city. For someone travelling to Zurich by train, this market would probably be their first sighting in Zurich and it couldn’t get better.
The highlight of this market is the Swarovski Christmas Tree that stands tall in the beginning of the market. Rest of the market is full of interesting food and handicraft stalls, inviting people to be a part of the celebratory mood that surrounds the city.
Especially in the evenings, this is one of the liveliest markets and real boon against the winter cold winds and snow that envelops the city in the season.
Grossmunster Christmas Market
Surrounding the Grossmunster Church is a lovely little Christmas market overlooking the stunning panoramic views of the city of Zurich. This Christmas market is a rather quiet one in the day, but with some great stalls selling high quality mulled wine, a range of cuisines and interesting handicrafts that can be purchased.
Singing Christmas Tree
This one’s a rather small market for its competitors. But what drew us to it was the unique attribute of the Singing Christmas Tree. This Christmas Market, a few steps away from Zurich’s famous Bahnhoff Strasse gathers hundreds and thousands of visitors to marvel at this exciting celebration. School kids, get in the Christmas Tree formation (on a vertical stage to resemble a Christmas Tree) to sing Christmas carols, spreading and celebrating the spirit of Christmas. This also includes a piano concert. This particular event, that happens on a regular basis attracts many locals and tourists to join along and be a part of the celebrations.
While these were some of the favourite markets that we enjoyed visiting, there are over 20 other Christmas Markets that take place across the various areas of the city, right up to Winterthur starting the 15th of November and end a day before Christmas and some a week after. There are also special workshops and events like candle making, wine tasting, chocolate making and more at various dates through the Christmas season. So there indeed is a lot to explore for both locals and tourists visiting the city during the Christmas season.
Zurich is particularly popular as the business capital of the country, the Christmas season invites everyone to forget their worries and troubles to join in and enjoy the season of greeting, gifting and celebrating. Zurich is indeed one of the finest European cities that can truly show you what a Christmas celebration should truly be like with all of the city covered with festivity specials- markets, decorations, celebrations and more.
Buying a Zurich City Card can be of immense help with free or discounted entries to attractions and above all free public transportation across the city and it’s various public transport mediums. We stayed at the Novotel Zurich City West during our stay in the city, and it was the perfect hotel with a great location, comfort and amenities.
If you’re planning a special trip to cover the Christmas markets, do check with the Visit Zurich office or the website for special events and maps to guide you through the season.
You’re likely to have the time of your life in the merriment!