Zurich is such an inspirational place to visit at any time of year with the mountain peaks of the Alps so close by, a wonderful lake to explore and some extremely charming shops and restaurants. However, the whole city seems to really come alive in the run-up to the festive season when it is often able to produce some picture-postcard vistas of snow-laden streets and twinkling Christmas decorations on every corner. Of course, one of the major attractions of Zurich in December is the festive markets which are a true wonder. In Zurich Christmas is taken seriously and you only have to wander around its gorgeous markets to see why. Read on to discover everything you need to know about them.
Featuring a huge Christmas tree, Christkindlimarkt runs from late November every day except Monday. This Zurich Christmas market is one of the largest indoor seasonal markets in the whole of Europe. What's more, it is centrally located so finding hotels near Zurich Hauptbahnhof train station, such as Hotel St Gotthard, makes a lot of sense if you want to be able to stroll back to your accommodation after a long shopping session – the market does not stop trading until 10 pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. There are in the region of 150 different stalls to explore.
Just over the Limmat River from the Station Market is one that spreads out through the charming Old Town of Zurich. It is a stone's throw from the main station so hotels near Zurich HB are also still worth booking if you want to enjoy this old-fashioned and thoroughly traditional market. With some superb food on offer that will warm you up even on a chilly evening, this market is based around Niederdorfstrasse but it also spills out somewhat onto Hirschenplatz and Rosenhof. It runs seven days a week from the last week in November.
Smaller but no less entertaining, this delightful market is situated between two well-known Zurich department stores, Jelmoli and Globus. It is also close to the main railway station in the city. The market has been running every year for over two decades and the stalls are rather distinguished because they resemble semi-permanent huts with lots of splendid Christmas lighting to add a certain degree of sparkle to your festive shopping trip.
Occupying nearly the whole of Sechseläutenplatz in front of the city's iconic Opera House, this is the largest Zurich Christmas market of them all. Firstly, there is an outdoor ice skating rink to get you in the mood for some festive fun. You can even try your hand at the Bavarian form of curling on the ice if you really get into the winter sports spirit! In addition to the usual mulled wine and fondue, there are plenty of more unusual stalls to browse. This is the place to head if you are looking for a one-off piece of jewellery, for example, or perhaps a chic outfit made by a local designer.