If you know me at all or have been following my Instagram lately, you know I enjoy nothing more than embracing the holiday spirit! This time of year is even more special if you get to experience the Zürich Christmas markets and the many other holiday events going on around the city. This is my ultimate guide to exploring Zürich during the holiday season and my favourite things to do!
Okay, first thing’s first. The magical lights that shine on Bahnhofstrasse during the holiday season are called “Lucy” (Beatles reference for those who didn’t know). The lights were turned on this year on November 21 at 6pm sharp! I didn’t get to see them being lit, but they will stay on now until January 6. There is no real way to describe how beautiful the city looks when it is all lit up. Storefronts have their Christmas displays in full force and the city fills up with people in the holiday spirit. This is the telltale sign that the holiday season is finally here!
Once you take in the beauty of the shining lights, you need to get yourself a Glühwein! (known as mulled wine in English). You will find stands selling Glühwein in many places around the city during this season. It’s a true Christmas tradition to drink this warm, sugary beverage while exploring the Christmas markets around the city. But be careful! They fill the cups all the way up and it isn’t east to navigate through the crowds of people without spilling your drink. But not to worry, you can enjoy your Glühwein slowly while you wait in line for one of the famous Swiss traditional foods such as Raclette! You will find many of these stands scattered throughout the city, and standing in line is always worth the wait.
Once you have your Glühwein and Raclette, you can walk around and explore the city to browse through the many Christmas market stands. There are different markets around the city but none of them disappoint! My favourite, and probably the biggest/most popular market is the one in front of the Opera House close to Stadelhofen train station. There you can find an ice skating ring, a carousel and many different types of food and goodies. Other popular places include Zürich old town, Münsterhof, and Zürich Main station. You can find the full list here.
Another site you shouldn’t miss is the Singing Christmas Tree! You can find it at Zürich Werdmühleplatz. During certain times of the day, this special “tree” becomes a stage for different singing/music groups to perform! You have to check the times for when there will actually be a performance but it’s totally worth it to pick a time and go. Find the official website here to check out the schedule.
The Swarovski crystal tree doesn’t sing but it is still a spectacular site to see! This tree can be found in the Zürich main station. It is covered with Swarovski crystal ornaments and it is blindingly sparkly.
As for special events, you will find many during this time of year! For example, candle making is a special tradition that is popular around Christmas time. I tried it for the first time last week and I would definitely recommend it! You can check out the candle making hut at Bürkliplatz if you’d like to try it out for yourself.
Another popular spectacle is the Illuminarium at the national museum. I haven’t been yet but I am planning to go this Friday so I will have an update on it then.
You can also check out the Circus Conelli if you are into that type of thing, as this circus is a tradition that has taken place in Zürich at this time of year since 1992.
Here is the full list of events you can find during the advent in Zürich on the official city page. Let me know what your favourite traditions are and what you like to do during the holiday season!
I hope you enjoyed this post about my favourite time of year! Happy holidays to you all!
PS: here are some more photos where I attempt to capture the magical atmosphere in the city! ❤️
5 thoughts on “How to Explore Zürich During the Christmas Season”
I love the pictures…
Bahnhof means Railway Station right?
Yes 🙂 Bahn = train and Hof = court/place
Thank you!!! We are pulling into Zürich HB station right now!! We only have tonight in Zurich. Your blog is a great help.
I am so glad to hear that! Enjoy your time in Zürich, it’s a beautiful city.
PS: a lot of things are closed right now because today is a holiday. But I can recommend the “Niederdorf” area where you can find many restaurants to be open today as it’s a more touristy spot. If you want to see a great view of the city including the sparkling christmas lights along Bahnhofstrasse, try our Jules Verne panorama bar!!