Christmas in July!

I know, I know…. we wait all year for summer in Maine and here I am thinking about Christmas. As much as I enjoy the time off, lazy beach days and cookouts with friends and family, I just LOVE Christmas. The music, the good cheer, the cozy sweaters and how your whole house transforms when you light up your Christmas tree. It’s a magical time of year no matter where you are.

Last year around this time I started doing research on Christmas Markets. I saw pictures on pinterest of festive squares around Europe with lights, food, smiles, and mulled wine in cute mugs. I HAD to go to one, but which one? Every city big and small in Germany seemed to boast to have the “best Christmas market”, France had quite a few with great recommendations and England had a bunch, even a market with a Charles Dicken’s theme. As I was scouring through pins online I came across a blog post about the Christmas Markets in Zurich, it was filled with beautiful lights, mugs of Glühwein and fondue. SOLD!

Arriving at the train station in downtown Zurich after our flight, jetlag was starting to set in, but then Christmas cheer stuck! While trying to exit the station we came across Zurich’s most central Christmas Market, Christkindlimarkt. It was around 10am but we didn’t care, we got our first Glühwein of the trip. With warm mulled wine pleasantly flowing through our veins, we explored the station and the stalls that were set up.

 

The centerpiece of this market is the 50 foot Swarovski Christmas tree. It stood majestically, with thousands of sparkling crystals dripping from its branches. It’s a must see while in Zurich, the crystals are beautiful and glow with the twinkle lights behind them.

You can get a really nice view if the tree and the whole market from the restaurant that is located in the station. They served fondue and mulled wine so we sat up there for an hour or two and enjoyed the view….and the food of course.

 

Zurich’s Wienachtsdorf, the urban Christmas Village, can be found near the lake, in front of the Opera House. An abundance of stalls formed the ‘village’, with a range of local foods and handicrafts there’s even an ice rink. It’s here where we ate some of the best food.

 

Speaking of food, we got our fondue fix but we always like to try new foods while traveling and the traditional Christmas Market foods did not disappoint.  We started with sausage that was served with mustard and a crusty roll.

We saw people eating something that looked like potato pancakes, we found out they were called Roschti, which are shredded potatoes, deep fried and then served with melted cheese and pickles. So so good. We also ate some Sri Lankan Street food, I don’t remember what we ordered but it was delicious.

I found the markets that we visited to be very festive but cozy, still maintaining a local vibe, not a touristy one.

We had a great time at the Christmas Markets in Zurich. It was the perfect way to kick off the holiday season, even for someone who isn’t that into the holidays(Andrew). One thing that we didn’t see while we were there was the Singing Christmas tree, we heard about it but never stumbled across it. That’s ok though, it didn’t take away from our trip!

Before we left we wanted to have a traditional sit-down dinner and stumbled across Rheinfelder Bierhalle, it was a no frills restaurant with traditional Swiss food and beer. It was just what we were looking for and would go back again when in Zurich.

 

How to Get There:

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

Where to Stay:

We Stayed at Hotel Arlette, which was very close to the main station. You can read more about this hotel here.

I’m already looking at markets for this Christmas season. Any suggestions?

 

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