Christmas Eve Special: The Festive Season in Zurich

zurichchristmasZurich, Switzerland’s largest city, sits on Lake Zurich against the backdrop of Üetliberg, a mountain that soars to 869 meters. During the Christmas season, Zurich is a truly picturesque setting. There are many unique attractions and events that make this time of year in Zurich special.

There are 5 Christmas markets with stalls filled with Christmas decorations, crafts, treats, toys, and trinkets.

The oldest Christmas market is indoors at the main train station. This market is the location of the 50 ft tall Christmas tree that is covered with 5,000 Swarovski crystals.


Zurich also has a singing Christmas tree at the Christmas market at Werdmühleplatz.

The Christkindlimarkt is in Niederdorf and the Wienachtsdorf (Christmas Village) is at Sechseläutenplatz. There are also Christmas markets in Winterthur and Rapperswil in the Olde Town.

Märli Huus has a Punch-and-Judy show. Children can ride with Saint Nick on the Märlitram (Fairytale Tram) along the Bahnhofstrasse and view the Christmas illuminations called “Lucy”. (Adults can ride the regular tram.)

School children in Zurich make candle boats in preparation for the Lichterschwimmen floating candle event that takes place on the River Limmat On December 22nd.

Some of the activities for corporate groups to arrange during the festive season include hikes with flaming torches followed by a fondue party, ice sculpting, chocolate making, and treasure hunts.

Families decorate windows for advent, creating a virtual advent calendar on every street. The day before Christmas, each family decorates a Chrismas tree with silver bells, tinsel, and twinkling stars. On Christmas Eve, in a tradition dating back to The Middle Ages, caroling is popular. The leader carries a candle and shining star, reminiscent of previous generations when carolers would dress as Mary, Joseph and the Magi.

Dinner is served early on Christmas Eve. Traditional dishes include raclette or scalloped potatoes, ham, roast beef, walnut cake, and gingerbread cookies. Fondue Chinoise is also popular.

After dinner, children sing carols, recite seasonal poetry, and act out a Christmas pageant for the family. Gifts are opened at that time.

Photo Credits: Angelika , Spanke, stefan m, Kate Hopkins.


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