Switzerland is one of the best places in Europe to visit traditional Christmas markets. The city of Zurich alone has several good markets in November and December. Zurich city centre gets its Christmas lights in the end of November when the famous shopping street Bahnhofstrasse is decorated for the holidays. From the traditional Christmas Market in Zurich’s old city to the annual Christkindlimarkt, here are the best places to go Christmas shopping in Zurich.
Bahnhofstrasse Christmas Shopping
Zurich’s most famous and possibly most luxurious shopping street, Bahnhofstrasse, is decorated for the holiday season in the end of November. The Bahnhofstrasse Christmas lights are switched on at 6 pm on 25 November and around 150 shops stay open late for an evening of “night shopping”. Bahnhofstrasse also hosts its own Christmas market from 18 November to 31 December. Stalls and stands along the shopping street sell a range of gifts, crafts, toys, Christmas foods and sweets.
Although many shops in Switzerland are usually closed on Sundays, Zurich’s stores will be open on three Sundays before Christmas for a special Sunday shopping (28 November and 5 and 19 of December 2010). Most stores stay open between 11 am and 6 pm on these Sunday shopping days.
Zurich’s Annual Christkindlimarkt
The Christkindlimarkt is an annual Zurich tradition. This indoor Christmas market is held in the ShopVille-RailCity right at Zurich’s main railway station, and this year’s market is the 17th of its kind. Over 160 stalls take over the ShopVille shopping centre from 25 November to 24 December. Pretty wooden chalets sell gifts, food and drink, and in the middle of it all stands a giant Christmas tree decorated with more than 5000 Swarovski crystal ornaments. The market is open every day until Christmas Eve.
The Christmas Market in the Old City
The picturesque old city has its own Christmas market from 8 to 23 December. Market stalls sell arts and crafts, gifts and foods in a pretty setting on Hirschenplatz, Niederdorfstrasse and Rosenhof. The market is open every day and is one of the most traditional Christmas markets in Zurich. Don’t forget to try Glühwein (the Swiss version of mulled wine) and Lebkuchen, a traditional Christmas delicacy that tastes and looks like a soft version of gingerbread.
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Photo by Torcello Trio