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travelingdiva
Christmas markets

Throughout the country, the Swiss celebrate Christmas with traditional markets. They have fabulous food, delicious mulled wine, and lots of shopping opportunities for both traditional and unique gifts. Here's a list of the best known markets:

Basel Christmas Market
November 26 - December 23, 2009
Barfüsserplatz

Bern Christmas Market
November 28 - December 24, 2009
Münsterplatz / Waisenhausplatz
Two Christmas markets in Bern.

Montreux Christmas Market
November 26 - December 24, 2009

Zürich Christkindli Market
November 27 - December 24, 2009
Shopville, Railcity
This is Europe's largest indoor market and includes a 50 foot tree with 5,000 Swarovski crystals! Zürich also offers two outdoor Christmas markets (Old Town and Bahnhofstrasse) in December as well.

Christmas in St Gallen
November 28 - December 24, 2009
Old Town
There is also a Christmas Circus running until December 31st.

Winterthur Christmas Market
December 1 - 23, 3009

Fairy Tale Town
December 1 - 31, 2009
Stein am Rhein

Lucerne Christmas and handicrafts market
December 5 - 20, 2009

Biel / Bienne Christmas market
December 5 - 24, 2009
mario.travels
Hi! I'm planing on visiting Switzerland as part of a 6 week Europe holiday in December. I've been doing a little bit of research but am finding it difficult to work out the best way to go about this, so wanted to run it by an expert.

We're coming in from Florence by train, and going through to Paris, also by train. We want to visit for around 2-3 days, starting around December 11, do a little sightseeing (as much as can be done in Winter) and maybe a scenic train ride although I imagine they would all be quite scenic. A friend recommended staying in Lauterbrunnen. Would this be the most central place we can stay? Is Bern the closest Christmas Market? And is visiting in Winter problematic at all??

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travelingdiva
QUOTE(mario.travels @ Jul 7 2010, 10:44 PM) *

Hi! I'm planing on visiting Switzerland as part of a 6 week Europe holiday in December. I've been doing a little bit of research but am finding it difficult to work out the best way to go about this, so wanted to run it by an expert.

We're coming in from Florence by train, and going through to Paris, also by train. We want to visit for around 2-3 days, starting around December 11, do a little sightseeing (as much as can be done in Winter) and maybe a scenic train ride although I imagine they would all be quite scenic. A friend recommended staying in Lauterbrunnen. Would this be the most central place we can stay? Is Bern the closest Christmas Market? And is visiting in Winter problematic at all??

wacko.gif

Hi mario, welcome to the forums. 6 weeks in Europe sounds great!

Lauterbrunnen is a great place to stay if you want to visit Jungfraujoch while you are in Switzerland, or even just as high as Kleine Scheidegg where you can get a great view of the Jungfraujoch and Eiger mountains - though I think since you are in the country for such a short time you might as well go all the way to the top and see one of the top sights. Lauterbrunnen isn't exactly central but it depends where you want to go, and it is in a reasonably good location between Florence and Paris.

To go to Paris you will more than likely go via Basel, so I would say go there for the Christmas market. Otherwise yes Bern would also be a good place for the markets. Also if I may be so bold, on your route to Paris you will be able to take the TGV (high speed train) from Basel through Strasbourg in France, which has a fantastic market, and is also a great city for some sightseeing. In Basel there are over 40 museums and most of them are exellent so it is a good place even in the winter.

If you have time for a scenic train ride there are quite a few famous ones and they vary in time and distance and scenery as well, but you can plan what works best for you with this list.

As for problematic? No, certainly not. But winter is the high season in the mountain resorts so you may find Lauterbrunnen a bit expensive (though its a valley, it is located near great mountains). You might get better rates in the cities.

Let me know if I can help with anything else and happy planning.

Cheers,
Laura
mario.travels
Thanks for the advice. I'll check out all my options, all my friends that have visited Switzerland have done something a little different, so I want to make the most of my 3ish days there.

Mario
krishnakurien
Wow! A 6 week holiday sounds great! But it seems that you're having a hard time with all the research on prioritizing the places you will be visiting. Man, that's a tough job. Why don't you try RihlaPrime.com . My fiance just toured Switzerland without any fuss. She didn't have the idea of any place and didn't even bother doing any research. She just accepted one of their holiday packages, had fun there and then came back. From then, I thought that i'm going to do the same. After all, who has time these days?
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