Feb 1, 2011 - 11:12 AM
Happy 2011 to all forum users! As promised a report on our trip to Switzerland in December. We stayed at Best Western Hotel Continental in Biel (highly recommended - even got discount with Swiss Travel Pass!). Arrived to find snow though it gradually disappeared while we were there. A bus stop right outside hotel to station. Our main purpose on this visit was to go to as many Christmas markets as we could fit in to our brief stay (Mon to Sat). After checking in we went to Biel's own market which was quite delightful - lots of local craftsmen, some were demonstrating on site and all were eager to explain their techniques etc. In general we found less emphasis on food and drink in Swiss markets compared with markets in Germany and a greater variety of crafts. On Tues we went to Basel which was impressive and very enjoyable despite rain on and off during the day. Wed we went to Montreux which definitely had a French flair about it - really excellent atmosphere and there was a small Russian market as well. We went to Lausanne from Montreux for brief visit - smaller market, pony rides for the children - then back to Montreux for food! (Big advantage of Swiss Pass - can change plans and just hop on and off trains as the mood takes you!) Thurs went first to Zurich - visited a few small markets, then went to Winterthur - lovely journey because we passed through areas where there was still snow making for lovely views. We liked Winterthur - never been there before - and found an amazing massive delicatessen as well as another two very good markets. We returned to Zurich to the huge market in the railway station - huge tree decorated entirely in Swarovsky items. Fri went to Geneva - the only place to disappoint us (we have visited the city before and it's a lovely city but the market was poor) - so we went back to the station and went to Bern which boasted two really good markets. We paid two more visits to Biel market late on Fri p.m. and on Sat a.m. before we had to leave for the airport. So all in all we had a lovely holiday, bought some charming things in the different styles offered by the various cities and would thoroughly recommend Switzerland to all Christmas market addicts.
We have just started planning our summer trip and I will post again later to let you know what we plan for this year. Alles gut. Maggie