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Things to do near Zurich in December, not skiing

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AKhan
AKhan
2 posts
new member
Oct 11, 2019 - 4:03 AM

Visiting Zurich just before Christmas for 5 days, with 2 kids. Want to do Glacier express. What else can we do besides skiing? Any suggestion with the itinerary??

Anna
Anna
322 posts
top member &
moderator
Oct 11, 2019 - 4:58 AM

Welcome to MySwissAlps AKhan!

When exactly are you visiting Zurich? December is the best time to experience Zurich in its most festive season. Plenty of acitivities to do to fill up your time such as visiting the Christmas markets. The yearly Christmas Market at the Zurich main station will be held this year from 21 Nov to 24 Dec. There's also a bigger one in front of the Opera House at Sechseläutenplatz, with an outdoor skating rink that I'm sure your kids would love trying out. It can get a bit crowded though. I would usually take my kids to the Polyterrasse skating rink at the ETH Zürich, less people, shorter lines. To get there you take the Polybahn from the Central tram stop. You get a good view of the city from the terrace. I'm not too sure if the skating rink will be open again this year but you can check this link for updates:
www.zuerich.com/en/vis it/attractions/polyter rasse

Lucerne has a Christmas market too, as well as in other towns and cities if you fancy exploring them :)
Christmas markets in Switzerland:

www.myswissalps.com/ac tivities/christmasmark ets

You can also go on a boat ride and combine it with a visit to the Lindt Chocolate Factory., or visit the Rhine Falls. For more ideas what to do in Zurich, please see these links:
www.myswissalps.com/bo atlakezurich/packages
www.myswissalps.com/ba hnhofstrasse/packages
www.myswissalps.com/rh inefalls/packages
www.myswissalps.com/zu rich/activities

The Glacier Express runs all year (except for a short period between late Oct - early Dec), so yes that could be an option for you too. To help you plan your journey from Zurich, please see this link:
ww.myswissalps.com/gl acierexpress/gettingth ere

Hope this helps!

Anna

Last modified on Oct 11, 2019 - 5:08 PM by Anna
AKhan
AKhan
2 posts
new member
Oct 12, 2019 - 3:55 AM in reply to Anna

Hi Anna,

Thanks for the information. I am there 20th to 25th December.

Does it make sense to stay one night around Chur and then get Glacier express to Zermatt?

Does Geneva and Lausanne usually have snow at that time? Are they worth visiting?

Will appreciate your input.

Anna
Anna
322 posts
top member &
moderator
Oct 12, 2019 - 6:26 AM in reply to AKhan

Hi Akhan,

Most travellers take the Glacier Express from Chur to Zermatt and spend a night in Zermatt before continuing their journey. But you can also do it the other way around, take the regular trains to Zermatt then board the Glacier Express there heading for Chur. It really depends on your itinerary and you should plan ahead. The journey on the Glacier Express one-way takes about 6 hours. It's slightly quicker when you take the regular trains.

Geneva and Lausanne usually don't get much snow. If you want to experience snow, you should visit the mountains in the Jungfrau region or TItlis in Engelberg near Lucerne. If you're lucky you probably don't even have to go far, there's plenty of local mountains around the Zurich region. Let's just hope it starts snowing in December :) Nevertheless, Geneva and Lausanne are still worth a visit. If you only have time for one city, I would personally pick Lausanne. It's about 2.5 hours by train from Zurich and you could easily do a a day trip if you like.

Below are some links that you might find useful to refine your itinerary:

Cheers,
Anna

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6921 posts
expert
Oct 12, 2019 - 10:16 PM in reply to AKhan

Hi Akhan -

In additi0n the links that Anna provided, this link is good for Christmas markets all over, including Switzerland.

www.brunnvalla.ch/chri stmasmarkets/switzerla nd.html

The two she mentioned in Zürich are very nice. Perhaps a bit more emphasis on food at the one near the Opera and Bellevue.

Basel is probably the largest, and Montreux is good sized and has a different character, somehow.

If you decide to take any day-trips from Zürich, the timetable will be immensely helpful. There is a smartphone app, too.

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

Slowpoke

Suzanne
Suzanne
179 posts
active member &
moderator
Oct 13, 2019 - 12:47 PM

Hello AKan,

I just wanted to suggest another alternative day trip would be Interlaken. The town has full amenities and a hub to the Bernese Oberland. If possible, you can explore the Interlaken in the day and in the early evening you could go to Top of Europe ICE MAGIC event. There is a huge ice rink and in the evening there are spot lights and music playing in the background that adds to a fun atmosphere. They have skating aides for adults and children that look like walkers in case your family hasn't skated before. Please take a look at the attached links for more detailed information about Interlaken:

www.myswissalps.com/in terlaken

www.myswissalps.com/in terlaken/activities

www.icemagic.ch/

In case you need another idea of what else to do in Interlaken, I would to suggest Funky Chocolate Club. There you could make your very own Swiss chocolate. This place is just a 5 minute walk away from the skating rink. Please take a look at this link:

funkychocolateclub.com /

I hope these suggestions have inspired you!

Happy planning!

Best regards,

Suzanne

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6921 posts
expert
Oct 13, 2019 - 4:26 PM in reply to Suzanne

Hi Suzanne -

If they take a day trip to Interlaken from any of the locations mentioned so far, they'll have quite a long day if they partake of evening activities. Certainly possible, of course.

For example, a trip from Interlaken Ost to Zürich takes 2 hours, at 2000, 2100, 2200, connecting through Bern.

If they connect through Luzern, the trip takes almost 3 hours.

Add time to get to/from the station at each end.

Slowpoke

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