IF YOU are thinking of spending Christmas in Europe, Zurich in Switzerland is ideal to soak in the festivities.
For starters, it is home to Christkindlimarkt, the largest indoor Christmas market in Europe. From Nov 22 to Dec 24, 150 stalls will peddle all manner of crafts and food at the Zurich Main Train Station. There is also a 15m-tall Christmas tree adorned with dazzling Swarovski crystals at the site for great photo opportunities.
Make time to check out outdoor markets too. Niederdorfstrasse is the oldest Christmas market in the city and a local favourite.
It transforms into a fairy-tale land when it starts snowing in December and January. As the snow dusts the roofs of the stalls, feel the magic of a white Christmas while you gaze at the twinkling lights overhead with a cup of hot cocoa or mulled wine in your hands.
Don’t forget to explore the family-friendly cafés and restaurants in the city. Kafi fürDich, which is near Bäckeranlagepark, has a painting wall for your little ones to exercise their creativity while you enjoy your coffee. And you should dig into traditional Swiss cheese fondue in a little gondola outside the Walliser Keller restaurant, which is open only for dinner.
A fun ski experience for all
If your children have never experienced snow, a trip to Zurich’s ski slopes will be a treat for them.
Ski areas are accessible from the city in less than 90 minutes by car or rail. For instance, to get to Flumserberg in the Swiss Alps, hop on the regional train from Ziegelbrücke to Unterterzen, and then take a cable car up to the resort.
Children above three years old can get ski lessons in a safe and child-friendly environment at the Swiss Snow Kids Village, while advanced skiers can practise skiing techniques such as steep-walled bends and kicks at the Family Snowpark Prodalp.
No trip to Switzerland is complete without indulging in its locally made chocolate. You can drive, or take a 25-minute ride on the S24 train to the Lindt & Sprüngli plant where renowned chocolatier Lindt makes chocolate products.
Delight in the sights and smells of the chocolate factory, and discover how the yummy treats are made.
Before you leave, choose from a variety of scrumptious options such as chocolate balls, pralines and chocolate bars as souvenirs for friends and family back home.
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