Once your included cruise tours are over... here is how I spend my free time in Zurich during the Advent Season!
Zurich is known for so many things, but one of the aspects I love most about it is the way the city embraces the Advent Season in its own cozy and beautiful way. The short days, cold weather, and inviting indoor spaces add so much to Christmas cheer that guests will feel infused with holiday spirit just by walking the streets and colorfully lit lanes.
No visit to Zurich is complete without a visit to the Swarovski Christmas Tree in the main train station, which houses a vast Christmas market of its own and is definitely worth a walk thru.
Once I've had my fill of shimmering crystals I stroll down the famous Bahnhofstrasse to window shop and admire all the great offerings and decorations.
There is one chocolate store in particular whose window always catches my attention, Teuscher, whose decorative gift boxes bring me back to childhood and remind me of my paternal grandmother.
Of course, I just HAD to buy a box because it was so over the top and brought it home as Thierry's St. Nikolaus present (Dec 6th).
The German word KITSCH absolutely fits this place, but take my advice... the chocolates are better elsewhere and not nearly as expensive.
We do laugh every year as I take the red velvet chocolate box with its ornate, 1950s style Christmas bobbles attached and fill it with pralines from our favorite local confisserie. It's now "a thing".
Continuing on Bahnhofstrasse I recommend stopping in at Zeughauskeller to taste their delicious beer!
The food is pretty good, too, but at Advent time I try to save myself for the delicious food served at the Christmas markets.
Yet, if you're really hungry and want to have some good authentic beer hall grub, the old armory is a great place to enjoy it.
Some folks may recommend Rheinfelder Bierhall, but to me, if I want a Bierkeller, this is my go to. Major beer lovers might want to stick around the main train station at Brasserie Federal as they have over 50 beers you can try!!!
Once I've had my traditional beer and warmed up a little it's time to wander a bit more. I love walking around Zurich on both sides of the river. There are so many cute places, great little shops, cafes, and interesting courtyards that I rarely have a plan when I arrive. I just let my feet take me where they want to go.
Zurich, like all Swiss cities is a place that transforms itself with the seasons and even the outdoor spaces which are so necessary and enjoyable in the Summer remain inviting and comfy even in cold weather. One of my absolute favourite places to stop, and a place I can never not go at least once is the Storchen Zürich, a Boutique Hotel with a great view and great cocktails! No matter what time of year, I need a few moments here to sit and watch the world go by, have a nice chat, and then move on.
As day turns to night, I back track a wee bit and head over to Werdmühlplatz for 3 absolute fantastic traditions: the singing Christmas tree (performances at 5:30 & 6:30 during the week, plus 7:30 on Fridays), a french baguette cut in half and then filled with delicious melted cheese, and then top it off with a fantastic fondue evening at the Fondue Chalet.