With its snow-slathered peaks and idyllic chalets twinkling with fairy lights, Switzerland is a country made for winter. Whether you’re looking to hit the world famous Christmas markets, tackle the ski slopes or enjoy the kind of white Christmas even Santa would be impressed by, here are a few ideas to help you plan your winter travels.
For Christmas cheer head to: Zurich
If you want to get your fill of Christmas spirit, Zurich has plenty to keep the whole family busy – join in the carols beneath the famous Singing Christmas Tree on Werdmühleplatz; go ice skating at one of the pop-up rinks; marvel at the twinkling light displays brightening up Bahnhofstrasse, or make your own hand-dipped candles. This is one of the best places in Europe to do your Christmas shopping too, with five Christmas markets dotted around the city.
For winter scenery head to: Lake Geneva
With a backdrop of the powder-white Alps and glistening waters lit up with Christmas lights, few locations are as picturesque in wintertime than Lake Geneva. Spend a few days enjoying the Christmas markets in Geneva, take a frosty boat trip from Lausanne or cozy up in the wine cellars of the Lavaux wineries. In Montreux, visit the fairytale Chillon Castle on the lake, then take the cogwheel railway from Montreux up to Rochers de Naye, where Santa and his reindeer are resident at the mountaintop Christmas village.
For skiing head to: Zermatt
The whole of Switzerland is like a ski resort come the winter months, but Zermatt makes a popular choice for ski fanatics, situated at the foot of the world famous Matterhorn Mountain. There are an abundance of nearby villages, ski runs and outdoor activities to keep even the hardiest adrenaline-seekers amused, or else you could enjoy the scenery from indoors with a trip on the Glacier Express train to St Moritz.
For winter sports: Interlaken
Sandwiched between two lakes and encircled by the peaks of the Bernese Alps, Interlaken makes a great spot for those wanting to sample Switzerland’s winter activities. A range of ski resorts are close by for those wanting to try their hand at snowboarding or sledging, but Interlaken is better known for its adventure adventures – skydiving, bungee jumping, snow-shoeing and ice skating are all on offer.
For something a little different: Baden
Tired of frostbitten fingers and snow-caked clothes? Head to Baden instead where the natural hot sulphur springs will wash away your winter woes. With natural waters bubbling up to 116°F, this thermal spa town is not only well renowned for its healing properties, but it’s the perfect place to warm up your limbs and relax, while the snow falls outside.