From singing Christmas trees and swimming Santas to world-class shopping, Zurich might be one of Europe’s most unique places to celebrate the festive season, and there’s a host of fun events to keep visitors busy over yuletide.
With the riverside beach bars closing their doors and the days already getting shorter, it’s time to wave goodbye to summer, but there are plenty of good reasons why you should still visit Zurich in autumn. Cheaper accommodation and cooler weather make the low season the ideal time for sightseeing, but it’s also the city’s main season for cultural events.
As the weather heats up in the city, landlocked Zurich doesn’t let its lack of coastline hold it back – the city maintains 17 open-air swimming spots, known as ‘Badis’, dotted around the Limmat riverside and the banks of Lake Zurich. Taking advantage of the clean lake and river waters, the badis range from sectioned off swimming lanes to fully enclosed swimming pools perched on the banks of the river.
With its largely flat center and free urban bikes scheme, it’s no surprise that Zurich locals have jumped on the biking bandwagon, and you’ll be in good company if you opt to travel on two wheels. Cycling is a great way to get around in Zurich, with quiet trails running along the Limmat and Sihl rivers, a long lakeside promenade running all the way around the vast Lake Zurich and dedicated bike lanes traversing the historic center.
From riding the famous Golden Pass Panoramic train to climbing to the knee-knocking heights of Jungfrau’s Top of Europe observation deck, there are plenty of unique ways to take in Switzerland’s mountain views and now there’s another way to get your kicks.
The new CabriO cable car, opened in 2012, is the world’s first open-air cable car, climbing to the peak of Mount Stanserhorn, just south of Lake Lucerne. Running from the mountain village of Kälti, the double-decker cable cars include an open-air top deck with standing room for 30 people, offering spectacular 360-degree views as you climb to the summit at 1,900 meters.
Teetering on the brink of Europe’s longest glacier and soaring to an incredible 11,333 feet (3,454 meters) above sea level, standing on the icy mountain saddle of Jungfraujoch puts you at the ‘Top of Europe’, with views stretching for miles over the Bernese Oberland.