Set around the crisp Lake Zurich and encircled by snow-caked peaks, Zurich makes an atmospheric, if chilly, place to spend the winter months. Whether you’re looking to hit the world famous Christmas markets, tackle the ski slopes or enjoy the seasonal events, here are a few ideas for things to do in Zurich in winter.
A number of open-air ice rinks open up around Zurich in the lead-up to Christmas, with many staying open until March. Head to the popular ice-skating rink in the courtyard of the Swiss National Museum, or visit the Dolder Ice Complex where Switzerland’s biggest ice rink is set to a backdrop of wooded countryside.
Switzerland is renowned for its alpine mountains and the winter ski season is one of the busiest times of the year. City dwellers can buy a snow’n’rail ticket from Zurich and go skiing by train – Flumserberg is the nearest ski resort with a range of runs for all levels.
3. Christmas Markets
Christmas is one of the most atmospheric times of the year to be in Zurich and the city is one of the most unique places to celebrate the festive season. Zurich hosts five markets, including the country’s biggest indoor market, with goods spilling from 160 wooden chalets and some spectacular decorations to ogle – don’t miss the 50ft high Christmas Tree in the Old town or the infamous Singing Christmas Tree on Werdmühleplatz.
4. Winter Festivals
The ‘Silvester Zauber’, on New Year’s Eve, is one of the biggest events on the Zurich calendar, with over 200,000 revelers gathering around Lake Zurich for a mammoth street party, including a dazzling fireworks display at midnight. On the 6th January, Three King’s Day brings further celebrations, with specially baked ‘crown’ cakes, in February the annual Art on Ice festival is held at the Hallenstadion and the Zurich Fasnacht Carnival marks the beginning of Lent with a vibrant street parade.