Christmas in Switzerland

Old Nov 18th, 2003, 11:25 AM
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Christmas in Switzerland

Never been to Switzerland.....we are looking to go for 10 days for Christmas and New Year's. Still deciding between Switzerland and Ireland. Any suggestions on itineraries or preference for either country during this time frame. We are novice travellers, willing to spend the money to have a great time, but are totally clueless about travel in these areas. Thanks for the feedback!
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Old Nov 18th, 2003, 04:47 PM
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I'm only going to be able to comment on Switz, having never been to Ireland, but Christmas would be a beautiful time to go! The towns are all decorated with candles, gingerbread, Christmas lights, the "chocolate box" look. Midnight masses are beautiful and I'm sure there would be special Christmas dinners at various inns and guesthouses. There could be a problem with things being closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day, with transportation being more limited, but, if you were set in an inn on those days, you'd be ok. I lived in Schaffhausen years ago and the town was so beautiful at Christmas. I think I might recommend the Swiss German area--you'd also be close to the border of Germany and might want to go over to Rothenberg for a day or two as well.
 
Old Nov 18th, 2003, 10:59 PM
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Warning!!

Just about everything will be closed - Christmas Eve, Day, and the day after that. Then you'll be into a weekend!!

Plus Europeans consider this a family holiday and you, as a stranger, will be left out of the festivities (mostly happening privately)at home. So, no markets, no restaurants (except perhaps the large tourist hotels)

Would not go for Christmas unless you have family or can't schedule otherwise. Alone in a hotel room was the fate of friends who were not prepared for this.

New Years is anothere matter. Lots of public celebrations but still stores are closed.
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Old Nov 18th, 2003, 11:37 PM
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What kind a holiday are you thinking of? City holiday? Skiing holiday? Xmas and NYear is "made" for skiing in Switzerland. The cities may be a bit dull or empty, despite the Xmas decoration, maybe with fog on the Swiss Plateau, but sunshine once you are above 1100 meters.
I would rent a chalet or take rooms in a hotel in a mountain resort; Gstaad, Zermatt, Crans-Montana, Verbier, according to your financial possibilities... Try http://www.matterhornstate.com/ for a first approach. Good luck.
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Old Nov 18th, 2003, 11:58 PM
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Haven't been to Ireland (yet!), so can't help there. I have been to Switzerland many times, twice in December, and we're leaving tonight for Switzerland/Germany trip #???

We love Switzerland and Germany during the holidays. Snow, sledding, gluhwein, Christmas markets, ringing church bells...

It's very festive - it's Christmas as it was meant to be - more traditional somehow - think Currier and Ives...

Yes, there will be closures, but the time leading up to Christmas Day is very eventful with children's plays, caroling, church services, etc.

Personally, I'd be perfectly content to spend my Christmas day on a snow covered mountain in the Alps, eating a picnic lunch and soaking up the scenery. I guess it all depends on what you're looking for....
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Old Nov 19th, 2003, 01:12 AM
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ANOTHER WARNING!

As a ski destination in a resort city, Switzerland might be fine, however, we were in Zurich and Geneva over Christmas 4 years ago and EVERYTHING WAS CLOSED!!

We arrived in Zurich on December 23rd, and headed straight to the main shopping street. The Christmas lights were indeed beautiful, but it was an absolute GHOST TOWN. All the stores and restaurants were closed, with signs saying that they would be closed until January 3 or even the 8th.

We changed our plans and caught the train the next morning to Milan (which was lovely - and OPEN!), and visited a couple of other spots in Italy and France before returning to Geneva around December 30 or 31. The stores and restaurants were open, but CERN, the UN, and several other museums were closed until the 8th.

Back in Zurich on the 31st, we found restaurants were open, and some stores, but still at least 50% were closed.

I have heard, though, that the ski resorts are very popular for Christmas, so if you're planning to ski or just sit by the fire and admire the view, you should be fine. Just make a plan for what you want to do and check to see what's open in the cities you plan to visit.

(I'd recommend Prague for a Christmas destination - it's next on our list - it's supposed to be FABULOUS at Christmas, with most everything open).

Have a great trip!

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Old Nov 19th, 2003, 04:18 AM
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a couple of thoughts. Generaly the alpine towns require 2 week bookings over the holidays and the may already be filled. A few years ago we did a family ski holiday in Ktizbuhel AU over Christmas and it was an absolute delight. The town is small, open, ski oriented and it turned out to be one of my most relaxing vacations ever. But, we did not tour much and were not focused on seeing the sites. Myt message here is that if this is a first trip, and one which you are going to want to see the sites, the holidays may be a tough time. I have not been to Ireland over the holidays. You may want to re-post your message with a title to include Ireland and see if you pick up some comments.
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Old Nov 19th, 2003, 04:17 PM
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Thank you all very much for the comments! It's clearly obvious that Switz for Xmas is not a good choice, and would be much better served outside the holidays.....we are headed to Dublin instead......thanks again!
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