Switzerland for Christmas 2015

Old Aug 15th, 2015, 09:09 PM
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Switzerland for Christmas 2015

Our family is going to Italy Dec. 26-Jan. 2 this year for an event. It occurred to me we should leave a few days before and head to Switzerland ( We have up to a week for this part of the trip). I have to say, I'd rather be visiting in warmer weather, but since we will be so close, I thought I'd take advantage. We love nature, charming towns and I heard they have nice Christmas markets. My hopes is to fly into Switzerland, take a train to Rome and from there fly back to USA. I just need to figure out plans for Switzerland.

-What website should I visit for special events during that time of year?
-Any recommendations for hotels, or apartments for a family of 5? 2 adults, 2 children and a teenager
-Should I station in one city and take day trips from there? If so, what city should it be?
-This would be our first time to Switzerland, should I consider skipping it and leave it for a better time of the year? Or is the cold still worth it? I don't mind the snow, it's the long walks in the weather below 40F that I don't like.

Any other suggestions are greatly appreciated! Switzerland has been a dream of mine to visit since I was in 4th grade when I had to write a paper about this country. Lol.
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Old Aug 15th, 2015, 10:24 PM
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Hi marcast,

Well, I'm afraid Switzerland won't be a great place for you and your family this time. Yes, it can be cold, and the very best things about Switzerland are outside: mountain tops, fields & meadows, lakes, etc. Swiss cities are ok, but really Switzerland's fame comes from its gorgeous outdoor scenery.

And while it does have Christmas markets, there are found in the big cities -- Zürich, Luzern, Bern, Montreux, Basel, etc. So, again, you may have to choose between a countryside setting and a Christmas market.

You may want to visit Montreux, which has something like 4 or 5 Christmas markets, including a medieval market inside Chillon castle and a "North Pole" exhibit at Caux. However, Montreux sits in the French part of the country, and it looks and feels more like the French Riviera in architecture, style, customs, language, interior decor, than it does a typically "Swiss" town of chalets. Also, its Christmas Markets are more of folklore markets; they don't have a lot of Christmas items on sale, and the food is more foie gras and fondue than Wurst. Montreux is also warmer than other places in the country - so that may be more comfortable for you.

I'll also add that if you decide to head to Switzerland over Christmas, you ought to make your plans quickly, as folks tend to make reservations months ahead of time, and they stay for a full week.

Otherwise, I would say to head for Germany or Austria, where you can find more of the Christmas markets like we tend to think of them --

Have fun as you plan!

s
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Old Aug 15th, 2015, 10:29 PM
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Here's a link to Montreux's Christmas markets:

http://www.montreuxnoel.ch/en-site-1...as-market.html

s
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Old Aug 16th, 2015, 12:38 AM
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Many Christmas markets in Switzerland in the smaller towns run only weekends, some even only for a few days in advent.
Also the larger ones like Basel or Zürich shut down on Dec 23, the one in Luzern already on the 20th..
In addition, the actual Christmas days (Dec 24-26) are kinda quiet family holidays, not many public celebrations and festivities.

Luzern would have been my suggestion to get some Alpine feeling while also having the Christmas market, but it will probably not work with your plan to leave that much earlier just to see a Christmas market.
Bern has two pretty Christmas markets in a the very pretty setting of the Old Town.. but there is not that much more to do there.

Travelwise, you may want to look into the time you need to go to Rome by train. Most people would fly.

Anyway, as it seems to be for you more a matter of "would be nice" rather than "I die to do it", I'd leave Switzerland for another trip.
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Old Aug 16th, 2015, 05:03 AM
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I would go to Swtiz in winter ONLY for the winter sports. If you want what you traditionally think of as Switz - Heidi, green meadows with lot of cows, cow bells and alpen horns - you won;t find any of that in winter - you need to wait until May or so.

And while the lowlands are not the same temps/as windy as the mountains I certainly don't think you can count on temps over 40 in December - average highs are in the 30s and average lows in the 20s.
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Old Aug 16th, 2015, 01:34 PM
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myswitzerland.com/en-us/events
Personally, I would use Bern or Luzern as a base and daytrip. Switzerland in December is better than no Switzerland at all!
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Old Aug 16th, 2015, 01:40 PM
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www.myswitzerland.com/en-us/events.html
Hopefully, this link works
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Old Aug 31st, 2015, 01:25 PM
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Thank you all so much! I think I agree more towards leaving Switzerland for another time. Spring or Summer maybe.
My plan B is to stay in Itlay and visit areas I didnt' before. Last year I was in Rome, Florence, Venice.
Are there areas you recommend for winter? Sicily?
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Old Aug 31st, 2015, 06:38 PM
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If you still hanker after some Christmas markets and mountain scenery consider Austria near Innsbruck.
Last year our family met up in Innsbruck - having caught high speed train from Zurich (some of us) and went onto a smaller town called Seefeld - in order to have a few days of markets etc.
This was in the week before Christmas so we were able to stay for four nights.
http://www.seefeld.com/en

Amazingly it happened to snow upon our arrival and continued like this for a few days - light snow but nevertheless atmospheric for those of us from Australia!
I should say that the mountains here are not quite what I think you might be wanting from planning to go to Switzerland but they are still pretty impressive.
(Please no one take offence - just an observation from a non local!)

You can also visit other places like Mittenwald and Garmisch-Partenkirchen from here but I will leave advice for this to the local experts.

You could then take the train onward to your first selected destination in Italy.

Happy planning...
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