Even though most of us associate traveling with chasing the summer sun and lounging on beautiful beaches, you might have to opt for some winter trips at some point. These might not be considered quite as fun, but if you really have to travel in a place during the winter, there really could be no better place than Switzerland. With those stunning snow-capped Alps across its lands, winter has never looked so good.
The city of Zurich is definitely one of those spots in Switzerland that becomes magical when the winter sets in, even if you’re really not a fan of the cold. This is especially true during the Christmas season, when you forget all about the cold because that festive cheer is what’s really keeping you warm.
If you choose to spend some time in the cooler weather for your next holidays we highly recommend Zurich and to help you with your itinerary here are our Top Things to do in Zurich this Winter.
Brave the cold in Old Town
Okay, so it might not be one of those things you’re dying to do in winter, to go for a leisurely stroll outside, but sometimes parts of a city can look particularly beautiful in the chillier months. The Old Town of Zurich falls very neatly into that category. Wrap yourself up in your cosiest attire, and go on a journey through the cobbled streets of Zurich’s Old Town, especially beautiful when it is sprinkled with snow and there is festive bite in the air. Luckily, there are plenty of stops you can make in the Old Town where you can come in from the cold and sip on a warm drink, which will bring heat to every inch of your body.
Tuck into some fondue
Fondue is one of the most famous foods from Switzerland, and this cheesy delight is especially great in the cold winter months when you just need something in your belly that will warm you through and through. There are so many places in Zurich where you can find authentic Swiss cheese fondue, so it might be best to ask the staff at your accommodation where the best place nearest to you is, and go from there. Then tuck yourself away into the corner of restaurant, order up some fondue, and revel in that wintery feeling of being so cosy and warm even though it’s freezing outside.
Have a museum day
Museums are always a great go-to activity for colder months or dreary days when you’re traveling, and in Zurich you won’t be short of options. Kunsthaus Zurich, or the Museum of Modern Art, and the Swiss National Museum are two of the most popular and classic Zurich attractions. However, don’t neglect the more offbeat museums such as Circus Museum Rapperswil, Switzerland’s only circus museum, or the Museum Rietberg, Zurich’s only art museum not dedicated to European artists. You are spoilt for choice in Zurich, and you can either go local and discover plenty of Swiss history and local stories, or you can browse through the more international collections if you’ve had a bit of a Switzerland overload.
Indulge in a spa experience
When it’s bright and sunny outside, it can be difficult to shake that feeling that you really should be out soaking up some rays and making the most of the good weather, especially in a place like Switzerland where the winters really set in. However, the great thing about it being cold outside is that you have a great excuse to stay indoors and treat yourself to a spa experience. Seek out your closest wellness center, and get yourself a massage, take a dip in a nice warm pool, or just go all out and have every treatment available. Guilt-free pampering, always a winner!
Visit the Lindt Factory Outlet store
Nothing more warming that a nice piece of chocolate, I’d say. There’s something about this delicious treat that just makes you fuzzy and happy on the inside, especially when the chocolate is to the standard that the Swiss make it. Most of you will be familiar with the chocolate brand Lindt, and here in Zurich you can visit the little shop next to the factory and taste Lindt and Sprungli chocolates right next to the place they are made. It is very easy to overindulge here, so buy a few packs of your favorites and save them for your journey ahead or take them home to loved ones (if you think you have enough self-control to not eat them all first, of course).
Visit the Christmas Markets
Obviously this point is a bit of a seasonal suggestion, but what would a winter Zurich list be without mentioning Christmas Markets? There’s something that Europe just does so well when it comes to making their markets the most festive in the world, and nothing really beats taking a stroll around one of them, cosy in your winter clothes with a glass of something spiced in your hands, trying to take in all the colors and magic of your surroundings. Zurich has five different markets for you to stroll around in the festive season, and also make sure you don’t miss out on the 50ft Christmas tree in Old Town or the legendary Singing Christmas Tree on Werdmühleplatz. No seriously, it really is a singing Christmas tree.
Head out of the city and go skiing
Skiing is, of course, one of those winter activities that goes hand in hand with Switzerland, so if you fancy taking to the slopes and you’re in the city of Zurich, you won’t have to go too far to find your fix. Flumserberg is the closest resort to Zurich, with slopes for skiers of all levels, making it the most accessible if you’re a beginner or expert. If you’re not that experienced then you can even take part in ski or snowboard school up here, or if you just don’t like the idea of skiing entirely, there are restaurants and bars that will keep you entertained.
What could be more magical than taking to the ice in Zurich, skating around a rink situated in one of the most beautiful spots in the city. In the run up to Christmas, a number of open-air ice rinks are set up around Zurich, the most popular and enchanting being the rink set up in the courtyard of the Swiss National Museum. Here you’ll be surrounded by little stands selling festive treats, as well as the beautiful Swiss National Museum buildings. Nothing could be more perfect for an evening in Zurich in the winter months, and some of the rinks even stay up as late as March, so don’t worry if you’re not there for Christmas you might still have the opportunity to get your skates on and practice your pirouettes.
Somewhere to stay
After spending the day exploring this amazing city you will need somewhere comfortable to lay your head at night. Movenpick Zurich is the perfect place for just that. With their comfortable rooms, their great food (They have their own brand of ice cream which is amazing!) and there friendly staff, you would be hard pressed to find a better place to call home during your visit. We are big fans of Movenpick so maybe we are a little biased but we highly recommend it as the hotel of choice for your visit to Zurich. Don’t forget to try the ice cream!
Do you have any recommendations for Zurich in Winter?