The countdown to Christmas has begun and while Zurich offers many magical moments throughout the month, Zuri Girl recommends packing the car and venturing off to explore a few Christmas spectacles presented by our Swiss neighbors. Delighful and fascinating, this weekend trip will bring out the holiday spirit in even the grouchiest of scrooges!
Zuri Girl’s suggested itinerary journeys through 3 traditional Christmas Market towns offering endless hours of unique gift shopping, Glühwein drinking and holiday-themed photo taking. The trip can easily be navigated during a Friday – Sunday or even Saturday – Sunday trip. Happy Travels!
The journey begins…depart Zurich and approximately 2 hours later, enter the charming village of Colmar France…
- Market Highlights: The quaint town makes it easy to navigate its pedestrian-friendly streets as you stroll through their 5 Christmas markets, each with their own distinct theme. Kids will be fascinated by the children’s-themed attractions, foodies can enjoy the traditional Alsatian gastronomy and the kid in all of us can give a try at the ice rink.
- Town Highlights: Rich in history, Colmar’s architectures dates from the Middle Ages to the 19th Century. It’s a bit difficult to see past the Christmas décor, but be sure to take a break and admire the building facades and town monuments. History buffs won’t be disappointed.
- Zuri Girl Tip: Stay until dusk to see why Colmar is named the “City of Lights”.
Warm up in the car and approximately 1 hour later…
- Market Highlights: Dating back to 1570, the city is strung together by lights and markets. The gigantic Christmas Tree is an ideal meeting point if your family gets lost in the abundance of attractions ranging from free concerts, to ice skating, to an entire dedicated children’s village, to the hundreds and hundreds of market stalls. On a much larger scale then our first stop in Colmar, Strasbourg is a bit spread out with markets throughout the city center and outskirts, so grab a map when arriving to ensure you don’t miss one of the markets.
- Town Highlights: Strasbourg is a bustling University town with a substantial array of clothing shops. If you need a New Year’s Eve party dress or a wardrobe upgrade, take time from the markets and venture indoors.
- Zuri Girl Tip: During the holiday season, Sunday shopping is available on the 4th, 11th and 18th of December.
Spend the night in Strasbourg or hop back in the car for the last stop. Approximately 1 hour later…
- Market Highlights: Over 90 stalls bustling with hand-carved crafts (many you can watch being made right there), candles, fashion accessories and unique assortments of German-inspired sweets and savories. The market features an open-air stage with daily, free concert performances.
- Town Highlights: Everywhere you turn in the city, there is a reminder that it is Christmas. From shops to restaurants to hidden cobblestone alley-ways, the town is lit with Christmas spirit. It is a fairly small town center with pedestrian-friendly streets and a cuteness factor that just keeps you smiling.
- Zuri Girl Tip: Spend Sunday soothing your exhausted, market worn feet in Baden-Baden’s relaxing Thermal Baths.
After a relaxing sooth and afternoon snack head back to Zurich…2.5 hours to return
Zuri Girl Market Travel Tips
- Hundreds of thousands of visitors travel to these Christmas markets and all of them are searching for the same thing…a car park. Parking can be very difficult – it is sometimes easiest to park on the outskirts verse fighting the crowds and circling numerous times.
- The markets are indeed markets, therefore they are all outside and once the sun goes down, it gets awfully chilly. Be sure to wear layers and invest in a few hand and feet warmers.
- Glühwein (hot mulled wine) is a staple of this region’s Christmas markets, but also be sure to taste the local specialties. Each region features their own traditional cuisine – be adventurous and try something new by sampling flavors that you have never seen before.
- Depending on your location, Christmas markets might be referred to as Christkindlmarket, and Weihnachtsmarkt.
- Load up the car ipod adapter with Christmas jingles and podcasts covering the history and facts of the regions highlights.
For more information, follow these links to the offical webistes: