5 festive alternatives to a Swiss Christmas market
While Christmas markets certainly get their share of attention, there’s so much more to Switzerland in December than just Christmas markets. With many different celebrations happening all over the country check out these 5 options if you have already had your fill of shopping.
1. Visit Stein am Rhein
This storybook village Stein am Rhein in northeast Switzerland is worthy a visit anytime of year, but every December the town located on the river Rhein turns into a fairytale land. For the kids, the highlight has got to be the fairytale path, a Christmas-themed treasure hunt that takes you throughout the city. If you visit on the 22nd, make sure you stick around for the Christmas singing with the Rhein-singphoniker on the Rathausplatz (in bad weather it’s held in the church)
2. Walk the Quinten Adventsweg
Far away from the last minute shoppers and packed Christmas markets of the cities, take the ferry across the Walensee to visit the car-free town of Quntin and walk their Advents Calendar path. Walk from Au to Quinten and view the Advent windows that are opened daily from December 1st, and if you are around at 11am, you may just be there when they open the day’s window. The path is even lit from Dämmerung until 21:00 each evening.
3. Admire the Advent windows in Engelberg and Mürren
Each evening during December, a festively decorated window is revealed in the ski resorts of Engelberg and Mürren thanks to crafty skills of local families. Download the lists from the website - Engelberg here and Mürren here - and take an evening walk or drive to see them. Not close to either Engelberg or Mürren? Just google Adventsfenster and see if a village close to you as a display.
4. Hike the Lantern Path—Hoch Stuckli
There are plenty of “lanternweg” or lantern paths to be found around Switzerland at this time of year (check this blogpost for more ideas), and the newest to join the group is the lantern path at Sattel Hoch Stuckli. Each Saturday during winter take the gondola up after all the skiers have left the piste and follow the 100 lanterns, even stretching across the suspension bridge. Bring along your own warm drinks to enjoy along the way or book, in additional to your gondola ticket, a fondue meal to warm up after your hike.
5. Savour the Mulled Wine Festival
When I first came across this event, my first thought was “who knew there were enough mulled wine varieties to have a festival based around them?” Despite this not being exactly a kid friendly event, it takes places outside in the streets of the ski resort of Wengen, so the kids can run around in the snow while you enjoy tasting a variety of mulled wines.