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Markets, mulled wine and a merry 'Swissmas'

Take advantage of Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lane with Switzerland and enjoy a special festive season.

Zurich’s Christmas markets

Sparkling 'Lucy lights' on Zurich's Bahnhoffstrasse.

Channel the glitz and glamour of Zurich’s many festive markets. There are four main markets altogether, all offering a slightly different experience. But all serve up plenty of sparkling trees, mulled wine, sweet treats and Christmas cheer.

Browse one of the largest outdoor markets in Europe and Zurich’s most centrally-located market, Christkindlmarkt (open daily, November 19 to December 24). The action is held on the main concourse of Zurich train station under a huge, sparkling Swarovski Christmas tree.

Also setting up shop is the Weihnachtsmarkt (open daily, November 25 to December 24), which boasts a singing Christmas tree and is just off the main shopping street of Bahnhofstrasse. And don’t miss the 12,000 lights on Bahnhofstrasse - they’re quite spectacular and known locally as ‘Lucy Christmas Lights’ after The Beatles’ song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Tuck into piping hot fondue as you’re serenaded by the singing ‘tree’.

Head to Lake Zurich to experience Zurich’s largest Christmas market, Zurich Wienachtsdorf (open daily, November 25 to December 23) at the urban Christmas Village. Enjoy the ice rink as well as heaps of local foods and handicrafts.

Niederdorf Old Town Christmas Market (daily, November 25 to December 23) is Zurich’s oldest Christmas Market and is held in the pretty Niederdorf quarter of the city. The medieval Fraumunster Church on the other side of the river makes a suitably picturesque backdrop to sections of the market.

Ski freedom

We've all missed the ski slopes.

With ski resorts inaccessible last winter, we’ve all missed a year of whizzing down the slopes. If you’re feeling a little out of practice, don’t worry. Switzerland’s network of ski schools offer to get you confidently back on your feet in no time. Whether you’re a beginner or a rusty returner, the Swiss Ski Schools promise to have you skiing in just three days - with the promise of a free-of-charge repeat course if you don’t quite manage it.

Classes are supervised by Swiss Ski School instructors and they’re confident they’ll have you enjoying an easy, blue run by day three.

Instructors are also of course able to show-off the best of the country’s slopes with breaks in stunning mountain huts.

There are also full- and half-day ‘First Ski Experience’ offers, enabling guests to enjoy a ski or snowboarding taster.

Igloo staycays

Winter holiday experiences don’t get more memorable than spending a night in an igloo surrounded by some of the most stunning mountain scenery in the world. The Igloo village at Zermatt offers just such an experience - and at an altitude of 2,700m with stunning views of the Matterhorn and Valais Alps.

After meeting with your guides, there’s a five minute train ride and ten minute hike to the village where you’ll be met with a warming homemade mulled wine.

Activities in the village include snowshoeing and there’s even a village hot tub. Fuel-up with a traditional cheese fondue in the evening before snuggling down in your lambskin-lined igloo for the night. A hot cup of tea will be dropped off to your sleeping bag the following morning. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at Hotel Riffelberg before catching the train back down the mountain.

Super sledging

Speed down one of Europe’s longest sledging runs.

Bin Pintenfritz runs from Faulhorn in Grindelwald, through Bussalp and down to Grindelwald Oberall - a descent of just short of 1,400m - with magnificent views over the Schreckhorn, the north face of the Wetterhorn and the Eiger mountains as you slide.

Suitable for older families looking for adventure, the exhilarating experience begins with a two-hour hike up to an altitude of 2,600m from First to Faulhorn via Lake Bachalpsee. The climb affords amazing views of the north face of the Wetterhorn mountain and the Schreckhorn mountain. It’s hard work, but at the top you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views over much of Switzerland - not to mention the prospect of a super-fast descent back down to Grindelwald Oberall.

The run takes its name from Fritz Bohren, former owner of the Faulhorn mountain hotel, who was also known as ‘Pintenfritz’. Allegedly, he used to sledge to Grindelwald after work to let his hair down. However, it remains a mystery as to how he returned back up to Faulhorn after a night on the town. These days, there’s a train.

Along with the mountain views, the run also takes in the snowy forest near Bussalp - look out for deer on the edge of the forest as you whizz through the trees.

Ice, ice baby

Adventures on ice at Ice Magic.

ICE MAGIC adventure world in the centre of Interlaken is open from mid-December until February and offers fun family moments on a series of ice rinks linked by ice paths and surrounded by breathtaking mountain scenery.

There’s a separate, covered rink for children where they can safely find their feet with the help of the skating aids provided. The ice on this rink is also less slippery, so parents can walk alongside skate-free to supervise. If they’re feeling confident, kids can also try their hand at soft hockey.

Skates, aids and helmets are all available for hire, including double-bladed children’s skates. Just bring warm coats and gloves and don’t forget your sunscreen.

Fuel-up at a selection of dining spaces serving traditional Swiss winter warmers.

Winter walks

Picture the scene - gently whirling snowflakes, stunning mountain vistas and a silent, white wilderness.

The picturesque Aletsch Arena in southern Switzerland is crisscrossed by 72 kilometres of winter walking trails, affording hikers breathtaking views of the winter landscape of Valais, home to the mighty Matterhorn mountain. Easy hikes of between five and ten kilometres pass by snow-covered forests, frozen rivers and sunny plateaus.

Getting around

Switzerland's famous Glacier Train.

A great way to see Switzerland is with a Swiss Travel Pass. This offers holidaymakers unlimited use of trains, buses and boats, including premium panoramic trains such as the Glacier Express. The Pass covers more than 90 Swiss towns and cities as well as free admission to more than 500 museums country-wide, mountain excursions in areas including Rigi, Stanserhorn and Stoos and 50% discount on many other mountain excursions. And if you invest in the Swiss Family Card travel pass, children under the age of 16 get to travel free.

More information and booking details for the activities mentioned here can be found online.


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