In Italy, you are perfectly located near so many awesome countries. Right above Italy is Switzerland, known for its Swiss Alps, chocolate, and cheese. My friend invited me take a trip to Zurich, Switzerland to check out the Christmas markets, and I decided to go last minute!
I took a FlixBus, a super affordable way to travel in Europe. My round trip was only $75. I left the bus station in Florence at around midnight and arrived in Zurich at 8:30am. The bus ride wasn’t too bad, I was able to sleep for most of the trip, listened to music, and even worked on my journal for a bit. I arrived conveniently near Zurich central station, where I met my friend who had flown in the night before. The weather was beautifully sunny and clear, something not so common for this area, we were told.
To start off, we stopped at a grocery store to buy bread, Swiss cheeses, and fruit for breakfast. The restaurants in Switzerland in general can be expensive, so we wanted to keep our expenditures to a minimum. We enjoyed a quick bite at a small table on the street before heading to the Christmas market inside the Zurich HB station. There were tons of tents with Christmas-y street foods like cheeses, baked desserts, sausages, Dutch pancakes, churros, and the Swiss mulled wine, called Glühwein. Something that I hadn’t seen before is the white wine version that they had, which had a similar taste of a hot apple cider, and I may even like better than red mulled wines! They also had so many samples of the cheeses, meats, and sweets, and I couldn’t help but try them all.
At the market, we started talking to a young guy who was working at one of the tents. He was so incredibly friendly and gave us tons of advice on things to see and told us about life in Switzerland. He’s actually starting a music and merchandise company, so please check his jam sessions out at soundcloud.com/hilltribesessions!
We then walked around the “Zurich West” district, also known as “Kreis 5,” an industrial district turned happening area with quirky shops, restaurants, and at nighttime, bars and clubs. We walked along an elevated path on top of the old railway viaduct and snacked on our bread and cheese.
After enjoying the views and a bite of food, we took a tram back to the central area of Zurich and wandered the Old Town. We enjoyed watching the ducks and swans floating along the river, explored the small, muraled inner gardens of Fraumünster Church, and stumbled upon a tiny little market outside Grossmünster Church, where we enjoyed a cup of hot apple cider. We then entered the twin-towered Grossmünster Church, which has unusual “stained glass” windows made up of thinly sliced, multicolor agate stones. We scaled one of the towers, which opens up to an incredible four-sided lookout onto the city of Zurich.
Later, we headed to the lake as the sun was setting. We found ourselves at another Christmas market, this one in the open air at Sechseläutenplatz. There were tons of young adults hanging out at the fireplaces and standing tables, as well as people of all other ages. This market was a bit more modern and trendy, with international foods, local designer goods, and a funky shaped ice skating rink. We shared a plate of Röschti mit Raclettekäse, thick potato fritters topped with melted cheese. Now night time, the market was aglow with string lights overhead, fireplaces, and a large Christmas tree. In addition to the outside festivities, there were several cozy cabins, where you could order drinks and enjoy your food at tables surrounded by rustic, cabin-style decor.
Later in the night, we checked out Zurich’s large night life scene. While out, we met a group of Swiss guys; they were so friendly, and took us around to several dancey places. We were having so much fun with them, we didn’t even realize it was almost 4am when we decided to head home!
The next day, we decided to take a day trip to Lucerne, Switzerland, about an hour outside of Zurich. Check out my next blog post to continue following my Switzerland adventures!