Things to do in Switzerland this Christmas
Conveniently held in the main train station, Zurich’s Christmas market swerves tacky seasonal fare in favour of luxurious, hand-crafted gifts and upmarket food and drink in a glamorous setting.
Nov 23-Dec 24.
It isn’t big and it isn’t fancy, but it offers a fun-packed schedule of events and an excellent location right in the heart of Lausanne’s trendiest district. Try to tame your two left feet at one of the weekend discos or let off some steam at a snowballing party – they’ll be new winter traditions before you know it.
Nov 5-Feb 25 2018. Daily 11am-10pm.
Dust off your old school wardrobe for this ultra silly party on wheels. For the festive season the party has a GOLD theme, so get a bunch of friends together and go roller skating to disco hits from the seventies, eighties and nineties with resident DJs Minus 8, Tarnover and Silvio Saint taking you back to the days of curlers, walkmans and flared pants.
Make sure your boots are comfy, because Europe’s largest open-air ice rink offers 6,000 square metres of super-chilled action. It first opened in 1930 and once hosted the Ice Hockey World Championships, but it’s a great place to learn other winter hobbies too – the complex also offers curling and snow sculpture lessons. Warm up with a fondue in its igloo-style tent.
Nov 1-Mar 11 2018. Mon, Tue, ThuSat 9am-10.30pm, Wed 9am-5.30pm, 7.15pm-10.30pm, Sun 9am-5.45pm.
An ice fanatic’s Disneyland. After dark, the 755-square metre covered main rink of this skating complex becomes a multi-coloured illuminated wonderland. And with four smaller rinks to explore, plus 450 metres of ice paths in between, you could practically play hide and seek here. Warm up in between sessions with a fondue in the on-site chalet or a mulled wine in the heated marquee.
Dec 16-Feb 24 2018. Daily 10am-10pm.
The largest expanse of water in the Jura region freezes over in winter, creating a natural rink that provides some of the most picturesque skating and ice walking you could wish for. Nature provides no handrails to cling on to, so beginners might take a tumble – but this is skating the way the snow gods intended.
Check the Lac de Joux website for opening times and daily conditions.
The market stalls are concentrated on Hirschenplatz and Rosenhof, but there are also a few along Niederdorfstrasse. Glühwein, tea and punch are served in many places, and most of the goods on offer are handmade or artisanal. Keep an eye on your belongings: Christmas markets are a popular destination for pick-pockets.
Geneva's new year celebrations once again take place on the bank of the Quai du Mont Blanc. Every year all of Geneva's inhabitants are invited to converge on the city centre to enjoy a festive and inclusive program, which includes an eclectic range of music across four stages to really get the party started.
Dec 31 from 9pm.
One of the highlights on Zurich's festive calendar this huge spectacular party takes place by Lake Zurich with 100,000 revelers descending on the city to ring in the new year in style. Visitors can get stuck in to food and drink stands, bars, while a variety of live music is scheduled to be performed on several stages making this an unmissable night.
The glamorous Engadine region boasts an ice rink in pretty much every quaint little mountain village (and five-star hotel). A new addition this season, the Glatschin rink in St Moritz Bad will offer tree-lined skate paths, plus market stalls, a Christmas fair and a ‘gastro village’ next door.
Dec 6-Feb 25 2018. Wed-Sun 4pm-8.30pm.
With capacity for 7,080 spectators, 3,280 of them seated, the home of HC Davos ice hockey club is definitely the place to enjoy some ice sports for those less inclined to get their skates on. With hockey champs, ice dancing and even the odd show held under its beautiful timber roof, it offers plenty to gawp at.
Until March 5 2018.
Entering its 79th edition is this annual freezefest at the Jardin Anglais in Geneva. Every year almost 2000 crazy competitors embark on the 120metre swim, which takes place in temperatures as low as 5° in Lake Geneva. It's the world's biggest cold water race, though it's probably more fun to watch than it is to take part.
This artificial ice rink has a unique setting within the Swiss parliament building and, as you may expect, is hugely popular with locals and foreign visitors. Thousands of people hit the 600m2 illuminated rink every year for hours of fun with friends and family.
Entry is free of charge and skates are available for hire at the rink.
Famous as one of the most expensive shopping streets in the world, visit after dark this December to see the dazzling lights of its custom made Christmas illumination 'Lucy. Local choirs will also sing carols from a conifer-shaped podium in the Werdmühleplatz Christmas market to create a festive spectacle to savour.
Nov 23-Dec 23.
Looking for more winter fun in Switzerland?
Here's our guide to some of the coolest things to do and places to be this winter in Switzerland.
Our guide to some of the best ski resorts in Switzerland
SPONSORED CONTENT Get festive with Zurich's Baur au Lac Hotel with pop-up restaurants to afternoon tea this winter.