Celebrate the enchanting spirit of the season as you shop Switzerland’s old-world holiday markets, where chocolates, St. Nicholas pastries and handmade treasures fill vendors’ stalls. Traveling by train between each city center, you’ll browse the markets in Montreux, Bern, Basel, Mulhouse and Zürich where you’re sure to find something to please everyone on your holiday shopping list.
• Visit traditional holiday markets in five cities.
• Enjoy a scenic train experience on the Golden-Pass.
• Customize this seasonal journey to suit your own pace and interests.
What better way to celebrate the yuletide season – and what better way to surprise your friends and family – than with holiday decor and gifts purchased at the fabled holiday markets of Switzerland? Browse wooden market stalls displaying handmade ornaments and be tempted by traditional holiday delicacies. In the evenings, your holiday spirits will soar as you lose yourself in the imaginative, fairy tale sets and sparkling lights shimmering in the night.
Swiss cities sparkle in the crackling air every December when the Christmas markets illuminate the streets, casting a radiant glow over the winter chill. Christmas markets and festivities are a strong tradition in this country along with St. Nicolas pastries, holiday chocolates and handmade decorations. Sample delicious buttery baked goods and sip mulled wine to stay warm while searching for unique gifts to take home to family and friends.
You’ll visit markets in five different cities and enjoy breathtaking views of Switzerland in winter as you journey by train between places such as Montreux and Basel that are famed for their seasonal splendor. Each market has its own unique character and each offers a vast array of local delicacies, Christmas ornaments, handmade and artisanal gifts, and hot foods and drinks like bratwurst and spicy gluhwein. On the French side of the border in Mulhouse, merchants entice visitors with pottery and gingerbread. And marvel at the floating candle display on the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich before wandering the indoor market, the largest in Europe.
• 6 nights in 3-star hotels (upgraded hotels can be requested): 1 night in Montreux, 2 nights in Bern, 2 nights in Basel and 1 night in Zurich
• Daily breakfast
• First class rail tickets between cities as per itinerary
• Visits to Christmas Markets in Montreux, Bern, Basel, Zurich and Mulhouse, France
• Self-guided city tours of Basel, Zurich and Bern, whose old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site
• Comprehensive document package with detailed itinerary, travel brochures and destination information
Note: Additional nights can be added in any city and additional sightseeing is available. Upgraded hotels can also be requested. Inquire at time of booking.
Day 1 - Arrive in Geneva / Montreux Christmas Market
Arrive at the Geneva Airport. Travel by first class train to Montreux, an hour’s journey along Lake Geneva. Once you arrive, enjoy your first experience of a Swiss Christmas Market. Later, check-in to your hotel.
Accommodation: Hotel Helvetie or similar - 1 night
Day 2 - Bern Christmas Markets
Today you have reserved seats on the scenic Golden-Pass train on your way to Bern, Switzerland’s capital. In the evening, visit one of the city’s two Christmas Markets.
Accommodation: Hotel Kreuz or similar - 2 nights
Day 3 - Bern Sightseeing
An iPod rental for a self-guided walking tour will allow you to explore Bern’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its perfectly preserved medieval street plan, cobblestone streets, covered arcades and doughty towers. Traffic is kept out of the Old Town and you could spend days wandering the streets and alleys, and café-hopping. After the tour, visit one of Bern’s Christmas Markets.
Day 4 - Basel Christmas Market
Breakfast in the morning at the hotel and continue by train to Basel, located in the three-country corner of Switzerland, France and Germany. Basel has a deep-rooted tradition as Switzerland’s most beautiful and largest Christmas city and boasts Europe’s longest illuminated Christmas street. Explore the sights of Basel with your iGuide, a high tech audiovisual city tour. The rest of the day is free. In the evening, visit Basel’s Christmas Markets.
Accommodation: Hotel Der Teufelhof Basel or similar - 2 nights
Day 5 - Mulhouse Christmas Market
First class train tickets are included for today’s day trip to Mulhouse, France. Place de la Réunion, the historic heart of the city, is home to an impressive Christmas Market that has maintained its authenticity in a prestigious setting. Return to Basel for the night.
Day 6 - Zurich Christmas Market
After breakfast, travel by train to Zurich, the Swiss banking center that is consistently rated among the best places to live in the world. The medieval Old Town, characterized by steep, cobbled alleys and attractive, small-scale architecture, comprises a substantial part of the city center and is perfect for exploratory wanderings. A two-hour ride on a nostalgic trolley will introduce you to the main sights of Zurich. The city is also packed with exciting activities such as the enchanting "Lichterschwimmen" floating candles display, Christmas circuses, the Live On Ice skating rink, the "Singing Christmas Tree," and the new light art on Bahnhofstrasse. And of course, explore Zurich’s Christmas Market, the largest indoor market in all of Europe. Overnight at your hotel.
Accommodation: Hotel Gloceknhof or similar - 1 night
Day 7 - Depart for home
This morning, time to say auf wiedersehn to Switzerland. Head to Zurich Airport for your return flight home.
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