Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Zurich at Christmas

Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:34pm EST
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By Jason Rhodes

ZURICH (Reuters Life!) - Famed as a private banking fortress where the wealthy come to stash their cash, Zurich's abundance of culture make it an attractive destination for all, not just the rich and famous.

Spread along the shores of its magnificent lake with beaches and lidos for swimming in summer, Switzerland's largest city also provides easy access to fabulous winter skiing and walking in the nearby Alps.

Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors get the most out of a short stay in the city.


3 p.m. On stepping out of the train at Zurich's main station, get straight into the festive spirit with a warming gluehwein (mulled wine) in between browsing the many food and craft stalls on the Christmas market in the spacious arrival hall, used for many other public events throughout the year like the city's own mini Oktoberfest.

The hall is dominated by a colorful angel made by French artist Nicki de Saint Phalle hovering above the crowds on golden wings and, at this time of year, a huge Christmas tree dripping with thousands of glittering ornaments from crystal maker Swarovski.

5 p.m. Soak up that gluehwein with traditional Swiss fare at the Volkshaus Restaurant before heading on to Kreis 5, Zurich's former industrial area now favored by the city's arty crowd thanks to its "cultural mile' of galleries, clubs and bars.

8 p.m. Visit one of the excellent theatres in the Schiffbau, where Lake Zurich's paddle steamers were built at the turn of the 20th Century but which has since been converted into an impressive cultural center. Music lovers can plump for one of the top international acts appearing in the intimate setting of Moods jazz club, also housed there.   Continued...

<p>Shoppers walk under Christmas illuminations on Rennweg street in Zurich November 21, 2009. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann</p>