With Christmas just around the corner, Switzerland boasts some of the most remarkable Weihnachtsmarkt and all while enjoying the spirit of Noel.
Better known to most English speakers as Christmas markets, there are at least 6 markets within Switzerland and 6 others just across the border in Germany, Italy and France.
One of the coolest things about Montreux is what happens to the area during the winter. The gardeners are very creative and theme extravagant expositions for the winter months while the flowers are not exactly in bloom. Here's little Maxime in front of Medusa on Dec. 11, 2002. This is what we would do in the winter months and as you can see, both of us enjoyed every minute of our walks. How could you blame me with a view like that? And of course the enjoyable walk down to the Christmas market made our journey complete. Most of the time I just had to advoid "le carousel" because Maxime became obsessed and always wanted to ride it. Every day! I learned how to get very creative in distracting him.
Of the markets in Switzerland, I've had the pleasure to see two of them. I would have to say my favorite was in Montreux. Having lived in the city and visited the market daily during my morning walks, I couldn't wait for the evenings when the city came to life with bright lights and a lively atmosphere. For such a small city, Les MarchÃ©s de NoÃ«l in Montreux is in my opinion the biggest and most beautiful. There is so much to offer for the entire family. Kids can enjoy many different rides, including the large Carousel which lights up the sky. Adults can enjoy the hot wine and dine on wonderful Christmas food. There are about 150 shops which align the waterfront and make for great Christmas gifts.
The other Christmas Market I was able to attend was that of the Basel Weihnachtsmarkt. The year of 2003 seemed to be a bit cooler and windy than the previous year in Montreux. I wasn't as fascinated by this market as much because it did not seem to be as child friendly. There were many shops but since they were so close together it made it hard to browse the small shops. But everything is in the central down town area which makes for large crowds and a good atmosphere.
Some of the other Christmas markets in Switzerland include Einsiedeln in central Switzerland, Lucerne, Zurich which is located in the train station, and Morat. The places outside of Switzerland include Strassbourg, Colmar and Mulhouse in France, Europa-park, Fribourg en Brisgau in Germany and Milan in Italy. I'm sure there are a few more around but I know these markets exist.
Check out Christmas Markets here for many of the listings throughout Europe.