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Non skiing Swiss City at Christmas

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Where would you recommend for a short city break at Christmas?
Good Scenery and Good Restaurants is a must
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Montreux could be a good shout. Easy access from GVA, great scenery of lake and snow capped mountains, christmas markets, lots of bars and good music venues.

https://switzerlandtravelcentre.co.uk/tours/montreux-christmas-market/
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I was going to suggest Annecy, but that's not in Switzerland.
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@NewSki, Zurich but thats because I cant speak French! I personally would rather go to Vienna, Bregenz, Dornbirn, Innsbruck or Salzburg though (obvs not CH-land), all more colourful and not grey/ drab like CH-land cities can be, the Swiss are not renowned for their gemutlichkeit are they?
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Only been into the centre once but Luzern seemed nice.
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@NewSki, My experience of CH in December, based on many decades of being there for work and for sliding.

- it will be cold
- the streets may be very slippy
- you will not want to spend a lot of time wandering about
- you will want nice cafes (Zurich, Geneva)
- you will want nice museums and themed buildings (Geneva)
- you will want nice views of the mountains (Geneva looking across the lake to Thonon etc)
- you might want some day trips (Geneva = great boat journeys across to the other side; train to Aigle and up to Leysin is a hoot)

You could do worse than GVA.
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I must have missed a lot of Geneva albeit I wasn't there long. I thought it grey and dull with not much going on..and the fountain wasn't on which was the most disappointing - I was a great fan of The Champions
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oh yes, I forgot to add Christmas markets NehNeh
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@NewSki, I think Annecy beats Geneva - save for the museum/art gallery scene - it's so beautiful and manageable to walk around and there's an abundance of good food to be had. I've never been at Christmas, but.. https://frenchmoments.eu/annecy-christmas-market/
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@NewSki, do you mean actually over Christmas or just in December? If the former, it's not the most exciting time to be in Swiss cities, as everyone is off with their families and most things are closed. The Christmas markets all pack up by the 23rd. The one in Colmar (France) goes on till the 30th December.
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@Hurtle, Annecy definitely beats Geneva in many ways. The last time I was there it was in France. Has it moved recently?
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@valais2, do keep up - Hurtle said above "I was going to suggest Annecy, but that's not in Switzerland."
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I replied earlier suggesting Montroux which led me to send the link of the markets to my wife as we wil be in Chatel. She has now booked us to take the kids to see Father Christmas up a Swiss mountain from Montroux via an old cog train ! It will be cheaper than going to Lapland at chf19 per kid. Life without snowHeads would be rather dull!

https://www.montreuxnoel.com/en-11-the-santa-claus-house.html#photos
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You know it makes sense.
@holidayloverxx, ...sorry...just waking up from Summer torpor....yawn.
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@holidayloverxx, ...is it snowing yet?....
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Another vote for Lucerne. Very pleasant city, a fair bit to do and look at, plus very easy access from Zurich by direct train from the airport railway station.
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@valais2, it snowed the other week
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Geneva requires a bit of a scratch to get below the surface...

Why CH specifically? Puzzled
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@under a new name, Yup....I can think of better places to be in late December.
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Bern has a lot going for it, easy access from Gva, Zurich and Basel.
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1. Basel.
2. Zermatt.
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Whitegold wrote:
2. Zermatt.


NewSki was specifically asking about non skiing city breaks. I think you'll find:
a) Zermatt is not a city and
b) There is a fair amount of skiing at Zermatt!
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@Alastair Pink, I don't think that NewSki actually specified non-skiing.
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@Alastair, it's in the thread title
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@Hurtle, whoops. Embarassed
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@NewSki, Actually over Xmas? And does it have to be Switzerland? If you would consider N Germany as you mention Xmas Markets ..... I believe a lot of the below carries on till New Years Eve though much will likely be shut on the main Xmas Days.

I can certainly recommend Hamburg in the run up to Xmas, everywhere is decorated with Xmas lights and apart from the many official Christmas Markets listed on the website, (I beleive Hamburg claims to have the most Xmas markets of anywhere in Europe lol https://www.hamburg.com/explore/events/christmas/ ) many small churches have a mini market and display outside or on the nearest corner too. The official markets are extensive and the one in the main square has (fake up in the air on lines but quite impressive non the less) Santa arriving by sledge pulled by reindeer's at a set time every day, as well as a miniature train set running around the rooves of the stalls.

Whilst in Hamburg grab the opportunity to go to the mini wonderland https://www.miniatur-wunderland.com/ and be sure to look carefully for the very naughty monks, Embarassed Laughing the wonderland has everything from miniature ski lifts and slopes to the shipping docks! You can also take a boat trip on the lake, a boat trip up the river (Elbe) and visit the museums, or take in a concert at the https://www.elbphilharmonie.de/en/ More than enough to keep you busy for a short break!

Eating at the Xmas Market stalls is to be recommended (especially the hot salmon roasted over an open flame) as is drinking the various 'punches' on offer. Visiting the market is a very social occasion for German families and very busy early evenings. But there are plenty of restaurants to choose from though disappointingly we have never found a truly authentic 'German' restaurant, I suspect there is no such thing in that part of Germany!

In case you do actually run out of things to do a day trip by train to Lubeck by train from Hamburg takes you to the Baltic Coastline (even colder than Hamburg so wrap up well) and as well as being a lovely place to visit it has various 'themed' Xmas Markets, Disney, Medieval (the Dragons Blood drink packs a real punch lol) http://www.luebeck-tourism.de/events/luebeck-at-christmas/christmas-craft-markets/traditional-christmas-market.htmletc in various city squares.

However none of this is in Switzerland rolling eyes Laughing so may not be any help!
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@CaravanSkier, Good scenery around Hamburg though? I took that to be snowy landscapes but maybe i'm wrong .
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Yes, I know it's not Switzerland, but ? Salzburg. Just don't bother with those Mozartkugeln.

I find Geneva dull, but I confess I've never given it much of a chance, really. All those airport adverts for stupidly expensive status watches and personal wealth management are a turn-off for me.

Annecy is lovely when the weather is good but can be a bit driech in winter - cold and dark.
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You know it makes sense.
lausanne?
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pam w wrote:
. Just don't bother with those Mozartkugeln.


Shocked heresy! burn the witch!
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I was given one by my hostess in Provence last week (she's Viennese). I love anything marzipan but I really felt the Mozartkugel was very dull and a major waste of calories! And I know they're expensive.
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@pam w,
Quote:

I love anything marzipan but I really felt the Mozartkugel was very dull
+1 Lubeck is the place for marzipan. Mmmm.
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Not too many Scandinavians though. NehNeh
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Alastair Pink wrote:
Whitegold wrote:
2. Zermatt.


NewSki was specifically asking about non skiing city breaks. I think you'll find:
a) Zermatt is not a city and
b) There is a fair amount of skiing at Zermatt!


Zermatt is basically a place where smug old people go shopping and eating. Much like any other tourist city.

Zermatt's population is 5-25 times larger than Vatican City. And bigger than the City of London in Winter.

Zermatt can easily be defined as a city.
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Hurtle wrote:
@pam w,
Quote:

I love anything marzipan but I really felt the Mozartkugel was very dull
+1 Lubeck is the place for marzipan. Mmmm.


I forgot to mention the marzipan when I spoke of Lubeck, it takes ages to get round the big shop there, and/or to get a seat in their cafe https://www.niederegger.de/en/history/
because its so busy whilst the Xmas markets are on. But its worth the time, well I thought so even though I don`t like marzipan Laughing
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Whitegold wrote:
Alastair Pink wrote:
Whitegold wrote:
2. Zermatt.


NewSki was specifically asking about non skiing city breaks. I think you'll find:
a) Zermatt is not a city and
b) There is a fair amount of skiing at Zermatt!


Zermatt is basically a place where smug old people go shopping and eating. Much like any other tourist city.

Zermatt's population is 5-25 times larger than Vatican City. And bigger than the City of London in Winter.

Zermatt can easily be defined as a city.


Lol. The one word answers are way better! Very Happy
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@Whitegold, the City of London isn't a city either, you silly person.
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Swiss city at Christmas...not a great idea imho. Zürich and Basel are miserable, grey and closed...Basel is particularly miserable. Geneva is also closed and dead, Lausanne and Montreaux are better, but still not exciting places to be.
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Goliard wrote:
Swiss city at Christmas...not a great idea imho. Zürich and Basel are miserable, grey and closed...Basel is particularly miserable. Geneva is also closed and dead, Lausanne and Montreaux are better, but still not exciting places to be.


^^^ agree with this summary. Never heard anyone recommend Geneva as a tourist destination - everyone I know tries to escape it. Although it quite obviously isn’t a city, Whitehold’s recommendation of Zermatt is hard to argue with for Scenery and restaurants. Alternatively From Montreux, you’ve got lake and Mountain View’s, Rocher de Naye by cog railway, with some nice hotels (Suisse Majestic 👌)you could do the Xmas market (if that’s your thing), 25 mins on the train to Lausanne or into the Valais eg Bains de Saillon thermal baths or even up to Verbier and snow shoe up to Chez Dany for lunch?
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I can't help you with where to go but I stayed in Montreux for two days in May, we were there to go on the Chocolate train https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-gb/swiss-chocolate-train.html, it was a long day but worth it. We also visited https://www.chillon.ch/en/, we had been looking forward to walking along the lakeside but there was a really bad thunderstorm so had to give it a miss, did manage to see the Freddy Mercury statue and visit the Queen exhibition in the casino. When we booked in to the hotel and paid the tourist tax we were given a pass for the local bus and train which was useful. FWIW we had a six day Interrail pass as we were travelling all over Switzerland.
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