9 Christmas Markets along the Grand Train Tour
It’s back – the most beautiful time of the year: snow-clad hills, frozen lakes and festively lit Christmas markets. Many of them are located right next to or directly in railway stations: perfect companions of public transport.
1: Zurich – the most elegant of Christmas trees.
No fewer than 7,000 Swarovski crystals adorn the 15-metre high Christmas tree in the great hall of Zurich main station. Surrounded by 150 market stalls, it is a striking highlight. The Christmas experience starts right at arrival: The moment visitors step off the train they are greeted by the sweet fragrance of spiced hot wine punch and cinnamon. The perfect start for travellers of the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland.
2: Lucerne – glamorous Advent wreath with metre-high candles.
Every year, Lucerne welcomes the return of its “Lozärner Weihnachtsmärt” Christmas market on Franziskanerplatz. Its canopy of twinkling Christmas stars and the fragrance of gingerbread and spices, punch and mulled wine attract all ages to its stalls. On top of the Franciscan Well at the centre of the square the signature feature of the market is glowing: a huge Advent wreath, adorned with hundreds of lights and baubles and four metre-high candles. And there’s a very special service: at the wrapping booth you can have your shopping items gift-wrapped and turned into beautiful presents – for free!
3: Interlaken – the most heavenly Christmas experience.
Along the GoldenPass Line from Lucerne to Montreux, a stop over in Interlaken is well worth it. A truly heavenly Christmas experience awaits those who wish to enjoy the time before Christmas with all their senses. The visit to Christmas markets can be combined not only with Christmas shopping but also with ice-skating on the “Top of Europe Ice Magic Interlaken” ice rink – where fun for young and old is guaranteed!
4: Montreux – plenty of glamour and flying lights.
At Zweisimmen, the GoldenPass Panoramic or Belle Époque start in the direction of the French-speaking Swiss region. Shortly before arriving at its destination, a fantastic view onto glistening Lake Geneva unfolds. And for those who look closely, the lights of Montreux’s most beautiful Christmas market are already visible. Only a few walking minutes from the station, the market impresses visitors with a glamorous 3D light show illuminating the entire façade of the Fairmont Le Montreux palace. Its location near the lake lends a very special, warm and festive atmosphere to the market. Each year, countless “flying lights” float on the lake. This one is not to be missed – whether from the lake promenade or by boat.
5: Zermatt – charm around the Matterhorn.
Leaving Montreux, the train passes by Martigny as well as the famous Stocker Palace in the Rhonetal Valley and drives through Switzerland’s deepest-incised valley, the Nicolaital Valley. After a train ride of roughly two-and-a-half hours, the passengers of the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland arrive in fashionable Zermatt. Countless lights turn the station square into a festive colour spectacle and make for a warm welcome – against the backdrop of the world famous Matterhorn, which is visible from every point in the village.
6: St. Moritz – in style: Christmas mood and winter ambiance.
The Glacier Express, the slowest express train in the world, takes passengers across the Oberalp Pass towards the Engadine. In the glittering village centre of St. Moritz, the “Delightful Christmas Market” offers cheerful Christmas mood and winter ambiance. Local producers place great value on the highest quality and an appealing range of products. Also, a Christmas stroll along the decorated shopping mile is certainly a must.
7: Lugano – mulled wine and other delicacies.
During the winter months, the journey continues on the Palm Express. The PostBus ride is rich in contrasts and leads from St. Moritz down the Bregaglia Valley to the urban and cultural centre of Lugano in Ticino. On the Piazza Riforma, not far from the train station, the local residents celebrate the Christmas period. During this time, the city centre turns into a brightly lit village with stalls, musical performances and booths offering delicious spiced hot wine punch. Travellers shouldn’t miss the stop over in the only Italian-speaking city on the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland for the world.
8: St. Gallen – Switzerland’s stellar city.
The Voralpen-Express takes guests from Lucerne to St. Gallen, a city steeped in tradition. Each Advent, St. Gallen turns into the most atmospheric “Schweizer Sternenstadt” (starry city). No fewer than 700 stars sparkle over the squares and lanes and wrap the historic facades of the UNESCO World Heritage city in festive splendour. The atmosphere in the cheerfully decorated alleys of the old town makes the period before Christmas in St. Gallen a truly special experience.
9: Schaffhausen – small but excellent.
The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland continues along the Rhine back to Zurich. A stop over in Schaffhausen counts as a must. The traditional Christmas market is located in and around the over 800-year-old cloister of the monastery “zu Allerheiligen” (All Hallows) – only a few walking minutes from the train station Schaffhausen. At this small, exclusive market, a handpicked selection of exhibitors offer products that are all connected to Christmas. Whoever is still looking for Christmas decoration or a suitable present: this is the place to go.