A Christmas break in Zurich.

At the beginning of December myself and Chris took a little five day break to Switzerland. This came about because my friend from work in the UK, Louise and her partner Lee moved out there, when Lee got offered a job in Zurich. So on one cold Saturday morning when I had the major holiday blues from returning from travelling, I saw a post off Louise asking for a dog sitter whilst she returned home for a few days. After a quick Google of flight prices we agreed to look after little Bella and have a Christmassy break.

Lee and Louise live in Urdorf which is a 20 minute train ride from Zurich train station, in a lovely flat. Urdorf is a quiet picturesque little town, which has everything you need 10 minutes from the city. The trains run every 20 minutes too so the transport links in Switzerland are amazing, the trains are clean, on time and double decker, the brilliant thing is you do not need a car at all.

When we went out to see them in Zurich, Louise was still job hunting due to a very high demand for German speakers as a job requirement. Since my visit though, I am pleased to say that Louise has started an online UK business as she visits the UK a lot, and she runs it online when back in Switzerland. The company is sells cosmetics called Arbonne (botanically based skincare, cosmetics and healthy living products) which I cannot wait to try out.

We flew from Manchester into Basel, after a few too many in the airport lounge (and a sighting of Jim Macdonald from corrie), a lost handbag (got it back by the way) we arrived in Switzerland. Basel is an hour train ride from Zurich and if I can give you a massive tip it is so much cheaper to fly into here and get the train into Zurich. We paid £30 return each as a pose to £300 each to fly into Zurich (it does go lower than this at times, but when we were looking these were the flight prices). Basel- Mulhouse –Freiberg airport is actually in France on the boarder of Germany and Switzerland, so a great airport to access all these countries.

We spend a night in Basel and hit the Christmas markets as they are the best in Switzerland before heading to the Zurich the following day. As with my Paris blog I am going to do a top five round up of things to do in Zurich. We didn’t do everything as we were on a limited time and also it is so expensive!!!

Bahnhofstrasse
This is the main downtown street in Zurich and one of the world’s most expensive shopping streets. You can spend hours wandering down here looking at the expensive watches and clothes in the window knowing you will never afford them. When we went it was all lit up for Christmas and looked amazing. Louise walked us down here on our first night to show us around and it is so classy. It is also the perfect spot to sample some swiss chocolate, we opted for free samples at Laderach as it is one of the most expensive chocolates in the world! We also went for breakfast a Sprungli café one morning and I had the richest most chocolatiest hot chocolate ever and it was lovely. If you want to treat yourself they do a Sunday breakfast buffet, with a glass of prosecco which is 55CHF (£43 each!). I just opted for the croissant with hot chocolate for 13.50 CHF (£11).

Zeughauskeller
It wouldn’t be a trip abroad without sampling the local food, so on our first night in Zurich Louise and Lee took us out for a meal to say thank you for looking after Bella which was really kind of them! They took us here so we could get the rustic Swiss experience. The décor was old beams and all historic items on the walls and we were seated at long bench seats. I had a massive Cordon Bleu which came with an enormous potato rosti and Chris had a special I can’t remember the name of with lots of mushrooms! It was so tasty, and we washed it down with a few drinks and had a long overdue catch up.

Uetliberg
This is a mountain next to Zurich which has amazing views all over the city and the lake, you can pay for the cable car to the top and then climb the pylon at the top to see beautiful views, make sure you go on a clear day. That’s it really the pictures speak for thereself.

Christmas markets (seasonal of course)
We were so excited to experience the authentic Christmas markets as I am a massive fan of the ones in Manchester. There are lots and lots and festive stalls selling all sorts of Swiss foods and Gluhwein which we had plenty of. It  was so festive to wrap up and drink a mulled wine (or three in Chris’ case when his German didn’t quite go to plan). I tried a currywurst which was so good, I wasn’t too keen on the sound of it, but I was proven wrong. There are 3 or 4 different Christmas markets in Zurich our favourites were the ones in the main station, where the massive Swarovski crystal tree is at Christmas. The other we loved was down by lake Zurich with plenty of food stalls and an ice skating ring. If you can visit Zurich around Christmas it really is magical, and I love a cold holiday now and again.

Boat ride on Lake Zurich
As part of your train ticket in Zurich you are also permitted to a 1.5 hour boat ride around Lake Zurich, so when Louise had returned from the UK on our last day, we all spent the day at the Christmas markets and had a little boat ride. It was also a coincidence that another work friend of ours Natalie was in Zurich for the day so we all had a little work reunion day, it was lovely. The boat takes you out to the areas you wouldn’t necessarily see (including the Lindt factory) and you have opportunity to get off if you like. We also saw Tina Turners house! It’s a great and cheap way to see more of Zurich.

We had a brilliant time in Zurich, and thanks to Louise and Lee for putting us up in their flat (we still miss Bella). I would definitely recommend Zurich for a Christmas break (or any other weekend I just love the markets). Although it wouldn’t be the cheapest city break to go on, I will say this about Zurich it is clean, you feel very safe and the public transport is fantastic and it is absolutely beautiful.

Lucy