Swiss Winter Markets, Part 2: By Night

The excitement of the winter markets doesn’t necessarily have to end at 11am when the Market Police show up, making sure that no more goodies are exchanged (it’s true, read about it here!).  All throughout Switzerland and in other European countries, this is prime time for Christmas markets – markets that go on all day long and well into the evening too.  Just think how magical, once it gets dark – colorful lights twinkling on and off, trees sparkling with ornaments and decorations… and you taking it all in, with cold hands cupped around warm mugs of Glühwein or hot cocoa.

Zürich’s main train station holds Europe’s largest indoor Christmas market for the 16th year.  Swarovski steals the show once again with its 15m (50 foot) tree and 6,000 crystals.   The tree is stunning and a real mouth-opener from afar; it almost appears to be covered in snow – with all the crystals and spotlights around.  But be sure to get up close (you might have to elbow your way in a bit) and see all the small crystal figurines.  Green mini Christmas trees and all sorts of animals, Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs, and my personal favorite, a new addition this year: mini cows in different colors, with bells around their necks (below right). (See last year’s post for more pictures of the tree and market.)

Zürich HB Christmas Market 2009Zürich HB Christmas Market 2009

You’re in the right place if you arrive at the market with an appetite.  I just hope the lines aren’t too long for Raclette, crêpes and Glühwein.  You can grab a bag of Christmas cookies here, some typical Swiss carnival fare over there or try a few exotic tastes at the non-Christmasy stands as well (too many of these in my opinion).  And while no Swiss event or fair is complete without Raclette, you can be sure to find a generous selection of sausages too.

Zürich HB Christmas Market 2009Zürich HB Christmas Market 2009Zürich HB Christmas Market 2009Zürich HB Christmas Market 2009Zürich HB Christmas Market 2009Zürich HB Christmas Market 2009

The best thing to do is simply walk up and down the aisles, peaking into as many of the 160 stands as you choose.  Wooden trinkets, baking molds, holiday gift ideas and all sorts of Christmas cookies and cakes, including Stollen.  You’ll see beautiful Suter-Züri Tirggel – traditional Christmas cookies from Zürich, made with honey.  And you’ll see heart shaped gingerbread cookies that say “Ich liebe Dich” (I love you) in icing on them, like you see throughout Germany too.  There’s something for everyone.

Zürich HB Christmas Market 2009Zürich HB Christmas Market 2009Zürich HB Christmas Market 2009Zürich HB Christmas Market 2009

Above you can see my favorite part of the market, a stand just packed with gorgeously hand-carved wooden soldiers and other toys.  Spielwarenmacher Günter’s stand is one of the (physically)  largest attractions at the market, as you can see above right.  I spent so much time there just appreciating each wooden object, the beautiful details and real workmanship behind it all; they’ve been in the business since 1914 after all.  Not to be missed.

Anyone visiting a Christmas market this year? Or have a favorite from years past?

Miss Swiss Winter Markets, Part 1: By Day ? Read it here.

Zürich HB Christmas Market 2009

Zürcher Christkindlimarkt
Hauptbahnhof, Zürich?s Main Train Station
November 27 to December 24
Monday to Friday: 11am to 9pm; Saturday and Sunday: 10am to 8pm

23 Responses to “Swiss Winter Markets, Part 2: By Night”

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  3. VeggieGirl says:

    I’m speechless by the beauty and sights!

  4. Lani says:

    I just love the spirit of the Christmas market! Love the little wooden men, the cookies and just imaging through your photography the fragrances of Christmas in the market. The tree is just breathtaking. I can only compare it to the tree at Rockefeller Plaza. Both are so different but so fabulous. Hope you continue to wander the market and pick up goodies for this holiday season.

  5. kelleynr says:

    So beautiful! I love it how each crafter is so proud of the region of where they come from.

  6. Meeta says:

    I am going to the Weimar Weihnachtsmarkt today to take pictures for an article. I am loving these as they are getting me into the spirit – and I also like the look of those forms! I have to say reading the post about the market police surprised me. And I thought the German police were so strict!!

  7. Julia @ Mélanger says:

    How wonderful, the markets at night. I love those cute little cookie cutters and stamps. Do they sell them all year round?

    I could just picture myself walking around rugged up to the hilt, with hot chocolate in hand, with a big smile on my face! 🙂

  8. Bethany says:

    Wow… the market looks so beautiful! This is truly the real deal… I can’t wait to actually visit one someday!

  9. Emma says:

    Those are some snazzy and cute cows! Yum, Raclette, crêpes and Glühwein. It’s only 9 in the morning here, but all three of those things sound perfect right now.

  10. Mowie says:

    Oh my darling Kerrin! You had me at Swarovski =)

    Gorgeous tree. Gorgeous pictures. Gorgeous post!

  11. Kerrin says:

    Lani, oh yes the tree at Rockefeller Plaza in NYC is fabulous ! I think each city puts its own personality on the tree, the markets and decorations. So amazing to see them all !

    kelleynr, you are so right. It’s wonderful to talk to the people at the stands and hear about their crafts and all. They are (almost) always happy to share their stories.

    Meeta, oh how fabulous, I can’t wait to hear about the Weimar Weihnachtsmarkt. Bet there are a lot of similarities between the two. As for the market police, yup – they are mega strict here. The Swiss have their rules… and you better stick to them ! 😉

    Julia, I knew you’d love those cookie cutters and stamps. Thought of you when I saw them in fact ! You do see those items at markets throughout the year. But now, there are more festive-themed ones for sure.

    Bethany, oh absolutely, Christmas markets in Europe are a must, so magical !

    Emma, Raclette, crêpes and Glühwein – for breakfast ? Hey, why not ?! Crêpes/pancakes with cheese isn’t all that weird, right ? And a hot drink to start your day. Voila, it makes perfect sense ! 🙂

    Mowie, LOL ! Love it ! You’d be in heaven with all that sparkle. I’ll go back and check if there are any pink crystals. If so, you must come visit ! 😉 Thanks M !

  12. Steve says:

    Wow, i’m always impressed with your photography, but the variety here… so many different subjects, lighting conditions, and all around tough things to shoot. Nicely done. Genuinely feel like i know the market now. More important, i genuinely feel like having a snack now. Great stuff!

  13. Solo Road Trip says:

    oh! what a beautiful post. I’m so far behind. I’ve been absent from here far too long. it’s the holidays and I’m sucking wind on article assignments that are bearing down, baking for neighbors, Christmas gift shopping, Hanukkah gift shopping (as you well know this weekend!), tending to this and that, and preparing to take a cross country road trip with hubby because we decided to drive to West Virginia this year instead of flying. Whew. All that and what I really want to do is catch up with your blog. That post about chocolate hasn’t left my thoughts since I saw the email come through about it. Tomorrow I may be able to visit here and take my dang sweet time without so many distractions that my thoughts can’t complete one full rotation in my brain. I want to read about the Swiss winter markets and gaze upon your photography. To Be Continued…

  14. Uncle Beefy says:

    Does it get any more perfect than this? A Christmas market, in Switzerland, at night?!! Perfectly lovely! Maybe one day in person but for now will be happy that I can live vicariously. Siiiiiigh. 🙂

  15. Robert says:

    I need those crystal cows! A little Raclette and sausage wouldn’t be bad either. Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas Kerrin and Olivier.

  16. Marieta says:

    Fantastic photos… oh, looks so lovely… thanks for sharing!

  17. Kerrin says:

    Steve, thanks so much. It is true that those crystals were not easy to shoot. Pretty dark under the tree. AND – that big cow was spinning, never stood still for a photo ! 😉 Hope you enjoyed your snack…

    Solo Road Trip, wow you are busy !! Shopping, baking and heading cross country ! Enjoy it all, and no worries, the posts are here for you when you’re ready. There may be no chocolate left over here, but that just means it’s time to start on roundup #4…!

    Uncle Beefy, does it get more perfect you ask — why yes… if you were HERE ! Until then, I’m so so happy to bring the markets and magical Christmas atmosphere to you. Enjoy !

    Robert, I know right, don’t you just love those cows ! Thanks for the holiday wishes. Merry Christmas to you too !!

    Marieta, thank you.

  18. Elisa says:

    Can you believe that I haven’t seen the Christmas Market yet? I’ll make it a point to go to the HB this weekend – we anyway tend to use the train more in the weekend because it’s much faster than the car to get around Zurich.

    I usually love the Christmas market, but this year I am not feeling the Holiday spirit much… 4 months in, and I still miss New York terribly!. I bet a trip to the HB would help 🙂

  19. Jessica says:

    Great photos, Kerrin. I am officially missing Swiss Christmases… ho hum. Looking forward to more reports of Swiss Christmas loveliness in the countdown up to the big day!

    Thinking of you, Jessica. 🙂

  20. Dad says:

    Would it embarrass you if, after reading all these comments, i said how really proud i was of my kid? It would? Woops, sorry 🙂

  21. Uncle Beefy says:

    Dad… nevermind Kerrin’s embarassment. You can be proud! Y’all did one fine job with her you did. We “heart” Kerrin all over the world! 🙂

  22. Dad says:

    Uncle Beefy, aw shucks, it was nuthin’. As for embarrassing Kerrin, it’s not nearly as easy as it used to be. So any chance i get……. (nah, just kidding :)) The healthiest and happiest of holidays to all.

  23. jessiev says:

    hoo boy, i can’t BLV i just found your site. raclette and crepes? you’ve got me!! what a great, great article – thanks for sharing!

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