Hello everyone! Finally we are less than one month away from the most important festival in Europe – Christmas! Most of the Christmas markets are open from now on! What can be better than having a cup of mulled wine and some roasted almonds while surrounded by happy people, Christmas lights, Santa Claus, Christmas wreaths, stars, reindeers, candles, bells, angels, snowmen, and of course, Christmas trees! When it’s in this season, Christmas markets are the best places to enjoy Christmas atmosphere. You can hangout with your friends, have some snacks and drinks, choose some handmade Christmas gifts for your family, or, alternatively, just immerse yourself in this festive environment.
I guess many people are thinking, you’re from China, and you don’t even celebrate Christmas in China, why are you so excited and happy about Christmas? Well, the answer is actually quite simple. I would definitely fall in love with it, if there is another festival, one month before which, all the shopping malls, streets, houses, flats, train stations, squares, basically everywhere are decorated with lights, stars, wreaths, candles, bells, angels and Christmas trees. I would definitely fall in love with it, if there is another festival, before and during which, you can go to the specially decorated markets to enjoy a cup of mulled wines, some special snacks and have a laugh with your friends, whom you might not have seen for almost a year or even longer. I would definitely fall in love with it, if there is another festival, before which you and your beloved ones will clean and decorate and make your sweet home warm and comfortable again. I would definitely fall in love with it, if there is another festival, during which you get the chance to spend some quality time with your beloved family, whom you have missed and have only chatted through phone or video calls in the last year.
I guess it’s pretty much like my love for the Toffee Nut Latte in Starbucks. The first time I had it was in Starbucks in Suzhou, China around 7 years ago. I liked it at that time and since then, I drink it every year when it’s Christmas time, whether in China, the UK or Switzerland, because each year when I drink it, it reminds me of the Christmas of the previous year or years. I might not remember clearly how many cups I had, but I definitely remember those dearest friends and family members that I drank it with. Some people might say they haven’t even heard of Toffee Nut Latte in Starbucks, some people might say it’s too sweet, some people might say it’s too fat, but I don’t really care, because it makes me happy and it reminds me of something that I cherish.
Since now I’m living in Switzerland, and inspired by my friend Julia, I asked myself, why don’t I visit the Christmas markets in and around Switzerland during this festive time of the year? I’ve been to quite some mountains, cities and some villages, but seeing them in Christmas lights, candles, and under Christmas atmosphere? I’m sure I’ll see and feel more about them. It feels like visiting an old friend, but this time, in a fairyland, more magical and surprising I guess.
Wouldn’t the Christmas markets be all the same? I can guarantee you, no, they are not, at least not in Switzerland. There are so many high, snowy mountains, peaceful villages, modern cities in Switzerland. There are towns sitting at the foot of the giant mountains, or by the amazing lakes. There are German, French and Italian parts of Switzerland, which respectively convey the culture and tradition of Germany, France and Italy. Doesn’t this country offer the best opportunity to explore the Christmas markets in western Europe? Basel, Bellinzona, Montreux, Lucerne, Bern, Zürich, Locarno, St. Gallen, Chur, Lugano, Einsiedeln, Rapperswil-Jona, Constance, Colmar, Stuttgart, Munich, Strasbourg, Freiburg, Heidelberg and so on, what are the Christmas markets like there? I’m not confident that I can visit all the Christmas markets this year, but I’m confident that they will make my Christmas this year unforgettable.
The third Christmas market that I visited this year is in Einsiedeln, a town famous for it’s monastery – the Einsiedeln Monastery. Actually, to be honest, I’ve heard of this town until I saw the SBB offer of the Einsiedeln Christmas market. This market is right in front of the amazing church. The stands are located on Hauptstrasse and on the square in front of the church. When you get out of the train station, you will see signs guiding you to the main street and after that, all the Christmas stands will lead you to the main part of the market, which is located on the monastery square. Unfortunately, the Christmas market is already closed and last weekend is the last two days. If you read my post, see my pictures below and are interested, you should come here on time next year (2nd December to 10th December 2017. 1st December to 9th December 2018. 30th November to 8th December 2019). I’ll attach this year’s events list below so that you have a idea of what to expect next year. It takes only 50 mins to get here from Zürich HB (one transfer) and your time, effort and money is definitely worth it.
Don’t be too disappointed at the fact that this year’s Christmas market here is already finished. I admit that it’s a loss but there are quite some other things to visit here. If you can’t wait till next Christmas to visit this lovely town, please take a look at the picture below to see what you might want to visit. I strongly suggest that you should visit the Einsiedeln church, not only the outside, but also the inside! When you enter, you will feel overwhelmed by its glory and beauty. The pictures on the ceiling, the stained glasses, the sculptures, the design, the size, everything in it is so exquisite and dignified. Unfortunately, you can’t take pictures inside the church, so I can’t show you how amazing it is. However, do trust me that if you visit it, it will be you unforgettable experience.
In this post I’ll focus on the Christmas market, which includes the opening hours, unmissable attractions, activities, tips, suggestions, etc. of this year (2016) and though it’s already finished, you can have an idea of what to expect next year. I’ll list them in the form of bullet points so that it’s easier and faster for you to read. I’ll attach the photos of specific markets right after the bullet points so that you have a more direct understanding and you can decide whether you are interested or not.
1. Tips for visiting the Christmas market in Einsiedeln
The Christmas stands are located on Hauptstrasse and Einsiedeln monastery square.
Once you get out of the train station, you will see signs leading you to the main street (Hauptstrasse), the beginning of the Christmas market.
The Hauptstrasse will lead you to the monastery square, so once you’re on the main street and as long as you follow the Christmas stands and keep walking up, you won’t miss any part of the Christmas market in Einsiedeln.
The Christmas market in Einsiedeln is open from Saturday, 26th November to Sunday, 4th December 2016. More markets are coming on the following date in the following years: 2nd December to 10th December 2017. 1st December to 9th December 2018. 30th November to 8th December 2019.
Opening hours of the Christmas market in Einsiedeln in 2016: Sunday to Thursday: 11:00 – 19:30. Friday and Saturday: 11:00 – 21:00
If you feel cold in the evening, look for some fire points on your way and on the monastery square. The fire there will surely warm you up.
Although the Christmas market in open only for a short time, it has various events each day. For more info please look at the picture I added above of the events in 2016 as reference and visit www.einsiedler-weihnacht.ch before 2nd December 2017 to check the events of 2017 Christmas market in Einsiedeln.
In my opinion, this Christmas market is so special because it’s mostly located in front of the Einsiedeln monastery, which provides a wonderful atmosphere and background for this market.
It’s forbidden to take pictures in the church.
When you are facing the church, you can enter a courtyard, from where you can visit the Big Hall (3 CHF entry fee) and the monastery shop.
Opening hours of the church and Gnaden Chapel: From Easter to All Saints’ Day (1st November), 06.00 – 21.00. From All Saints’ Day (1st November) to Easter, 06.00 – 20.30.
For more info about the service of Advent and Christmas in the monastery please click here.
2. Pictures of the Christmas market in Einsiedeln
2.1 Pictures of the Christmas market (Night)
2.1 Pictures of the Christmas market (Day)
3. Pictures of Einsiedeln Monastery
Unfortunately, as I said above, it’s forbidden to take pictures in the church, so I can’t show you how beautiful it is inside. However, if you have time, do go in and appreciate the house of God.
That’s all about my short trip to Einsiedeln to visit the Christmas market and the monastery there. If you are interested, please come back here next year any day from 2nd December to 10th December. I’m sure you will have a wonderful time here.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!