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.
This is already the forth Christmas I’ve been to and I can assure you, there are so many things to see and to do here. Lucerne is a city that I have visited for quite some times. However, it’s not only the city, but also the famous mountains such as Titlis, Rigi, Pilatus, Stanserhorn around it that attract me as well as numerous tourists. If you are interested in the mountain trips, please check my previous blogs about them.
In this post I’ll focus on the Christmas markets, which includes the opening hours, unmissable attractions, activities, tips, suggestions and etc. 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. The info I provide below is a combination of the info from the SBB website (if available) and my own visiting experience. and I’ll provide a link to the SBB website by the end if you are interested in the RailAway Combined Offer benefits and prices.
1. Suggestion and tips for celebrating Christmas in Lucerne
- The Christmas market in located at the Franziskanerplatz, which is only about 10-min away by foot from the main train station.
- The market is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., food stands up to 9 p.m. from 3rd to 21st December 2016.
- The market stands/booths are around the Franziskanerkirche. Don’t forget to walk around it, otherwise, you are gonna miss some part of the market.
- You can get mulled wine (Glühwein), Christmas punch and roasted almonds and other Christmas drinks or snacks in the market.
- You need to pay a deposit of 5 CHF when you buy the drink, but you can get your deposit back at any booth which serves hot drinks using the same cups.
- If you wanna buy the SBB RailAway Combined offer, you’ll get 30% reduction on the public transport journey to Lucerne SBB and back and 30% discount on a voucher for a “Wasserturm” cup filled with 150 grams of caramelised almonds.
- The SBB RailAway Combined Offer voucher can be redeemed at stand 5/6 from Confiserie Haegeli.
- Don’t forget to check out the Advent windows of SCHILD Lucern Kramgasse.
- If you have time, take a walk from the Christmas market to the main train station along river Reuss at night. The lights on both side of the river and on Kramgasse, Rathaussteg, Kapellbrücke, and Seebrücke Lucern will definitely show you the Christmas atmosphere.
- If you are interested, check out the Liveonice ice rink for skating. It’s located next to the main train station. When you see a big Christmas tree, you will know where it is.
- There is also a small Christmas market in the train station. Christ child market: 24th Nov – 24th Dec 2016, RailCity (train station Lucerne).
- There is gift wrapping stall, which gives you attractive free wrapping for your purchases.
- There is presentation of traditional crafts, every Monday to Thursday in the afternoon.
- There is nativity scene with life-sized figures.
- There is nostalgic carousel for small children from 2 years.
- On 8th December at 6 p.m. there is Christmas concert by the Rotsee-Ebikon yodeling club in the Franziskanerkirche (Franciscan Church), free admission.
- Wood-fired oven bakery produces fresh bread every day.
- If you are also interested in DesginSchenken (over 90 young Swiss design labels will present their products), “Venite” (Twenty stands from 20 countries will present typical Christmas items from their homelands), or the Christmas tree market, please click here to know more about the location and opening time.
- For more info about the Christmas market in Lucerne, please click here.
2. Pictures of the Christmas market
3. Christmasy atmosphere along river Reuss
4. Liveonice Ice Rink close to the main train station
5. Christ child market (RailCity – train station Lucerne)
Trust me, there are many more things to see in city Lucerne. For example Kapellbrücke, Lion Monument, Lake Lucerne, the churches, Glacier Garden, Museggmauer, and so on. Why not planning a whole day in Lucerne and finishing it with visiting the Christmas market at night?
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!