by BEVERLY COHN
It’s that time of year again when the pressure begins to build. It’s buying gifts, it’s sending out greeting cards, it’s entertaining out of town relatives, it’s making the party circuit with unending cocktail chatter, it’s just exhausting.
Perhaps it’s time to have a different kind of holiday experience, one that will take you abroad to Zurich – one of the most charming cities in Europe that because of its quality of life, for seven consecutive years was named the number one city in the world in which to live.
Once you’ve settled into one of the over 250 hotels in the region, get ready to experience the wonder of a vast array of unique Christmas markets, including Europe’s biggest indoor market which is housed in Zurich’s Main Railway Station. With more than 160 decorated wooden chalets bursting with both contemporary and traditional gifts, the centerpiece of this bustling, indoor extravaganza, is a 50-foot tall Christmas tree glittering with more than 5,000 Swarovski crystal ornaments, an unbelievably dazzling sight.
The environment is cheerful, spirited, and friendly.
Another Christmas market can be found in picturesque Old Town decorated with twinkling lights. Perfect for strolling through its hidden alleys and winding narrow streets, the scent of cinnamon and mulled wine fills the air as shoppers warm themselves with this traditional Yuletide drink. If you need more shopping choices, check out the Bahnhofstrassse, Zurich’s famous shopping mecca.
An attraction not to be missed is its famous Singing Christmas Tree. A platform built in the shape of a tree, houses children from all over Switzerland who sing traditional carols, captivating the audience assembled in the chilly street. With over 1,200 singers performing every day, music is everywhere. Don’t miss New Year’s Eve when over 200,000 people from all over Europe gather in the Zurich lake basin to watch the spectacular fire works ring in 2010.
If you want to warm up a bit, head over to the Zurich Zoo. Considered a cultural institution dedicated to protecting the environment, it is home to the Masoala Hall Rainforest that has tried to replicate the unique flora and fauna of Madagascar. In this temperature-controlled haven, paths wind around streams, brooks, and lakes, and a beautiful waterfall. More than 50 vertebrates live in the Rainforest, including lemurs, giant tortoises, flying foxes, tomato frogs, and coral fish.
Zurich is a walking city filled with wondrous attractions. It boasts 50 museums and 100 art galleries, as well as trendy restaurants, and the most night clubs in Switzerland. Nightlife rocks! Culture is at your fingertips while a short train ride takes you to picturesque outlying areas such Rapperswil, where you can see the longest wooden bridge in Switzerland or Mount Uetilberg which towers over Zurich offering a breathtaking view of the city, lake, and snow-covered Alps.
So, whether you love chocolate or mulled wine or fabulous food or the arts or outdoor activities, Zurich is your one-stop shop for a most joyful Holiday Season.
For further information:
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