Christmas markets are an essential part of the festive build-up in Switzerland and you will find many of them organised in and around Geneva in the next few weeks. However, if you want to be swept off your feet then you should head to the Montreux Christmas Market (VD), which runs from the 23rd of November to the 24th of December 2012.
A visit to the lakeside city of Montreux is worth your while at any time of the year. Picture-perfect views of the Swiss riviera coupled with the magnificent scenery of the dense Lavaux vine terraces wrapped on the steep slopes above Lac Léman are in themselves enough to take your breath away.
Add to this the allure of iconic personalities such as Lord Byron, Frank Zappa and Freddie Mercury, and what you have is the stuff of Swiss legends.
The Christmas celebrations in Montreux include a fabulous market with 146 exhibitors, a discovery area with alphorns, St Bernard dogs and even an icerink (I guess this has been set up to appease those grumpy other-halves who dislike shopping, you know who you are); a medieval market in the beautiful setting of Chillon Castle; a mountain Christmas village in the nearby town of Caux and – last but definitely not least – Santa’s house in Rochers de Naye just above Montreux.
You can visit the official website of the Montreux Christmas Market for detailed info about all of these 5 themed areas.
Last year we didn’t manage to go to the Medieval Market at Chillon Castle but will definitely go this year. Eldest Son wants to be a fearless knight in shining armour when he grows up so I think this is the place to go for some career advice.
The programme of activities sounds great, with everything from storytelling to medieval banquets and historical re-enactments in period costumes. We can’t wait, Montreux here we come!
Opening times at Montreux Noël are:
Thursday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. + 1 hour (food and beverage)
Sunday – Wednesday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. + 2 hours (food and beverage)
Try to get there around 10am to make sure you’ll be able to enjoy a quiet stroll with the kids before it gets too crowded.
To put your little helpers in full-mode Xmas spirit, don’t forget you can also visit Santa’s house in Andilly (France) and read all about it in our previous post.
Having been to both Santa’s abodes in Andilly (FR) and Rochers de Naye (CH), we personally think that Andilly is better for younger children: it’s more easily accessible and there’s a lot more to see inside Santa’s house.
Rochers de Naye is probably best enjoyed with older children, who can be patient and sit still during the train ride up as well as appreciate the stunning mountain-top view over Montreux.