From mulled wine to a fondue experience

Switzerland transforms into a winter wonderland during the festive season, casting a spell with its sparkling lights, enticing scents, and the enchanting melodies of Christmas.  Whether strolling through the Christmas markets, sipping mulled wine or indulging in fondue, the Swiss holiday season promises a myriad of experiences.  

One of the highlights is the Montreux Christmas Market (Canton of Vaud), celebrated as one of the most beautiful in Europe. Nestled under palm trees along the Riviera of Lake Geneva, for a month it hosts over 170 merchants, craftsmen, and restaurant owners in illuminated chalets. Market Square, adorned with a Ferris wheel and a candle-making workshop, becomes a hub of amusement. A special treat awaits as Santa Claus takes to the skies in his sleigh, spreading joy every day at 5 pm, 6 pm, and 7 pm, with an additional run at 4 pm on Saturdays. The covered Market, a city emblem, exudes a friendly atmosphere with its festive decorations and warm lighting, creating a perfect family-friendly space. It also houses a food corner with a variety of specialties to tantalize your taste buds.

Stock up on selfies and other great photos at the Montreux Christmas Market
Stock up on selfies and other great photos at the Montreux Christmas Market, ©Maude Rion.

Indulging in the Swiss tradition of fondue reaches new heights on Engstligenalp, an enchanting destination for those seeking an authentic experience. Situated in the picturesque Adelboden region (Canton of Bern), this town is accessible by cable car, providing guests with stunning vistas. The focal point of this alpine escapade is the Schneeiglu restaurant, a sprawling complex comprised of eight interconnected igloos boasting a collective seating capacity of 200. The culinary centerpiece of this adventure is, of course, the cheese fondue served for dinner. Imagine the joy of dipping bread into a pot of warm, gooey cheese amidst the snow-laden surroundings. The experience is a delightful blend of culinary indulgence and natural splendor.  

The ambiance is carefully created with furs, woolen blankets, wooden tabletops, candles, and intricate snow and ice sculptures, setting the stage for an unforgettable dining experience. It’s imperative to dress warmly for this affair, as temperatures ranging from -3°C to +3°C demand the coziness of ski clothing and well-insulated winter shoes. After all, savoring cheese fondue within the confines of the igloo is best enjoyed without the distraction of shivers. For those who prefer basking in the sun during the day, the nearby Berghotel Engstligenalp offers a spacious restaurant terrace, providing an alternative setting to relish the breathtaking mountain scenery. Whether seated within the cozy confines of the fondue igloo or enjoying the crisp mountain air on the terrace, Engstligenalp promises an unparalleled fondue experience, making it a must-visit destination for fondue enthusiasts and winter aficionados alike. 

Experience eating cheese fondue inside an ice igloo at Engstligenalp
Experience eating cheese fondue inside an ice igloo at Engstligenalp, ©Anja Zurbrügg.

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