Zurich, Switzerland has an ideal setting for a New Years Eve celebration, with Lake Zurich providing a maritime setting and the nearby peaks of mountains such as Pfannenstiel, Etzel, Felsenegg, Uetliberg, Kaferberg and Schnebelhorn the perfect backdrop for the midnight fireworks. It's obviously a fantastic time of year to visit too with snow virtually guaranteed which means for many people it's the perfect opportunity to combine their New Year celebrations with some time on the piste practicing their skiing skills.
Switzerland has been on my bucket list for a good while now, it's only really all the talk of how expensive it is that puts me off from taking the plunge, but if I was to visit then the new year would be an excellent time, have always liked the idea of watching the midnight fireworks against the backdrop of some dramatic snowy peaks, and there are few places can compete with Zurich when it comes to those particular requirements!
The biggest NYE party in town is the famous New Years Eve Magic, taking place on Gemusebrucke on the banks of Lake Zurich. Organised and funded by the Zurich hoteliers' association the event is much more than just a fireworks display, the evening gets underway with live music and entertainment, plus a wide range of food and drinks stalls serving international cuisine as well as local specialities such as the Zurich bratwurst.
The festival in total covers a large area from Limmatquai through Hechtplatz and up to the Utoquai as well as over the Quaibrucke at Bellevue as far as the General-Guisan-Quai and will be packed throughout the evening as crowds gather in anticipation of the midnight countdown which precedes a truly fabulous 20 minute firework display over the lake.
The Lake area obviously gets very crowded around fireworks time so we would advise you to head down there as early as possible to secure yourself one of the best vantage points. Alternatively, if you prefer to be a little further away from the main crowds then you can head a little further away to one of the viewing spots across the other side of the lake - these include Ziegel-au-Lac, Hafen Enge, Bad Mythenquai, or Church Wollishofen. Some people even choose to head right up to Uetliberg Kulm, which has the added advantage of trains running back down into the city throughout the night.
The New years eve magic really is an event which takes over the city like very few other places manage, and pretty much everyone in town for the night will attend at least some of it, and very few indeed will miss the fireworks. Many will patronise the city's restaurants throughout the course of the evening - recommended eateries include LaSalle, Wirtschaft Neumarkt, Restaurant Bauschanzli, Cantinetta Antinori and Zeughauskeller.
Many of Zurich's hotels join in with their own parties which helps provide an excellent range of options to sepnd the evening. One we really like the look of is the New Year's Bash at the Zurich Marriott, which includes a three-course sharing menu and live entertainment - get more details and make your reservation here.
Places to watch live online:
As I mentioned above, the accommodation in Zurich does tend to be pricey, especially with the combined factors of the festive and ski seasons, so more than most places it's well worth booking well, well in advance, and if you see and special offers, grab them!
The prime hotel options are obviously those that have rooms looking out over the lake so you have the option of watching the fireworkd from the comforty of your own room. Options to check out in this category include the Steigenberger, Dolder Grand and Ede au Lac.
For the full range of Zurich accommodation, including hotels, apartments and chalets, visit local hotels here.
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