Switzerland's favourite winter holiday destinations revealed

Switzerland's favourite winter holiday destinations revealed

Whether it be a cheeky trip away to visit a festive market, the craving for a hot and sunny Christmas or taking advantage of the school holidays, people in Switzerland sure are fans of travelling during wintertime. Now, data provided by Zurich Airport has revealed the most popular destinations for residents of the alpine nation this winter.

Passenger numbers at Zurich still 10 percent short of pre-COVID levels

In the report, the largest airport in Switzerland noted that while the number of passengers in December 2023 was still around 10 percent less than in 2019, more and more people are choosing to jet off for their holidays. During the peak of travel on December 22, approximately 90.000 people flew into or out of Zurich in just one day.

This winter, travellers have been able to choose from a number of new routes provided by SWISS and Edelweiss. These have included new direct connections to Bremen, Shanghai, Tampa, Cartagena and Havana. 

British capital remains Zurich's top winter destination

This winter, London remains the most frequently flown-to city from Zurich. 634 flights took off from Zurich towards one of the British capital’s six airports in December 2023 alone, accounting for one in every 13 aircraft that flew from the airport.

Watson noted that not only is London a top holiday destination in its own right, and gateway to southern England and Wales, but several of its airports serve as connecting hubs. For instance, 35 percent of people who arrive at London Heathrow are transfer passengers.

In second place was Amsterdam, with approximately 11 direct flights between Zurich and the Dutch capital offered each day. Berlin rounded out the podium places, showing that while warmer climes may beckon to holidaymakers, city breakers and business commuters still rule supreme. Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and New York in the US took the top spots for long-distance flights.

Winter 2023: Boost of visits to Maldives and Edinburgh

December 2023 also saw some changes to where people want to go in the winter months. Some were attracted to the sun, with the Maldives, Brindisi and Seville breaking into the top 100 destinations for the first time. Others wanted to double down on the cold, with Edinburgh, Scotland also finding itself among the higher echelons for the first time.

Bologna has seen its popularity rise the most, gaining 25 places to rank 50th on the list of top destinations from Zurich. Other fast movers include Cairo (+16 to 70th), Bucharest (+14 to 42nd) and Miami (+14 to 44th). For fairly obvious reasons, the lack of flights to Tel Aviv, Israel from October 7 meant it fell off the list of top destinations for 2023. The Icelandic capital Reykjavik and Bordeaux in France also saw drops in popularity compared to last year.

Thumb image credit: Thomas Ortega /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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