There are literally hundreds of festivals in Switzerland every year spread across the country. Events run the gamut of themes, including music, food, sports, and general merriment. The Montreux Jazz Festival and the Lucerne Festival are internationally reknowned and attract visitors from all over the world. Others are very regional and each Canton has its own culture, customs and celebrations, many of which can be interesting and fun.
Ski World Cup Wengen
Switzerland is the premier snow sport destination in the world and every January, the top skiers head to Wengen to compete in the FIS Ski World Cup. Visitors can watch the races (slalom and downhill) before enjoying après ski parties.
Similar to the German Fasching (carnival), Baseler Fastnacht is an amazingly fun and colorful event. Three days of festivities include parades, theater, concerts, and more, taking place during February. People from all over Europe flock to experience Switzerland and the streets literally become knee-deep in confetti as the parades go by.
Both equestrian lovers and spectators will be amazed by the horse races that take place in St. Moritz every February. Running in snow and ice with the stunning Engadine mountains as the backdrop, visitors will be amazed by the Skikojoering race, where skiers are pulled by the horses at break neck speed!
Art Basel is the premier international art event in Switzerland. Taking place in June every year, the festival showcases select work from all over the world from both superstars and newcomers and includes performances, multimedia installations, videos, and more from international artists.
This annual music event is split into three parts held throughout the year: Lucerne Festival (summer), Lucerne Festival at Easter and Lucerne Festival at the piano (November). Part of the festival dates back to 1938 and attracts top classical musicians from around the world. Very popular in Switzerland, tickets usually sell out very quickly and performances vary from year to year.
Montreux Jazz Festival
One of the premier jazz festivals in the world takes place in Montreux in July every year. The venue along the shores of Lake Geneva is simply stunning and was founded in 1967. Jazz lovers will be able to see and meet leading musicians from around the globe.
Locarno Film Festival (Festival del Film Locarno)
Considered one of the best film festivals in the world, movie stars, press and fans flock to Locarno in August to experience this Swiss event. The event is known for showcasing cutting-edge filmography and blockbusters and is a great place to rub elbows with the rich and famous.
Taking place in December every year, this historic festival celebrates the 1602 defeat of the Savoyards, who were trying to attack Switzerland. Visitors will see military troops dressed in historic garb parading through the streets of Geneva’s old town.