Upcoming Holidays and Festivals in Switzerland

Alpabfahrt cow procession, Appenzell
Cow processions fill the streets of alpine regions (such as Appenzell) in spring and fall.
  • Before planning a trip around a festival, verify the festival dates on the festival's website or with a local tourist information office. Weather-dependent events such as outdoor alpine festivals are often rescheduled on short notice when the forecast looks iffy; in most cases the events are then postponed exactly one week. For more information about these and other events, visit the official tourism site for Switzerland.
  • This list includes major festivals in major cities, plus national holidays observed throughout Switzerland. Many sights and banks close down on national holidays — keep it in mind when planning your itinerary. Note that this isn't a complete list; holidays can strike without warning.
  • See upcoming holidays and festivals across Europe


January 1:  New Year's Day (closures)

January 2:  Berchtold's Day (Berchtoldstag; some closures), Harder-Potschete parade, Interlaken

January 6:  Epiphany (closures in some areas)

January–March:  Horn sled races, alpine areas (including the Grosse Scheidegg — Schwarzwaldalp races, near Grindelwald)

January 13:  Silvesterchlausen, Appenzell (medieval masked procession)

January 12–14:  Lauberhorn ski race, Wengen

January 15–20:  World Snow Festival, Grindelwald

January 24–27:  Inferno ski race, Mürren

January 20–28:  International Hot Air Balloon Festival, Château-d'Oex

February 4, 11 & 18:  White Turf, St. Moritz (horse races across frozen lake)

February 19–21:  Fasnacht (Carnival; especially big deal in Luzern, Zürich, Bern, and Basel)

Late February–March 2:  Chalandamarz, across Graubünden (traditional costumes, processions, bells and whips to chase away winter)

March 1:  Republic Day, Neuchâtel (closures)

March 10:  Engadin Ski Marathon (huge cross-country ski race that runs through St. Moritz and Samedan)

March 19:  St. Joseph's Day (Josefstag; closures in some areas)

March 19–May 25:  International Jazz Festival Bern

March 22–24:  Lucerne Spring Festival (orchestral concerts)

March 29–May 12:  Tulip Festival, Morges (Lake Geneva)

March 28—April 14:  Interlaken Classic Music Festival

March 29:  Good Friday (Karfreitag / Vendredi saint; closures in most areas)

March 31 & April 1:  Easter Sunday and Monday (Oster / Pâques and Ostermontag / Lundi de Pâques; closures in most of country)

April 12–15:  Sechseläuten, Zürich (springtime festival culminating with burning of a snowman on Monday)

April 28:  Appenzell Landsgemeinde (open-air parliament with public selection of delegates)

May 1:  Labor Day (Tag der Arbeit / Fête du Travail; closures in many areas)

May 2–4:  Appenzell A Cappella Festival

May 5:  Gruyères Cheese Festival

May 9:  Ascension (Christi Himmelfahrt / l'Ascension; processions, closures)

May/June/July:  Alpine cattle ascent (Alp- or Almaufzug, Alp- or Almauffahrt / Estive; cow processions through alpine villages; especially big in Engstligenalp and Appenzell; dates vary by year and location)

May 19 & 20:  Pentecost (Pfingsten / Pentecôte) and Whit Monday (Pfingstmontag / Lundi de Pentecôte; closures in most of country)

May 24–26 (likely):  Street Artists Festival, Ascona (near Locarno)

May 30:  Corpus Christi (Fronleichnam / Fête-Dieu; closures in most areas)

June 21:  Fête de la Musique, Lausanne (wide range of music performances in streets and squares)

June 21–23:  Fête de la Musique, Geneva (wide range of music performances in streets and squares)

Late June–late August:  Tellspiele, Interlaken (William Tell performances in open-air theater, mostly on Saturdays and Thursdays)

June 29:  Sts. Peter and Paul's Day (closures in Graubünden and Ticino)

July 2–7:  Lausanne City Festival

July 5–7:  Rosenfest, Weggis (fireworks, music, parades; Lake Lucerne)

July 5–20:  Montreux Jazz Festival

July 5–21 (likely):  LongLake Festival, Lugano (open-air performances — includes free two-day Estival Jazz program, more eclectic four-day music program, and lots of buskers)

July 12–28 (likely):  Verbier Festival (classical music, near Martigny)

July 12–August 31:  Menuhin Festival, Gstaad (classical music)

July 14:  Rigi Schwinget (alpine festival with wrestling and traditional music atop Mt. Rigi; reschedules for a week later in the event of rain)

July 17–20:  Gurten Festival, Bern (open-air rock festival)

July 19–21 (likely):  International Alphorn Festival (Festival de Cor des Alpes), Nendaz (Valais)

July 21:  National Costume Festival (traditional dress from around Switzerland), atop Männlichen peak (Berner Oberland)

July 23–28:  Paléo Festival, Nyon (huge indie rock, world music festival near Geneva)

July 26–28 (likely):  Interlaken International Street Artists Festival (Gauklerfest)

July 31–August 10:  Lakelive Festival, Biel / Bienne (wide range of cultural events, nighttime drone show on July 31)

July 31:  Rhine Falls fireworks on the eve of Swiss National Day, Schaffhausen

August 1:  Swiss National Day (parades and fireworks with biggest celebrations at Rütli meadow on Lake Lucerne; closures)

August 7–17:  Locarno International Film Festival

August 8–10:  Buskers Bern

August 9–11:  Appenzeller Ländlerfest (folk music)

August 10:  Street Parade, Zürich (city-wide rave)

August 10–11:  Zermatt Folklore Festival

August 13–September 15:  Lucerne Festival in Summer (classical music)

August 15:  Assumption (Mariä Himmelfahrt / l'Assomption de Marie; closures in most areas)

August 18:  Schwägalp-Schwinget (Swiss-wrestling competition in alpine setting), Appenzell

September/October:  Alpine cattle descent (Alp- or Almabfahrt, or Alp-or Almabtrieb / désalpe; cow processions through alpine villages and especially festive in Appenzell; dates vary by year and location)

September 5:  Jeune Genevois (Thanksgiving in Geneva)

September 7–9:  Knabenschiessen, Zürich (shooting competition / carnival)

September 15:  Federal Thanksgiving Day (Eidgenössischer Dank-, Buss- und Bettag / Jeûne fédéral, closures everywhere but Geneva; following Monday also holiday in and around Lausanne)

September 22:  Wengen Chästeilet (cheese festival)

September/October:  Alpine cattle descent (Alp- or Almabfahrt, or Alp-or Almabtrieb / désalpe; cow processions through alpine villages and especially festive in Appenzell; dates vary by year and location)

September 27–29 (likely):  Festa d'Autunno, Lugano (food and wine harvest festival)

November 1:  All Saints' Day (Allerheiligen / La Toussaint; closures in most areas)

November 1–10 (likely):  Geneva International Film Festival

November 25:  Zibelemärit, Bern (traditional onion-market fair)

December:  Christmas markets across Switzerland

December 6:  St. Nikolaus Day (visits from Samichlaus; mainly in German-speaking areas)

December 8:  Immaculate Conception (Mariä Empfängnis / Immaculée Conception; closures in some areas)

December 10–12:  Fête de l'Escalade (torchlight parade with period costumes, commemorating the city's escape from capture in 1602)

December 24:  Christmas Eve (Heilige Abend / Noël, when the Swiss celebrate Christmas; closures in afternoon and evening)

December 25:  Christmas Day (closures)

December 26:  St. Steven's Day (closures in most areas)

December 31:  New Year's Eve, also Restoration Day in Geneva and Silvesterchlausen medieval procession in Appenzell (closures)