Upcoming Holidays and Festivals in Switzerland

Alpabfahrt cow procession, Appenzell, Switzerland
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

2018

March 10–May 19:  International Jazz Festival Bern

March 28–April 22:  Interlaken Classic Music Festival

March 31–May 6:  Tulip Festival, Morges (Lake Geneva)

April 13–16:  Sechseläuten, Zürich (springtime festival culminating with burning of a snowman on Monday)

April 29:  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 6:  Gruyères Cheese Festival

May 10:  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 18–21:  Street Artists Festival, Ascona (near Locarno)

May 20–21:  Pentecost (Pfingsten / Pentecôte) and Whit Monday (Pfingstmontag / Lundi de Pentecôte; closures in most of country)

May 31:  Corpus Christi (Fronleichnam / Fête-Dieu; closures in most areas)

June 1–24:  Zürich Festival (arts and culture)

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

June 22–24:  Fête de la Musique, Geneva (wide range of music performances in streets and squares)

June 24:  Seealpsee Alphorn gathering, Appenzell

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

June 29–July 14:  Montreux Jazz Festival

July–mid-September:  Tellspiele (William Tell performances in open-air theater, mostly on Saturdays and Thursdays; Interlaken)

July 6–8:  Rosenfest, Weggis (fireworks, music, parades; Lake Lucerne)

July 8:  Rigi Schwinget (alpine festival with wrestling and traditional music atop Mt. Rigi)

July 10–15:  Lausanne City Festival

July 11–14:  Gurten Festival, Bern (open-air rock festival)

July 12–14:  Estival Jazz, Lugano (free open-air festival)

July 13–September 1:  Menuhin Festival, Gstaad (classical music)

July 17–22:  Paléo Festival, Nyon (huge indie rock, world music festival near Geneva)

July 20–22:  International Alphorn Festival (Festival de Cor des Alpes), Nendaz (Valais)

July 20–28:  Blue Balls Music Festival, Luzern (blues/jazz/soul/funk/rock/pop/world music)

Late July (3 days):  Interlaken International Street Artists Festival (Glauklerfest)

July 19–August 5:  Verbier Festival (classical music, near Martigny)

July 29:  National Costume Festival (traditional dress from around Switzerland), atop Männlichen peak (Berner Oberland)

July 31:  Rhine Falls fireworks on the eve of Swiss National Day, Schaffhausen; also Big Bang Lake Festival, Biel / Bienne (fireworks; street fair)

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

August 1–11:  Locarno International Film Festival

August 9–11:  Buskers Bern

August 11:  Street Parade, Zürich (city-wide rave)

August 12:  Zermatt Folklore Festival

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

August 17–September 16:  Lucerne Festival in Summer (classical music)

September 6:  Jeune Genevois (Thanksgiving in Geneva)

September 8–10:  Knabenschiessen, Zürich (shooting competition / carnival)

September 16:  Federal Thanksgiving Day (Eidgenössischer Dank-, Buss- und Bettag / Jeûne fédéral, closures everywhere but Geneva; following Monday also holiday in and around Lausanne)

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

October 5–7:  Festa d'Autunno, Lugano (food and wine harvest festival)

October 11–13:  Vernier sur Rock (rock/punk/reggae festival near Geneva)

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

November 2–10:  Geneva International Film Festival

November 26:  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 6–9 (likely):  Polaris, Verbier (dance music festival)

December 7–9:  Fête de l'Escalade (torchlight parade with period costumes, commemorating the city's escape from capture in 1602)

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

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

2018

January 1:  New Year's Day (closures)

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

January 6:  Epiphany (closures in some areas)

January–March:  Horn sled races, alpine areas

January 13:  Gregorian-calendar New Year's Eve celebrations, Appenzell

Mid-January (4 days):  Inferno ski race, Mürren

January 18–20:  Lauberhorn ski race, Wengen

January 21–26:  World Snow Festival, Grindelwald

January 26–February 3:  International Hot Air Balloon Festival, Château-d'Oex

February 3, 10 & 17:  White Turf, St. Moritz (horse races across frozen lake)

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

March:  Fasnacht (Carnival; especially big deal in Luzern, Zürich, Bern, and Basel)

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

Late April (9 days):  Lucerne Festival at Easter

April 21–22:  Easter Sunday and Monday (Oster / Pâques and Ostermontag / Lundi de Pâques; closures in most of country)