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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


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

January 17–19:  Lauberhorn ski race, Wengen

January 20–25:  World Snow Festival, Grindelwald

January 22–25:  Inferno ski race, Mürren

January 25–February 2:  International Hot Air Balloon Festival, Château-d'Oex

February 2, 9 & 16:  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 1:  Republic Day, Neuchâtel (closures)

March 8:  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)

Mid-March–Mid-May:  International Jazz Festival Bern

March 28–April 13:  Interlaken Classic Music Festival

March 31–May 5:  Tulip Festival, Morges (Lake Geneva)

April 6–8:  Sechseläuten, Zürich (springtime festival culminating with burning of a snowman on Monday)

April 6–14:  Lucerne Festival at Easter

April 10:  Good Friday (Karfreitag / Vendredi saint; closures in most areas)

April 12–13:  Easter Sunday and Monday (Oster / Pâques and Ostermontag / Lundi de Pâques; closures in most of country)

April 26:  Appenzell Landsgemeinde (open-air parliament with public selection of delegates)

April 30–May 2:  Appenzell A Cappella Festival

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

May 3:  Gruyères Cheese Festival

May 21:  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 31–June 1:  Pentecost (Pfingsten / Pentecôte) and Whit Monday (Pfingstmontag / Lundi de Pentecôte; closures in most of country)

Early June:  Street Artists Festival, Ascona (near Locarno)

June 5–28:  Zürich Festival (arts and culture)

June 11:  Corpus Christi (Fronleichnam / Fête-Dieu; closures in most areas)

June 19–21:  Fête de la Musique, Geneva (wide range of music performances in streets and squares)

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

June 26–28:  National Yodel Festival (Eidgenössisches Jodlerfest), Basel

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

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

July 3–5:  Rosenfest, Weggis (fireworks, music, parades; Lake Lucerne)

July 3–18:  Montreux Jazz Festival

July 7–12:  Lausanne City Festival

July 9–11:  Estival Jazz, Lugano (free open-air festival)

July 12:  Rigi Schwinget (alpine festival with wrestling and traditional music atop Mt. Rigi)

July 15–18:  Gurten Festival, Bern (open-air rock festival)

July 16–August 9 (likely):  Fête des Vignerons, Vevey (once-in-a-generation wine festival)

July 17–25:  Blue Balls Music Festival, Luzern (blues/jazz/soul/funk/rock/pop/world music)

July 17–August 2:  Verbier Festival (classical music, near Martigny)

July 17–September 6:  Menuhin Festival, Gstaad (classical music)

July 20–26:  Paléo Festival, Nyon (huge indie rock, world music festival near Geneva)

July 24–26:  International Alphorn Festival (Festival de Cor des Alpes), Nendaz (Valais)

July 24–26 (likely):  Interlaken International Street Artists Festival (Glauklerfest)

July 26:  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 5–15:  Locarno International Film Festival

August 6–8:  Buskers Bern

August 7–9:  Appenzeller Länderfest (folk music)

August 8:  Street Parade, Zürich (city-wide rave)

August 8:  Zermatt Folklore Festival

August 14–September 13:  Lucerne Festival in Summer (classical music)

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

August 16:  Schwägalp-Schwinget (Swiss-wrestling competition in alpine setting), Appenzell

September 10:  Jeune Genevois (Thanksgiving in Geneva)

September 12–14:  Knabenschiessen, Zürich (shooting competition / carnival)

September 20:  Federal Thanksgiving Day (Eidgenössischer Dank-, Buss- und Bettag / Jeûne fédéral, closures everywhere but Geneva; following Monday also holiday in and around Lausanne)

September 27:  Wengen Chästeilet (cheese festival)

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 2–4 (likely):  Festa d'Autunno, Lugano (food and wine harvest festival)

October 9–10 (likely):  Vernier sur Rock (rock/punk/reggae festival near Geneva)

October 30–November 8 (likely):  Geneva International Film Festival

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

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 11–13:  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 (closures)