The Swiss cherish their wonderful traditions, and the little country has a tremendous selection of spectacular events that are famous far beyond the country's borders. We’ve compiled a selection for you.

    • Basel Carnival

      Drummers, lanterns and costumes
      The largest carnival in Switzerland, the Basler Fasnacht, attracts 15,000 to 20,000 masked revellers. It kicks off on the Monday after Ash Wednesday with the Morgestraich, when on the stroke of 4am, costumed drummers and pipers take to the streets of the city centre. The Cliques (Fasnacht groups) carry lanterns decorated with satirical depictions of the year’s events. On the evenings before and after the procession – or 'cortège' – these cliques go from pub to pub performing their sung verses, or 'Schnitzelbänke'.
    • Street Parade

      Dancing in the city
      The Street Parade is the largest techno party in the world. Between 500,000 to 1 million people gather around Lake Zurich on the second Saturday in August to dance to the beat of the love-mobiles. Celebrity DJs rendezvous here, with the annual event attracting thousands of fans from abroad. The parade is followed by parties throughout the city. The Street Parade usually takes place in August.
    • Montreux Jazz Festival

      Music of international acclaim
      The Montreux Jazz Festival is one of the world's most important cultural events. Since the festival began in 1967, the festival has attracted a wide array of stars – including Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, Prince, David Bowie and Stevie Wonder, to name but a few. These numerous recordings were classified as UNESCO World Documentary Heritage in 2013. For two weeks in July, Montreux transforms into a hub of world-class music and a springboard for next generation musicians.
    • 1st August

      National public holiday
      August 1st is Switzerland’s official national holiday. The three original cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden were joined by the Eternal Alliance signed on 1st August 1291. The Swiss mark their national day with many celebrations, bonfires and fireworks. It is particularly impressive to watch from the banks of the lakes, with twinkling lights all around. It goes without saying that joining in with the other festivities is also great fun.
    • World Class Zurich

      Light athletics meeting
      World-class Zurich has been writing light athletics history for over 85 years. At the end of August/beginning of September, a huge number of international stars prove what they are worth here. This annual sporting event attracts visitors from all four corners of the globe. To date, a total of 25 world records have been set here – and there will surely be more to come.
    • Locarno Film Festival

      For film fans
      Over the past 67 years, the Locarno Film Festival has established an international reputation. Every August, over 160 000 visitors and some 3000 film industry professionals enjoy new films from all over the world. Locarno becomes the global capital of auteurism for a whole eleven days. A unique atmosphere reigns over the Piazza Grande in the centre of the old town.
    • Lucerne Carnival

      Two weeks of revelry
      Many Lucerne residents claim that Carnival is the best time of the year. For two weeks in February, it is just one long, non-stop celebration: magnificent costumes, carnival musicians, and a party atmosphere everywhere. From the Tagwach to the Urknall, Dirty Thursday to the Usgüüglete, there is plenty to see at Lucerne Carnival. The three processions are considered highlights of the Carnival.
    • Sechseläuten

      Ringing in the spring
      The third Monday in April marks the date of the most traditional spring festival in Zurich: the Sechseläuten. Festivities kick off with a children’s procession on the Sunday afternoon. Then on Monday afternoon, members of the various guilds process through the centre of Zurich in historic costumes. At 6 pm everyone congregates in Sechseläuten square, where the highlight of the event takes place – the burning of the “Böögg”, a snowman packed with explosives. Legend has it that the faster this explodes, the sooner spring will come.