A land famous for fairy-tale castles, breathtaking peaks and storybook meadows, Switzerland offers some of the most extraordinary scenery on the planet.
Providing a worthy backdrop for the numerous festivals it hosts each year, it should not be overlooked in your 2020 travel plans. Here are a few of our favourites:
Fête de la Musique
Taking place in June, the Fête de la Musique is an annual music festival that spreads across Geneva. It hosts more than 500 concerts, with genres including pop, rock, hip-hop, jazz and techno. Open to both professional and amateur musicians, it’s a great way to see upcoming talent perform in a calm, local environment. In 2020 it will run from the 19–21 June.
Montreux Jazz Festival
Held on the pretty shores of Lake Geneva every July, Montreux Jazz festival is an international music event that has been running since 1967. The second largest annual jazz festival in the world, it also hosts blues, soul and rock artists. Past performers include Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Van Morrison and Eric Clapton.
Fête des Vignerons
Hosted once every 20 years, the Fête des Vignerons or the “Winegrower’s Festival”, is well worth the wait. Situated in the town of Vevey, the festival celebrates winemaking, with various activities and shows to celebrate the winemaking process, and of course the opportunity to sample the best Swiss wine. The most recent festival took place in July and August 2019.
Swiss National Day
Arguably the most important Swiss event of the year, Swiss National Day is the country’s national holiday, celebrating the founding of the Swiss Confederacy. Held on the 1st August every year, celebrations include fireworks, garden parties and festivities across Switzerland’s largest cities: Zurich, Geneva, Bern, Basel and Lugano.
Fête de L’Escalade
In mid-December celebrate the Fête de L’Escalade. A festival to commemorate the Duke of Savoy’s failed attempt to seize Geneva in 1602, it’s a lively affair whereby locals dress up in costume and parade through the city’s Old Town. Other events include a running race, procession and literary ball.
Switzerland’s Christmas markets
With its snow-capped peaks and idyllic mountain villages, Switzerland is also celebrated for its wintry ambiance. Where better to experience this than at one of its festive Christmas markets? From Zurich to Montreux, Basel or Geneva, get in the mood for the holiday season early. Sample local Glühwein, as you wander around the traditional stalls, with their hand-crafted wooden decorations and homemade delicacies.