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15 Famous Festival of Switzerland You Must Experience In 2023

Switzerland is known for its jaw-dropping alpine views, booming ski resorts and the home of Swiss chocolate. But did you know it can also boast some of the most exciting festivals in Europe? From music concerts at the foot of the Swiss Alps to art and food festivals celebrating Swiss culture, there is something for everyone in Switzerland. In 2023, you can have the perfect getaway by attending these 15 festivals that will have you coming back for more. So, if you're looking to plan your perfect Swiss getaway, this blog is just for you!

List of 15 Famous Festivals of Switzerland

Have you packed your bags yet? Is your camera ready? If yes, let's explore these 15 festivals of Switzerland that you must attend in 2023!

  • World Snow Festival | Witness snow carving skills
  • Street Parade | Dancing all night in Zurich
  • Montreux Jazz Festival | Jamming to live music by the lake
  • Zurich Film Festival | Catch Award-winning films
  • Sechseläuten | Celebrating the start of spring
  • Alpabfahrt (Désalpe) | Celebrating the return of cows from high pastures
  • International Balloon Festival | A sight to behold
  • Basler Fasnacht | Celebrating Swiss culture
  • Verbier Festival | Celebrating music and culture
  • Geneva Motor Show | An automotive extravaganza
  • Paléo Festival De Nyon | A celebration of music, art and culture
  • Fête De L’Escalade | Celebrating a historic victory
  • Festichoc | A chocolate festival
  • Fête Nationale Suisse | An important national holiday
  • Locarno International Film Festival | A celebration of cinema

1. World Snow Festival | Witness snow carving skills

If you want to witness some of the most amazing snow sculptures, plan your perfect Swiss getaway and head over to Arosa. During the World Snow Festival, you can admire art pieces created by some of the best snow carvers in Europe. From igloos made with real snow to huge sculptures of animals and more, this festival has something that will make you gasp with amazement.

As a visitor, you can also participate in events such as snow competitions, ski races, ice skating and more. The World Snow Festival will be an unforgettable experience for you!

  • Location: Grindelwald, Switzerland
  • Date: 15 - 20 January 2024

2. Street Parade | Dancing all night in Zurich

Are you ready to dance your night away? Well, then, the Street Parade in Zurich is just for you. This huge street party takes place every year and attracts millions of visitors from all around the world. Thousands of revellers dressed in bright costumes will fill the streets with live music and DJs playing from beautifully decorated trucks. The atmosphere of this parade is electrifying, and you'll surely have an amazing time!

  • Location: Lake Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland
  • Date: August 12th 2023

Also Read - Best Tourist Places To Visit In Switzerland

3. Montreux Jazz Festival | Jamming to live music by the lake

Is there anything better than attending a music festival by the beautiful Lake Geneva? During the Montreux Jazz Festival, you get just that! This popular event is one of the most important music festivals in Switzerland, attracting some of the biggest names in jazz and rock music.

The lineup for Montreux Jazz Festival in 2023 includes some of the biggest names in music, such as Sting, Elton John and more. You can also enjoy workshops by some of the top musicians in the world. So, take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to enjoy live music and jamming sessions at one of the most picturesque locations in Switzerland.

  • Location: Montreux, Switzerland
  • Date: June 30th to July 15th 2023

4. Zurich Film Festival | Catch Award-winning films

If you're a movie buff, Zurich Film Festival is just the festival for you! This annual event showcases some of the best international and Swiss films that have been nominated for awards. During the festival, you can catch screenings of award-winning films, participate in workshops, and participate in panel discussions with filmmakers and industry professionals.

The Zurich Film Festival is the perfect opportunity for movie lovers to immerse themselves in the film industry while enjoying the best of Swiss hospitality. Tickets are available on the website of ZFF, so make sure you take advantage of this great event.

  • Location: Zurich, Switzerland
  • Date: September 28th to October 8th 2023

5. Sechseläuten | Celebrating the start of spring

Sechseläuten is one of the oldest and most important festivals in Zurich. This event marks the end of winter and celebrates the arrival of spring in the city. The festival's highlight is the Böögg, a giant snowman-like figure made of wood and cloth filled with fireworks that get set on fire. As soon as the Böögg is burned, it's a signal that spring has arrived!

This unique event attracts thousands of visitors annually and is a great way to experience Swiss culture. So, make sure you don't miss out on this fantastic festival!

  • Location: Zurich, Switzerland
  • Date: April 17th 2023

6. Alpabfahrt (Désalpe) | Celebrating the return of cows from high pastures

Alpabfahrt, also known as Désalpe, is an annual Swiss tradition that celebrates the return of cows from high pastures. Farmers herd their cows down from the alps every autumn and back to their farms. During this procession, villagers dress the cows in beautiful decorations and play traditional music to bid them farewell before they start their long journey home.

This event is hugely popular among locals, and a lot of singing and dancing accompanies the procession. If you want to witness this Swiss tradition and celebrate the cows' return, attend Alpabfahrt this year.

  • Location: Saint-Cergue, Vaud
  • Date: End of September

7. International Balloon Festival | A sight to behold

Topping the list of must-see festivals in Switzerland, the International hot air balloon festival should be at the top of your travel plans if you visit Switzerland. The International Balloon Festival is a breathtaking experience that brings together balloonists from all over the world. During this event, hundreds of hot air balloons are launched into the sky, and they're illuminated with a mesmerising array of colours at night. This stunning sight is an absolute must-see for anyone visiting Switzerland.

Each year, pilots worldwide gather for an extraordinary nine-day extravaganza filled with hot air balloons decorating the sky. Hundreds of vibrant-coloured orbs take flight during this incredible festival!

  • Location: Château-d’Oex
  • Date: January 2024 (dates not announced yet)

8. Basler Fasnacht | Celebrating Swiss culture