14 Switzerland Festivals You’d Be Crazy to Miss in 2019
Switzerland : We love it for its exquisite watches, mouth-watering chocolate, and breathtaking mountains.
However,did you know that local festivals play a massive role in Swiss culture and lifestyle? Switzerland is not only introducing this year, a Swiss Art Expo, but the country also has the highest concentration of festivals in the world!
This fantasticcountry’s capital will hold some of the most incredible Bern festivals. Read on to check out the 14 Swiss festivals in Bern you can’t miss in 2019.
1. Gurtenfestival (August 17 – 20)
Almost 80,000 music-lovers make this exhilarating journey annually. Arriving by funicular or hiking to the top of Gurten mountain, these festival-goers have come to enjoy the music of local and international bands while surrounded by a jaw-dropping view of the Swiss Alps.
The concert is spread over threestages, which holds many talented artists as well as up-and-coming local performers over the four-day festival.
Check here for the line-up and tickets.
2. Swiss National Day (August 1)
Swiss National Day begins with a communal “Zmörgele,”or brunch, at Parliament Square.
Join a tour to witness the stunning scenery from the highest church tower in Switzerland. Continue with a light stroll through the secret garden of the Erlacherhof.
A yodeling concert and a fireworks display on Gurten Mountain later light up the sky, bringing the day’s events to an end.
The organizers like to keep the events fresh and will introduce a new and unique festival program each year. Check here for the 2019 program.
3. Buskers Bern Street Music Festival (August 8 – 10)
For 30 years, the Buskers Festival has been allowing street artists the opportunity to entertain audiences through music, dance, puppet theater, comedy acts, and artworks.
First held in Bern in 2004, the 3-day Buskers Bern Street Music Festival now hosts over 150 performing artists and attracts more than 70,000 visitors each year.
Rather than buying a ticket, visitors are asked to support the festival with the purchase of a booklet and a festival bracelet for 10 francs, or 5 francs for a children’s bracelet only. Have a look at this year’s line-up here.
4. The Elfenau Kultursommer (August 17 – September 15)
The nature reserve at Elfenau presents “Culture Summer” (Kultursommer). As part of the Elfenau Kultursommer series, the theme this year is all about concert, theater, and dance.
All artists specializing in classical, jazz, waltz, breakdance, comedy, and drama have the chance to perform on a stage which is open to all visitors, free of charge.
Performances are held every Saturday and Sunday at 5pm and Sunday mornings at 11am.
Seating is limited to 300 people and with no reservations. See the program here.
5. Hallo Velo! (August 18)
“Hallo Velo!” is Bern’s annual Cycling Festival. For the 3rd consecutive year, visitors can watch or ride amongst a unique collection of bicycles. Riders traverse a 38km route which will be closed to traffic.
Families, seniors, people with disabilities, avid cyclists, and even food lovers are encouraged to attend this unforgettable experience.
“Hallo Velo!” begins at 9am and concludes at 5pm. Entrance is free, and BLS lines permit bicycles to be transported for free, all day. Check out the interactive itinerary here and the full program here.
6. Huttwil Beer Market (August 31 – September 1)
Are you a craft beer fan? Well, this event was made for you.
Huttwil offers beer lovers the chance to taste the finest and hoppiest beer specialties from 16 small, local brewers.
Located at the Hausplatz of the Städtli school in Huttwil, lively entertainment will accompany the beer tasting.
For more information, visit the event’s website.
7. The Return of Cattle to Plaffeien (September 21)
After spending fourmonths at dizzying heights, farmers are welcomed as they return with their cows, sheep, and goats, adorned with flowers and decorations.
In a parade known as the Alpabzug, the animals ramble through the village with chiming bells. The animals are then led to their winter quarters, and the farmers are celebrated in festivals called Älplerfeste. They are held in various regions of Switzerland at this time of the year.
Over 1,000 animals will crowd the village center of Plaffeien to the excitement and cheering of spectators.
Music and tasty regional specialties will bring the celebrations to an end.
8. Brächete Zäziwil (September 25)
Flax is corrugated, broken, roasted, crocheted, woven and spun until it is transformed into linen. Each year, hundreds of visitors flock to Zäziwil to watch the workers in traditional dress display their skills at the labor-intensive and time-consuming manual work that produces the linen.
In the old days, villagers would meet to practice their specific crafts, which has led to folk festivals today. Visitors can see how ropes were made, grain was threshed, and shingles were manufactured.
It wouldn’t be a festival without the delicious regional specialties on offer.
The market opens at 9am and closes at 5:30pm.
9. Huttwil Cheese Market (October 5 – 6)
For cheese lovers, this is an event that is right up your alley. More than 20 local cheese producers display their specialties at the Cheese Market in Huttwil each year.
Extensive expertise, care, and passion are behind the manufacturing of this delicious culinary treat. It is the result of hundreds of years of innovation and continuous refinement. Visitors come from afar to treat their taste buds to the variety of delights of the “Chäsmärit.”
Of course, the festive program also offers traditional celebrations, detailed handicrafts, and lively folk music.
On Saturday and Sunday, the event begins at 10am. On Saturday it finishes at 6pm and on Sunday at 5pm.
No tickets needed – instead, visitors can support the event by donating 5 francs for a “cheese ribbon.”
10. Shnit – Worldwide Short Film Festival (October 17 – 27)
Lovers of the big screen are spoiled for 11 days and nights with the most beautifulshort film entertainment Bern has to offer.
Based on a unique concept, the short film festival coincides worldwide in the cities of Buenos Aires, Bern, Cairo, Hong Kong, Cape Town, Moscow, San José, and New York.
Audiences are presented with the purest film art in the form of two hundred short films. Perplexing documentaries, delightful animations, thought-provoking feature movies, and entertaining experimental films will flicker on the big screens in five continents.
Check the program and buy your tickets here.
11. Cyclocross World Cup (October 19 – 20)
With a winding 3.25 km long track, unbeatable organization and engaging side programs, the EKZ CrossTour shows the world that Switzerland is a serious contender in the world of cross-country cycling.
Professional cyclists and sports enthusiasts flock to Bern to witness the prestigious races around the biggesthuman-made swimming pool in Europe.
The two-day event is suitable for pros, newcomers, and children. A “Gravel Ride & Race” is also available for those who like to ride gravel-bikes, radquer-velos, or mountain bikes over gravel roads, stairs, and trail paths.
Naturally, tasty street food is on offer at the festival. For more information and to register, click here.
12. Rendez-vous Bundesplatz (October 19 – November 23)
The “Rendez-vous Bundesplatz” visually delights over 500,000 visitors each year as the Parliament Building’s façade is illuminated and the Bundesplatz (Parliament Square) is bathed in brilliant lights and colors. This magnificent display is accompanied by sound and music via loudspeakers.
Free of charge, the event takes place each evening from 7pm to 8.30pm. On Friday and Saturday nights, an extra show occurs at 9.30 to 10pm.
13. Bern Starsarket (October 29 – November 29)
Bern’s newest Christmas Market is just a short distance from the centralrailway station of Kleine Schanze.
Sixtystands will offer local and international delicacies, soul-warming drinks, an array of traditional craftsmanship, designer items, and visual delights for all visitors.
Little ones are not forgotten with stilt walkers, a Santa Claus post office, mesmerizing fairytale readers, and an enchanting merry-go-round.
Open from Monday to Saturday, from 11am to 10pm and on Sundays, from 11am to 8pm. View the program here.
14. Laupen Achetringele (December 31)
With loud noises and frightening masks, evil spirits are forced out of the small town of Laupen before the New Year in this boisterous festival.
On New Year’s Eve, the young “Bäsemanne,”armed with long-stemmed juniper brooms, commands a procession of wild figures as they make their way through the streets of Laupen.
Swinging cowbells through the air are the “Glöggeler” who are dressed in white. Alongside them carrying inflated pig bladders are the “Blaateremannli.”The leader sings farewell to the old year, and the crowd is wished a happy new year.
Beginning at 8pm, it is an incredible delight for the eyes and the ears.
2019 may be more than half-way over, but there’s still plenty of time to catch one – if not more – of the extraordinary festivals in Switzerland.
Still in the planning stages is the Swiss Art Expo in August. If art is your thing, make sure you follow it online to stay up-to-date.
With events and festivals to entice people ofall ages, countries, and tastes, there is something to please everyone.
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