Switzerland's biggest carnival is a three-day party.
The biggest bash in the country takes over Basel for three days in February and the whole city turns out to enjoy the festivities staged by 20,000 costumed participants. An orgy of colour, lights, music, parades, confetti, drinking, eating and partying, the only thing you won’t do during Fasnacht is sleep. It kicks off at 4am on the Monday following Ash Wednesday when crowds gather to watch the Morgenstreich, where groups of drummers and piccolo players known as ‘cliques’ announce the start of carnival with a marching tune, while handmade lanterns light up the dark streets. Costumed and masked, the cliques and guggemusik bands are the heart of the festival and perform in restaurants, cellars and the streets through the three days. On Tuesday it’s the turn of local children to parade through the streets, while the cliques round off the carnival with a procession on Wednesday afternoon. As is tradition, partying goes on until 4am, exactly three days after Fasnacht began. On Thursday all you’ll see will be quiet, confetti-strewn streets and a few costumed stragglers nursing hangovers. If you’re planning to go, announce your attendance by buying a Fasnacht badge – all proceeds go to participating groups to help fund their costumes and masks.