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The best events around Switzerland this summer

Fête de Vignerons
Hugo Gargiulo/Matteo Verlicchi Fête de Vignerons

Free gigs, tortuous triathlons, horn blowing, a once-in-a-generation festival and Billie Eilish – it’s all here in our fantastic round-up of what to do around the country this sunny season…

 

William Tell Open-Air Theatre

If you’re new to Switzerland, seeing this production of Friedrich Schiller’s play about folk hero Wilhelm Tell – staged every year with 170 actors plus horses, sheep and cows in a gorgeous outdoor theatre in Rugenwald zu Matten – is a Swiss rite of passage. Tellweg 5, Matten bei Interlaken. Until Aug 31. 

  

Engadin St Moritz Ultraks

The picture-postcard mountains of Engadin are the setting for a variety of trail-running races to suit all abilities. Pontresina. Jul 5-6.

 

Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival

Check out 170-odd sci-fi, horror and fantasy movies from across the globe at Switzerland's only fest dedicated to fantastic cinema, including a focus on Danish cinema, new Asian works and a 40th anniversary open-air screening of 'Alien'. Neuchâtel. Jul 5-13. 

 

La Fête de la Tomate 

Thirty varieties of local tomato aren’t the only juicy red fruit celebrated at this market gardening knees-up: producers will also be showing off their best strawberries, too. Place de Sardaigne, Carouge. Jul 5-7

 

Allianz Cinema

Join thousands on the shores of Lake Zurich to watch films on a giant waterborne screen. All you’ll need is a cosy date to snuggle up to. There are events in Geneva and Basel, too. Port Noir, Geneva. Jul 10-Aug 25. Zürichhorn, Zurich. Jul 18-Aug 18. Münsterplatz, Basel. Aug 2-26.

 

Rigi Schwing- und Älplerfest

Alpine farmers and herdsmen gather for one of the most traditional events of the summer: an annual Swiss wrestling and Alpine games festival set against the backdrop of Rigi Staffel. Rigi Staffel. Jul 14.  

Fête de Vignerons

© Fête de Vignerons

 

 

 

Fête de Vignerons

This winegrowers’ festival takes place no more than five times per century (yep, per century), so this is a once-in-a-generation chance to experience its delights – the main one of which is a specially created stage show featuring 5,500 actors. Vevey. Jul 18-Aug 11.

 

Ironman Switzerland

Think you know Zurich? This triathlon combining a swim in the lake, a 30km bike ride through the countryside and a run round the city centre and lake shore will give you a whole new perspective. Starts Strandband Mythenquai, Mythenquai 95, Zurich. Jul 21.

 

Swiss Open Gstaad

Watch top players (Federer has competed here a few times) battle it out in relatively small arenas against a beautiful mountain backdrop. Roy Emerson Arena, Promenade/Eisbahnareal, Gstaad. Jul 22-28.

 

Alphorn International Festival

Alpenhorn fans from around the world assemble in Nendaz, with events including a blowing contest, a folk costume parade and a concert featuring 150 people playing the instrument at once. A sight – and sound – to behold. Nendaz. Jul 26-28.

 

Gauklerfest Interlaken 

Enthusiastic crowds gather around jugglers, acrobats, magicians and comedians from across the globe performing in the town centre at this international street artists festival. Interlaken. Jul 26-28.

 

National Costume Festival

Admire traditional Swiss costumes at this annual folk festival, which is on a mission to prove that not all national dress looks the same. Männlichen. Jul 28.

 

Jackie Brown at Locarno Film Festival

© Image courtesy of Park Circus/Miramax

Locarno Film Festival

Open-air screenings in the Piazza Grande, a black cinema retrospective – including Tarantino's 'Jackie Brown' (above) – and an honorary award to trash king John Waters (complete with a full 'Odorama' scratch and sniff screening of his 'Polyester') are among this year's highlights. Locarno. Aug 7-17. 

  

Taste of Zermatt Kitchen-Party

Zermatt has the highest concentration of top chefs in Switzerland, and many of them will be participating in this gastronomic knees-up cooking up superb seasonal and regional dishes at 19 different stations across two five-star hotels. Mont Cervin Palace, Bahnhofstrasse 31, Zermatt. Grand Hotel Zermatterhof, Bahnhofstrasse 55, Zermatt. Aug 16.

 

Inferno Triathlon

With its 5,500m ascent this triathlon in the spectacular Mürren-Schilthorn mountain area is one of the toughest in the world. Thankfully, there’s also an easier ‘Fun Triathlon’ race to join for those who prefer pudding to press-ups. Starts Thun. Aug 16, 17. 

 

Billie Eilish

   

Billie Eilish

The first bona fide pop star born this millennium arrives to play the Zürich OpenAir festival – make way for indie-pop teen wonder kid Billie Eilish! Zürich OpenAir. Aug 22.

 

Omega European Masters

The Swiss stop on the professional men’s golf European Tour takes place in Crans-Montana in the Alps where the views are as striking as the golf clubs! Golf Club Crans-sur-Sierre, Crans-Montana. Aug 29-Sep 1.

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