The 30 best things to do in May

Delve into our guide to some of the best things to do in May.
By Time Out editors |

Our round up of things to do in May across Switzerland, including popular events, festivals, attractions, free activities, stuff for kids to do, entertainment and more.

Bars and pubs, Café bars

Bateau Lavoir • Geneva

icon-location-pin Rive Gauche / Left Bank

Moored on the river as it flows out of Lake Geneva, Bateau Lavoir is a lovely spot to go for a drink, a light lunch or an apéro as the sun goes down. Throughout the year the boat hosts live music events too.

Time Out says
Sunset At Lake Pfaffikon
© Ursula Perreten
Things to do

Dive in from May 14 • across Switzerland

Summer is truly underway in Switzerland when people start to take to the rivers, lake “beaches” and badis (public bathing areas at the lake) in their droves. So whether you're looking to swim yourself fit or simply take a refreshing dip, nothing beats a swim in the open air. The summer season opens on May 14, 2016.


Chaplin’s World by Grévin • Corsier-sur-Vevey

icon-location-pin Vevey

Part museum, part theme park, Chaplin’s World is set on the very domain where Charlie Chaplin lived with his family during the last 25 years of his life. Take a walk through the life and the films of the world’s best-loved movie character.

CGN Lausanne-Ouchy
© Christof Schuerpf
Things to do

CGN • Lausanne-Ouchy

icon-location-pin Ouchy

Making the most of its position on one of Europe’s largest lakes, Lausanne’s ferry port at Ouchy offers cruises to many destinations around the lake.

Lac de Joux
© Roland Gerth
Things to do

Lac de Joux • Jura

icon-location-pin Jura

The huge Lac de Joux in the Jura valley of the same name is a draw for outdoor enthusiasts at any time of year.

Things to do

The Castles of Bellinzona

icon-location-pin Bellinzona

Among the most famous monuments of Ticino are the impressive collection of medieval castles at Bellinzona, the capital of the canton, just north of Lugano. 

Dampfbad Basel
©Dampfbad Basel
Things to do

Dampfbad • Basel

icon-location-pin St. Johann

Whether you are local or in town for shopping, a meeting or an event, the Dampfbad in northern Basel’s St. Johann is the perfect retreat. 

Mount San Salvatore
Things to do

Monte San Salvatore • Lugano

icon-location-pin Lugano

At 912m and popular with climbers, dramatic Monte San Salvatore looms above the city, one side forest, the other sheer rock face. 

Things to do

Katzensee • Zurich

icon-location-pin Affoltern

The natural reserve around the Katzensee is just minutes outside the city and an all year round hotspot for bird- and nature-watching. 

Things to do, Walks and tours

Bike hire • Zurich

icon-location-pin City

Leave a CHF 20 deposit at one of the Züri rollt containers and enjoy the city on two wheels. 

Museum Tinguely Basel
© Christof Schuerpf
Museums, Art and design

Museum Tinguely • Basel

icon-location-pin Kleinbasel

Kinetic sculptor Jean Tinguely is one of those artists you either love or hate. The central hall alone houses 20 huge machine-sculptures in a handsome, hangar-like structure purpose-built next to the Rhine by Ticino architect Mario Botta.

Botanischer Garten
Elisabeth Real
Things to do

Botanischer Garten • Zurich

icon-location-pin Weinegg

Take an early morning stroll across the vast grounds or just sit and relax for a while on a sunny afternoon. The botanical garden is rarely crowded and can deliver instant peace and happiness when you stumble upon a pretty flower or watch the branches of the old trees swing with the wind.

Dance, Modern

Sévelin 36 for contemporary dance • Lausanne

icon-location-pin Flon

Théâtre Sévelin 36 is both a showcase and breeding ground for dancers. Workshops are organized throughout the year, including with children. On 8,9 and 10 May, it will be one of the main venues for the nationwide Dance festival open to anyone who loves dance.

paddleboard Geneva
Tropical Geneva
Things to do

Paddleboard • Geneva

icon-location-pin Geneva

Hawaii's current craze for stand-up paddleboarding comes to Lake Geneva. There are plenty of other watersports, such as windsurfing and wakeboarding, on the lake.

Things to do

E-bike hire • Basel

icon-location-pin Basel

Switzerland's popular e-bikes or pedelecs have a bit of extra va-va-voom. These electrically-assisted bikes can be rented at the rail station and are a nippy way to get around town.

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