The United States have the Fourth of July. The French have Bastille Day on July 14. And the Swiss celebrate their national holiday on August 1.
There are many ways of enjoying this day off, but here is the Newly Swissed selection of unmissable Swiss National Day celebrations:
Many prefer to start off their day with a hearty farmer's brunch. While this tradition has been around for a long time, about 400 farms have created a network in recent years which makes discovering and booking your seats a breeze.
The foods are local and often organic, but all brunch tickets guarantee you an all-you-can-eat experience! Treat your tastebuds to some home cooked pies, smoked sausage, fresh cider, hardboiled eggs, crispy Röschti with bacon or a range of crunchy Müesli cereals and breads...
Apart from free-roaming chickens, most farms will offer some kind of entertainment for the kids. Expect fun games in the haystack, horse carriage rides or petting zoos. For the adults, many farmers offer tours of the premises. And if you are lucky, the tour guide will even speak English! Either way, it is going to be interesting to get a glimpse of how a Swiss farm operates.
Cow Riding at Boldernhof
Why not combine a farmer's brunch with - well - cow riding? It may sound odd, but as we found out last year, this is the ultimate Swiss experience! For only 2 francs a person, you can take a spin on one of Bolderhof's calm bovines...
This farm is located just outside of Stein am Rhein and is also holding the traditional brunch (reservation required).
Swiss Wrestling "Schwingen" Tournaments
Get up close with the Swiss version of wrestling! Carried out in a ring of sawdust, two Schwinger will attempt to wrestle it out by holding onto each other's baggy pants and belts. As a token of appreciation, the winner of each Schwingen match will dust off the loser's back.
(Copyright Silvio Giacomini/flickr.com)
Traditionally, Höhenfeuer served as a way of communication between the different settlements. For one, they would be lit to warn others of approaching danger. Hiking to one of these gigantic bonfires on August 1 is truly an unforgettable experience for the entire family. On hillsides near and far, your eyes will be drawn to many more bonfires from surrounding villages.
For bigger events, check out the events calendar of Switzerland Tourism. However, most every community will light a bonfire - making a detailed schedule pointless!
If there is one season for fireworks, it is summer! In Switzerland, kids of all ages are looking forward to shooting off fireworks items like fountains, sparklers, rockets, and firecrackers. And to the delight of everyone, some larger towns will light up the sky with magnificent firework displays!
- Flüelen (Seepromenade), July 31
- Rhine Falls fireworks display "Fire on the Rocks", July 31
- Stein am Rhein, Aug 1, 10 PM (Editor's choice: Spend the afternoon swimming in the Rhine river, enjoy dinner in Stein am Rhein and get ready for the fireworks...)
For a comprehensive schedule of events, check out MySwitzerland.com
Since I moved to Switzerland I was used to collect 1st of August pins, an habit that still interests me =)
This year will celebrate in Leukerbad (VS) =)
Collecting these special pins used to be a tradition for me growing up ;-)
About the fireworks, you forgot to mention Lugano, which is in Ticino. A very beautiful City by the lakeside with amazing views from the surrounding beautiful hills and mountains. You can also rent a boat and enjoy the view from the lake as the firework show is on 2 platforms placed on the lake. Hope this helps.
Thanks for bringing up Lugano, Anthony! We love this city dearly, but were not aware of the firework display…
[…] home! The Swiss were sleeping in after a day of local celebrations and feasting—traditionally an outdoor brunch at a local farm—and watching fireworks late into the […]
[…] the year, but the riverside is most attractive during the warm seasons. The town hosts one of few firework displays on Swiss National […]