For the creative-minded, athletic, and foodies alike, here are five reasons to factor in a Swiss celebration this summer.
Head to the Bernese Alps if a taste of age-old tradition is what you’re after. Outside Interlaken, the meadows below a ruined castle play host to a long-running festival that dates back to 1805, when it was started in a bid to unify the nation after a Napoleonic invasion. Since then, Unspunnenfest has been held just once every 12 years, and has endured as something of a folk-style Olympics. Its colorful opening ceremony is followed by eight days of alpenhorn blowing and flag throwing, animal herding and wrestling tournaments, yodeling, a massive Swiss country banquet, and most famously, the hurtling of the 83-kilogram Unspunnen stone. Expect a rockin’ good time (August 26-September 3)
The pinnacle of the global art calender is, for the 47th consecutive year, transforming its namesake medieval Rhineland city into an art mecca. As many as 291 galleries – drawn from 34 countries and showcasing the work of over 4,000 artists – will bring museum-worthy pieces from just about every major player in art history, alongside special performances and exhibitions from legends like Stan VanDerBeek, talks and panels , site-specific installations around the city, and all the glittering hoo-ha of the art world (June 15-18).
Ever since Roberto Rossellini debuted Rome, Open City at its first edition 1946, Locarno’s annual cinema spectacular has been a must-go for any movie enthusiast looking for what’s hot and fresh in film. Now in its 70th run, this festival is known for its eccentric mix of the obscure avant-garde big-budget premiers on the arcaded main square of Piazza Grande, whose pastel-colored buildings create a stunning backdrop for an open-air cinema that seats more than 9,000 viewers, making it one of the world’s largest. It may not have the glitz and glamor of Cannes, but keep an eye peeled – this is where celebrities come to watch the movies incognito (August 2-12).
Switzerland‘s largest city sees off the summer with an 11-day grand culinary affair. Street food markets, special restaurant menus, cooking classes, and after-dark parties allow you to try everything from Swiss wines to Züri gschnätzlets – the Zurich specialty of veal in mushroom sauce. Another highlight is sister fest The Epicure, which brings in a selection of top Michelin-star-studded chefs to prepare unforgettable meals in the Dolder Grand Hotel (September 7-17).
Arguably the most stunning course on the European Tour, the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club draws some 50,000 spectators each year to the Valais Alps to see the world’s top golfers swing at altitudes so high and in air so clear that balls actually travel up to 15 percent farther. As for diversions in between rounds, Crans-Monstana also boasts all the trappings that come from being a ski town: great accommodation, outdoor activities galore, and fabulous nightlife (September 7-10).