Swiss traditions and celebrations
We thought we'd give you brief summary about these annual events before you come, they are very unique celebrations that you won't find in many (if any) travel agents glossy brochures, Atelier Swiss always likes to integrate our guests into the community for an unforgettable experience if they wish.
Each different region of Switzerland has a different tradition, or variations of the same theme. Some (as listed) are special to that region only. Here are a few (there are more but less known in smaller villages across Switzerland).
Fastnacht (February/March) Traditional Fasnacht celebrations in Switzerland are a lively affair. Switzerland boasts more than two hundred Fasnacht celebrations, which is nearly unparalleled worldwide. Fasnacht is about partying one more time before Lent, putting an end to winter, driving away evil spirits…. Fasnacht traditions vary from region to region reflecting Switzerland’s federalist system. Fasnacht celebrations in Basel and Lucerne are the largest and most well-known.
Alpabzug (Spring) In the spring, when the snowmelt is finished, villages send the cows with the cowherds to high alpine meadows to graze during the summer months. The event, called Alpaufzug, is celebrated in each village with a procession through the village into the high pastures. The cows are decorated with floral wreaths woven through the horns, and the best milk-producing cow in the village leads the procession wearing the largest bell.
The bells are made in various sizes, and cows are awarded bells according the milk production of the year. In the cantons of Appenzell in eastern Switzerland and also in the Alpine canton of Valais, there are picturesque festivals, with herders and their families dressing in traditional costume (the Appenzell men wear red vests and yellow knicker-type pants) with everyone enjoying the cattle show.
Alpaufzug (Autumn) In August and September, bringing the herds back down to the valleys, known as Alpabfahrten, also prompts festivals, and the cow that has been the greatest milk producer is feted and decked with flowers.
Alplerchilbi, Stans, NW (October) The festival in Stans, the chief town of canton Nidwalden, is called the Aelperchilbi, and is organised by the Aelper fraternity, originally a body of farmers who pastured their flocks in the mountains in the summer, but few of whose members now work on the land.
Celebrations start in the church, piled high with fruit, vegetables and huge mountain cheeses, and continue through the day. After the service everyone is offered an apéritif on the town square. Wild men and women, the butzi, dressed in skins and moss and armed with small trees attached to long poles, chase the children, and throw them sweets. Later comes the parade of floats where themes of local life are displayed.
Trychle (December) St Nicholas comes, accompanied by young torchbearers, and a brass band playing a triad and the sombre notes are soon drowned out by the furious ringing of cowbells. The "Trichler" (bell ringers) come in unending waves. About 1,000 men take part in this deafening march, with a smaller group at the rear blowing cow horns. It's a cross between a Christian celebration and a pagan rite with a peaceful quality, which is the Christian aspect, while the noisy part is a reminder of the festival's pagan roots.
There are countless traditions across the Swiss Alps with pre-Christian origins. Many, like Klausjagen, incorporate cowbell ringing as an essential feature. Noise was intended to chase away evil winter spirits. When Christianity took hold, some of the customs were adapted, and in Küssnacht's case, St Nicholas and the Ifuln were introduced.
Atelier Swiss © 2017
Swiss family Classic Tour for 4 Adults / 2 children (under 16 years)
Swiss Family Classic Tour - Interlaken, Lucerne & Zürich (4 adults, 2 children)
2 nights in Interlaken, 2 nights in Lucerne, 1 night in Zürich. Tour package Includes: 3 & 4 Star Hotel mix with Breakfast
- Airport to Airport pick-up & drop-off with vehicle: Mercedes-Benz or VW Multivan Luxury 7 seater
- City tours of Interlaken, Lucerne, Bern & Sightseeing in stunning central Switzerland
- Jungfrau - Top of Europe!
- Gruyere Cheese Factory
- Maison Cailler (Broc) Chocolate Factory
- Mount Titlis (including Ice Flyer) day excursion
- Rhine Falls visit
Day 1 - Transfer to Interlaken from airport passing the stunning Lungern lake & waterfalls descending the Brünig pass to Interlaken, City Orientation Tour and free-time in Interlaken / Hotel in Interlaken
Day 2 - Trip to Jungfrau via beautiful Grindelwald & a cogwheel train into the Eiger (North face) to the TOP OF EUROPE, City Tour of Bern and visit to UNESCO old town iin Switzerlands capital city / Hotel in Interlaken
Day 3 - Morning trip to Gruyere Cheese factory & Medieval charming Gruyere village & in the afternoon visit the Cailler Chocolate factory in Broc & sample the delights of Switzerland's premier chocolate brand with tour. City orientation tour of Lucerne, Free-time in Lucerne / Hotel in Lucerne
Day 4 - Mount Titlis in Lucerne region day excursion with Ice Flyer which, at 3,238m, will give you great views of the Swiss Alps. Time for shopping & a City tour of Lucerne & its Chapel Bridge & old town / Hotel in Lucerne
Day 5 - Morning for Rhine Falls excursion, Stein Am Rhein & afternoon City tour of Zürich. Optional visit of (outside) FIFA headquarters, Zurich's old town and Lindenhof / Hotel in Zurich
Day 6 - Departure to Airport or free transfer to next tour.
Swiss standard 'Cheese & Chocolate' tour for 6 persons
Swiss Standard 'Cheese & Chocolate' 5 Day Tour - Lucerne, Switzerland (maximum 6 adults), 4 nights in 3 or 4 Star Hotel with Breakfast
Airport arrival meet and greet, pick-up and drop-off with vehicle: Renault Trafic/VW T5 or similar and personal driver for duration of tour...
- Lucerne & Zurich city tour
- Maison Cailler Chocolate factory
- Gruyeres Cheese factory
- Mount Titlis day excursion
- Ballenberg open-museum
- Rhine Falls including boat ride
Day 1 - Arrival and orientation tour of Lucerne. Visit the Lion Monument, Chapel Bridge and old town. Cruise on Lake of Lucerne and free-time in the evening / Hotel in Lucerne
Day 2 - Visit to Ballenberg open-air museum / Hotel in Lucerne
Day 3 - Morning trip to Gruyere Cheese factory & Medieval charming Gruyere village & in the afternoon visit the Cailler Chocolate factory in Broc & sample the delights of Switzerland's premier chocolate brand with tour. Return via Interlaken / Hotel in Lucerne
Day 4 - Mount Titlis in Lucerne region day excursion with Ice Flyer which, at 3,238m, will give you great views of the Swiss Alps. Time for shopping & free-time in Lucerne / Hotel in Lucerne
Day 5 - Morning for Rhine Falls excursion, Stein Am Rhein & afternoon City tour of Zürich (all with time permitting). Depart Zurich airport or free transfer to next tour..
Zurich and Paris 'LINK Premium' Group Tour (12-16 persons)
Zurich, Switzerland and Paris, France - 8 Day 'Link Premium' Group Tour (12-16 persons)
Four nights in Zurich, Switzerland includes: 4 Star Hotel with Breakfast
- Airport to Airport pick-up (ZRH) & drop-off (CDG) with luxury vehicle: Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
- City tours of Zurich, Lucerne & Bern
- Mount Titlis (including Ice Flyer) day excursion
- Rhine Falls inc boat ride
- Trummelbach Falls visit
Day 1 - Transfer to Zurich hotel from airport. Visit of Zurich's old town and Lindenhof with free-time / Hotel in Zurich
Day 2 - Mount Titlis in Lucerne region day excursion with Ice Flyer which, at 3,238m, will give you great views of the Swiss Alps. Time for shopping & a City tour of Lucerne & its Lion Monument, Chapel Bridge & old town / Hotel in Zurich
Day 3 - Interlaken and Bern - passing the stunning Lungern lake & waterfalls descendong the Brünig pass to Interlaken, visit to Trummelbach Falls & City orienttion Tour with free-time in Interlaken. Return via Bern with City tour and shopping in old town / Hotel in Lucerne
Day 4 - Morning for Rhine Falls excursion including boat ride, visit wonderful Stein Am Rhein, free-time in Zurich / Hotel in Zurich
Transfer to Paris, France
Three nights in Paris, France Includes: 4 Star Hotel with Breakfast
- City Tour of Paris including illumination tour (at night)
- Seine River Cruise
- Top floor Eiffel Tower
- Disneyland, Paris
- La Vallée designer outlet shopping
Day 5 - Orientation Tour of Paris including Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees & Place De La Concorde. River Seine Cruise of the most beautiful sights of Paris. Evening Illumination tour of Paris - the city of lights including Eiffel tower light show from Trocadero.
Day 6 - Morning excursion to the top of the Eiffel Tower and afternoon visit of Monmarte Artists quarter which was once home to the studios of the great impressionists like Picasso & Monet. Notre Dame, Latin Quarter & Left Bank visits and coffee in St Michel..
Day 7 - Disneyland, Paris. Shopping at designer chic outlet La Vallée Village in Serris.
Day 8 - Breakfast at Hotel with departure transfer to Airport
Atelier Swiss © 2017