List of Carnivals in Switzerland

GENEVA, Switzerland – Carnival season is upon us, and whether you are a long-term resident or a newly-arrived expat, you should experience one of these celebrations, as they can be a lot of fun. Some of the carnivals are scary, and I mean, the purpose is to scare you—and winter away—as much as possible (see video below). 

While most celebrations take place before Ash Wednesday, plenty of others take place during the Lent period such as the Basle Fasnacht —the largest in Switzerland. Many more take place in March, April and even a few in May.

Geneva does not have a carnival but many cities around the Lake Geneva area do; some celebrate Venetian-style.

Carnaval, carnival, fasnacht, karnivale and brandons have officially begun in Switzerland. Those in red are particularly famous. 

  • 3-9 February, Carnaval d’Evolène (Valais) – one of the most traditional whose roots can be traced back to the Middle Ages. On 6 February takes place the traditional “noise parade.”

  • 4-6 February, Appenzell Fasnacht (Saint-Gallen) 
  • 4-7  FebruaryMels (St. Gallen)
  • 4-7  February, Broc (Fribourg)
  • 4-7 February Pfäfers, (Saint-Gallen)
  • 4-8  February, Flums (St. Gallen) 

Carnival of Sion, Switzerland, photo MultiPass
Photo of the Sion Carnival courtesy of MultiPass

  • 12-14 February, Arbon (Thurgau) 
  • 12-14 February, Zurich (Zurich)
  • 12-15 February, Winterthur (Zurich)

Basel carnival switzerland.jpg
Photo courtesy, Basler Fasnacht 2015
  • 15-19 February, Basel Fasnacht (Basel City)  – About 18,000 people crowd the streets of Basle for a 72-hour celebration that begins at 04:00 on Ash Wednesday. The largest carnival in Switzerland is a mix of parades for adults and children, food festival, brass band competition and all-out scary party. Consider taking the train to the city. Special schedules are in effect so that you can arrive on time for the 4:00 kick off party. Visit the official website for detailed information —which includes a 140-page visitor manual or visit GenevaLunch’s carnival survival guide.

venetian-carnival in Annecy
Venetian Carnival in Annecy, neighbouring France

Carnivals in March, April and May 2016

, on the southern banks of Lake Thun where the River Aare flows out of the lake, and with its views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, is almost as attractive as the architecture itself.

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