Valais Alphorn Festival, 26-28 July
It’s a classic of the Swiss summer: the Valais Drink Pure Alphorn Festival brings together alphorn players from all over Switzerland in the beautiful landscape of Nendaz for competitions, demonstrations and festivities. As well as much alphorn action, there are also flag throwers, bell ringers, yodellers and folk dancers. What more could you possibly want?
Photo: Valais Alphorn Festival
Paléo, to 28 July
There are still tickets available for the 44th edition of Paléo, one of western Switzerland’s biggest music festivals, held just outside Nyon. Catch French fusion rock outfit Shaka Ponk on Saturday night, while crooner Patrick Bruel takes to the stage after the fireworks on Sunday night
Shepherd’s festival, 28 July
Sure, there are cow festivals a-plenty in Switzerland, but how about a sheep festival? Head to the Gemmipass (accessible by cable car from Leukerbad or Kandersteg) this Sunday to join 800 sheep and their minders for the annual Shepherds’ Festival. The sheep tuck into a special delicacy called Glack (a mixture of bran and salt), while the shepherds and local people enjoy entertainment including alphorn and bagpipe playing, flag waving and a tug-of-war competition. Staged since 1957, the aim is to give shepherds from the cantons of Valais and Bern – separated by the Gemmipass – the chance to meet and mingle over a glass or two.
Photo: Marco Schnyder/Swiss-image.ch
Verbier Festival, to 3 August
If classical music floats your boat, head to the Valais alps this weekend for the annual Verbier Festival, which showcases some of the world’s best orchestras, ensembles and soloists, as well as staging masterclasses, talks and events. This weekend’s line-up includes baritone Thomas Hampson, violinist Renaud Capuçon, pianist Joaquín Achúcarro and the Verbier Festival Orchestra.
Photo: Verbier Festival
Fête des Vignerons, to 11 August
There’s still time to catch this huge wine festival, which takes over Vevey for the best part of a month. Each day is dedicated to a different canton, so if you head down this weekend you’ll see free parades and activities staged by Valais (Friday), Ticino and central Swiss cantons (Saturday) and Basel-City, Basel-Land, Glarus and Jura (Sunday). You can still pick up a ticket to the big show at the ticket offices around town.
Photo: Fete des Vignerons