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10 unmissable events in Switzerland in August 2023

Sandra Sparrowhawk
Sandra Sparrowhawk - [email protected]
10 unmissable events in Switzerland in August 2023
Swimmers leave the start of the annual Lake Zurich crossing swimming event in Zurich on July 5th, 2017. Photo: Michael Buholzer / AFP

From swimming in Zurich waters to cool music festivals and barbecues, here are the top events you shouldn’t miss out on this August in Switzerland.

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Zurich Street Parade

If you’re a fan of techno sounds and don’t mind large crowds in (usually) scorching weather, then attending Zurich’s free street parade is pretty much a must. As well as 30 moving stages, the event’s 30th edition will also include eight stages along the 2km parade which starts at Utoquai in Zurich's Seefeld district before rolling around Lake Zurich until midnight on August 12th.

Lucerne Festival

However, if techno and sun aren’t quite your cup of tea and you prefer your music a tad more classical, then the Lucerne Festival is for you.

Based in the heart of Switzerland, the Lucerne Festival’s summer programme will feature over 100 concerts and international classical music stars, famous orchestras, and conductors from August 8th until September 10th.

Zurich Limmat Swim

Every year, eager swimmers from across Switzerland gather in Zurich to swim in the Limmat river where swimming is normally prohibited throughout the year.

If you’d like to snag one of the 4,500 tickets on sale, you will need to be quick however as the event – which takes place on August 19th - is very popular. Ticket prices range from 25 to 42 francs.

Zurich Seeüberquerung

Speaking of swimming, on August 23rd at 2.30pm Zurich will be hosting its yearly Seeüberquerung (lake river crossing) where some 9,000 swimmers are expected. The competitive event is reserved for good swimmers and tickets - which cost 25 francs apiece - will go on sale on Monday, August 12th at 12pm.

READ MORE: Do people really swim to work in Zurich?

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Rencontres de folklore internationales de Fribourg

The 48th edition of the Rencontres de folklore internationales de Friborg will take place from August 14th to August 20th. The international folk music festival features over 300 dancers, singers, and musicians from multiple countries and is joined by around 30,000 spectators every year. Tickets for the event cost between 13.50 to 18 francs.

Verzasca Country Festival

There are countless reasons to visit Ticino’s beautiful Verzasca, from going bungee jumping like James Bond to crossing the romantic ponte dei salti, and bathing in the icy Verzasca river. However, if you’re looking for something unique to do we recommend dropping by the Verzasca Country Festival while you’re there.

Besides country music and dance, the popular festival in Sonogno will also feature stalls and delicacies in the village’s sports hall. The event takes place on August 5th and entry is free.

Open-Air Cinema Geneva

During August, Geneva’s lake shore is transformed into an open-air cinema. Big Hollywood blockbusters as well as smaller local features projected onto a giant screen in the beautiful park of Perle du Lac.

You can check out this year’s summer programme for Geneva’s outdoor cinemas by clicking on CinéTransat and Allianz Cinema.

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Summer BBQ

If you’re looking for a more low-key event, we suggest joining Basel Irish Club’s Summer BBQ on August 26th. It is the perfect opportunity to meet new (and perhaps familiar) people to Basel and enjoy a nice grill and a few drinks. The event takes place from 11.30am to 3pm.

Lausanne Afro Fusions Festival 

What better way to close off August than by attending Lausanne’s exciting Afro Fusions Festival on August 30th through to September 3rd?

The festival is the largest African cultural event in the canton of Vaud and includes a top-tier musical programme alongside fun artistic, educational, and cultural activities and exhibitions.

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