Swiss perspectives in 10 languages

Basel celebrates carnival and Locarno ushers in spring

Painted lanterns light up the early morning hours of Fasnacht in Basel.

Carnival season is underway in Switzerland with the biggest and most celebrated event scheduled to begin on March 10 in Basel.

The carnival in the city on the Rhine is usually the last of Switzerland’s pre-Lenten festivals.

It traditionally begins on the Monday after Ash Wednesday. The lights are put out at four in the morning, when the “Morgestraich” fife and drum procession marches through the streets.

The Morgestraich launches what the people of Basel consider as the three most beautiful days of the year.

Payerne hosts the largest carnival in French-speaking Switzerland. The four-day affair begins on March 7.

Costume balls

The event includes processions of spectacular floats and costume balls are held throughout the town on the Monday.

The festival in the capital, Bern, has gotten bigger every year. Carnival goers take over the streets of the old town this year from March 6 to 8.

Many of the costumed bands performing across Switzerland will be heading for the alpine resort of Savognin for a carnival finale on March 22 and 23.

Flower power

The Italian-speaking town of Locarno in southern Switzerland will be ushering in spring with its annual camellias festival from March 26 to 30.

The riot of floral colours bursting from the gardens invite visitors to stroll along the town’s promenade.

Tea ceremonies and outdoor performances of classical and folk music help celebrate the arrival of spring.

St Moritz

The world alpine ski championships have come to an end, but St Moritz has plenty of high-profile events scheduled for the coming weeks to keep it in the headlines.

The Engadine cross-country ski marathon takes place on March 9. The 42-kilometre course winds along the valley and frozen lakes of the Upper Engadine from the village of Maloja to Zuoz, passing St Moritz along the way.

Gourmet event

A day later, those who were on a strict diet as part of their preparation for the race can let it all go by signing up for the Gourmet Festival in St Moritz.

For five days from March 10, the top hotels in the resort will be inviting leading chefs from around the world to work their culinary magic.

From March 28 to April 6, hotels in St Moritz and the Upper Engadine valley will be hosting the classical music festival, Snow and Symphony.

The mezzo-soprano, Vesselina Kasarova, will perform works of Mozart, Schumann und Rossini at the Gala opening concert at Badrutt’s Palace Hotel in St Moritz.


In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR