What The Swiss Do In Summer

paleo festivalIt is easy to understand that when people think of Switzerland, they think of snow, glaciers, mountains, yodelling, chocolate and watches. A winter wonderland full of little chalets that look like cakes covered in white icing. Children skating on frozen lakes and families gathered around the dinner table eating fondue while the fireplace glows red with its warmth.

But how many think about Switzerland in summer? What do the Swiss do when there is no snow, green grass, sunshine, hot days and long warm twilight evenings?

Well, if you don’t know. I’ll tell you.

They all go to music festivals! Between June and August every year Switzerland is full to the brim of music festivals of all sizes, varieties and musical themes. From small village festivals lasting one or two days, set in the gardens of a small vineyard, to week-long mega festivals such as Paleo and the Montreux Jazz Festival.

While concerts are of course performed all year round in Switzerland in concert halls and similar venues, it is the summer festival season that attracts the crowds. One example of the popularity is the Paleo Festival. This year, when the tickets went on sale, they sold out in less than an hour. And that was for 35,000 tickets for each of the 6 days of the festival!

So what is the attraction? It is simple. To enjoy the warm evenings in a sociable atmosphere of good music, good wine, good food and good friends. Could one ask for more?

6 thoughts on “What The Swiss Do In Summer”

  1. Could one ask for more? I think not. It all sounds so wonderful Derek. Switzerland seems like a perfectly enchanting place to live. (lucky you:) You have it all! I am not so sure about the winter time months. eww lol.. Just kidding. It sounds beautiful…
    What a lovely place to live!

    Thank you for continuing to post your delightful blog.

    Best Wishes,

  2. Nicholas Davis

    Very nicely put, Derek! As a fellow expat, based in Geneva, I can add two more Swiss Summer activities that I've observed over the last four years:

    1) Community sporting events – Switzerland has a cornucopia of options for every kind of sport during the Summer months. Almost every city (and some villages!) has a triathlon, a marathon, half-marathon and 10km, and there are community swims, soccer leagues, bike races and other activities galore. The Canton of Vaud even has a Wednesday night 10km run series called "Tour de Pays de Vaud", where hundreds of people participate in a series of short runs around a different village each week. A nice way to explore a beautiful part of Switzerland!

    2) Family outings to the mountains – The Alps are even more beautiful in Summer, and the hiking is superb. The Swiss take full advantage of this, often to the embarrassment of this Australian wannabee-climber. On many an occasion I've triumphantly summitted a local peak, covered in sweat and dirt after hours of strenuous effort, only to find a group of Swiss pensioners and small children picnicking at the top, impeccably dressed and well supplied with local wine and produce. One day I hope to fit in!

    Best wishes from Geneva,


  3. Sounds beautiful, Derek! I’m hoping to take the family to Lake Geneva someday. I fell in love with it through Shelley and Byron’s writing and adventures. What a magical place. Thanks for sharing Switzerland’s beauty in your blog!

    1. Thanks Laurel. It’s amazing how many famous authors spent time around here. Especially in the 19th century. It must have been the great food and wine that attracted them!

  4. That was so interesting! Can we have the follow-up please? ‘What the Swiss do in Winter’ Thanks

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