Celebrating Swiss National Day: Everything You Need to Know


Swiss National Day is a day of celebration in Switzerland which is celebrated on August 1st. It’s a day that brings all of Switzerland together, with locals and visitors alike celebrating the unique culture, history, and heritage of Switzerland.

On this special day, people come out to celebrate with fireworks, parades, feasts, and more! So, what to expect when you – as a visitor – happen to be in Switzerland on the 1st of August? This post will help you navigate through one of the most important bank holidays in Switzerland.

Let’s take a look at what makes Swiss National Day so special.

Switzerland facts and map

When is the Swiss National Day?

Swiss National Day is celebrated on August 1st every year. 

History of Swiss National Day

So, why and what do Swiss celebrate on the Swiss National Day?

In 1291 three cantons (Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden) banded together in an eternal alliance against the Habsburgs – little did they know that this brave act would lay down the foundations for what we now call ‘Switzerland’.

Over 800 years later, Switzerland still stands strong thanks to those who pledged allegiance at “at the beginning of the month of August 1291”. Wow! Who knew history could be so inspiring?

The modern celebration of Swiss National Day dates back to 1891 when it was first declared as an official national holiday. Although the holiday celebrates independence from foreign powers (which happened in 1291), its modern form has been shaped by events throughout Switzerland’s history.

In 1989 for example, the first female president was elected in Switzerland on this day—a milestone that has been enshrined in the holiday ever since.

Traditions on Swiss National Day

On August 1st each year, many towns across Switzerland come alive with festivities.

In some towns, there are huge parades with marching bands playing traditional music while others hold smaller celebrations with flags being waved and speeches being made.

Fireworks are also a common sight on this special day – especially richer communities or tourist offices do sponsor such fireworks. They light up the night sky above Switzerland’s cities and towns as people celebrate into the early hours of the morning.

Swiss National Day, celebration in Lausanne with fireworks Arzo Travels

Experience a dazzling show at the Rhine Falls near Schaffhausen! This natural wonder has been alive with light and spectacle since the mid-1800s when it was illuminated for special occasions.

Every August 1st, you can come to check out this remarkable display of fireworks and twinkling lights – just don’t forget your camera so that you can capture all these magical memories forever!

Or celebrate Swiss independence by lighting a bonfire – as their ancestors did 700 years ago! Kids love roving the streets with their paper lanterns, while adults can display national pride in red and white flags.

And don’t forget to top off those special bread rolls with an iconic tiny Swiss flag for even more fun flavourful patriotism.

What to Do on Swiss National Day?

Swiss National Day is all about embracing Swiss culture and heritage—so why not get involved? Many towns have family-friendly activities such as face painting and carnival rides for kids; adults can enjoy traditional folk performances or browse through local markets selling crafts and souvenirs.

Swiss National Day a bank holiday in Switzerland Arzo Travels
Fedor Selivanov / Shutterstock.com

For those looking for something a bit more active there are lots of hikes to choose from – whether you want to explore alpine meadows or take on one of Switzerland’s many mountain trails you won’t be disappointed!

If you do not care about this Swiss celebration but happen to be in Switzerland on the 1 August, you will notice that everything is different. Swiss flags are everywhere – even more than you will see on regular days – and many shops are closed. Restaurants and some activities, like cable cars/funiculars, are open and it seems that everyone and their mother is out exploring Switzerland in the mountains.

What Do People Eat on Swiss National Day?

Food plays an important role in any celebration – especially when it comes to Swiss National Day! Traditional dishes such as cheese fondue or rosti (shredded potatoes) are usually served up at feasts held during this time – although some areas may have their own variations too! If you’re looking for something sweet then don’t forget about meringues or chocolate truffles – two classic desserts that are sure to make your taste buds happy!


Swiss National Day is a really fun event that can be enjoyed by everyone. Whether you’re looking for an exciting party atmosphere or just want to enjoy the festivities, there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate this annual Swiss holiday.

most beautiful places in Grimentz in Switzerland

Remember to pack your flags and keep an eye out for some of the more memorable traditions like cow races! Whatever way you decide to celebrate, though, just don’t forget the cheese – it’s pretty much mandatory!

With so many ways to join in on the fun this Swiss national day, it’s definitely worthy of being part of anyone’s annual agenda! So don’t miss out – take a break from your normal routine and spend some quality time celebrating Swiss culture, heritage, and traditions with friends and family. I’m sure it’ll be an experience you won’t soon forget.

Happy celebrating!

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