7 things expats in Switzerland need to know about in August 2023

7 things expats in Switzerland need to know about in August 2023

For many, August is a chance to kick back, relax and indulge before work, the government and other sides of life ramp up again when the weather gets cooler. Nevertheless, there are still some important things happening over the next month. From e-vignettes to the end of holidays, here’s what you need to know:

1. Switzerland celebrates its National Day

Starting off strong, people across the alpine nation will get to enjoy Swiss National Day on August 1. The holiday is designed to commemorate the signing of the First Federal Charter on August 1, 1291. It's often regarded as a quasi-independence day as it marks the first time Switzerland united as a nation.

As a day off for all workers - unless you plan on taking some lucrative and hard-to-obtain overtime - a number of fun concerts, events and festivities are planned in every Swiss city. Most people will also be given the rare opportunity to set off fireworks in Switzerland, as a majority of cantons have given the green light for fireworks to be used this August 1.

2. E-vignette for Swiss motorways to launch in August

On the same day, drivers in Switzerland will finally be able to buy the new e-vignette. Like the physical version, the annual pass gives motorists unlimited access to Swiss motorways and costs 40 francs a year.

However, those who like to keep their cars pristine will appreciate not having to affix the vignette to their windshield; from August, if a car does not have a physical vignette, the police will use an online system to check whether the vehicle has an e-pass.

The e-vignette goes on sale on August 1 and can be bought via the official website.

3. Window to appeal rent rises closes 

In June, it was confirmed that thanks to a rise in the reference interest rate, many will have to pay more to rent a house or apartment in Switzerland. Costs in over half of pre-agreed rental contracts will rise by up to 3 percent from October 2023.

With tenants having 30 days to appeal the rent increase, and with most landlords informing their tenants of the rise in June, July 31 likely represents the last day that people are able to launch an appeal. Unless you can prove that you only got word of the increase in July, if you feel you are being overcharged and have missed the window, your best course of action is to seek legal advice from a lawyer.

4. End of the Swiss school holidays

In August, the Swiss school holidays are set to come to an end in all cantons. Between August 14 and 28, Swiss schools and international schools will return to classrooms after their longest break of the year.

The next break students will have is the autumn holiday - a one to two-week break which takes place in October.

5. Authorities warn of disruption to Swiss roads and airports

As a result of the holidays ending, Swiss roads, public transport and airports are all expected to be busy over the next few weekends as families return home from vacation. On the roads, the busiest areas are expected to be on the A1 and A3 between Basel and Zurich, the highway between Lausanne, Montreux and Martigny, the St. Bernard tunnel, the San Bernadino Pass and, of course, the Gotthard Road Tunnel.

While they are not expected to be delayed, trains in Switzerland are set to be much busier than usual, especially on Intercity (IC) and Interregional (IR) services. Finally, Swiss airports have warned passengers to expect longer waits for luggage and some delays due to the large number of flights.

6. Swiss cantons celebrate Assumption Day

For the lucky residents of 10 Swiss cantons (Appenzell Innerrhoden, Jura, Lucerne, Obwalden, Nidwalden, Schwyz, Ticino, Uri, Valais and Zug) and locals in some councils (Gemeinden) in Aargau, Basel-Land, Fribourg, Graubünden, Solothurn and St. Gallen, August 15 is a public holiday thanks to Assumption Day.

The occasion marks the day when Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, was taken to heaven. With August 15 falling on a Tuesday in 2023, workers in these cantons can enjoy a nice break in the middle of the week, or use a single day of paid leave to create an indulgent long weekend.

7. Major festivals to come to Swiss cities

Finally, August 2023 will see the return of some major concerts and festivals. In Zurich, partygoers will be treated to the Open-Air Festival and Zurich Street Parade - one of the largest techno parties in the world - while avid sports fans will likely enjoy Weltklasse Zurich.

Other parts of the country will also be partying the nights away, with the Lucerne Summer Festival offering over 100 stages and acts from across musical genres. The city will also host the last of the major pride events in Switzerland, with Pride Zentralschweiz due to take place on August 26.

Whether you go out and enjoy the final ebbs of summer in Switzerland, or use the last few weeks of the holidays to go aboard, we hope you have a great time!

Thumb image credit: Prath /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

Read more



Leave a comment