How do different Swiss cities celebrate Oktoberfest?

How do different Swiss cities celebrate Oktoberfest?

While Oktoberfest is known to be one of the most popular events in Germany, the festivities are also popular in Switzerland! In Swiss German parts of the country, the Oktoberfest celebrations begin in September and carry on through the autumn. 

People in Switzerland are starting to celebrate Oktoberfest

While Oktoberfest is not a historic Swiss tradition, in more recent years a number of events and festivals have popped up in honour of the occasion, and more people in Switzerland have started to celebrate. In French and Italian-speaking Swiss cantons, Oktoberfest is not celebrated much. However, in Swiss-German regions, there are some great events that give you a taste of some traditional German cuisine, live music and, of course - beer! 

Not only is Switzerland well connected to Germany through shared culture and the German language, but the country is also physically connected thanks to great train connections and regular flights from Germany to Swiss airports. As a result, lots of people in Switzerland choose to visit Munich to see what Oktoberfest is all about.

But in some Swiss cities, there’s simply no need to venture out of town, since you can enjoy Oktoberfest from right here in Switzerland if you know the right places! Here are some great Oktoberfest celebrations in some of the biggest Swiss cities!

Where to celebrate Oktoberfest in Zurich

For those seeking big celebrations - Zurich is the place to be! The city celebrates with a number of huge parties at various traditional beer gardens and purpose-built beer tents. Two of the most popular venues include the Züri-Wiesn and the Oktoberfest Bauschänzli. 

The Züri-Wiesn is perfectly located for those who wish to enjoy a cold beer and be within touching distance of public transport back home, as the venue for the celebration is Zurich’s main train station! This truly unique location is not only convenient, but also provides a stunning setting for a night of traditional (Swiss-)German fun from the last week of September until mid-October! 

Oktoberfest Bauschänzli, another cornerstone of Zurich’s Oktoberfest celebrations, takes place on an artificial island on the city's main river. Celebrations here take place a little later, starting near the beginning of October and continuing to the first week of November. 

Across the canton, there are a number of great Oktoberfest events that are well worth a visit. Winterthur (mid-October to early November) and Baden in Canton Aargau (Thursday through Saturday during the last two weeks of October) also have their own events to celebrate the Bavarian tradition.

Video: YouTube / Züri-Wiesn – Unser Oktoberfest

Where to celebrate Oktoberfest in Basel

Thanks to its location on the borders of both France and Germany, Basel has the fortune of taking part in both French and German festivities - and Oktoberfest is no exception! The city has a number of traditional Bavarian-style Oktoberfest events with huge tents, tables and live music. The city also offers numerous themed parties at clubs and bars as well. 

Many of the traditional venues, like Zic Zac, open in late September and continue to operate into mid-October, offering huge banquet-style buffets of traditional Bavarian food where you can relax and have fun with family and friends. Some of the more intense celebrations take place during Friday and Saturday evenings and continue into the early hours of the morning, fuelled by strong beer and lots of dancing!

Where to celebrate Oktoberfest in Lucerne

Oktoberfest in Lucerne starts early! The biggest celebration in this city starts at the beginning of September and is already finished by the time October rolls in. Lozärner Oktoberfest offers traditional German foods such as spaetzle, traditional potato salad, pretzels and of course, strudel!

Do people in Geneva celebrate Oktoberfest?

As the largest French-speaking city in Switzerland, traditions hailing from Germany like Oktoberfest are not as popular in Geneva, meaning there aren't any large events. Nevertheless, the city still has some lower-profile events amongst the Swiss-German and German community living in the city, ideal for those looking to experience a more intimate Oktoberfest celebration, such as an Oktoberfest-themed night at a bar or restaurant.

Get ready for Oktoberfest in Switzerland!

Now that you have some inspiration on where to head this autumn, it’s time to sort out your outfit! Traditionally, Germans wear trachten - garments hailing from the German-speaking regions in Germany, Austria and Switzerland like lederhosen for men or a dirndl for women. 

After that, you just need to figure out how to dance a traditional Oktoberfest line dance - or alternatively, just grab a beer and jump right onto the dance floor!

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. She then obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in journalism....

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