Guide to New Year's celebrations in the 5 largest cities in Switzerland
With Christmas now in the rearview, people across the country will now look forward to hailing the arrival of 2024 with events on New Year's Eve and Day. From fireworks displays and light shows to concerts, here is how the five largest cities in Switzerland plan to celebrate New Year’s Eve in 2023:
Zurich to welcome 2024 with light show and fireworks
Zurich really comes alive at New Year's, and 2023 / 24 will be no different, with the city planning a number of exciting events. From 2pm on December 31 to 3am on January 1, the centre of the Swiss metropolis will transform into a delightful melting pot of music, parties and more.
Several music events are set to take place in city bars, restaurants and some public spaces, most notably in Sechseläuteplatz. Five of Zurich’s top landmarks will also be illuminated by a stunning light show - if you can’t make New Year’s, the light show will also be shown on the evenings of January 1 and 2.
At the crucial moment at midnight, alongside a cacophony of bells from local churches, Lake Zurich will be lit up by a large public fireworks display. Music and dance parties will continue until the official closing ceremony at 3am. Luckily, expanded night public transport services will continue until 4am, meaning everyone should be able to get home without shelling out for a taxi.
Geneva to host free concert on Quai Gustave-Ador on New Year's Eve
Hopping across the Röstigraben, the people of Geneva will also be treated to a number of events designed to welcome 2024 in style. This year, the local council will be putting on a large free party on the Quai Gustave-Ador. From 8pm to 3am, the Jet d’Eau and Plage stages will host a diverse range of artists from Lady Black Sally to Santo. Bars and food trucks will also be present at the event.
Courtesy of the Grand Hotel Fairmont, Geneva will also host its own public fireworks display at the stroke of midnight. Buses in the city will be operating into the night to help people get home.
Basel to do without fireworks again
Sadly, Basel will again have to go without a fireworks display on New Year’s Eve in 2023, with the city unable to secure a sponsor for the display above the River Rhine. Instead, the residents of Basel will have to rely on their own fireworks to welcome in the New Year - so long as the city’s and the country's strict rules are followed.
However, people in the city will be able to celebrate at the Basel Cathedral, with enchanting Tower music from 11.30pm and a church service at 12.15am. Elsewhere, Theatre Basel, Palazzo Colombino and Cirque Noël de Bâle all have special events taking place on New Year's Eve.
Lausanne Catherdral to be lit up for New Year's 2023 / 24
For the people of Lausanne, New Year’s Eve is a chance to let their hair down and party, with several private concerts and events planned across the capital of Canton Vaud. In a tradition going back to 1904, the "Friends of the City" will light up the Lausanne Cathedral between midnight and 1am. A live DJ will also be accompanying the celebrations near the church as part of the end of Bô Noël.
While no public fireworks displays are planned, there are many other cool events to take part in. For arguably the best view of the city during the celebrations, CGN will offer its famous New Year’s Eve cruise. For "just" 254 Swiss francs per person, you can sample champagne, wine and a seven-course dinner while cruising on Lake Geneva. The boat ride will also include live music, ending at 1am.
New Year's Eve in Bern: Toasting at Münsterplatz and Gurten party
In the words of Dinner for One: “Same procedure as last year… same procedure as every year”, so too with the New Year’s celebrations in Bern for 2023 / 2024. On the night, the residents of the de-facto capital of Switzerland will come together for their traditional gathering in Münsterplatz, where friends, families and strangers alike will clink as many glasses as possible to welcome the new year.
On the local mountain, Gurten, Radio Energy is planning a much louder celebration with its annual New Year’s Eve party. This year, DJ Michel Schelker & Nik Thomi will be blasting out the tunes to help make the end of 2023 a night to remember.