Activity Recommendations from the HITrental Team – Autumn and Winter Edition
Autumn and winter in Switzerland are charming seasons. In autumn the trees start to change colour and shine in new splendour. Autumn is traditionally the time of thanks. In Switzerland, the Federal Day of Thanksgiving, Repentance and Prayer is carried out on the third Sunday of September, since the date of the constitutional resolution in 1832. Autumn was also traditionally the time of goods and livestock markets. Some of the markets are still scattered throughout the entire Alpine region, they are colourful and full of life. In autumn you can also stroll through the woods or walk on the mountains above the fog fields. Finally, there are the festive events that mark the end of the alpine summer, the cheerful downhill runs and the so-called Älplerchilbenen.
Winter is the time of darkness and the connection between the natural and ecclesiastical years. The festive events in winter help people to better bear the difficult time of darkness. Advent, Christmas, New Year and finally Carnival are phases that break the monotony of the usually unloved season. Various customs take place before and after Christmas in Switzerland. For those who prefer it a bit more comfortable, we recommend a mulled wine at one of the various Christmas markets in Switzerland or a holdrio or cafe liquor at the carnival.
Of course, Switzerland’s nature is also beautiful in winter. If you love snow, you should go for a walk or a hike in the beautiful snow-covered winter landscapes. Last but not least, in winter it is of course the skiing season. Whether on skis, snowboards, snowshoes or sledges: the world-famous Swiss ski resorts attract people to the mountains and their cosy alpine restaurants with sun and snow.
Our HITrental team has set out in search of the most exciting autumn and winter traditions and the most beautiful places in Switzerland. Read our recommendations and be inspired by the wide range of traditions and spectacular sights.
Swiss Autumn Fairs
Splendour of colour in its full glory
Autumn Fair Basel
The Basel Autumn Fair is the largest and oldest amusement fair in Switzerland. Delicious scents of roasted almonds, fresh bread and crispy biscuits attract more than one million visitors to the Basel Autumn Fair every year. The Basel Autumn Fair always begins on the Saturday before 30 October at 12.00 noon.
Agriculture and Food: OLMA St.Gallen
OLMA St.Gallen is an experience fair for young and old – no matter if you come for the famous St.Gallen Bratwurst or the legendary “Säulirennen” (pig race). In various exhibition halls, a wide variety of things relating to agriculture and food can be inspected and tasted.
Most popular festival in Bern: The Zibelemärit
The Zibelemärit takes place on the 4th Monday in November and starts in the early morning hours. The main attraction are the artfully braided onions. Also the funny onion figures are especially worth seeing. In addition to onions, textiles, jewellery, ceramics and toys are also offered.
Autumn Is Hiking Season
The most colourful and beautiful places of the golden season
The most beautiful spot in Switzerland: Lai da Palpuogna
The Lai da Palpuogna is not exactly on the way, but an excursion to this beautiful lake is worthwhile in any case. According to a survey, the place was chosen as the most beautiful spot in Switzerland.
The blue-green lake is embedded in a fantastically beautiful and idyllic mountain world. Here you can relax and dream wonderfully. From Preda you can reach the lake in about an hour walk. The demands on this hike are easy.
The Highest Stone Pine Forest in Europe: God da Tamangur
The God da Tamangur lies at the very back of Val S-charl at 2300m. Nature can develop freely on the 86 hectare forest area. Trees are no longer felled and dead trees are left behind. For Romansh culture and language, the Swiss stone pine forest is a symbol of persistence, will to survive and strength. Those who walk through the forest are overwhelmed by the unique atmosphere in the mystified forest and the bizarre tree shapes. The trees are up to 700 years old.
Hiking in the Lötschental
The Lötschental is a magnificent hiking paradise in all seasons, but in autumn, when the larches glow like gold, you can hardly see enough of yourself here. It is truly a magical valley, rich in exciting legends and extraordinary traditions. The Lötschental Panoramic Trail combines all these components: it leads through wildly romantic forests and alpine meadows and offers idyllic picnic spots for relaxation at Schwarzsee. The panoramic trail is an easy hike that takes about 3 hours.
Specialties in Autumn
Culinary experiences for young and old
Traditional Culinary Delight: Röschti-Farm
The Röschti-Farm Bözenegg offers a unique menu with over 30 Rösti dishes (traditional Swiss potato dish). The farm is the ideal place to escape from everyday life for a few hours and to indulge in culinary delights. Every month there is a special Rösti on offer. For the children there is a large playground outside or a playroom inside.
Over 2000 Chestnuts: Chestnut Festival in Ascona
The traditional Chestnut Festival is always held in Ascona at the beginning of October. Then over 2000 chestnuts are roasted over an open fire. Various market stalls offer many different delicacies, such as jam, honey or cake. In the afternoon, various concerts entertain the audience.
Eating Pumpkins at the Juckerhof
The pumpkin, the popular autumn vegetable, can be experienced in all its colourful facets at the Juckerhof. Large figures from pumpkin, variety show, pumpkin kitchen and pumpkin sale are offered. The pumpkin sculptures consist of wooden and straw frames, which are hung with colorful pumpkins.
Of Cows and Cheese
Traditional Alpine Cettle Descents, Alpine and Cheese Festivals
One of the oldest festivals in Switzerland: Stanser Älplerchilbi
Älplerchilbenen (alpine festivals) are particularly common in the cantons of Obwalden and Nidwalden. They are the festive highlight of alpine dairymen’s life. In Stans the Älplerchilbi always takes place on the third Sunday in October. The funfair begins with a festive divine service, accompanied by a folk aperitif in the village square. In the afternoon, the procession takes place, during which speech-makers comment on politics and social life with their alpine rhetoric.
Traditional mountain festival: Alpine Cettle Descent in Charmey
The alpine cattle descent in Charmey takes place on the last Sunday in September. The herds of cows return to the valley with cheerful bells and colourful flower arrangements. The traditional alpine cattle descent revives the mountain traditions. In addition to the popular Alpine cheese stands at the traditional market, there are more than 90 stands with (art) crafts. The festival is accompanied by alphorn sounds, flag wings, country bands and songs, so that musical entertainment is not neglected either.
The finest alpine dishes: Glarner Alpchäs- und Schabziger-Märt (market)
The Alpchäs and Schabziger market in Glarus take place on the first Sunday in October in Elm. Alpine cheeses from different Alps can be tasted at beautifully decorated stalls. In the restaurant you can indulge yourself culinarily. A wide range of traditional alpine dishes is available. From the traditional Älplerzmorgä (breakfast) to Älplermagronen (pasta dish with potatoes, cheese and onions) and Älplerrösti (potato dish) everything is on offer. The event is rounded off by musical interludes, show cheeses and a traditional alpine run
Pleasure at Lofty Heights
Culinary highlights in the mountains
Highest Revolving Restaurant in the World: Revolving Restaurant Allalin
The world’s highest revolving restaurant in Saas-Fee promises not only culinary highlights, but also breathtaking views of the Saas Mischabel, Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau and the sparkling roofs of Milan in the middle of the Italian Po Valley. In the revolving restaurant Allalin you can enjoy typical Valais specialities, but also order various burgers and dishes from all over the world.
Fondue in the Gondola: Up to Hannigalp
During a nightly gondola ride up to Hannigalp you can end a beautiful winter day in comfort. While you dip the bread in the cheese, you can enjoy wonderful views at the same time. A matching Valais white wine and a Valais dessert will be served with the fondue. Here you can really experience a unique highlight in airy heights.
A pre-registration until 18.00 o’clock of the previous day is obligatory. The gondola ride lasts from 19.00 to 20.30.
Of Lights and Iffelen
From Iffelen and Klausjägern: Klausjagen in Küssnacht am Rigi
The main event of the Klausjagen starts at exactly 8.15 pm with the procession of the hunters and their Iffelen (artfully designed headdress). The Klausjagen is a grandiose celebration of thousand colors and lights.
The Klausjagen in Küssnacht am Rigi always takes place on 5 December. If December 5th falls on a Saturday or Sunday, however, the hunt takes place the Friday before.
“Old” New Year’s Eve: Silvesterkläuse in Urnäsch
The Silvesterkläuse in Urnäsch outside of Rhodes celebrate their “old” New Year’s Eve on 13 January. Long before dawn, the first Silvesterkläuse (men in robes and masks) set off. The later the morning, the more onlookers accompany them. Around 11.00 o’clock they come down into the valley to delight the inhabitants until the evening.
Winter Fun for Young and Old
Experiences in the snow
Pure Pleasure: Longest Toboggan Run in Europe
The longest toboggan run in Europe covers a total of 15 kilometres and 1600 metres in altitude. From the Faulhorn over the Bussalp to Grindelwald you can experience the pure tobogganing pleasure. The track called “Big Pintenfritz” is an absolute hit and offers a lot of fun. But you have to earn that pleasure first: the hike to the Faulhorn takes about 2.5 hours.
Learn to Ski in a Simple Way: Globis Winterland
Globis Winterland is the perfect place for families. The place is a flat and clearly arranged ski area. Here children can learn skiing in an easy way. The park is equipped with 2 ski lifts and 2 “magic carpet” lifts. Globis Winterland offers a wide range of activities for children. Besides the ski lifts, there is also a carousel and other attractions on the slopes.
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