Major events

Evening open-air cinema in the Piazza Grande in Locarno with thousands of spectators.
The international Locarno Film Festival shows films d'auteur and holds its own among the world's top film festivals. © Festival del film Locarno

Hundreds of major cultural, sporting and business events are held throughout the year in Switzerland. Some of them enjoy international appeal, while others are geared towards a domestic audience.

Hundreds of events and festivals take place in Switzerland every year. There are major international private-sector events such as the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos and the watch fairs in Basel and Geneva. The world of sport is also represented, with the Lauberhorn Ski World Cup race, the Omega European Master golf tournament and the Weltklasse Zürich athletics meeting. And then there's Art Basel, a globally renowned art fair. 

Festivals abound in Switzerland. The density of music festivals in particular is nowhere else to be found. They range from classical music, with the Lucerne Festival, to jazz, with the Montreux Jazz Festival, flanked by a plethora of rock and pop festivals. Paléo Festival Nyon is one of Europe's largest open-air music festivals. But there is also an array of theatre, dance and film festivals reputed around the world, such as the Locarno film festival.

And about once every 25 years, Switzerland showcases its multifaceted identity in a national exhibition. The last one, in 2002, was spread over four sites around Lakes Neuchâtel, Biel and Murten.

Major events – facts and figures

What is there to see in the Piazza Grande of Locarno? Where did Nelson Mandela first speak with the then president of South Africa?


The World Economic Forum in Davos, Art Basel and the Weltklasse Zürich athletics meeting are among the best-known Swiss events.


Switzerland loves its festivals, and puts on more festivals than any other country.

National exhibitions

An exhibition every 25 years: Expo.02 took place on four 'Arteplages' sites in the Three Lakes Region in 2002. Expo 2030's themes are still up in the air.