Festivals in Geneva

Geneva plays host to numerous festivals throughout the year, with a range of events: historical commemorations, music festivals, sailing regattas and more...

Examples of some of the principle events in the annual calendar are included below:

Bol d'Or Mirabaud

Boating festival that usually takes place in the middle of June on a Saturday morning. It is the biggest regatta for sailing boats on a lake. There can be up to 600 participants, either professional or amateur, who sail to the far side of Lake Geneva and back.

Geneva Fête de la Musique

Annual music festival taking place throughout Switzerland for three days in June. Geneva becomes a musical stage with hundreds of concerts of all types performed in the streets all over the canton. Concerts are free of charge.

  • Information on the website (in French)

Montreux Jazz Festival

This event takes place over a two-week period during the summer. It attracts thousands of jazz lovers every year. Founded in 1967, the Montreux Jazz Festival has established itself as one of the most prestigious annual music events in the world. Apart from the main concerts the festival also features a number of free concerts.

Paleo Festival

This festival, established in 1976, was originally a folk festival but now features pop and rock groups, and is one of Europe's biggest open air music events. The festival takes place at l'Asse in July, a ten-hectare meadowland site to the north of the town of Nyon.

Bâtie Festival

This festival takes place over a two week period during September in a country park. It includes concerts, theatre and dance performances.

  • Information on the website (in French)

Swiss National Day

This nationwide celebration takes place on 1 August and features patriotic speeches by local personalities, paper lantern parades and firework displays. In Geneva the festivities take place in the Parc des Bastions, but most of the communes and villages surrounding Geneva have their own fêtes with fireworks and bonfires.


One of the most important events in Geneva's history is l'Escalade, which literally means the scaling of the wall. For the people of Geneva, this is the symbol of independence and commemorates the series of assaults on Geneva by the Savoyards in the 16th century. The Savoyards wanted to annex Geneva as the capital North of the Alps. The last assault, which took place on the night of 11 and 12 December 1602, is celebrated in the Old Town every year. People dress up in period costume and take to the streets. There are numerous demonstrations of militia and horse parades. Children earn extra pocket money by singing the commemorative song in restaurants and at people's homes.