At the foot of mountains Pilatus and Rigi, Lucerne's stunning scenery provides an idyllic backdrop for its roster of open-air festivals. With events held in all weathers, celebrating everything from sports to cinema, there's never a bad time to arrive in this Swiss city.
Lozärner Määs: Herbstmesse
Translating as 'autumn fair', Herbstmesse 2018 will run from October 6 to 21. Wooden stalls selling heart-shaped cookies, handicrafts and stuffed animals line the streets, while carnival rides and games take over Inseli Park, almost directly outside our Radisson Blu Hotel, Lucerne. Most stalls will stay open late into the evening, so arrive after dark to see the big wheel and carousel enchantingly illuminated.
Swiss City Marathon
Every last Sunday of October, Lucerne plays host to the SwissCityMarathon. The route starts and ends at the Swiss Museum of Transport, running along Lake Lucerne and the Horwer Peninsula before looping back. Other events on the same day include the Maratholino, a 195m dash for children aged 4-6; a five-mile run; and the annual charity run, which this year will benefit SOS Children's Villages, a charity providing practical support for children and their families in over 130 countries. If you’re up for it, you can still register online to participate in any of the day's events and see some of the city's finest sights all in one, admittedly slightly exhausting, day.
LiFF: Lucerne International Film Festival
From November 14 to 16, the Museum of Transport will once again hold the city's attention, albeit with a very different event. The LiFF focuses on independent filmmaking, showing films that you're unlikely to see in commercial cinemas, but are equally worthy of your attention. Last year's lineup covered feature films, short films, documentaries and even music videos, with winning entries including Rwanda-17, a documentary exploring the country's recovery from genocide and civil war through the tale of teenage footballers qualifying for the under-17 soccer World Cup.
Lucerne Blues Festival
One of the top blues festivals in all of Europe, this year's event is set to run from November 10-18 at the Grand Casino Lucerne. Now in its 24th year, this musician-centered Blues festival attracts top-quality bands and soloists from around the world. Along with some well known artists such as Curtis Salgado or Janiva Magness, who in previous years have already caused a sensation in Lucerne, there are also new faces like Reverend Sekou, Annie Mack, Johnny Tucker or Barrence Whitefield, who will excite the audience most certainly.
Lucerne's Carnival holds no fewer than three parades over a week-long period that concludes on Fat Tuesday. Costumed characters take over the streets from the night before Shrove Thursday, when a ceremonial tree called the Guuggerbaum is erected in Kornmarkt. In nearby Kriens, the festival celebrations have their own traditions, most notably the beautifully hand-carved masks worn by revelers. Some depict standard characters, like the washerwoman, old man and herbsman, while others, the so-called fright masks, have prominent brows and bared teeth to scare away winter.
Comics illustrators from around the world flock to attend Fumetto, Lucerne’s annual comics festival, acompetition to give comic creators the opportunity to compare their work, present it to a broader public and to exchange views with others.The event is the largest of its kind, attracting over 50,000 visitors annually. The theme for 2019 Competition will be about "bike". Mark your calendar for the festival's 25th anniversary edition, scheduled to take place April 6-14, 2019.