Lonely Planet Writer

A legendary wine festival takes place only once every 20 years – and it's happening this summer

A legendary wine festival that comes about just once every 20 years or so is taking place this summer.

Travel News - Fête des Vignerons
The historic Fête des Vignerons is taking place this summer. Image by Getty

Fête des Vignerons is a mammoth three-week wine festival that takes place in the Swiss town of Vevey, kicking off on 20 July and running until 11 August. It's a huge spectacle that will be hosted in a purpose-built stadium on the Place du Marché, seating some 20,000 spectators with a stage as big as an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

Over the course of three weeks, those lucky enough to bag a ticket to Fête des Vignerons will be treated to music, dancers, dramas, a parade and plenty of wine with the added bonus of Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps as a festival backdrop.

Travel News - Fête des Vignerons
The purpose-built stadium for Fête des Vignerons celebrations. Image by Fête des Vignerons

The fact that the festival is taking place this summer is the reason why Vevey was named as one of our best destinations in Europe for 2019. Fête des Vignerons is one of the biggest and oldest festivals in the world, dating back to 1797 and growing bigger in size and spectacle since.

Gaps between celebrations vary between 20 and 25 years, with the date decided by council members of the Confrérie des Vignerons, the organisation who oversees the festival. In 2016 Fête des Vignerons was even recognised by Unesco on its intangible cultural heritage list as a "living tradition."

Travel News - Fête des Vignerons
Vineyards and lakeside houses in the Lavaux region. Image by Shutterstock

Celebrations will spill out to the town, which will be overtaken with live music, pop-up restaurants and open wine cellars. When you've soaked up all wine-related celebrations, you can pop in to Blaise Poyet’s Läderach chocolate shop, the Swiss Museum of Games and the Charlie Chaplin museum, located on the site of his former home which overlooks the World Heritage–listed vineyards of Lavaux.

Demand for the festival will be high, it only comes around once every 20 years after all. Hotels in Vevey are expected to sell out fast. If you can't find accommodation there, Montreux is just on the doorstep, Geneva is an hour away, Lausanne is just 15 minutes and the Rhône valley's Sion is 50 minutes away.

There are five ticket categories, with prices ranging from CHF 79 (£63/$79) to CHF 299 (£238/$299). Tickets can be purchased here.