Lonely Planet Writer

There’s still time to get tickets to the party of the decade in Switzerland

It’s not quite the opportunity of a lifetime but it might be the event of the decade; a ten-day festival called Badenfahrt is taking place 18-27 August and you can still get tickets.

An elaborate food tent at the 2007 Badenfahrt. Image by Alex Spichale
An elaborate food tent at the 2007 Badenfahrt. Image by Alex Spichale

The action takes place in the normally sleepy town of Baden, just a 40-minute-drive from Zurich. Normally tourists visit for the health resorts dotted around the town, but once every ten years the town throws a huge party that lasts for ten full days, attracting nearly one million visitors.

This year, revellers can expect giant art installations, music stages representing all genres, carnival attractions, fireworks and hundreds of elaborate tents where visitors can stuff themselves with beer and sausage all day and all night. In the middle of the ten years, there is often a ‘small Badenfahrt’ but it’s this year’s party that will really draw the crowds.

The theme this year will be ‘Versus’ and plenty of the art exhibitions and shows will have a theme of contrasts; including, of course, the festival itself. There will also be a play taking people through 4000 years of Baden history, from the Romans to modern day.

The festivities are all day and all night. Image by Badenfahrt
The festivities are all day and all night. Image by Badenfahrt

Music is expected to pump through the streets until dawn while the festival is on but similar to New Orleans’ Mardi Gras party, when midnight hits on the tenth day of celebrations, the town immediately gets to work on cleaning up the streets.

Badenfahrt is such a uniquely Swiss event, it even made the Unesco list for Intangible Cultural Heritage. If you’d like to experience it for yourself, the ticket prices are very reasonable. Tickets are on sale from 1 August for 15 francs (€13.50) or a full ten-day pass for 45 francs (€40).