1 August on Lake Maggiore

Ideas for celebrating on Lake Maggiore

Switzerland celebrates! If you still have doubts about what to do on 1 August, try a trip south and find out how to celebrate National Day in perfect Ticino style. From traditional farm brunches to picnics on the meadow to dancing fountains - Ascona-Locarno suggests some ideas for a successful celebration.

How to spend 1 August: ideas for celebrating on Lake Maggiore

How to spend 1 August at Lake Maggiore

The entire Confederation celebrates 1 August - after all, it is National Day. So, what is so special about celebrating it on Lake Maggiore? Flags flying in the gardens, on the balconies, in the windows and along the streets, fireworks, bangers, sparklers and fountains are traditions shared by all the cantons, as is watching the speech given by the president of the Confederation on television, or listening to it on the radio, and the bells that ring in the party at exactly 8 pm across Switzerland. But other traditions are unique, so, if you’ve never celebrated 1 August in the Lake Maggiore region or its valleys, here are some ideas for celebrating National Day in Ascona-Locarno.

Dancing fountains on the lakeside

The celebrations in Ascona include live music, entertainment and two dancing fountain shows in Piazzale Torre, at 8.45 and 11 p.m. A light and colour show to celebrate Switzerland together.

Community celebrations and bonfires

In the valleys, the lights go out to make way for the lighting of extraordinary bonfires that are a reminder of the expulsion of foreign bailiffs in the 14th century. Legend has it the fires also served to frighten off the barbarians who had already tried to attack the Helvetians, and who fled in fear from the reflections of the bonfires on the lake, convinced it was a sign that the end of the world was approaching. Therefore, the tradition of bonfires has long been widespread, but from the first National Day it assumed even greater importance and significance. In Vallemaggia the bonfires are lit in the riverbed and accompanied by outdoor celebrations and barbecues. Community celebrations in the valleys are characterised by a convivial and friendly atmosphere, music, folklore and typical local products. There’s plenty of polenta, competitions for the whole family and gastronomic festivals. 1 August brings everyone together.

Brunch on the farm

The region’s farms open their doors to welcome you for a traditional brunch, one of the nicest ways for families to celebrate National Day. With so many places to try, finding the ideal spot is easy: brunch in the region’s mountains for passionate hikers or brunch on the farm among cows, horses and goats, much to the delight of children. Whatever the case, the main feature of these celebrations is a delicious meal prepared by hand with love and typical local products. The kids can learn to socialise with the farm animals while you enjoy the tractor display. Come and see how we celebrate being Swiss!

Grill at the grotto

Grilling is a typical summer and 1 August tradition, but it needs a lot of preparation and a suitable place. If you want to enjoy some juicy grilled ribs without too much organisation, the grotto is the right place for you. Enjoy your barbecue without stress and with a nice glass of Merlot del Ticino. Cheers!

Boat tours on the lake

A boat tour on Lake Maggiore is a great idea for celebrating 1 August, especially for families. It's a fun and exciting way to admire the region's landscapes, accompanied by the lapping of the water and the breeze blowing across the lake. What's more, each port has something to discover and is a good starting point for exploring the area on foot. The moorings of San Nazzaro, Locarno, Ascona and Porto Ronco are full of character, but don't forget to stop at the Brissago Islands: These two pretty islands in Lake Maggiore are home to plants that cannot be found anywhere else in Switzerland. It is not for nothing that they are home to the only botanical garden on an island in Switzerland.

Hiking with a typical Swiss picnic

Whether with family, friends or your better half, a walk in the mountains is always a good idea in good weather. Prepare an impeccable Swiss picnic for the occasion: dried meat, Ticino sausage, cervelat, alpine cheese, Gazzosa (typical Ticino soda) and Ovomaltine bars are a must. The vegetarian alternative? Crispy bread with grilled seasonal vegetables, potato salad, tomatoes, dried fruit and a nice fruit salad. And don't forget the Swiss flags!

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