Carnival in Switzerland? Isn’t Carnival more of a Brazilian/Caribbean tradition? We’re wondering the same thing but turns out, Switzerland has its own Carnival and it’s just as wild but in a quirky way.

It’s called the Basel Carnival and although its year of origin is remembered as being 1376, no-one can quite pick why it began.

Regardless, it’s a hit among locals, visitors and even UNESCO, which named it an Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2017.

The Carnival begins at 4.00am sharp on Monday after Ash Wednesday and runs until around mid-March (next year, it will begin 19-21 February to 11-13 March).

Before sun rises, the town switches off all the lights and the festival ignites with tradition flowing over the three days.

Unlike Carnivals in South and Central America as well as the Caribbean, the aim of the Basel Carnival is to perform in full-body costumes inspired by history.

Some 18,000 people are believed to dress up for the occasion with themed shirts, pants, and even masks also known as Larve, which are imperative to remain incognito – they’re only allowed to be taken off during official breaks from the parade.

For the little ones, the best day is Tuesday as the parade is more catered for families. Kids won’t be around those wearing the heavy masks during this time.

To get visitors involved, the new Basel Card provides every guest who stays in a Basel hotel, access to free WiFi and free transport plus a 50 percent reduction on public city tours, museums, boat trips and the hop on hop off bus.

Click here to find out more.

FUN FACT: Did you know that historians believe Basel is the birthplace of confetti?


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What’s your top tip in Switzerland?