Insider’s Guide: Our favourite summer events in the Lakes and Mountains

Lakes And Mountains Events

The Lakes and Mountains is brimming with festivals, celebrations and local customs, each with their own distinct personalities. We have the absolute privilege of inviting you, our Inghams guests, to take part in these festivities with us!

Here is a, by no means exhaustive, list of our favourite events:

Events in Austria

Events in France

Events in Germany

Events in Italy

Events in Slovenia

Events in Switzerland

 

Austria

Austria has one of the most diverse and interesting summer events programmes in the Alps, from classical music festivals in Salzburg to quirky food festivals and the iconic Almabtrieb. Austria continues to offer thrill after thrill from the end of spring to the beginning of autumn.

Vienna Festival, Vienna

Vienna

As befitting a city bursting at the seams with historical and cultural monuments Vienna has a rich and exciting cultural calendar. And the Vienna Festival is its definitive highlight.

The Vienna festival runs for 5-6 weeks every summer. Combining theatre, music, the visual arts and film, there are diverse range of performances and exhibitions to keep you fascinated throughout your stay.

Inghams recommends:

Right in the heart of Vienna and surrounded by some of its greatest architecture, the Hotel Kaiserhof is an imperial-style hotel and the perfect base for your adventures in the city. The most popular cultural sites, attractions, and of course the Vienna Festival are right on your doorstep.

Discover more about Vienna: here.

Almabtrieb

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The Almabtrieb is a grand Austrian tradition which heralds the end of summer when the cows must be returned from mountain pastures to the fields of the valley. Every September/October instead of lamenting the end of the season the farmer dresses the cattle in fantastic head dresses and parade the cows down the mountain.

The annual cow train is a popular event often accompanied with music, markets, local food and drink. Most mountain villages in Austria host their own Almabtrieb. At Inghams we’re particularly fond of the ones in Alpbach and Westerndorf.

Inghams recommends:

Welcoming the Brixental Almabtrieb – reputably the largest in Austria - through its village streets each year, Westerndorf is the ideal location from which to experience this unique mountain tradition.

The Sporthotel Jakobwirt is a pretty, family run hotel full of Austrian cham and character. A perfect place to stay on an Almabtried adventure!

Find out more about the Almabtrieb: here.

Salzburg Music Festival, Salzburg

Salzburg Festival

The UNESCO World Heritage city of Salzburg and the fabulous baroque architecture are the perfect setting for this festival. Salzburg was the birthplace of Mozart and this small city’s contribution to classical music is unparalleled. The Salzburg Music Festival is one of the premiere classical music festivals in the world.

Running from July through to August, The Salzburg Music Festival is overflowing with operatic and classical concert performances. This incredible programme of events attracts audiences and performers to this wonderful city from around the world.

Inghams recommends:

Slick, modern-style living while surrounded by history and culture in the heart of Salzburg - the Hotel NH Salzburg City brings you the best of both worlds. Only 5 minutes’ walk from the centre of the city and the famous Mirabelle Gardens, the very best attractions are remarkably close to this hotel.

Discover more about Salzburg: here.

Find out more about Austria: here.

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France

The lakes and mountains of the French Alps host some record breaking, iconic and unusual events that make any visit to this wonderful region absolutely thrilling. The mountain resorts of France are the home for exciting events all throughout the summer.

The Lake Festival, Lake Annecy

Annecy Lakefestival

The biggest pyrotechnic show in Europe, the Lake Festival in Annecy in presents 70 minutes of fireworks synchronized to music, lighting shows and special effects. On the spectacular shores of Annecy this event is guaranteed to knock your socks off!

Taking place in early August the festival truly brings this charming town to life. Away from the stunning firework display, the town buzzes with music and entertainment. If you’re on the lookout for the ultimate feel good summer event, then you needn’t look much further!

Inghams recommends:

You can’t put a foot wrong when choosing the Hotel Imperial Palace in Annecy. Originally opened in 1913, this grand hotel harks back to the art deco period and the birth of modern tourism.

With outstanding views of Lake Annecy, you can watch the fireworks from the comfort of your hotel. If you’d rather be in the thick of the action, then it is only a short walk to the town centre.

Discover more about Annecy: here.

Pass'Portes du Soleil, Morzine

Morzine Mtb

Kicking off the mountain biking season in the French Alps, Morzine hosts the Pass’Portes du Soleil at the start of every summer. This three-day participation event includes 7,000m of downhill mountain biking across the whole of the Portes du Soleil region, mixing incredible scenery with fantastic riding.

Another frequent visitor to the French Alps is the Tour de France. This iconic event moves around the resorts of the Alps but nevertheless guarantees some of the most challenging and exciting stages of the championships.

Inghams recommends:

You will surely fancy a dip in the pool after a long day mountain biking through the hills and the wonderful Hotel Le Cret has a large outdoor swimming pool, as well as two indoor swimming pools, Jacuzzi and Turkish bath. The fantastic outdoor terrace is perfect for those lazy summer afternoons!

Discover more about Morzine: here.

Cosmo Jazz Festival, Chamonix

Chamonix Cosmojazz

You’ll never experience another music festival like this one! Set high in the peaks above Chamonix this music festival makes the most of the natural acoustics provided by the rugged, wild landscape.

The surrounding slopes are a natural amphitheatre perfect for the live music performances. During the evening the festival descends to the town where bars and restaurants spill out onto the streets. Known as the ‘ChamJam’ further live music is performed throughout the evening.

Inghams recommends:

Kick back at the Hotel Excelsior for the ideal place to spend your summer holiday in Chamonix. This traditional and stylish hotel has fantastic facilities including a heated outdoor swimming pool, and spa not to mention the outstanding terrace with incredible views. It’s a great place to enjoy a glass of wine at the end of the day.

Discover more about Chamonix: here.

Find out more about France: here.

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Germany

The events and festivals of Germany celebrate tradition, history, the arts and much, much more. Mixed with Germany’s reputation for delicious, wholesome food and, of course, the fantastic beer, you can be assured of a fantastic summer when you visit.

Oktoberfest, Munich

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Thoughts of Germany will often conjure up images of the world famous Oktoberfest. This festival of beer has become iconic, and people travel far and wide to participate in this cheery event at the end of September.

Approximately 6.2 million visitors flood into Munich for the festival consuming a massive 6.7 million litres of beer! The first drinks are served at 12o’clock on the dot, when the Mayor taps the first barrel and declares ‘Wiesen’- the festival is officially open!

As well as the beer which is available in the huge brewery tents, there is heaps of traditional food to tuck into: sausages, pretzels, sauerkraut and more! Entertainment includes theme parks with white-knuckle rides, arcades and plenty of live music.

Inghams recommends:

Munich is incredibly easy to access on a day trip from our resorts. In Germany the Alpenhotel Fischer in Berchtesgaden is a delightful hotel. For the quickest journey to the festival, we recommend staying in Salzburg which is just 1hr30 from Munich by train. The Hotel Neutor is ideally located only 5 minutes from the old town.

The Long Night of the Lake Constance Gardens, Lake Constance

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Lake Constance is renowned for its spectacular and charming gardens such as the incredible garden island of Mainau. Through certain weeks in June and September the gardens remain open until late into the evening giving visitors the chance to see these special places in a whole new light.

Making the evening extra special, many of the gardens will host extra events including sound and art installations, cozy campfires and, of course, food and drink.

Inghams recommends:

The charming, family run Ganter Hotel Mohren dates all the way back to 1756. Uniquely located on the peninsula of Reichenau, its perfect for cycling, and with the boat harbour only a pleasant stroll away, it’s also ideal for exploring everything this lake has to offer.

Discover more about Lake Constance: here.

Find out more about Germany: here.

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Italy

Italy is full to the brim with cultural events of every variety. Historical pageants, glitzy and glamorous international film showings, food and drink, and grand artistic installations, we don’t want to sound like a cliché but there is literally something for everyone.

Bardolino Wine Festival, Bardolino

1 Bardolino Wine Festival

At the end of each summer the famous wine-making town of Bardolino in Lake Garda celebrates the new harvest of grapes. The grapes produced in this region contribute to the delicious red wines for which the area is famous.

Not just a showcase for the scrumptious local wines the festival also encompasses food stalls providing typical, homemade Italian food. Everything from risotto to different varieties of pasta and sauces are available, along with typical antipasti from the local farms and vineyards.

All this is accompanied by musical and a spectacular firework display over the lake, seeing the whole thing off with a bang!

Inghams recommends:

The Park Hotel Gritti, situated beside the shore of Lake Garda, has its very own outdoor swimming pool and sun terraces. Ideally located, the promenade (and location of the festival!) is only a stone’s throw away. The hotel also has great access to Bardolino’s outstanding, local restaurants and wine bars.

Discover more about Bardolino: here.

Sagra de San Giovanni, Lake Como

Sagra De San Giovanni

One of the oldest festivals in this region of Italy, the Sagra de San Giovanni is held on the last weekend of June and celebrates the vibrant heritage of Como. It’s a community spirited weekend of pageantry, folklore and art, with a taste of Renaissance Italy.

At night, hundreds of floating lamps are launched onto the surface of Lake Como accompanied by fireworks lighting up the night’s sky and surrounding mountains. When the sun surfaces in the morning, a parade of boats decorated with flowers emerges. The pageantry is followed by folk music, dancing, flag throwing competitions and, of course, plenty of delicious food and drink!

Inghams recommends:

With unbeatable views across Lake Como, the Grand Hotel Cadenabbia is spectacularly located right on the shore of the lake. There is also an outdoor swimming pool, a garden and a panoramic roof top terrace. Make the most of the outstanding views by watching the fireworks from this lovely hotel!

Discover more about Lake Como: here.

Arena Opera Festival, Verona

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Held in the stunning setting of the Roman Amphitheatre in Verona, the world famous Arena Opera festival is one of the most prestigious – not to mention spectacular, events in the operatic calendar.

Established in the 1930’s the programme includes regular interpretations of Verdi’s Aida and Puccini’s Madam Butterfly, amongst other iconic operas. However, it is the lavish stage production in the incredible open-air setting which attracts audiences year after year.

Inghams recommends:

You can purchase your Verona opera tickets directly from Inghams if you’re staying in Lake Garda (with transport included) or Verona. We recommend making a city break of your visit to Verona.

The Hotel Milano is situated in the historic heart of the city, ideal for museum and gallery hopping. It is a stylish and contemporary hotel, perfect for a short stay in the city.

Discover more about Verona: here.

Venice International Film Festival, Venice

Venice

Established in 1932, the Venice International Film Festival is one of the oldest and most prestigious film festivals in the world. Considered one of the ‘Big Three’, alongside Cannes and Berlin, the best film at the festival is awarded the revered Golden Lion award.

Taking place in late August through to early September the event is a huge draw for Hollywood A-listers, and the spirited event intoxicates the whole city. The festival is part of the famous Venice Biennale group of prestigious arts events which celebrate everything from contemporary dance to architecture all throughout the year.

Inghams recommends:

With its private courtyard restaurant and comfortable rooms, the Hotel Locanda la Corte is a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. All this with central Venice on your doorstep. St Mark’s Square is just a short walk away, making this the perfect base to explore this fabulous city on foot.

Discover more about Venice: here.

Find out more about Italy: here.

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Slovenia

Slovenia is rapidly becoming one of the hottest and most attractive holiday destinations for anyone who appreciates beautiful scenery, towering mountains, deep blue lakes, and trendy cities. The rich events calendar includes jazz festivals, firework displays, classical music and celebrations of nature.

Bohinj Wild Flower Festival, Bohinj

Lake Bohinj Edelweis

Since it was established in 2007, the Bohinj International Wild Flower Festival has truly blossomed into an enormous national event. Visitors travel far and wide to enjoy this week of folklore, music, dancing, food, workshops and, of course, the nature.

Our personal highlights include sampling the local homemade cheeses, a botanical excursion into the kingdom of bees, and a special culinary evening using wild flowers in the cooking! It’s a diverse event with something for everyone.

This is an excellent festival for children. Not only is it a lot of fun, it’s also hugely educational too.

Inghams recommends:

The Hotel Jezero is situated right by the shores of Lake Bohinj and next to the iconic stone bridge – a local landmark. It’s conveniently located, with great access to the north shore hiking trails. These lead up to some of the most spectacular walking routes in the region and the spectacular Slap Savica waterfall.

Discover more about Bohinj: here.

Ljubljana Jazz Festival, Ljubljana

Ales Frelih Zmajski Most Dr

Taking place at the end of June and beginning of July, this finger-clicking and toe-tapping festival is the high-point of Ljubljana’s eclectic cultural calendar. Originating as the Yugoslavian Jazz Festival in 1960, when Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia, the Ljubljana Jazz Festival is the oldest jazz celebration in Europe.

Following the end of World War II, jazz was ruled politically improper in many Eastern European countries. The return of jazz music in the 1950s was widely celebrated, resulting in the birth of this festival. Slovenia’s passion for jazz has remained ever since.

Inghams recommends:

The Hotel Slon is located right in the heart of the city, in the pedestrianised centre. It’s only a stone’s throw from all the wonderful sights of Ljubljana. The hotel is an ideal base for visiting the Jazz Festival. All the main venues are easily found in the immediate vicinity.

Discover more about Ljubljana: here.

Tartini Festival, Piran and Portoroz

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The Tartini Festival is an international music festival that takes place in the picturesque sea side towns of Piran and Portoroz on the Slovenian coast. The festival is dedicated to the Piran-born maestro Giuseppe Tartini. It’s a great showcase for his work and a perfect little festival for lovers of classical music.

Performances by various musicians of Tartini’s work take place across the town. The different venues include the Franciscan monastery, Tartini’s House, and the Venetian style St. George’s Church, which towers above the cobbled streets and tightly packed houses of Piran.

Inghams recommends:

The fabulous Hotel Tartini in Piran occupies a superb location in the centre of town with superb views across the pretty harbour. Better yet, the hotel has a lovely private terraces offering up panoramic views of the town, the harbour and the Adriatic coast.

Discover more about Piran: here.

Find out more about Slovenia: here.

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Switzerland

Switzerland may be small but it is also mighty! Playing host to a vast variety of cultural events throughout the year, Switzerland’s festivals have a prestigious reputation. Beyond the glitz and glamour of the world-renowned festivals, Switzerland is the perfect destination, with its stunning scenery it’s non-stop fun.

Montreux Jazz Festival

Montreux

A landmark event on the world’s Jazz calendar, the Montreux Jazz Festival runs for two weeks each summer on the beautiful shores of Lake Geneva. Established in the 1960s the festival has broadened from its jazz and blues roots to incorporate other genres. In the past it has attracted artists such as Nina Simone, Miles Davies, Lenorad Cohen and David Bowie.

The festival has a range of venues, from intimate jazz cafes to music in the park, which emphasise comfortable surroundings and quality music. The event is also an excellent opportunity to hear emerging artists. With associated foundations supporting musicians, the festival has a long history of encouraging new talent.

Inghams recommends:

In the heart of Montreux, the Suisse-Majestic Hotel is the perfect location from which to enjoy the Montreux Jazz Festival. The elegant and traditional hotel is a classic, offering fantastic Swiss hospitality and wonderful lake views in equal measure.

Discover more about Montreux: here.

Locarno International Film Festival

03 30 Locarno Film Festival

A Locarno tradition since 1946, the Piazza Grande, in the heart of the city, is given over to a huge outdoor screen. With room for 8,000 spectators, audiences flock to this central square to view the latest international films.

While it may not have the glitz and the glamour of Cannes, stars such as Anthony Hopkins, Quentin Tarantino, Sir Christopher Lee, Harrison Ford, and Faye Dunaway have all been spotted strolling the streets of Locarno during the festivities.

Awards, such as the Golden Leopard, are handed to the best films seen at the festival and the audience even have an opportunity to vote for their favourite. With its balmy Mediterranean climate, Locarno is simply the best location for an open air film-screening!

Inghams recommends:

Locarno offers stunning views across Lake Maggiore. Take them all in from the Hotel Belvedere, an attractive, modern hotel that offers first-class facilities and excellent cuisine. It is the ideal place to stay when you visit the Locarno Film Festival.

Discover more about Locarno: here.

Lucerne Music Festival

Lucerne

Taking place in August and September, the Lucerne Music Festival is a collaboration of classical music by artists from across the globe. Bringing together world-class orchestras, legendary conductors and maestro soloists, some 110,000 visitors descend on the shores of Lucerne for this spectacular three-part festival.

This summer event forms a trilogy of festivals with sister event the Easter Festival (in spring) and the Piano Festival (in the autumn). Yet it is Summer Festival, with frequent performance from the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and the Lucerne Festival Academy that are by far the most popular.

The event has huge international prestige. We highly recommend taking the opportunity to visit this festival during your summer holiday to Switzerland.

Inghams recommends:

Nestled in the Swiss Alps and occupying a stunning position on the banks of Lake Lucerne, this colourful and charismatic city is small enough to be explored on foot, yet large and diverse enough to keep you occupied for days on end.

Set in a quiet location away from the hustle and bustle of the main town, the Hotel Continental Park is the perfect place from which to explore this fantastic city.

Discover more about Lucerne: here.

Find out more about Switzerland: here.

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