Nestled among the summer festivals is Swiss National Day on August 1, celebrating the date seven centuries ago when the regions of the area took an oath of allegiance. This foundation of modern-day Switzerland is celebrated vehemently every year, and each region marks the occasion in its own manner, usually with fireworks, bonfires, lavish parades, floats, and music. It is one time you might see the Swiss really letting loose.

Switzerland’s business ethic is offset every summer by a range of festivals. At the forefront is the Montreux Jazz Festival, which pulls in diverse artists from around the world. Set on the waterfront of Lake Geneva, this monthlong festival burgeons every year thanks to its delightful ambience, variety of music, and free entry to all but a few concerts. Lucerne’s Blue Balls Festival draws legends of rock and pop. And for one day, Zurich is transformed into a musical heaven during its famous annual street parade.