AUSTRIA ‘Le Grand Bal’ at the Hofburg Imperial Palace on New Year’s Eve and Vienna’s Glorious Ball season – dazzling dances in a blizzard of snow elegance and music especially Vienna‘s New Year’s Day Concert

With variety in a small space, Switzerland can be explained culturally and geographically: In little Switzerland, four national languages are spoken in addition to numerous dialects. There is also a distinction between the culture in the mountains and the culture on the central plateau, while

ITALY Ivrea Carnival Storico Carnevale di Ivrea Piedmont district of Turin another colourful carnival but with a different ending as the whole town partakes in a monstrous orange fight Battle of the Oranges Wear a tall, red hat if you don’t wish to participate or was it don’t wear a tall

SCOTLAND Up Helly Aa Europes largest fire festival a spectacular community tradition celebrating their rich Viking heritage annually held in Lerwick, Shetland. Costume marches torchlight parades burning a viking boat and the parties go on and on long after the last flames fade away

ENGLAND, Cambridgeshire, Mill Hill Field near Huntington, Secret Garden Party an arty independent music-art festival where visitors walk around in fancy dress. The event has a theme each year and develops into a temporary community, featuring several music stages, theatre shows, films, games, talks, workshops and

"Over 200 types of vine are grown in Switzerland and of these no fewer than 40 are ancient, indigenous rarities, which are found barely anywhere else in the world. Anyone who wishes to enjoy these fine wines cannot avoid visiting Switzerland as only 1 –

The term Alp cheese is protected and may only be used for cheeses that are made in summer on the Alpine farms. The cows graze freely on the mountains and seek out their own food on the rich, lush Alpine pastures. Their summer home in

  There are a number of local groups devoted to LAndler music, one of the most well-known types of Swiss folk music. Most of the players are amateurs whose reputations are mainly limited to their own region.

Even before the start of the summer, the herdsmen and women dressed in traditional costumes move the elaborately decorated animals up from the valley farms while being admired by many onlookers and folklore fans. The cattle are driven back down into the valleys in the

In earlier times, a trial of strength between the herdsmen and farmers at Alpine festivals, flag waving is now a professional sport with strict rules and with champions who are renowned throughout the land.

As early as 1785 there were about 20,000 people employed in the watchmaking industry, which was producing around 85,000 watches a year. They also prodiced music boxes and highly specialised mechanical toys.


Johanna Spyri is, without doubt, the best-known Swiss author ever. She grew up in the countryside, lived in the city, and then fled into the mountains. Her life story reminds some people of her most successful fictional character, "Heidi". In this book, she is

Locarno – Verzasca Valley This is a real adventure package. Combine this trip to Locarno with an adrenaline kick of your lifetime. Enjoy Locarno
with its 2,300 hours of sunshine per year and a church established after an appearance of the Virgin Mary. The town

La Grande Parade de Paris is a joyous multi-national New Year celebration in the historic heart of the city that melts the hearts of millions.

SWITZERLAND, Paleo Festival Nyon – the biggest open-air festival in Switzerland and one of Europe’s fast growing, very popular outdoor music events.

Especially in the canton of Bern, the end of the summer grazing season is celebrated with what is known as the "ChAsteilet". At the end of September, the Alp cheeses are divided among the owners of the cows. Since not all cheeses are of equal

If you tend to forget the words when you are singing, you should try natural yodeling as this original form of yodeling is done without words. It was only in the 19th century that yodel choirs were formed that sang the yodeling songs with lyrics.

The completion of the Alpine summer is widely celebrated with a carnival (Alplerchilbi) - a centuries-old tradition that brings together the farmers after a rich Alpine summer to give thanks to God for the gifts received and then to enjoy a time of eating, music

Today, 95 percent of Swiss watches are destined for export and the watch industry is a key export industry. The textile crafts industry also has an eventful past. A few areas, thanks to advanced technology, have enjoyed worldwide attention in haute couture, and the once

Especially at home in the regions of Emmental, Bern, Solothurn and Aargau, Hornussen, along with Schwingen and stone throwing, is regarded a typical Swiss national sport.

In earlier times the Alpine herdsmen and farmers would show off their strength in bouts of wrestling at festivals. Now the sport has become professional with fixed rules and with a national competition where the country’s wrestling king is crowned.

Since the 15th century, people living north of the Alps have been using rennet – a substance from the stomach of a cow – to make hard cheeses. This hard cheese was greatly appreciated because it was much more durable than the cottage cheese that

SPAIN, San Anton Festival in the village of Canillas de Albaida – a typical rural Andalusian fiesta for their patron saint San Anton, with lots of horses, music, dance and a parade.

SWEDEN Kiruna Snow Festival Its all white in the snowy north as reindeers race dog sleds drift and artists sculpt ice into fantasy forms. Kiruna is Swedens northmost city and 145 km north of the Arctic Circle

ITALY Venice Festa del Redentore the Festival of the Redeemer celebrating the end of the plague involves hundreds of beautifully decorated and illuminated boats full of beautifully decorated Venetians that gather around sunset have dinner on board or beside the Giudecca canal then watch one of Europe’s best fireworks

Alpine pastures are mainly located above the tree line and are only used during the summer months. Without this Alpine farming, it would have been hardly possible for there to have been any significant Alpine settlement from Neolithic times up until the economic upheavals of

Locarno – Verzasca Valley This is a real adventure package. Combine this trip to Locarno with an adrenaline kick of your lifetime. Enjoy Locarno
with its 2,300 hours of sunshine per year and a church established after an appearance of the Virgin Mary. The town

AUSTRIA Salzburg Festival opera and concerts. Europe’s most prestigious summer musical event. Very large very expensive. Held every year in Mozarts pretty home town of Salzburg.

Locarno – Verzasca Valley This is a real adventure package. Combine this trip to Locarno with an adrenaline kick of your lifetime. Enjoy Locarno
with its 2,300 hours of sunshine per year and a church established after an appearance of the Virgin Mary. The town

The herdsmen and women on the Alps in the summer are mainly responsible for looking after the cattle belonging to the farmers. Their job is to drive the cattle to pasture, milk them twice a day and make cheese. At the end of September, the

ITALY Carnival of Venice colourful, fascinating funny and a superbly costumed environment in spectacular St Mark’s Square and the misty, magical streets around. For the full flavour buy a mask rent a costume and go to a palazzo ball the best is the Doge’s Ball. 

The alphorn is regarded as a typically Swiss instrument. The warm sounds of this original instrument are far-reaching - which is probably the reason it was once used by shepherds to communicate.

Whilst Switzerland may have enjoyed better times as a textile country, a third of the haute couture shown on the world's catwalks is still made from Swiss fabrics.

The festivals celebrated in Switzerland differ considerably depending on the season and the region. Some are based on ancient traditions while others have emerged only recently. Many of them reflect the course of the agricultural year, such as the ringing in of the vineyard workers

"Swiss cuisine combines influences from the German, French and North Italian cuisine. However, it varies greatly from region to region with the language divisions constituting a rough boundary outline. Mind you, many dishes have crossed the local borders and become firm favourites throughout Switzerland. These