The largest Santa parade in Switzerland
Experience regional Alpine folklore in Central Switzerland, with the impressive parade of Saint Nicholas (the Swiss version of Santa) one of the largest and loudest Santa parades in Europe. Reach this pretty town by boat on a return journey from Lucerne and enjoy a savory cheese fondue while aboard.
This celebration consists of a procession of around 200 men wearing illuminated head dresses, known as Iffele and they walk through a town by Lake Lucerne as up to 20,000 spectators look on. The whole town is in a festive mood with fairy lights and all the Christmas decorations glowing.
What to Expect
This tour will take you through the heart of the Swiss Alps, opening you up to many unique photography opportunities. Lead by our photography mentor who is one of the finest travel photographers in the country, this tour will also feature unparalleled local knowledge offered by our Guide/Photographer – Luis Medina, who understand Switzerland like no one else does.
What we found unique about the Swiss Festivals however is how eclectic they are. Close your eyes, and mix this in with the beautiful mountain surroundings of the Alps. Open your eyes now and let the colours and sights of this mesmerizing festival in, which will remain lingering on for a lifetime!
Begin your swiss adventure with an evening cruise on Lake Lucerne towards the Saint Nicholas Festival. We will board at 17:50 and depart at 18:30 to enjoy our “all you can eat” cheese fondue experience, just the perfect warm up before arriving at 19:30 at our destination to get ready for the festivities.
At eight o’clock, over a thousand people gather in the village on the shores of Lake Lucerne. Each wears a white herdsman’s shirt. At 20.15, a small cannon is fired and the street lights go out all over the town. The “Geislechlepfer” crack their whips and lead the procession. Behind them dance the “Iffele”, a candlelit Gothic-shaped lantern carried on heads and shoulders. The “Iffele” are made of board and paper and look like church windows. The builders are free to use their imagination the way they want and create different colourful religious motives, and the size can also vary from half a metre to over two metres.
The streets echo with the ringing of heavy bells, carried by hand by strong men; the sound of horns and above all, by beautiful rhythms of the brass music. Between the lantern-bearers and the musicians appears the majestic and dignified bishop Saint Nicholas, who is accompanied by his “Schmutzlis”, black-clothed chimney sweeps representing the darker side of life, and followed by approximately 700 “Klausjäger”, men dressed in white traditional farmer shirts. About 200 horn players make up the last formation of the parade.
We will have plenty of photography opportunities during the festival. I will ensure you get back with beautiful images back home and also i will be more than happy to take some pictures of you and your group at the Festival.
Get ready to travel back at 21:45 and arriving at 22:50 in Lucerne.
And while other trips might say they are offering once in a life time experience, it is true of this tour. Alpine festivals in Switzerland are relatively unknown, and you will be amazed of the wide range of customs which will give you a better understanding of the Swiss as a whole nation.
So don’t miss this incredible opportunity and join us this Winter on an enthralling experience in the festive atmosphere of the Saint Nicholas Procession. Take the photographs you can’t anywhere else, and tell the story with outstanding images of the magic and mystery of the Swiss Alps through its people and traditions.
– Experience and Photograph the Saint Nicholas festival the biggest procession in Europe of its kind.
– Full Escorted private tour from Lucerne.
– Tour Accompanied by a professional travel photographer to show you how to take better pictures.
– Enjoy the Swiss Folk: Huge bells players, LanBrass band and the “Ifele”candlelit Gothic-shaped lantern.
– Fondue boat trip “all you can eat” (not included)
– This tour can be tailor to your interests and for instance combine it with a Lucerne city tour and its highlights. Landscape and cultural sightseeing blend easily in Switzerland!!!
– Boat ride from and back to Lucerne ( not included )
– Five hour full escorted tour from Lucerne.
– Photo shooting on location.
– Professional travel photographer.
– Photography assistance and tips to take better photographs.
– 30 images post processed from the tour to be downloaded.
– Private on-line gallery with the festival images.
– Food and beverages
– Private expenses
– Travel insurance
– Gratuities (optional)
– Photography equipment
– Transportation to the festival ( boat round trip and cheese fondue on board “all you can eat” total cost per person: Adults CHF 60; Children (6-16) CHF 16)
– Swiss Travel Pass holders get a 50% discount in travel all costs.
CHF 560 (up to 8 persons)
Our pricing is per Tour NOT per person so if there are 3 or more in your group, you’ll probably pay less than if you took a big tour.
Book your excursion here or contact us directly to +41 76 2618641
Landscape and cultural sightseeing blend easily in Switzerland – In our tour extention, you will have the chance to combine your festival experience with a Lucerne city tour. Come and join us in a full day tour plenty of long lasting experiences and photography opportunities.
Two hour Lucerne city tour: CHF 200
Departure time and meeting point:
– At the “Torbogen” Big arch monument in front of the train station
– We will meet at 17:40
– This Tour takes place only on December 5th every year
– Contact us to verify the departure date. The Festival dates can change every year.