Call it Easter or spring, but celebrate: it’s a Swiss long holiday weekend!

Weather outlook for 29 March-1 April: some are calling it an April Fool’s joke

Don’t forget to change your clocks

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Hat’s off to Swiss snowplows, for keeping the roads clean, usually by 06:00! They were out early Friday 29 March, at 1,100 metres, in Valais.

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – First, the weather, mostly lousy, with occasional sunshine and unseasonably low temperatures. Throughout Switzerland, from Friday 29 March to Monday 1 April, the weather forecast is for rain or snow every day, mixed with some sun, highs of 6-8C in Geneva and 5-7C in Zurich, with mountain resort Crans-Montana temperatures reaching highs of 2-3C.

Monday will be colder and dryer in the mountains, with some sun, hazy but drier and slightly warmer on the plains.

MeteoSwiss gives you your local forecast if you type a location into their site. Note that detailed forecasts are in French, German and Italian only.

It snowed in western Alpine regions Thursday night, adding a fresh layer of 10-25cm in some areas, less than 10cm in others (see snow map). Snow depth in most resorts is remarkably good for the end of March.

The avalanche risk is currently at 3/5, “considerable” on much of the north side of the Alps, and 2/5, “moderate” to the south. Be sure to check the national avalanche research centre’s daily bulletin before heading off-piste, as we move into the more dangerous spring season.

The Jura resorts continue to be a good, close option for skiers in the Lake Geneva region, with 2-5cm fresh snow Friday morning and additional pistes open Friday (Les Crozets). Cloudy, but with luck the partly sunny forecast will mean at least up on top you’ll rise above the clouds; fingers crossed.

Where to go and what to do for the holidays, in the Lake Geneva region

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2012 tulips in Morges

The GenevaLunch.com events pages will give you some ideas – how about a two-day Irish fiddle workshop, Saturday and Sunday, south of Annecy?  There are plenty of special offers for the weekend, starting with the CGN’s Lake Geneva special Easter dinner boat cruise.

Nyon’s tradition of decorating the town’s fountains during Easter week gives you reason enough to walk around this town, one of the most interesting and beautiful in the area, with its Roman ruins and museum, and hilltop views of the lakeside. There are plenty of good cafés to warm your hands if the chilly air gets to you. If you haven’t driven then lately, you will be surprised by the new, large Migros centre that’s opened on the site of the old small garden and DYI Migros next to McDonald’s, on the way into town from the autoroute.

Morges has a sense of humour, perhaps rubbed off by its role as host of a laughter festival later in the year, but it is holding its lunch in Independence Park 1 April and calling the lack of tulips for the start of the tulip festival a bit of an April Fool’s joke! Winter is hanging around so long this year that the six week tulip show with more than 120,000 plants, is running late and blooms are delayed.

The town has a great lineup of events in the park this year, for the tulip festival. Give it time, follow the blooming news on Morge’s Facebook page, and you’ll seen one of the most beautiful flower shows around, soon enough.

Take time out to plan ahead, wine and music

arvinis_poster_2013_smaffiche-paleo-2013The Arvinis wine fair is coming up in three weeks. GL.com editor Ellen Wallace is presenting an hour-long “Introduction to wine-tasting” at 18:30 Friday 19 April to prepare you for the daunting but fun task of sampling some of the wines from 150 wine producers! Sign up early to make sure you and your friends have places. It’s French-speaking Switzerland’s largest wine event and it kicks off the wine-tasting events season, with canton’s wine days following during the spring, and the big Swiss Vinea outdoor wine fair in early September, just before the harvest.

Programmes and ticket information are starting to flow in for the summer music season, one of the best reasons to stay around the area when the weather finally warms up.

Here’s some of the latest information in (festivals in alphbetical order rather than by date), and we’ll post more as it arrives, including Geneva and Zurich’s big summer city festivals:

  • Caribana, 5-9 June, Crans, near Nyon: the programme is out, with a wonderfully varied lineup for this family-centred festival featuring rock, pop, rap and reggae. The Kills will open the festival, making their only appearance in Switzerland this year, Tinie Tempah’s huge popularity gets its first test in Switzerland, and also on the programme: Brit band Kill it Kid, rising Geneva stars The Animen, and Irish band The Coronas
  • Frauenfeld open air, 12-14 July: this is Switzerland’s largest capacity (50,000) outdoor music festival and is billed as Europe’s biggest hip-hop event;  headliners A Tribe Called Quest and Seeed have been announced, but not the rest of the programme; site in German only and be sure to consider the CFF rail company’s reduced train fare + festival ticket deal
  • Montreux Jazz Festival, 5-20 July: the programme comes out 18 April; meanwhile check out the delightful 2013 poster
  • Paleo, 23-29 July, Nyon, six nights of sold-out tickets makes it Switzerland’s biggest outdoor music festival: programme to be unveiled 16 April and tickets go on sale (and sell out very fast) 24 April: be prepared!
  • Rock Oz’Arènes, Avenches, 14-17 August – programme to be unveiled 4 April, so keep an eye on this small (8,000 capacity) but lively festival
  • St-Prex Classics, 20 August-1 September, details to follow for this small but beautiful young event in one of the prettiest lakeside villages on the shores of Lake Geneva
  • Verbier Festival, 19 July-4 August, tickets now on sale online, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and the mainly classics programme is as rich as it is varied; the festival was set up at the same time as the Verbier Festival Academy, which if renowned for bringing in and training each year 50 top musical talents from conservatories around the world.