On the chestnut trail: Autumn festivals


Whether you plan to spend your autumn weekends tucked under the duvet with a good book or exchanging the cloudy lowlands for the sunny Alps, be sure to visit one of Switzerland’s enchanting chestnut festivals, says Emily Mawson.

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Castagnata, Tenero, Canton Ticino

SPOT MAGAZINE LOVES …

… The tradition behind any Ticinese Castagnata (chestnut festival). Chestnuts have been a staple food in Canton Ticino for centuries – and to honour the tradition, Castagnata take place throughout the region in October and November. One of the loveliest is that of Tenero, a quaint town 1.5 kilometres east of Locarno on Lake Maggiore. Cauldrons roasting chestnuts line the main square, filling the air with a delectable scent.

WHERE TO STAY :

Garni Dolcevita

This basic hotel high above Locarno offers unexpected luxury on a budget. Half its rooms boast balconies with lake views, while the rest offer up panoramas of the mountains. Prices from CHF 55 per person in a double room www.garnidolcevita.ch

MAKE IT HAPPEN:  

Castagnata, Tenero (www.ascona-locarno.com); 20 October 2013; connecting trains from Locarno every 15 minutes (www.sbb.ch)

 

Chestene Chilbi, Greppen, Canton Lucerne

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… The variety at this market, which is the largest of its kind in German-speaking Switzerland. Records from the Weggis region show that, 120 years ago, selling chestnuts was more lucrative than producing milk. Little wonder that Pro Kastanie, the organisation that hosts Chestene Chilbi, nowadays promote chestnut culture here. The festival has around 60 stalls selling Swiss-made chestnut produce, including chestnut bread (hand made at the market) and chestnut marmalade.

WHERE TO STAY:

Park Hotel Weggis

After an afternoon in the crisp autumn air, treat yourself to some luxury. The five-star Park Hotel Weggis commands an outlook over Lake Lucerne that is difficult to beat. Prices from CHF 400 for two people in a double room www.parkweggis.ch

MAKE IT HAPPEN:  

Chestene Chilbi, Greppen (www.kastanien.net); 27 October 2013; take the train to Greppen, Oberhaus (www.sbb.ch)

 

Vineyards and grilled chestnuts, Bex, Canton Vaud

SPOT MAGAZINE LOVES …

… The sumptuous blend of wine and chestnuts at the festival in this quaint town renowned for its salt – and vineyards. A little train takes visitors to the vineyards (Société vinicole de Bex), where wine tastings and grilled sweet chestnuts are on offer. A band playing traditional music provides entertainment.

WHERE TO STAY:

B&B Heidi’s Guesthouse

This 19th-century property situated at 800 metres above sea level has been carefully renovated to offer a cosy retreat from the city. Its four bedrooms – and communal dining room, living room and kitchen – open onto meadows and the Alps. Prices from CHF 96 for two people in a double room www.guesthouse.ch

MAKE IT HAPPEN:

‘Discover the wineyards and grilled chestnut’, Bex (www.alpes.ch); 27 October 2013; take the train to Bex (www.sbb.ch)






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