Best Time to Visit Switzerland

One of the most important elements in planning your holidays is the time of year and the best time to visit a country for the activities that interest you.

But this small nation in the centre of Europe has much more to offer to visitors than just snow. So let’s see together what the best time to visit Switzerland is! Some of Europe’s most pristine natural parks are located here and visitors, in warm weather, will have the opportunity to explore the many valleys and flower-covered hills. In summer, Switzerland is a magical hiking destination , with Grindelwald, Interlaken and Zermatt offering endless scenic trails. Rain, snow or sun, Switzerland is always beautiful – it’s just a matter of deciding which season offers the kind of beauty you want to experience.

The best time to visit Switzerland depends partly on why you are going there. If you are going skiing, then of course winter is the best time to visit. For mountain hiking, summer is the best, as it’s hot even high up in the mountains and you won’t encounter much rain to disrupt your outdoor plans.

If your visit to Switzerland includes a little bit of everything, then the months between April and June are your best bet. You’ll still find some snow if you arrive early in this period and warm days if you arrive later. Temperatures vary between 15 and 22 degrees Celsius! You’ll almost certainly encounter rain, but you’ll also see long days with plenty of sunshine, perfect for hiking and sightseeing. May is the most unpredictable month in terms of weather – you may see rain and cold evenings or sunshine with temperatures in the 20s.

Since summer visitors don’t arrive until July and winter tourists are long gone, you will have more privacy and the opportunity to take advantage of better deals on flights and accommodation.

Best Season To Visit Switzerland, Top Attractions and Best Sights

Best Time to Visit Switzerland

The seasons in Switzerland are clearly defined – you’ll experience hot, sunny summers and very cold, snowy winters, with a range of temperatures and weather conditions in between, depending on the month.

Spring: There are few things more spectacular than a Swiss meadow covered in wildflowers – and spring is the time to see this in Switzerland. In the mountains, you can still find plenty of snow in higher altitude resorts in March , and with temperatures reaching up to 11 degrees Celsius and lots of sunshine, this is a great month to hit the slopes. Crowds are sparse, temperatures are starting to drop and you’ll get over 11 hours of daylight in March – perfect for seeing the best of both worlds.

Hikers are starting to replace skiers, but you’ll need waterproofs for mountain hiking in April – the weather is changing fast and the nights are chilly. May is a very rainy month with up to 17-18 days of rainfall.

Summer: The cable cars open in June to coincide with the start of the hiking season. This is the best month to visit if you plan to follow the trails , as most hikers arrive in July and August, making June a nice month to explore without meeting hundreds of other explorers on the trail. At high altitude, some trails may still have snow in June, but the popular hiking areas around Canton Valais and Lake Lucerne have perfect weather this month: temperatures in the 20s and lots of daylight, as the sun doesn’t set until 9:30 pm.

Summer rain is unpredictable in Switzerland – some summers are very wet, while others see very little rain.

July and August are busy and prices for flights and accommodation increase significantly. August is the perfect month for swimming in the lake and hiking at high altitudes , but also for outdoor events such as the Lake Thun Music Fest and Switzerland’s largest outdoor concert, the Paleo Rock Festival in Nion.

Best Season To Visit Switzerland, Top Attractions and Best Sights

Autumn: September and October hold a special kind of magic in Switzerland. The fog has begun to form, there is very little rain, the trees are changing colours and the air has that “texture” that makes it the perfect time for hiking in the mountains. The trees change to shades of red and yellow early at high elevations and the cable cars stop running before the end of October – so if you plan on hiking, don’t wait too late in the season.

By November, temperatures drop into the single digits during the day and just above freezing at night. Although it doesn’t rain much in November, you could start to see some snow, so pack waterproof boots and a heavier jacket.

Winter: Winter is when tourists flock to the country to play in the snow. Although ski resorts open in November and usually don’t close until April, December to February are the best months for snow sports and also the busiest months. Expect accommodation prices to skyrocket near the mountains. Most cities also see higher prices in December as people arrive to explore the Christmas markets and spend the holidays surrounded by snow-capped mountains.

The winter climate can be unpredictable , with temperatures just above or below 0 degrees Celsius in December and January. Precipitation (in the form of rain or snow) is common for up to 16 days in December, and in January you will see at least some snow everywhere in the country. By February, you can expect more hours of sunlight and temperatures that can reach up to 6 degrees Celsius during the day.

Best Month to Visit Switzerland

If you are a ski or snow sports enthusiast, nothing beats a trip to Switzerland in winter, especially during the months of January and February – this is considered the high season of winter, ideal for skiing but also a good opportunity to relax in the snow in towns and valleys. But winter also means that many destinations are off limits, most hiking trails are closed and many tourist attractions operate on a reduced schedule or don’t open at all.

For outdoor activities that don’t involve snow, September and October are the best times to visit Switzerland.

The first half of October is still considered high season , while the second half falls in the low season. This is the best period for cheap flights and accommodation, as well as discounts on travel packages and tours if you travel this way.

Best Season To Visit Switzerland, Top Attractions and Best Sights
Best Season To Visit Switzerland, Top Attractions and Best Sights

Switzerland…! Best time to visit…!

Best Time to Ski in Switzerland

While the ski season starts in November and lasts for almost six months, the best time for skiing is in January and February. These are also the busiest months on the slopes – people flock to the mountains in early January, once the holidays are over. In February, when central Europe’s schoolchildren have school holidays, the ski resorts fill up again with lots of people. During these two busy periods, many resorts require stays of at least seven days.

In addition to the crowds, these months also bring the coldest weather and some of the highest airfare and hotel prices. Even if money is not an issue for you , you should book months in advance if you want to stay close to the slopes.

If the chaos of winter is too much for you, the Zermatt and Theodul glacier – with slopes at 12,000 feet – offer year-round skiing. In summer, sports enthusiasts can take the Klein Matterhorn cable car to the high-speed slopes of the advanced slopes high above. Beginners can stay lower down, where there is a ski school.

Best Places to Visit in Switzerland in Winter

You don’t have to be a skier to admire the beauty of St Moritz, Switzerland’s number one alpine destination in winter. This tiny resort offers world-renowned skiing, but also plenty of groomed snowshoe hiking trails and iron-rich hot springs. St. Moritz Lake freezes over in winter, providing the arena for ice polo, cricket matches and ice skating.

The Bernina Express, considered one of the most scenic train routes in the world, departs from St Moritz and travels through Alpine valleys, towering glaciers and the Brusio spiral viaduct on one of Europe’s highest altitude rail routes. The views are particularly stunning in winter and you can make a short or long journey depending on your plans – the journey to the last stop in Tirano, Italy, takes just four hours.

While the slopes are busy in winter, Switzerland’s spectacular towns are a great destination in the colder months. Once the Christmas markets close and the bigger crowds move on, Zurich , Basel , Bern , Lausanne and Zermatt are a delight to explore on foot. Places like Lake Lucerne, a busy and expensive summer destination, transforms into a serene winter wonderland in January and February.

St. Gallen, with its car-free roads, and the resort of Davos (the highest town in the Alps) are also great winter destinations in Switzerland.

Best Season To Visit Switzerland, Top Attractions and Best Sights

Best time to visit the Swiss Alps

The Swiss Alps are home to Switzerland’s most famous mountain, the Matterhorn, as well as the Great Aletsch glacier, authentic Swiss villages such as Grindelwald and an endless series of valleys and rolling hills covered in wildflowers.

Although you can associate the Swiss Alps with snow-capped mountains, the best time to visit is actually from June to October , when the weather is mild, it doesn’t rain much and nature is blooming everywhere. This is the best time for hiking and mountain biking , but except for July and August , you won’t find huge crowds in the mountains.

The cable cars – often essential to reach the higher trails – are all open between July and September. If you arrive before or after these months, check in advance that they are already in operation. It usually depends on snow accumulation, so it can vary from year to year.

So what is the best time for you to visit Switzerland? 

Best Season To Visit Switzerland, Top Attractions and Best Sights

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