Best Time To Visit Switzerland

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Switzerland has four distinct seasons, bringing different weather patterns and temperatures and unique opportunities to explore. Swiss summers attract travellers to hike the alpine trails and picnic around the country’s beautiful lakes. In winter, the snow-covered slopes of the Swiss Alps are a magnet for skiers and snowboarders.

Simply put, there’s no best time to visit Switzerland as every season has something fun and unique to do, making Switzerland a fantastic year-round destination that will delight you around every corner.

Best Time To Visit Switzerland

Switzerland In Summer

best time to visit germany and switzerland River and titlis mountains
One of the most beautiful times to visit Switzerland is in summer. Pictured here is Engelberg and the Titlis Mountains in the background.

Swiss summers see temperatures soar to an average high of 24 °C (75 °F) and fall to an average low of 11 °C (52 °F), melting the alpine snow and feeding the country’s many waterfalls and rivers.

Hiking and biking replace skiing in the Swiss Alps, and many visitors head to the Matterhorn and the Hoher Kasten to marvel at the country’s spectacular scenery.

June

  • Daylight hours: 16 hours
  • Average Low Temperature: 11 °C (53 °F)
  • Average High Temperature: 22 °C (72 °F)

July

  • Daylight hours: 16 hours
  • Average Low Temperature: 14 °C (57 °F)
  • Average High Temperature: 24 °C (76 °F)

August

  • Daylight hours: 14 hours
  • Average Low Temperature: 13 °C (56 °F)
  • Average High Temperature: 24 °C (75 °F)

Five Things To Do In Switzerland In Summer

1- Take A Cable Car Journey Up The Matterhorn
best time to visit switzerland weather matterhorn covered in snow
The best time to visit Switzerland if you plan on ascending its mountains is in summer. Here’s an amazing panorama from Matterhorn glacier paradise.

While the stunning peaks of the Swiss Alps are world-renowned, no mountain is more famous or ingrained into the country’s image than the Matterhorn, a soaring alpine peak rising well over 4,400 m (14,436 ft.) above sea level.

A popular destination for adventure-seeking climbers hoping to summit this captivating yet deadly behemoth, the Matterhorn is famous for being part of the logo for the Swiss chocolate Toblerone.

While hiking up the Matterhorn is a truly memorable experience, one of the easiest and most picturesque ways of experiencing the Matterhorn is by journeying to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise by cable car.

The journey has impressive views of the Matterhorn and numerous other 4,000-plus metre (13,123 ft) peaks dotted throughout the Alps.

You can admire picturesque snow-topped Alpine peaks all year round.

2- Travel On The Glacier Express

Switzerland is well known for its breathtaking train journeys past the country’s rolling green valleys and snow-covered mountains, but the most popular is the Glacier Express.

Often called the “World’s Slowest Express Train”, the Glacier Express, which takes eight hours to complete, links the Swiss alpine resort towns of St Moritz and Zermatt together and passes through some of Switzerland’s most scenic landscapes.

3- Jet Boat On Interlaken’s Lake Brienz

As Lake Thun and Lake Brienz surround the picturesque Swiss town of Interlaken, the best way to experience the town’s best natural attraction is by boat, more specifically, a 60 km/h (37 mph) jet boat.

The Jet Boat Interlaken takes passengers on an exhilarating and adrenaline-pumping 45-minute boat ride that involves 360-degree turns, high speeds and sharp turns on Interlaken’s Lake Brienz.

4- Gaze Over Six Countries From Hoher Kasten

Tucked away in the Swiss Appenzell Alps, the Hoher Kasten Mountain has unbelievably beautiful panoramic views of Switzerland, Germany, France, Lichtenstein, Austria and Italy.

The 1,794 m tall (5,886 ft) Hoher Kasten summit, with its 360-degree views and the only rotating restaurant in eastern Switzerland, is reachable by hiking the scenic Europa Rundweg trail or via a spectacular eight-minute cable car journey.

5- Enjoy A Hike
when is the best time to visit switzerland green slopes and lake
Lake Seealpsee near Appenzell in the Swiss Alps is beautiful all year round.

One of the most cost-effective ways of exploring Switzerland is by hiking through the country’s many scenic trails that crisscross the dramatic mountains, quaint villages and evergreen valleys.

The Lauterbrunnental Glacial Valley, the Engelberg Valley, the Eiger Trail and the Mount Rigi Panorama Trail are just some of the many great hiking trails and regions in Switzerland.

Switzerland in Autumn

best time of year to visit switzerland autumn trees and mountain background
Autumn is the best time to visit Switzerland for colours. One of the beautiful places is Gstaad.

Autumn sees the beautiful green valleys of Switzerland transform into a tapestry of orange, red and yellow, signalling that winter is around the corner.

Farmers bring their cows back down from the pastures to the villages and farmsteads in the sheltered valleys, and Oktoberfest celebrations kick off in Zurich, Bern and Baden.

September

  • Daylight hours: 13 hours
  • Average Low Temperature: 10 °C (50 °F)
  • Average High Temperature: 19 °C (67 °F)

October

  • Daylight hours: 11 hours
  • Average Low Temperature: 6 °C (43 °F)
  • Average High Temperature: 14 °C (57 °F)

November

  • Daylight hours: 9 hours
  • Average Low Temperature: 2 °C (35 °F)
  • Average High Temperature: 8 °C (46 °F)

Five Things To Do In Switzerland In Autumn

best time of the year to visit switzerland
Visiting the Alps in autumn brings stunning mountain landscapes, making it the best time to go to Switzerland if you’re a keen photographer.
1- Visit Schilthorn Mountain’s Piz Gloria
best time to visit switzerland for snowfall Front view of Schilthorn Piz Gloria from Murren
The best time to visit Switzerland’s mountain cable cars is first thing in the morning to avoid the lines. Pictured here is the Schilthorn Piz Gloria.

Perched 2,970 m (9,744 ft) above sea level atop one of Schilthorn’s snow-covered peaks is the Piz Gloria, a fully rotating restaurant known worldwide for its stunning alpine views and starring role in movies.

First made famous by On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Ian Fleming’s 1963 James Bond novel, the Piz Gloria went on to star in multiple Bond films too and is a popular destination today for 007 fans.

A fully-functioning upscale eatery, the Piz Gloria serves up delectable food and even better views, making it an excellent autumn destination for a chic brunch or romantic dinner.

2- Walk Europe’s Highest Suspension Bridge
what is the best time to visit switzerland Titlis snow mountains background, Lucerne,
The best time to visit Switzerland’s Mount Titlis is in summer or autumn, for more temperate weather.

Constructed in 2013 in celebration of the Engelberg-Gerschnialp cable car’s 100th anniversary, the 500m tall (1,642 ft) bridge is 3,014 m (9,888 ft) above sea level.

It forms part of the TITLIS Cliff Walk and crosses a glacier.

About 100 m long (328 ft) and just one metre wide (3 ft), the TITLIS Cliff Walk bridge requires nerves of steel to cross, however, those brave enough to attempt the crossing will enjoy once-in-a-lifetime views of the striking cliffs and mountain peaks of the Uri Alps.

3- Tour The Swiss Museum Of Transport

The sprawling yet well-designed complex of the Swiss Museum of Transport recounts the history of air, road, rail, water and space travel and the impact each mode of transport had on Switzerland and the world.

Complete with a planetarium, a 3D movie theatre, a rideable miniature steam train, a café and many child-oriented activities and exhibits, the Swiss Museum of Transport is a fantastic destination for both grown-ups and kids.

4- See A Traditional Swiss Alpine Descent

Whether you call it Désalpe, S-chargiada or Alpabzug, a traditional Swiss alpine descent through a rural village is a must-see activity that involves local farmers bringing their cows back down from the alpine pastures before winter arrives.

An age-old Swiss tradition, alpine descents are vehemently celebrated across Switzerland and are accompanied by great food, music performances and overall festivities.

With colourful flowers and authentic cow bells, Swiss alpine descents can be seen in valleys throughout Switzerland but be sure to arrive early as festivities usually start early in the day.

5- Experience Swiss Oktoberfest

If you can’t make it to Munich in time for the annual Oktoberfest celebrations held in September, the German-speaking regions of Switzerland are a close second to visit.

Holding their own Oktoberfest celebrations complete with authentic Oktoberfest beer and lively beer tents, Switzerland’s Oktoberfest events are just as entertaining and tradition-rich as Bavaria’s, albeit with smaller crowds.

Zurich, Baden, Züri Wiesn, Bern and Wädenswil all host annual Oktoberfest events between September and October, so be sure to stop by a beer tent in the fall.

Switzerland in Winter

Winter sees Switzerland transform into a wonderland as the skiing and snowboarding season rolls through the Swiss Alps.

Locals head to outdoor thermal baths to warm up and enjoy the mineral-rich waters of the baths, and Christmas markets spring up in cities and towns across Switzerland.

December

  • Daylight hours: 9 hours
  • Average Low Temperature: -1 °C (30 °F)
  • Average High Temperature: 4 °C (39 °F)

January

  • Daylight hours: 9 hours
  • Average Low Temperature: -2 °C (28 °F)
  • Average High Temperature: 3 °C (38 °F)

February

  • Daylight hours: 10 hours
  • Average Low Temperature: -2 °C (28 °F)
  • Average High Temperature: 5 °C (41 °F)

Five Things To Do In Switzerland In Winter

best time to visit switzerland for snow Skier skiing downhill in high mountains Kleine Scheidegg station at Switzerland
The best time to visit Switzerland for skiing is winter or spring but you can also ski in summer at Zermatt and Saas-Fee.
1- Go Skiing Or Snowboarding

Switzerland’s most popular wintertime activity and one of the country’s biggest tourism boons, skiing in the Swiss Alps during winter is a classic must-do activity for all ages and experience levels.

Luxurious ski resorts and charming alpine chalets are dotted throughout the Swiss Alps, offering world-class skiing opportunities, fantastic food and excellent accommodation if you’re prepared to pay the steep in-season prices.

However, Switzerland’s skiing scene is not solely for the wealthy, and you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to access the slopes.

Budget-friendly skiing options are abundant throughout the country.

2- Shop In A Christmas Market
best time to visit switzerland 2017
There’s no best time to visit Geneva, Switzerland, as you’ll find attractions for all seasons such as the Reformation Wall in Bastions Park.

Christmas is huge throughout Europe, and few countries put on a more extravagant spectacle come December than Switzerland.

Swiss Christmas markets, complete with choirs singing carols and stalls selling Swiss delicacies such as fondue and rosti, are ideal for wandering through while taking in the magical atmosphere of this particular time of the year.

While Zurich is home to the largest indoor Christmas market, Basel and Geneva are also worthy Christmas destinations to experience.

3- Soak In A Thermal Bath

Luxurious thermal spas have been an integral part of Swiss culture and traditions due to their mineral-rich spring water believed to be good for your health.

Once only frequented by royalty and aristocracy, today, you can find thermal baths of all sizes across Switzerland.

There are many choices, including the Mineralbad & Spa Rigi Kaltbad, the Leukerbad-Therme and the Termali Salini & Spa.

4- Tour A Swiss Chocolate Factory
best time to visit switzerland in 2019 Swiss chocolates in gift box, various luxury pralines made of dark and milk organic chocolate in chocolaterie in Switzerland.
There’s no ‘best time’ in Switzerland to stock up on Swiss chocolates. You’ll want to try them all when you visit.

Swiss chocolates are world-renowned for their artisan-crafted perfection.

There’s no better place to experience and celebrate all things Swiss chocolate-related than at one of the chocolate factories in Switzerland.

Touring a Swiss chocolate factory is a fun-filled excursion involving free chocolate samples, learning the history of the chocolatier industry in Switzerland, and even creating your own chocolate.

Two of Switzerland’s largest chocolate producers, Cailler and Läderach, are the country’s best chocolate factories to explore and welcome visitors of all ages to learn more about one of Switzerland’s most decadent treats.

5- Enjoy A Winter Walk With St. Bernard Dogs
what's the best time to visit switzerland
A pair of St. Bernardine dogs in the Swiss Alps.

First bred to conduct perilous rescue work in the Swiss Alps as early as the 1600s, St. Bernard dogs are as synonymous with Switzerland as chocolates and skiing.

The Barry Foundation, the oldest St. Bernard breeding kennel and a Swiss non-profit centre dealing with animal-assisted therapy, keeps this age-old tradition alive near Champex-Lac and invites visitors to accompany the dogs on a 45-minute winter walk.

Switzerland in Spring

when is the best time of year to visit switzerland
For impressive waterfalls, summer is the best time to visit Switzerland. The Rhine Falls is the largest plain waterfall in Europe.

Spring sees the first snow melt and rivers and waterfalls spring to life. Temperatures start to pick up again, and the skiing season starts to draw to a close.

The mighty Rhine Falls roars back to full power, fed by the mountain streams and waterfalls, and visitors start to descend on Switzerland’s charming lakes and hiking trails.

March

  • Daylight hours: 12 hours
  • Average Low Temperature: 1 °C (34 °F)
  • Average High Temperature: 10 °C (50 °F)

April

  • Daylight hours: 14 hours
  • Average Low Temperature: 4 °C (40 °F)
  • Average High Temperature: 14 °C (58 °F)

May

  • Daylight hours: 15 hours
  • Average Low Temperature: 8 °C (47 °F)
  • Average High Temperature: 19 °C (66 °F)

Five Things To Do In Switzerland In Spring

best time to visit switzerland A little girl in a pink Princess dress with a bouquet in her hands walks through the old city of Zurich.
Spring is a wonderful time of year to visit Switzerland. Start in Zurich and work your way around the country.
1- Visit Europe’s Largest Waterfall

Within a one-hour train journey from Zurich, the thundering Rhine Falls is the largest waterfall in Europe by volume and stretches for over 150 m (492 ft) across the Rhine River.

Large amounts of water flow over the Rhine Falls during the late spring and early summer seasons as the icy glaciers melt, creating a spectacular roaring spectacle that draws large crowds from all across Europe.

Even boat trips are available to the base of the falls for intrepid travellers hoping to get the best vantage point of the falls.

2- Explore The Streets And Soaring Peaks Of Gstaad
best time to visit switzerland in 2016
One of the best times to visit the Swiss Alps is in spring when the grass is green and the cows are out and about.

One of Switzerland’s most beautiful alpine villages and a popular destination for the world’s rich and famous, Gstaad is a year-round resort town offering sublime skiing in winter and hiking throughout the summer.

Home to a world-first suspension bridge connecting two alpine peaks, the world’s highest bobsled track and trendy boutiques and cafes, Gstaad is a top-tier Swiss destination that guarantees fun-filled adventures for all ages and budgets.

3- Visit the Jungfraujoch and the Great Aletsch Glacier
when is best time to visit switzerland
If you’re planning to go trekking in the Alps, the best time to visit Switzerland is from June to August. Aletsch Glacier is the longest glacier in the Alps.

The Jungfraujoch is the most visited site in the Bernese Oberland region.

It features many outstanding attractions, including Europe’s highest railway station, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and snow-covered peaks throughout the year.

Jungfraujoch is renowned for its Ice Palace, Sphinx Observation point and its Ski and Snowboard Park, which entertains visitors with fun summertime activities.

The Jungfraujoch is also the starting point for the UNESCO-declared Great Aletsch Glacier, making it a world-class destination in the heart of the Swiss Alps that’s more than worthy of a visit.

4- Visit The Olympic Museum In Lausanne

The Olympic Museum is home to 1,500 unique exhibits celebrating and memorialising the Olympic Games’ history, some of its greatest athletes and incredible sporting feats.

Not only is the Olympic Museum a great attraction that’s an absolute must on any sports fan’s itinerary, but the museum’s all-encompassing collection of exhibits and displays, including the Olympic Flame, makes it an excellent destination anyone would enjoy visiting.

5- Visit The Towering Contra Dam
what is the best time of year to visit switzerland
One of the best times to visit Switzerland to enjoy the outdoors is in summer. Here’s the view from the Contra Dam over a hydroelectric power plant on the Verzasca River in Ticino.

The Contra Dam is a towering 220m tall (722 ft) concrete structure famous for being the world’s tallest bungee jumping site and its cameo appearance in the 1995 James Bond film “Goldeneye”.

A must-visit destination for movie buffs and adrenaline junkies, the Contra Dam’s unique architecture and scenic location, not to mention proximity to fantastic hiking trails, makes the dam a fully-fledged tourist attraction worth visiting.

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Christina Pfeiffer Travel Writer
Christina Pfeiffer is a writer, photographer and video blogger based in Queensland, Australia. She has lived in three continents and her career as a travel journalist has taken her to all seven continents. Since 2003, she has contributed travel stories and photographs to mainstream media in Australia and around the world such as the Sydney Morning Herald, CNN Traveller, The Australian and the South China Morning Post. She has won many travel writing awards and is a full member of the Australian Society of Travel Writers.