Winter in Switzerland

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Spending time in Switzerland is one of the most magical things you can do during winter. Switzerland is an incredibly beautiful country year round, however, during winter in Switzerland and particularly after snowfall, its small hillside medieval towns look like something out of a fairytale. Switzerland is an incredibly popular country for skiing during winter for Europeans and for those from further afield. It has 358 spectacular ski resorts allowing you to race down the slopes, practice your snowboarding techniques, or enjoy the thrill of snow tubing.

If you are looking for a more relaxed winter escape in Switzerland, choose to stay in one of its pretty medieval towns or the big cities. Winter is a huge part of the culture here, with many towns and cities embracing the season with Christmas markets and colourful lights. Despite Switzerland being a popular skiing destination, its towns are often quieter during winter as most tourists are on the slopes.

Exploring at a slower pace will allow you to see these beautiful destinations in their true light. Whether braving the slopes or enjoying strolls in the snow, Switzerland is the perfect destination for a winter getaway. Here are 20 places you cannot miss seeing in winter in Switzerland.

Winter in Switzerland

Top Tours

Swiss Travel Pass: Swiss All in One Pass on Train, Bus, Boat
The Oberalp Pass in Switzerland in the winter.

Save time and money by booking the Swiss Travel Pass: Swiss All-in-One Pass on Train, Bus, Boat

20 Places To Enjoy Switzerland In Winter

1- Basel

Walking Tour through Basel Old Town
Basel is one of the best places in Switzerland to visit in winter for a fun atmosphere.

Basel is a beautiful city that, with a dusting of snow, instantly becomes a must-visit destination in winter.

If you are visiting Basel before Christmas, be sure to check out its annual Christmas market for traditional, Christmas delicacies, beautiful handmade ornaments and of course plenty of gifts in a pretty setting.

Spend some time wandering the cobblestone streets of Grossnasel, the city’s old town and immerse yourself in the beautiful architecture before enjoying a warm cup of coffee and a pastry in a cosy cafe.

Dine in traditional style at Walliserkanne, a restaurant specialising in fish and chicken dishes, as well as winter favourites fondue and raclette.

Recommended tour: Walking Tour through Basel Old Town

2- Lucerne

Lucerne: Mt. Pilatus Cable Car, Cogwheel Train & Lake Cruise
Lucerne is one of the popular spots in Switzerland in winter.

Lucerne and its mountainous surroundings are the perfect Swiss winter escape.

The city is at its most picturesque after a snowfall as the snow covers the mountains overlooking the city, and the lake starts to freeze.

Thanks to its mountainous location, Lucerne is a great base for those looking to combine both skiing and sightseeing in their winter break.

Enjoy a stroll along the shores of Lake Lucerne or the banks of the River Reuss before meandering through the charming streets of the medieval old town.

For some of the best winter views climb one of the nine towers dotted along the Musegg Wall, a fortified 13th century wall surrounding the old town.

Recommended tours:

3- Zermatt

Zermatt: Matterhorn Glacier Paradise Cable Car Ticket
Zermatt is an amazing destination in winter in Switzerland.

Zermatt is one of the most beautiful, and most popular, Swiss destinations in winter.

Standing high above the town is the Matterhorn, known around the world for its presence on the Toblerone bar.

Many visitors to Zermatt flock to its ski resorts which are considered among the best in Europe.

Uniquely, it is possible to ski across the border into Italy from its resort.

Zermatt is a car-free city so enjoy taking in the sights without any traffic to compromise your views.

For the ultimate relaxing experience in Zermatt, head to Hotel Somme Zermatt and book into their spa.

Alongside a range of excellent treatments, the spa offers outdoor jacuzzis that can be enjoyed even when surrounded by heavy snowfall, creating a very magical experience.

Recommended tours:

4- St Moritz

From Milan: Lake Como Cruise, St. Moritz & Bernina Red Train
St. Moritz is very popular in the winter months in Switzerland.

Enjoy winter in luxury by spending some time in St Moritz.

Famous for being the playground of the rich and famous, particularly during skiing season, St Moritz is the ultimate luxurious winter destination.

Expect to see many luxury cars, enjoy browsing high designer shops and dine at exquisite restaurants.

If you are seeking the slopes, the ski resorts around St Moritz offer everything from skiing and snowboarding to paragliding.

One of the best things to do in St Moritz in winter is to experience the White Turf Horse Race held each February, a race where the animals welfare is top priority.

Uniquely, the race is held on the frozen surface of the lake.

Recommended tour: From Milan: Lake Como Cruise, St. Moritz & Bernina Red Train

5- Interlaken

From Interlaken: Day Trip to Jungfraujoch Mountain
Interlaken is a stunning post for a winter vacation in Switzerland.

Interlaken is another beautiful winter destination in Switzerland.

Interlaken has been a popular holiday destination since Victorian times, with many today making the most of its spectacular scenery and ski resorts.

Interlaken lies between lakes Thun and Brienz, both of which are popular for winter kayaking.

Take a scenic jet boat across Lake Brienz and admire the snow covered fairytale castle of Seeburg, which is believed by locals to be haunted.

Warm up and enjoy an afternoon at Funky Chocolate club, first learning about the chocolate making process, before indulging in a delicious chocolate fondue.

Recommended tours:

6- Jura Vaudois Nature Park

Stretching from the heights of La Dôle to the medieval town of Romainmôtier, and with views overlooking Lake Geneva is the magical Jura Vaudois Nature Park.

While the park is perfect to visit at any time of year, it’s snow covered trees and winter wonderland vibes make it a must visit winter destination.

Take to the trails in a sturdy pair of snowshoes and enjoy a challenging yet beautiful and rewarding journey through the woodlands.

While exploring the forest keep your eyes peeled for native winter wildlife such as hares and chamois.

The park sets up small huts during winter serving local speciality cheese dishes allowing you to warm up in spectacular surroundings.

7- Château-d’Oex

Château-d’Oex is a popular skiing destination only a short drive from Berne.

If you are heading to Switzerland to hit the slopes, Château-d’Oex is the perfect destination for you.

The La Braye ski resort is one of the most popular in the region, with 20 kilometres (12.43 miles) of snowy slopes.

This destination is also ideal for other outdoor winter activities such as snowboarding, and snowshoeing through its 35 kilometres (21.75 miles) of forest and field pathways.

If you are travelling with children, be sure to take advantage of the toboggan runs.

8- Gstaad

Gstaad is another beautiful Swiss destination to spend your winter break exploring.

With snowcapped mountains, snowy forests and a chill in the air, Gstaad offers everything you need to make your winter vacation cosy and exciting.

While in Gstaad be sure to enjoy a tasty fondue surrounded by snowy mountains.

Some of the best fondu can be found at Iglu-Dorf, a unique igloo experience offering guests the opportunity to dine inside an igloo on traditional fondu created using locally sourced mountain cheeses.

If you are seeking another unforgettable winter dining experience, take a cable car to Eggli, a restaurant ran by Michelin-starred chef Marcus G. Linder, for seasonal dishes with the stunning panoramas of the surrounding mountains.

9- Lake Oeschinen

Lake Oeschinen is the perfect winter destination in Switzerland if you are looking for a range of unique activities to make your trip memorable.

As the temperature drops, the lake freezes over to a thickness of between 30 and 50 centimetres, making it ideal for ice hole fishing.

The lake is also a popular for ice skating during winter across its 1.5 kilometre squared (0.57 miles squared) frozen surface.

The best way to arrive at the shores of the lake during winter are following a short 1 hour hike through the surrounding forests, or by descending down a gentle incline in a traditional toboggan.

Recommended tour: Interlaken: Private Hiking Tour Oeschinen Lake & Blue Lake

10- Arosa

The chocolate-box village of Arosa is a cosy destination to call into during your winter vacation in Switzerland.

As with many villages, Arosa is surrounded by spectacular mountains making sledging and snow tubing great options for those travelling with families.

Warm up after a day exploring the snowy landscape at Tschuggen Bergoase Spa set inside the 5-star Tschuggen Grand Hotel.

Mario Botta, a Swiss architect, designed the spa over 4 floors offering steam rooms, massage treatment rooms and a mountain sauna with snow terrace offering a unique and magical relaxation experience.

For those looking for an unusual winter activity, wake up early and head out to Lake Untersee with a tour guide to experience early morning ice bathing as the sun rises over the lake and the surrounding mountains.

11- Stoos

Stoos is a Swiss winter destination that has something for everyone.

Enjoy the spectacular natural surroundings and head out on the Stoos funicular, the steepest funicular railway in the world.

Once you arrive at the top station take in the views across the mountains of the Muota Valley.

From here make the most of the varied ski runs leading down the mountain, take a hike through the forest on snowshoes, or relax as you are taken through a winter wonderland on a horse-drawn sleigh.

12- Davos

Davos: Ski Paragliding Experience
One of the beautiful places in winter in Switzerland is Davos.

While exploring Switzerland in winter be sure to head to the highest town in Europe.

At 1560m (5118.11ft) above sea level, Davos offers visitors some of the best views in the country over the mountains, and is a destination that has long been a favourite for winter activities.

For a truly memorable experience, descend the slopes on an air board, an inflatable sledge that is steered by moving your weight from side to side.

Aside from winter sports, Davos has a lot to offer tourists looking to learn a little more about the local culture.

Book onto a behind the scenes tour of a beer or cheese factory to learn how these tasty local foods and drinks are produced.

BierVision Monstein is the highest brewery in the country and it offers guided tours of its facilities and even the opportunity for visitors to create their own beer, followed by a tasting experience.

Recommended tour: Davos: Ski Paragliding Experience

13- Mount Pilatus

Spend some time on the slopes of Mount Pilatus, a towering 2128m (6981.63ft) mountain overlooking Lucerne.

The mountain has multiple peaks all offering spectacular views.

If you don’t fancy hiking to the summit, take the worlds steepest cog railway on its leisurely journey to the top while taking in the snow covered surroundings.

At the top of Mount Pilatus are seven restaurants to choose from, all offering everything from tasty local dishes to pastries and warm drinks.

To make your way back down the mountain, either board the cog railway again, or enjoy a toboggan ride down the slopes, or a more gentle winter hike through the trees.

14- St Gallen

The city of St Gallen is spectacular whatever the season, however when it snows, the ancient city takes on a whole new fairytale light.

St Gallen is the perfect destination for history lovers as it was founded in the 8th century.

Its ancient history means city is filled with spectacular and varied architecture including the Stiftskirche Cathedral and the baroque monastery.

The town is picturesque and filled with beautiful timber framed buildings, cobbled streets and plenty of cosy cafes to curl up with a cup of coffee as you watch the snow fall.

Like many towns and cities in Europe, St Gallen has an excellent Christmas market with stalls selling gifts, delicious sweet treats and warm local dishes to enjoy as you peruse.

Recommended tour: Old Town walking tour in St.Gallen

15- Lugano

From Como: Lugano & Bellagio Day Trip with Lake Como Cruise
Lugano has lots of Christmas cheer in winter in Switzerland.

The city of Lugano is far quieter in winter than summer, making it the ideal destination if you want to escape the crowds while still making the most of the local culture.

The city has milder weather than others in Switzerland thanks to its close location to the Italian border.

This Italian influence extends beyond warmer temperatures and into its food, architecture and overall vibe.

Lugano is only a short drive from Lake Como and the Italian city of Milan, and is, even in winter, a perfect destination to enjoy an ice cream on the shores of the lake.

Explore the old town on foot and make the most of shopping locally at its excellent shops selling delicacies such as cheeses and salamis.

Recommended tour:

16- Zurich

Zurich: City Tour, Cruise, and Lindt Home of Chocolate Visit
Zurich is a lovely city to explore in Switzerland in winter.

Zurich is the ideal base for both a winter city break, and for those looking to combine a snow-covered metropolis with time on the slopes.

If you are visiting Zurich in the run up to Christmas be sure to explore its spectacular Christmas markets.

Here you will find a string-light filled cosy selection of markets selling local delicacies, traditional Christmas decorations and plenty of souvenirs or gifts to take home for loved ones.

Enjoy a glass of mulled wine as you peruse the stands before pausing for a bite to eat at one of the many raclette and fondue stalls.

A must for those visiting with children is a ride on the glistening and light-covered Märlitram, a streetcar driven by Santa while the children aboard are told Christmas stories by angels.

Recommended tours:

17- Jungfrau Region

Switzerland’s Jungfrau Region is one of the best bases for the perfect winter vacation.

Set in the heart of the Swiss Alps, Jungfrau Region is home to many ski resorts, winter hiking trails, dedicated setting runs and opportunities to try sports like curling.

Jungfrau Region covers the small Swiss towns of Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Mürren, Grindelwald and Haslital, all of which are filled with quaint Swiss architecture, cosy restaurants and friendly locals.

The region is easily accessibly by both car and train, however those who do enjoy taking to the rails will want to visit the highest train station in Europe at Jungfraujoch to experience this unique destination and the breathtaking views across the snow-covered Alps.

Recommended tour: Jungfraujoch: Roundtrip to the Top of Europe by Train

18- Glacier Express

Due to heavy snowfall, some parts of Switzerland are inaccessible by car during the winter.

Taking a trip on the magical Glacier Express however opens up these areas for you to see while sitting in warmth and comfort.

This unique experience journeys across the country over 8 hours through vast canyons, into mountains, and over famous sights such as the Oberalp Pass, a twisting and winding mountain road that shuts during winter.

The train has large and curved windows for travellers to make the most of the spectacular scenery, and stops at some of Switzerland’s most popular winter destinations including St Moritz and Zermatt. 

Recommended tour:

19- Bellinzona

Bellinzona Pass: 3 Castle Ticket
Bellinzona, in Switzerland in winter.

Experience a true winter wonderland in Bellinzona.

This Swiss city is home to three castles; Castelgrande, Castello Montebello and Castello Lasso Corbaro.

Each castle offers something a little different, through their architecture, views from their highest points, and their royal history.

With a dusting of powder soft white snow, these castles are straight out of a fairytale.

After exploring the castles, enjoy a stroll through the city in search of a bite to eat.

The city’s restaurants are heavily influenced by both Swiss and Italian cuisine offering something delicious for everyone to enjoy.

Recommended tour: Bellinzona Pass: 3-Castle Ticket

20- Geneva

Chocolate Flavors Walking Tour of Geneva
Geneva is a perfect place to go in Switzerland in winter.

Geneva is in the southwest of Switzerland and is a popular city to visit year round.

In winter its famous lake, Lake Geneva, does not fully freeze over which allows its fountain Jet d’Eau to continually flow.

There are many pleasant walks around the lake to enjoy during winter as you take in the frozen surroundings.

Chocolate lovers should book onto a chocolate-themed walking tour of the city to take in many of the city’s excellent chocolate shops and chocolatiers.

See how these sweet treats are made and of course enjoy a variety of tasty samples including filled chocolates and hot chocolate to warm you from the cold outside.

Take a relaxing dip in an outdoor thermal bath fed by hot springs surrounded by snow for a contrasting experience, while reaping the rewards of the baths natural restorative properties. 

Recommended tour: Chocolate Flavors Walking Tour of Geneva

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sarah holmes travel writer
Sarah Holmes is a travel and fashion writer living in the heart of England. From family adventures in numerous parts of the UK and Europe to exploring cities as an adult, Sarah has a wide knowledge of the best areas, sights and local tips that the UK and the neighbouring continent can offer. Sarah grew up in the North East of England, with incredible sights and landmarks only a short drive away. Her favourite places to visit include Seaham Beach, the Lake District and Alnwick Castle. Sarah has written for a range of fashion and travel blogs and print publications.