When is the Best Time to Visit Switzerland?

Sprawling greeneries, chic cities, and an overall exceptional outdoors – Switzerland almost looks like a page of a picture book bror escapades and urban breaks making it a perfect European tourist destination.

More...

It showcases three of Europe's most distinct cultures – German, French and Italian - creating the winning Swiss culture. It offers endless choices for both outdoor escapades and urban breaks making it a perfect European tourist destination. So if you’re planning to visit this beautiful place, you might wonder when is the best time to visit Switzerland. Read on!

Stretching in its skies is the Alps - the largest European mountain structure. The towering peaks of which, with ice and snow, gives a most magnificent natural sight. The cold Alpine winds is the main pull for visitors towards the Swiss highlands in the summer months.

The basic thing to remember about Switzerland ground is that the higher you go, the colder it gets. Average temperature during the summer is between 20 and 25°C, while it drops to below freezing point during winter.

Switzerland boast of remarkable man-made wonders like the castles of Chillon and Bellinzona and the Lavaux vineyards, and astounding natural wonders like the Matterhorn, the Aletsch glacier and stunning lakes Lucerne and Oeschinensee.

Swiss cities don't come in less with its captivating prowess – the ancient capital Berne offers endless breaks for touring, trade and tradition, whereas Zurich leads in art, theater and the club scene, and Geneva shines as the flashiest and classiest Swiss metropolis.

Now to finally answer one item in your ”what’s” and ” where’s” for that Switzerland trip, when is the best time to visit Switzerland?

The answer would be that the best time to visit Switzerland is determined based on what you plan to do, see and experience. Depending on your preferences, tourists can take delight in the different corners of Switzerland at practically any time of the year.

Although Switzerland has four seasons, there are extreme variations in weather and, as mentioned before, the factor of altitude is an enormous influence (the higher you go, the colder it gets) with the latter being the result of the terrain’s low and high elevations.

Common to Switzerland is unpredictable weather patterns such as snow in late spring and early fall, a cold break in June, even in summer, chilling nights in July and August,or thick fog between early October and early spring.

There are places in which snow falls throughout the year such as in the Jungfraujoch, Mt. Titlis, Diavolezza, and Zermatt and Saas Fee. The Canton Valais and Canton Graubünden are sunnier than the rest of Switzerland; being the St. Gallen area is dampest.The Lucerne and the Mittelland areas, along the Rhine and Lake Constance is accustomed to thick fog.

The Bernese Oberland and the Swiss Riviera are somewhat in the middle of damp and dry.(Note: It is probably best to not rely fully on Swiss weather reports as the weather here is too unpredictable.) The erratic weather almost appears to reflect the exciting variation in the activities and sights of the place as well.

Spring

Spring in a countryside in Switzerland.

Spring stretches from March 21 to June 20 and is a call for the nature awakening. The sight of trees turning green and the meadows beaming with budding flower is a view to behold; the fog also starts to fade.

Spring stirs from the south and spreads to the rest of Switzerland - trees reach their full bloom in March and seen in areas around lakes such as in Lago Maggiore and Lugano. The lower the altitude, the faster the snow will melt and so, the areas except for the south of Switzerland are still on the cold break in March.

The Alpine regions and ski resorts during this time are snow-capped which makes March a perfect time for skiing. The sun is warm, the slopes are in perfect shape, and the usual volume of crowds has diminished.

The end of ski season is on Easter weekend, and the surrounding ski resorts shut down after Easter. Funiculars and cable cars stop operation until the middle or end of May – which is then the start of the hiking season.

The weather turns warmer by the middle of April to early May; the flowers appear more vibrant on the lowland fields. Western areas such as the Lake Geneva and Mittelland have strong winds.

The weather throughout May has this thing of being unpredictable. It could feel like summer one moment then it could turn into the opposite the other. May is considered unsuitable for Alpinism (mountain climbing in the Alps) since the ground is still covered in snow. Funiculars and gondolas may not be operational until the end of May.

Summer

Summer covers June 21 up to September 20. Many agree that it is the best time to visit Switzerland for sightseeing; to experience the scenic splendor and changing colors, as the mountain passes where the beautiful panoramic views of-of the landscape are most appreciated, are open to all. It is the official start of the hiking season.

Understandably, this is the peak tourist season; July and August being the most tourist-packed months. Popular tourist destinations include the Lake Lucerne, the Bernese Oberland and Jungfrau Region, the Swiss Riviera, and the Canton Valais.

These areas tend to be crowded during summer months so you should make hotel and apartment arrangements beforehand to secure suitable accommodation.

The Bernese Oberland during the summer.

Aside from hotels near the tourist center, there are also lodging rooms offered in the outside villages. Some both international and local sports, music and art events are held during the summertime, one of which is the famous Lucerne Music Festival which spans almost the entire summer months.

For sure summer brings forth lots of sunshine but quite the irony is that summer also brings forth lots of rain, especially to the north of the Alps. Indeed, this fickleness of Swiss weather is both a blessing and a bummer.

The weather during June is usually better than during May as it is quite temperate and has less rain or snow. The meadows in the high Alpine regions begin to beam with flowers. In summer, temperature rises just a little above 26°C; the dampness is low and the air is crisp and clear.

Autumn

Autumn spans September 21 up to December 20.The months September and October are excellent months for outdoor activities. Rains are uncommon, and snowfalls are short-lived. The hiking trails are less hectic than during summer.

Nights are dry and the days are sunlit and temperate; some fog might start to form in around lakes and on the central plateau such as in areas around Lucerne, Lake Constance, and Mittleland.

Autumn holds exciting new experiences for visitors like harvest festivals common in the middle of October, with places such as Vinorama in the Lavaux vineyard on Lake Geneva specializing in such. The Indian summer occurs around October to November and is a good chance to see the breathtaking change of colors.

Around this time, funiculars and cable routes start to end their operations and will resume around mid-November for the ski season. Hotels and ski resorts also adapt this arrangement.

The Jungfraujoch region and Mount Titlis are accessible throughout the year; the Schilthornbahn and the Firstbahn, as well as the Gornergratbahn and the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, are steady tourist destinations.

For mountain transportation, Mount Pilatus is accessible via funicular but not via gondola; it is important to note that some transportation providers like Rothornbahn, Harder-Kulm funicular, and Schynige Platte shut down operations for the entire winter.

Take an aerial cable ride at Schilthornbahn

November and December are the months where intense rains, shorter days, and colder weather starts to kick in.These conditions are isolated in the lowlands as the highlands experience a different, bright and unclouded weather. The autumn season is a good enough time for hiking in the Swiss Alps.

Winter

Gstaad ski resort in Switzerland.

Winter starts from December 21 and ends on March 20. Snow begins to fall and cover the land starting from the higher altitudes and will persist until the end of March to the middle of April. Most of the passes to the Alps close for transportation.

While the Alpine regions of high altitude bury in snow, regions of lower altitudes such as Ticino, Mittelland, and the greater Geneva and Basel might not experience snow until the middle of January.

Little fog appears on the plains; it is damp in the lowlands and the winds grow colder at any point in the Alps. The weather throughout winter is unpredictable as well. Ski areas are subject to changing weather and road conditions.

If you are a winter sports enthusiast, the middle of January to March is the best time to visit Switzerland. Ski resorts like the Gstaad, St Moritz, and Val d'Anniviers are world renowned winter sports venues.

Aside from skiing, sledding, skating, snowshoeing, winter hiking on groomed trails, thermal bathing, and other winter activities are present as well

Besides the exciting outdoor sports, you might also get to experience a White Christmas.But it is important to note that the price of ski resorts are more expensive in winter as compared to other seasons because of the increase in the number of tourists volume. Like in summer months, make reservations beforehand.

Switzerland travel is a splendid whirlwind adventure whether you have your hiking gear, ski shoes, or just a nice book and a pair of sunglasses.

Again, the best time to visit Switzerland depends on your preference. Depending on your preferences, you can take delight in the different corners of Switzerland at practically any time of the year.

Although Switzerland has four seasons, there are extreme variations in weather and, as I said before, the factor of altitude is an enormous influence (the higher you go, the colder it gets) with the latter being the result of the terrain’s low and high elevations.

    Jessica Kim

    I am an ultimate travel enthusiast and the founder of ‘Justanomadiclife.com’. I am a 26 year old-something, fun, passionate and free-spirited individual who set up 'justanomadiclife' blog as my public diary to document all of my amazing personal travel experiences which hopes to provide answers to your travel questions and (hopefully) inspire you to go places.

    Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

    Leave a Comment: