Looking for serenity, spectacular scenery, unimaginable nature, and friendly locals for your next vacation? Look no further than Switzerland, the most pristine country in Europe. We dare you to find a place that is unappealing or just plain boring for the eye. It is practically impossible to say what is the worst and what is the best time to visit Switzerland, but we'll try.
We made this article to help you plan your trip and pack according to Switzerland's seasons. You need to decide what are you most interested in - is it skiing, hiking in nature, sightseeing, or a little bit of all. Answering this will make it easier to decide on the best time to visit Switzerland. Fortunately, the weather is firmly divided by seasons and it is rather predictable, so it is easier to pack.
Switzerland is not a big country but it has a diverse surface, which causes different local climates. From the mountain tops to picturesque lakes, all these different areas have their separate weather conditions. Nevertheless, most of Switzerland has a distinct four-season climate, apart from high mountains which are covered in snow most of the year.
Summers are warm or hot, with frequent rainfalls and warm winds. It is the best time to visit Switzerland for suntanning by the lake or going to a festival. Autumn is mostly dry and that is why it's a perfect time for hiking in the mountains, especially when the deciduous trees start changing colors.
Spring is the best time to visit Switzerland for the wildflower viewing and sightseeing, it is relatively dry, the sky is cloudless, and everything is just blooming. And, of course, winter is snowy and cold, which creates perfect conditions for the ski season.
In this article, we'll go more in-depth about seasons, months, and the best time to visit Switzerland so you can fulfill all your expectations of this mesmerizing country.
There are some travelers who just like to discover the country, with little to no planning. Spring is the best time to visit Switzerland for those people because you can catch a little bit of everything this country has to offer.
Average temperatures vary between 60 and 75 degrees, the daylight lasts longer, and if you catch some rain - it’s short bound and it’ll most likely pass in a couple of hours. As summer gets closer, the average temperature climbs, and the rains can be more frequent.
Another reason why you might think that spring is the best time to visit Switzerland is the lack of crowds. Skiers just went home, and the summer vacations haven’t yet started. Not only that you’ll avoid the lines, but you can get better deals on travel and accommodation expenses.
Not to mention the blooming of nature that creates picturesque scenery on every corner. From cobblestone pavements to mountain lakes, everything looks fresh, colorful, and almost animated.
The summer season in Switzerland brings crowds, pleasant temperatures, and outdoor activities. Nevertheless, you might be able to avoid the crowds even if you visit Switzerland during this time - if you escape to the Swiss countryside or small towns at the bottom of the Alps.
The peak season has average temperatures that go up to 89 degrees and 73-151mm of rain. June and September are months where everything is warming up or cooling off for the two main months of the high season.
July and August are the most popular months for Switzerland’s lakesides, like Lake Geneva and Lake Zurich. However, the expenses are going to be up there, as this is the time when all vendors increase their prices.
Autumn is the best time to visit Switzerland if you are traveling for pure hedonistic enjoyment. There is no fuss, crowds are long gone, snow has melted, rain is a rare occurrence, and the wine is pristine, as this is the season of the grape harvest.
This is the time of most affordable prices, so if you are traveling on a budget, the best time to visit Switzerland is in October and November. Average temperatures during this time go from 57 to 75 degrees, perfect for lakeside brunches and picnics on the fields, while you’re surrounded by fallen red leaves.
Winter is considered to be a high ski season, but low temperatures make it a low season outside the slopes. City temperatures are just above 40 degrees, but they get much lower as you climb up the mountain. Mountain resorts away from the ski slopes are mostly closed, but there are still some outdoor activities in the cities.
You can take advantage of railway trips to discover scenery you will never forget, or visit one of many heart-warming festivals and events, honoring the ice and the mountains. Winter is the best time to visit Switzerland if you want to discover the true charm of this country. Cold weather can not stop you from trying out the local dishes in small restaurants or visiting the beauty of St. Moritz Lake.
Skiing is one of the most popular winter outdoor activities in Switzerland, enjoyed by professionals and amateurs alike. The ski season lasts for six months, so you have plenty of room to decide when you want to go, however, there are some distinct differences between skiing months.
Snow starts to fall by the end of November and it doesn’t stop until the beginning of March. January and February is the best time to visit Switzerland for skiing, according to many people. These are the months with the coldest weather, biggest crowds, and most expensive accommodation.
However, if you want to avoid these disadvantages there are a few places that offer skiing experience year-round. Zermatt and Theoduln glaciers will make you feel like it is peak winter even in the middle of July.
There are more than 5000 lakes in this small European country, scattered between the Alps and the Jura Mountains. For example, Lake Geneva is the largest lake in Western Europe. The best time to visit Switzerland and this crescent shape body of water is during the summer when you can swim or witness one of the annual yacht racing and rowing events.
We recommend going to Lake Lucerne in the springtime when you can enjoy the sweeping views of snowy mountain tops while suntanning, wining, and dining on the shore. If you want to take a swim in Lake Lucerne, it is better to wait until summertime, for the water to warm up. There are bathing spots such as Seebad Lucerne and Ufschötti.
The best time to visit Switzerland for the beauty of its lakes is between May and August, but you wouldn’t regret it even if you went during the autumn months. Places like Lake Lugano, Lake Maggiore, Lake Zurich, and Lake St. Moritz can never disappoint.
The Alps will grant you föhns, warm winds typical for this region. These winds can significantly increase the temperature in a matter of hours, and they occur in the mountain’s lower region. The best time to visit Switzerland’s Alps is anywhere between January and December. No, really - this is not a hoax.
This region is so mesmerizing and astonishing, full of natural wonders and charming cottages, that each season brings out some distinct beauty.
Visiting the Alps during winter means witnessing some unbelievable snow-covered scenery - a guaranteed feeling of being the main character in some holiday movie. Not to mention that there are luxurious ski resorts, and slopes for all ages.
Now, if you are not a fan of the cold we recommend visiting the Alps during spring and summer, for an abundance of activities and spots waiting for you to discover them. It is almost obligatory to take a scenic train ride. The ticket for this experience is somewhere between 39 and 49 Swiss franks, depending on the season. The higher the season - the higher the price.
The Swiss Alps offer unimaginable scenery that you can observe up and down the hiking trails, such as Mount Rigi Panorama Trail, Parc Ela trails, and Mount Titlis trails. The best time to visit Switzerland if you are an avid hiker is May, September, or October.
Although when you think of Switzerland the first thing that pops to mind is usually the Alps, the lakes, and the charming mountainous towns - we cannot forget that this country has very developed cosmopolitan cities.
Zurich is the biggest city and the most alluring town in Switzerland, famous as the financial capital. However, this is not the place for you if you’re traveling on a budget, as it is declared the most expensive city in the world - all hotels in Zurich are luxury hotels, especially in the summer.
The best time to visit Switzerland and its capital city Bern is probably August, especially if you like to walk around the city with the street music in the background. August in Bern is when the annual Street Music Festival occurs, with many performances for all music tastes.
Swiss cities have a special charm to them, they are not as big and high as other major cities in Europe. They are historic towns, with cobbled streets and luxury hotels hidden in narrow streets.
Farmers' markets are blooming, especially during spring and summer, so we think that it is the best time to visit Switzerland.
Before we leave you to plan your trip using the information above, we’ll tickle you with some fun facts about Switzerland. You can use them to start a conversation with the locals.
Did you know that 25% of the population is foreign, most of them are people from France, Germany, and Italy. And did you know that the Swiss are the fittest people in the world? Who wouldn’t be tempted to hike and jog in a place like that?
Switzerland is also famous as the banking and science capital of the world. And, to end on a weird note - Switzerland is the place of legal assisted suicide, so it attracts the so-called “suicide tourists”
Before you travel, check if you need to apply for a visa, as some countries require it even for a short visit. And don’t forget to exchange your currency for Swiss frank beforehand, unless you want to pay a high fee at the airport exchange office.
US First Exchange offers the delivery of Swiss franks to your doorstep in just a couple of days, so you don’t need to worry about going to the bank amidst planning and packing for your trip.
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