Weather Conditions in Switzerland
Plan your next getaway to a country that’s got everything from sunny lakes to mountains permanently covered in snow, medieval fortresses to some of Europe’s biggest festivals and a contrast of rural heritage and modern innovation that’re second to none — Switzerland. The country has four distinct seasons, but there are many variations and microclimates all across the land, based on altitude. But despite the unpredictable weather, it is certain that this destination will leave you amazed and inspired.
Follow this guide of the seasons and the activities they bring, and pick out what according to you sounds like the best time to travel to Switzerland.
The winter fog clears to reveal lush greenery, blooming meadows and flowering trees. But in March, spring has only arrived in the south of the country. At higher altitudes, ski season is still in flow. In fact, it is perhaps the best time to visit Switzerland if you wish to ski on slopes full of snow yet emptier of people, and the days are sunnier too. But be sure to plan your trip before Easter, as that’s when the resorts usually shut down for the season.
Lake Geneva, Lake Lugano, St. Moritz and Zermatt are all recommended destinations to visit in early spring, for pleasant weather and blue skies are perfect to soak in the mesmeric scenery. Other reasons you might find this the best season to go to Switzerland are the many events held in these months. There are traditional celebrations in Zürich to mark the end of winter called Sechseläuten, a street carnival with costumes, parades and the burning of the creepy snowman called Böögg. While Lucerne Festival is a phenomenal show of musical talent from across the world, including chamber orchestras. You can also sample some great wines in May, with local wineries opening up for tastings.
The rise in temperatures brings about a season of things to do, which is why summer is generally considered the best time to go to Switzerland. Towards the end of June, hiking season begins, opening up a multitude of beautiful paths and sights — a traveller’s delight! With cable cars back on, you can easily reach those idyllic mountain retreats and chalets for your trekking adventures.
Popular summer places to visit are the big lakes, Ticino, Central Switzerland, Bernese Oberland, and Zermatt. By July, tourist season hits peak but there’s more opportunity to take in local culture. There’s the Paléo music festival in Nyon featuring acclaimed rock acts, while the Montreux Jazz Festival always brings out a hip crowd and gifted musicians, and Verbier Festival is a celebration of classical music with plenty of free events.
In August, you could see the impressive fireworks on National Day, enjoy quirky entertainment at the traditional Alpine wrestling championship called Schwingen, bust a move at the legendary street parade in Zürich or socialise at the many happenings of Fêtes de Genève.
Now doesn’t it sound like the best time to visit Switzerland? Just remember, the weather can be unpredictable so carry a rain-proof jacket and don’t let sudden rain dampen your plans.
This may not be a popular season for tourists, but locals will be quick to tell you about the beauty of the Swiss outdoors in autumn. Pesky summer rains disappear, hiking trails are emptier, the days are still toasty and the red and brown hues are setting.
The arrival of fog around most of the popular lakes slightly takes away from the Swiss experience. But then there’re still plenty of regions accessible and at their pristine best — Jungfraujoch, Mount Titlis or the Matterhorn. Even Eastern Lake Geneva is a good option if you make it before November. This is also the best time to visit Switzerland if you’re looking to explore urban culture. The heritage of Berne, attractions of Lucerne, culture of Zürich or contemporary atmosphere of Geneva — every city offers something unique. And with scenic train rides of cinematic beauty to take you from one to the other.
Food Zürich is a treat for anyone with a taste for sampling flavours, participating in workshops, brunch events and open-air dinners. While the La Désalpe de Charmey is the tradition of dressing up and bringing down herds of Alpine cows to warmer pastures before the winter. But it’s not just cow-gazing you’ll get to do — there’s cute activities, musical acts and some delicious cheeses on sale.
When it’s winter, Switzerland is cold no matter where you are. Of course, the higher Alpine regions are snow-filled too. That’s why this is the best time to go to Switzerland if you’re into winter sports like skiing or snow-boarding. But with Christmas holidays around the corner, it would be best to book your stay in advance if you do plan to visit any of the renowned ski lodges.
Christmas also means it’s time for those beautiful seasonal markets! The most acclaimed are in Montreux and Basel, for their wondrous decorations and treats. While in Geneva, there’s the lively L’Escalade festival that sees age-no-bar fun with tons of running around, burning torches and chocolate!
More reasons why you’d want to plan a winter escapade — the World Snow Festival in Grindelwald, showcasing brilliant ice sculptures and the glorious Carnival in Lucerne or Basel that’s bound to show you a real good time.
SOTC has great Switzerland tour packages for whichever season appeals most to you. Simply select one for a memorable Swiss holiday.