Best Time To Visit Switzerland (Weather & Seasons)

best time to visit switzerland

Figuring out the best time to visit Switzerland depends on what you want to see and do while you are here.

Switzerland experiences a huge range of weather during the different seasons of the year, ranging from scorching hot in the height of summer to freezing cold in winter. I have experienced it all during my 20+ years of living here.

So, the weather will undoubtedly make a massive difference to your stay and the things you can do while you’re there. Hiking and mountain excursions are great from May to October but impossible in winter. Skiing is awesome in January, but the weather is in the cities does not allow for el fresco dining!

Join me as I run through everything you need to know to decide when the best time to visit Switzerland is for you.

Spring (April to June) – Shoulder Season

Lucerne in Spring
Lucerne in Spring

Spring is a delightful time to visit Switzerland as the temperatures are moderate and the flowers are in bloom.

Known as shoulder season, this is also when Switzerland is not yet overrun with tourists and popular places are a little more peaceful.

Between April and June, the countryside is lush, snow on the peaks, and you will see all the wildflowers in bloom. I love heading to places like Maderanertal, where the variety of Alpine flowers is mind-blowing, as is the road to get there.

During spring, hiking trails at lower elevations might be open, the mountains will be free of skiers, and hotels and flights are more affordable too.

If you are brave, it might just be warm enough to swim in some lakes and enjoy watersports. I don’t do it personally, but some of my friends swim for nine months of the year. So anything is possible!

Temperature

Temperatures range on average from 59°F in April to 68°F in May and up to 70°F in June. It is not cold by any means, but if you prefer warmer weather, June will be your favorite month to visit Switzerland in spring.

Weather

April and May can be a bit wet in my experience. Although global warming changes all the seasons, so, this is not something I can 100% predict anymore.

June will have sunny skies and less rainfall, making it the best month to visit before summer starts

Reasons to Visit

  • More affordable flights and accommodation
  • Fewer tourists around
  • Wildflowers in bloom
  • Hiking trails open up
  • Ideal weather
  • Snow-capped peaks
  • Lush countryside
  • Ideal for a countryside train experience

Travel Tips

  • Pack warm and cold clothes
  • Pack so you can stay dry if needed
  • Always have sunscreen and a hat with you
  • Go to the mountains as it is the most affordable time
  • It is the perfect time for scenic train rides

Summer (July to August) – High Season

Iseltwald in Summer
Iseltwald in Summer

Summer in Switzerland is the busiest time of year to travel.

This time of the year coincides with the school holidays in July and August, making it a popular time to visit. Popular tourist destinations are crawling with people, and you will also experience the warmest and sunniest weather.

Of course, having sun every day is not guaranteed in an Alpine country like Switzerland. However, it is sunnier fare more often than not. The lakes warm up for swimming and watersports, making high-altitude hiking trails accessible.

Most of the fun music festivals take place in summer, too. Famous ones like the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Zurich Street Parade and Swiss National Day do too.

It is a fun time to be in Switzerland as everywhere is alive. Particularly this year, I found the cities and towns in Switzerland to be thriving. Every restaurant and terrace was full of sun lovers having lunch or a coffee.

So, it is a lot busier, and prices can be as high as 50% more for flights and accommodation.

Mountain resorts also become particularly busy during this time—especially places like Interlaken, Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, and Zermatt.

Temperature

Average temperatures range from 75 °F in July to 73 °F in August, the weather does just stay consistently hot over the high season months of July and August.

Weather

You will generally be blessed with sunny days and blue skies through July and August in the lower altitude areas of Switzerland, such as around Lake Geneva. Higher altitudes may experience more cloud cover and the odd rain shower.

Reasons to Visit

  • Guaranteed warm weather
  • Access to high-altitude hiking trails
  • Ideal for water sports and mountain sports
  • Switzerland is alive with people
  • A lot of fun festivals to go to
  • Great for lakeside chilling

Travel Tips

  • Book flights & accommodation well in advance as they are very busy during this time of year
  • Pack for hot weather plus a few items for warmth and to keep you dry
  • Do not forget swimwear, sunscreen, hats, or sunglasses

Autumn (September to October) – Shoulder Season

Bern in Autumn
Bern in Autumn

Fall is a magical time of year to visit Switzerland. And it is another shoulder season, meaning prices are cheaper too.

During September, the weather is still warm, there are fewer crowds, the prices of flights and accommodation are lower, and it is much more peaceful.

It is still warm enough to swim in the lakes and access high mountain trails, and you also get to see the beautiful autumn colors coming out around the mountains. The alpine scenery is at its best and it is a lovely time to go on an alpine train ride like the Glacier Express.

October is an extraordinary time of year in the South as the Larch trees turn yellow, making for unique scenery and stunning photos. I was in Zermatt during this period last year and it was jaw-droppingly beautiful.

This is also the time of year when the grapes are being harvested and you can experience Switzerland’s many wine festivals

Temperature

Average temperatures are about 68 °F in September and drop dramatically to 57 °F in October. This makes September a better time to visit for warmer activities, but it is in October that you see the autumn colors come to life.

Weather

Generally, the weather in high and lower altitudes is warm and dry during September, but it is starting to turn a bit colder at higher altitudes by the end of the month.

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October in low altitudes is lovely, but high altitudes will start to get snow, passes and trails may be blocked, and cable cars will close for maintenance for a few weeks

Reasons to Visit

  • More affordable flights and accommodation
  • Fewer tourists around
  • Good weather
  • Autumn colors
  • Spaces on experiences like the Glacier Express
  • Great hiking access
  • It is still warm for water sports & adventure sports

Travel Tips

  • Pack for warm/cold/wet/dry weather
  • Get up into the mountains to see the Autumn colors
  • Book last minute and you might get a deal

Winter (November to March) – High & Low Season

Chemin de Plénadzeu in Winter
Chemin de Plénadzeu in Winter

Winter season is high-season in Switzerland for the ski resorts and low-season for the rest of Switzerland.

The snowfall begins at higher altitude resorts in November and hits all resorts by about mid-December and runs through to late March. Christmas is the busiest time for winter sports enthusiasts, as people come to ski and have a white Christmas and see the Christmas markets.

February is also known as “Sport holiday” to the locals, as all the school children have a week or two off. As such, prices are also higher in the mountains during most of February.

Prices in Winter in the ski areas skyrocket, while in lower altitudes, you will find low season rates. It is a great time to experience Switzerland for a bargain as you can visit cities like Geneva and Zurich, pop into Christmas markets for some festive cheer, and hop up into the mountains for a hike in the snow.

If you want to go skiing, I recommend either January or March because by then there is enough snow, but you skip the two busiest months of the winter.

Temperature

The average temperature during this time in Switzerland varies from 36 °F to 45 °F, close to freezing. It is, of course, a lot colder at higher altitudes.

Weather

Snow, rain, wind, sunshine, and cold are everything you might experience in winter.

Reasons to Visit

  • Awesome for winter sports
  • The snow-covered Alps are stunning.
  • Christmas markets
  • More affordable flights & accommodation (not in ski areas)
  • Winter hikes are beautiful

Travel Tips

  • Waterproof boots are a must
  • Warmth is all about layering
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses are a must
  • Christmas markets are worth a visit
  • Zermatt and the Valais region are stunning

Best Month to Visit Switzerland

Lake Biel
Lake Biel

The best month to visit Switzerland, in my personal opinion, is in September. It is quieter and more affordable, the weather is excellent, and all the high-altitude hiking trails are still open. It is also warm enough to enjoy all the water sports around the lower-altitude lakes.

June also offers the same benefits as September, but you might get to see some autumn colors in September, which is why September is best in my eyes.

On top of that, in June, not all of the hikes are open yet, as it takes some months for all the snow to melt!

Cheapest Month to Visit Switzerland

There is not one single cheapest month for visiting Switzerland, there are 3. November, March, and April are the most affordable times to visit Switzerland.

This is when the weather isn’t so great at high or low altitudes, making the demand low and the prices too.

Best Time to Visit the Alps

Engelberg, Switzerland
Engelberg, Switzerland

If you are looking to do snow sports, then you have to go during the ski season. The best snow is usually between December and the end of March, but if you want quiet slopes, choose the second week of March or the first 2 weeks of January.

If you want to hike around the Alps in June and September, either side of the peak season is your best bet. You will miss the summer crowds but still have good weather and access to high-altitude trails.

Best Time to Visit for Honeymoon

The best time to visit for a honeymoon depends entirely on what you would like to do on your honeymoon, there are many reasons to visit Switzerland after all.

If you want snow and skiing, the first week of March is your best bet. For fabulous weather and outdoor activities, May, June, and September are great, plus the romantic Autumn colors of October are also lovely.

Best Time to Visit for Hiking

May and June, as well as September and early October, are the best times to be visiting Switzerland for hiking. The higher altitude trails will begin to open. May & June has beautiful wildflowers, while September & October has stunning autumn colors and more higher trails are open.

If you want to do high-altitude hiking outside the high season, late June and early September will give you the best access.

How Many Days in Switzerland Is Enough?

A street in Switzerland
A street in Switzerland

How many days is enough to spend in Switzerland? The answer to this comes down to what you would like to do again. For a dash of city life and some mountains, 5 days is ideal – 2 in the cities and 3 in the mountains.

So, When Is the Best Time to Visit Switzerland?

The best time to visit Switzerland is a very personal choice as it depends on what you would like to experience.

The best time to ski is the first week of March in my eyes, as the snow is still good and the slopes are quieter.

For a warmer experience with outdoor activities, June and September are hard to beat. The weather is excellent, prices are lower, there are fewer crowds, and the countryside is still looking stunning.

Written by Ashley Faulkes
As a twenty-year resident of Switzerland, I am passionate about exploring every nook and cranny of this beautiful country, I spend my days deep in the great Swiss outdoors, and love to share these experiences and insights with fellow travel enthusiasts.

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