The best time to visit Switzerland

When is the best time to visit Switzerland? What do you need to know for your perfect stay? Switzerland has unforgettable experiences in store for you. Explore it when it has the most to offer you.

Switzerland is a dream destination for people all over the world

No matter when and where you go. Switzerland always has something to offer. It is rich in sights, beautiful landscapes and interesting cities waiting to be discovered by you.

Finding the right time to travel, however, is not easy. January and February are best for skiing. Between April and June you can avoid the tourist crowds. And there are good reasons why everyone wants to go to Switzerland for the high summer in July and August. However, nothing stands in the way of extended hikes even in the golden autumn.

As you can see, there is no the best time to travel to Switzerland. There is only your best time to travel. In this article we will help you to answer important questions about this topic and to find out the best time for you.

How does the climate influence the best time to visit Switzerland?

Switzerland cannot be limited to a single climate zone. Thanks to its versatile topographical position, you will encounter a multi-layered, variable climate like hardly any other European country. The imposing Alpine massif functions as a gigantic climatic divide.

The weather in the Alps is extremely capricious. The high alpine climate brings you winters with lots of snow and ice as well as dry summers. On the mountain slopes you have to expect sudden weather changes. The areas near the Alps get warm foehn winds, which makes sailors and surfers happy.

The southern side of the Alps is influenced by the Mediterranean Sea. Thus, almost Mediterranean conditions prevail there. In Ticino, the sunny room of Switzerland, as well as in the equally sunny southern Valais, you therefore enjoy a friendly climate.

On the northern side of the Alps, i.e. on the Swiss Plateau with its cities and lakes, the climate is continental. Western sea air and continental weather conditions from the east make it pleasantly mild. Autumn, however, can bring you gray days here with the high fog.

It is worth consulting the weather forecasts on a daily basis. Besides, with a balanced mix of clothes you are well prepared for such weather changes.

Ski and Fly (Photo: Air Davos)Ski and Fly (Photo: Air Davos)
Lucerne (Photo: Switzerland Tours)Lucerne (Photo: Switzerland Tours)

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What is the best season to travel in Switzerland?

Due to the varied climate, there is no single peak season in Switzerland. However, you will face increased bookings and prices around Christmas time, in February and during the summer months in the mountain regions. In Ticino, on the other hand, you can expect high prices and tight availability from June to October

Peak season is not always the best time to travel. Crowds of tourists await you in flights and hotels booked up well in advance.

Most ski resorts close at the end of April, ushering in the low season in many places. This time also has its charm. Some destinations are almost deserted in May or September and therefore especially the prices of the hotel industry are cheaper.

Saas Fee mountain tour Allalin ascent (Photo: ©SaastalTourismusAG)Saas Fee mountain tour Allalin ascent (Photo: ©SaastalTourismusAG)
Zermatt Ski Matterhorn (Photo: Zermatters)Zermatt Ski Matterhorn (Photo: Zermatters)

What month is the best time to visit Switzerland?

You can visit Switzerland at any time of the year. Every month there are numerous seasonal offers to choose from. For your travel planning, our listing by month will definitely help you.

Spring in Switzerland

March

You're standing amidst blooming daffodils on Lake Geneva, while your gaze rests on the snow-covered mountains of the Valais. There is still winter and you can ski. In the lowlands, the first hiking tours are possible. You can enjoy your coffee on the sun terrace in peace and quiet, because now there are fewer tourists on the road.

Weather averages in March

CityMax. temp (°C)Min. temp (°C)Number of rainy days
Zurich11310
Geneva1118
Zermatt6-310
Lugano1357

April

Classic spring events like the colorful Tulip Festival in Morges or the traditional Zurich "Sechseläuten" are waiting for you. The high winter prices in the mountains drop significantly and you will find attractive accommodation offers. Easter customs and traditions throughout the country will take you back in time.

Weather averages in April

CityMax.temp (°C)Min. temp (°C)Number of rainy days
Zurich15611
Geneva1548
Zermatt11012
Lugano17810

May

The days are getting noticeably longer and warmer, the ski season is over. May is a good time to enjoy the spring-like scenery on the panorama train or on a boat tour. If you're going up high, you should pack warm clothes. If you are going south to Ticino, you can take your summer clothes with you.

In the mountains, however, there is still snow in some places, which means that extended mountain hikes at altitude are not yet on the agenda.

Weather averages in May

CityMax.Temp (°C)Min. Temp (°C)Number of rainy days
Zurich191012
Geneva19810
Zermatt14414
Lugano211212
Sechseläuten (Photo: Switzerland Tourism Andreas Omvik)Sechseläuten (Photo: Switzerland Tourism Andreas Omvik)
Alpine drive (Photo: Switzerland Tourism Nelson da Silva)Alpine drive (Photo: Switzerland Tourism Nelson da Silva)

Summer in Switzerland

June

The longest days are dawning, with the sun setting the latest on June 21. Thus, the ultimate hiking season starts for you. Trips to Ticino, Central Switzerland, the canton of Grisons or the Bernese Oberland are now an unforgettable experience. The numerous Swiss nature parks, especially our national park in Engadin, are also well suited for excursions.

Weather averages in June

CityMax.temp (°C)Min. temp (°C)Number of rainy days
Zurich231312
Geneva23129
Zermatt19815
Lugano251610

July

July is in the middle of the high season. Due to the school vacations, it feels like the whole of Switzerland is out and about. especially in Ticino. Constantly new outdoor activities add to your countless possibilities in the summer months. Besides hiking, mountain biking, escape games, canyoning, rafting or paragliding are on your list There is also a lot going on at and on the waters. All water sports are very popular in the warm temperatures and the beach resorts are very busy.

Don't miss: The international Montreux Jazz Festival is a real highlight in the Swiss event calendar.

Weather averages in July

CityMax.Temp (°C)Min. Temp (°C)Number of rainy days
Zurich251511
Geneva26147
Zermatt21914
Lugano28188

August

August is the hottest month of the year and still belongs to the high season with increased prices and scarce availabilities in the tourist areas. Refresh yourself in one of the crystal clear lakes and rivers, which are not quite as crowded after the summer vacations from mid-August

Your choice

You can also cool off on a guided glacier hike.

Weather averages in August

CityMax.Temp (°C)Min. Temp (°C)Number of rainy days
Zurich241511
Geneva26138
Zermatt20911
Lugano28188
Lauterbrunnen (Photo: Best of Switzerland Tours)Lauterbrunnen (Photo: Best of Switzerland Tours)
(Photo: Best of Switzerland Tours)(Photo: Best of Switzerland Tours)

Autumn in Switzerland

September

Now is the time for sightseeing due to milder temperatures and fewer tourists. In various regions of Switzerland, the traditional Alpabzüge take place, whereby the cows and goats migrate back to the valley after their summer on the alp

Should you decide to go on a high mountain tour, now is the right moment. It is also the time of the mixed travel wardrobe, where you should be prepared for cooler temperatures.

Weather averages in September

CityMax.Temp (°C)Min. Temp (°C)Number of rainy days
Zurich20129
Geneva21107
Zermatt16612
Lugano23148

October

At high altitudes, the first snow may fall. At lower altitudes you can expect pleasantly mild days. Trendy destinations and city trips are now in high demand: Zurich, Lucerne, Lausanne, Geneva or Lugano with their lakes are worth a trip

The grape harvest in the Lavaux region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an unforgettable moment in the Swiss calendar.

October also marks the beginning of the golden autumn. The leaves change color, which is perfect for an autumn walk through the forests. The Engadine in particular is a popular destination with its golden pine forests

Weather averages in October

CityMax.temp (°C)Min. temp (°C)Number of rainy days
Zurich1589
Geneva1579
Zermatt12210
Lugano17108

November

At the latest now it's time for a culinary experience. It's gradually getting wintry, which is why we warmly recommend a cozy fondue party

A few high-altitude ski resorts are opening for business, while you can continue hiking and observing wildlife on the flatter slopes

Meanwhile, tourist flows and prices are decreasing, and we expect you'll be able to put our bad weather ideas article to good use in November.

Weather averages in November

CityMax.Temp (°C)Min. Temp (°C)Number of rainy days
Zurich9310
Geneva929
Zermatt6-210
Lugano1268
Lake Sils (Photo: Switzerland Tourism Andreas Gerth)Lake Sils (Photo: Switzerland Tourism Andreas Gerth)
Saas Fee hiking autumn Hannig (Photo: ©SaastalTourismusAG)Saas Fee hiking autumn Hannig (Photo: ©SaastalTourismusAG)

Winter in Switzerland

December

During the shortest days of the year, not only winter sports resorts flourish, but also indoor activities. You will benefit from the tempting offer of wellness oases, water parks, Escape Rooms and museums A stroll through one of the many Christmas markets will put you in a festive mood. Throughout Switzerland, the Christmas illuminations make the winter nights shine in festive splendor

Weather averages in December

CityMax.temp (°C)Min. temp (°C)Number of rainy days
Zurich5010
Geneva509
Zermatt2-610
Lugano825

January

In the heights the mood is top. It is high season in the winter sports resorts. In some cantons the skiing vacations are already starting, which leads to increased prices and fully booked accommodations. You can choose from a wide range of winter outdoor activities in January: sledding by day and by night as well as skiing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and much more Countless ski schools are at your service on the slopes. But also fast rides on a snowmobile or a snowbike (also called fatbike) are very popular in January.

Weather averages in January

CityMax.Temp (°C)Min. Temp (°C)Number of rainy days
Zurich4-110
Geneva5-19
Zermatt1-79
Lugano715

February

The ski season continues and also the ski vacations are in full swing. This means that prices remain high, as well as the occupancy of ski resorts and accommodation. The offer also remains varied. As in January, February is perfect for all kinds of winter sports.

A Swiss-wide highlight in February is the carnival season. Everywhere there are celebrations and masquerade balls and parties. Especially in Catholic cities, carnival is widespread. Most known as carnival strongholds are the cities of Lucerne and Basel.

Weather averages in February

CityMax.Temp (°C)Min. Temp (°C)Number of rainy days
Zurich609
Geneva7-17
Zermatt2-78
Lugano925
 Aletsch Arena Eggishorn Viewpoint (Photo: Aletsch Arena AG) Aletsch Arena Eggishorn Viewpoint (Photo: Aletsch Arena AG)
Glacier3000 dog sledding (Photo: Raphael Dupertuis Gstaad 3000 AG)Glacier3000 dog sledding (Photo: Raphael Dupertuis Gstaad 3000 AG)

The best time for winter sports in Switzerland

Christmas time and January and February are considered the ultimate winter sports months. It is especially in the ski resorts high season - not least because of the ski vacations in Swiss schools Also the pre-Christmas period in December and partly November as well as the month of March are suitable for winter sports.

Winter activities in Switzerland do not only include skiing and snowboarding Other popular activities are:

Selection of winter activities with suitable travel times and locations in Switzerland

outdoor activityarea/regionaltitude (m a.s.l.)best timescomments
cross-country skiingEngadin1779 - 1818November to March240 cross-country skiing trails km, of which 6.5km are night trails
Davos1185 - 1860November to March>100 km of cross-country ski trails, of which 18.5 km are dog trails 2.5 km are floodlit trails
SleddingAlbula Pass from Preda to Bergün1367 - 1789mid-December to mid-March6.5 km long, also night sledding, through viaducts of the Rhaetian Railway (UNESCO World Heritage)
Fideriser Heuberge in Prättigau900 - 2000Christmas to end of February12 km sledging run with 1100 m altitude difference, on nights around full moon also night sledging
Lenzerheide1495 - 1906December to March3.8 km piste, Wednesdays Night sledging "Light Rider" with light installations and challenge
Les Diablerets1170-1730beginning of December to mid April7.2 km piste
ice climbingZermatt (Blatten, Furri or Schweigmatten)1620 - 1865December - Aprilfrozen waterfalls and ice-covered rock faces, only with experienced mountain guide
SnowkitingSimplonpass2000mid-December - mid-Apriluntouched snow; on pass the necessary wind of 6-7 knots blows, check weather report
SnowbikingDavos1800 -2483Christmas to mid-Marchuntouched snow
SnowmobileTitlis SnowXpark1800mid December - mid Aprilnear Titlis Trübsee station
Glacier3000 dog sledding (Photo: Raphael Dupertuis Gstaad 3000 AG)Glacier3000 dog sledding (Photo: Raphael Dupertuis Gstaad 3000 AG)
Titlis SnowXpark Snow Mobile (Photo: Titlis Bergbahnen)Titlis SnowXpark Snow Mobile (Photo: Titlis Bergbahnen)

Wusstest du, dass du auch im Sommer in der Schweiz Wintersport betreiben kannst? Im Skigebiet Matterhorn Glacier Paradise ist das möglich. Es wird von Athleten aus der ganzen Welt genutzt. Du hast also gute Chancen, hier auf Prominente zu treffen.

The best time to go hiking in Switzerland

For hiking, every month is the best time to travel: snowshoeing, autumn hiking, spring hiking, caving (ideal in midsummer) and glacier hiking are possible all year round.

From June to September, most mountain lifts are in operation and most of the snow has melted. Therefore, these months are best for hiking in the mountains. Switzerland maintains a well-developed network of signposted hiking trails. In our guide about Hiking in Switzerland you can learn more about this topic.

San Salvatore (Photo: Ticino Tourism Agency ATT SA)San Salvatore (Photo: Ticino Tourism Agency ATT SA)
Rigi Panorama hiking trails Lake Lucerne Queen of the mountains (Photo: Rigi Bergbahnen)Rigi Panorama hiking trails Lake Lucerne Queen of the mountains (Photo: Rigi Bergbahnen)

The best time for sightseeing in Switzerland

To make your sightseeing ideal, it pays to follow some rules of thumb. Pleasant temperatures, no tourist crowds, and good traffic and transportation connections

How you determine your ideal travel time depends on how you want to explore the city. You can either do it on your own or join a tour. You can also explore a city by tuk tuk, e-bike or Segway

Basically, spring and autumn are good seasons for a city trip. But of course you can also stroll through the alleys in summer and winter.

In our article about city tours and sightseeing in Switzerland you can learn more about this topic

City tours self-guided city tour family (Photo: Basel Tourismus)City tours self-guided city tour family (Photo: Basel Tourismus)
Cargo Bike Tour (Photo: Loop Tours)Cargo Bike Tour (Photo: Loop Tours)

The best time to travel for culinary experiences in Switzerland

Love for the country also comes through good food. Countless culinary experiences complement your classic restaurant visit or private invitation. Depending on the dish, a certain time of the year proves to be ideal.

  • Cheese fondue we eat especially in the winter months. Game specialties are popular on national menus in late autumn. Barbecue dishes under the open sky are very popular in the summer months.
  • Culinary Hikes and bicycle tours are especially popular in summer and fall
  • Culinary boat tours are offered year-round or from spring through fall, depending on the region.
  • Culinary mountain tours you can take all year round and enjoy a delicious meal with a perfect view.
  • Also Wine tastings are a great experience all year round. It is most beautiful in summer and autumn, when the vines bear lush green leaves and the grapes are ripe.
Fondue fun snowshoe summit fondue St Antönien (Photo: Thomas Herdieckerhoff Prättigau Tourismus)Fondue fun snowshoe summit fondue St Antönien (Photo: Thomas Herdieckerhoff Prättigau Tourismus)
 James Bond Brunch Schilthorn (Photo: Schilthornbahnen) James Bond Brunch Schilthorn (Photo: Schilthornbahnen)

The best time to travel for events in Switzerland

Countless events fill the months of the Swiss annual calendar. In this immense offer of big and small festivals and traditions, you are guaranteed to find what you are looking for. The following events should encourage you in your personal search:

Top events in Switzerland

  • January: Lauberhorn Race Wengen - World Cup Ski Race of the Extra Class
  • February: White Turf St. Moritz - exclusive VIP horse race in a white dream setting
  • April: Lucerne Festival - an international mecca of classical music
  • June: Art Basel - the international art fair of Switzerland
  • July: Montreux Jazz Festival - the biggest Swiss music festival with artists from all over the world
  • August: Locarno Film Festival - one of the most important film events in the world
  • August: Omega European Masters Crans Montana - one of the most prestigious professional golf tournaments
  • September: Weltklasse Zürich - the best athletes in the world

Other interesting events in Switzerland

  • January: World Snow Festival Grindelwald with snow and ice sculptures as far as the eye can see
  • April: Zermatt Unplugged at the foot of the Matterhorn, a special kind of music festival celebrates the end of the alpine winter.
  • June: the Zurich Seenachtsfest with a mixture of folk festival, fair, music and parties (takes place every three years)
  • August: the Swiss National Day is celebrated on August 1 in a big way all over the country
  • September: traditional wine festivals in the Swiss wine-growing regions
  • September: numerous alpine processions and alpine festivals in the Swiss mountain regions
  • December: Christmas markets in all cities in Switzerland

As I said, the choice is huge. Take the opportunity to book the right event on your ultimate trip through Switzerland.

As you can see, there is no such thing as the par excellence best time to travel to Switzerland. There is only your best time to travel. The Swiss climate is as diverse as the country itself, depending on the region. Orientate yourself according to your desire and travel purpose on the rich offer of the respective months. The good news is that you can always visit Switzerland at any time of the year.

Lauberhorn Race Wengen (Photo: Jungfrau Railways)Lauberhorn Race Wengen (Photo: Jungfrau Railways)
Zürich Event Theaterspektakel (Photo: Zürich Tourism)Zürich Event Theaterspektakel (Photo: Zürich Tourism)

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