Best time to visit Switzerland

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Switzerland

Best time of year to visit Switzerland

August–September is the best time to visit Switzerland and enjoy its fabulous landscapes either on a hike, or a cruise, a train or a bike ride. You’ll be able to discover the Alps, its blacknose sheep, and glaciers. This season allows to combine the incompatible, namely beach holidays on the lakes and summer skiing. In winter, there’re generally fewer things to do but enchanting Christmas atmosphere makes for it. Moreover, wintertime is rich in extravagant events: Basel Art and L'Escalade highlight December; and February is known for Europe’s most spectacular horse races—White Turf St. Moritz, Basel Fasnacht carnival, and bizarre Eis-zwei-Geissebei or Sausage Tossing.

24 THINGS TO DO IN SWITZERLAND (JULY 06 - JULY 15)

Glacier Express

Glacier Express

December 15 2019–October 11 2020 • activity

Take a train from Zermatt to Davos or St. Moritz to see unique Alpine landscapes

The Trift Bridge

The Trift Bridge

May–October • activity

Walk the longest pedestrian bridge in the Swiss Alps for exceptional views

Hiking and Trekking

Hiking and Trekking

April–November • activity

Switzerland with its alpine landscapes is a true hiker's paradise

Bernina Express

Bernina Express

May–October • activity

This amazing Alpine journey guarantees spectacular views all the way

Summer Skiing

Summer Skiing

May–September • activity

If you missed the skiing season, don't worry. Try glacier skiing in Switzerland during the summer

Valais Blacknose Sheep

Valais Blacknose Sheep

May–October • nature

Some of the cutest residents of the Swiss Alps

Montreux Jazz Festival

Montreux Jazz Festival

July 03–18, 2020 • event

Plunge into the world of music at one of the biggest and best-known annual jazz festival in Swiss "Sun Riviera"

Cheese

Cheese

May–October • food

Witness how some of the world's fine cheeses are made in the heart of Swiss Alps

The Rhine Falls

The Rhine Falls

April–September | August 01 • nature

The largest waterfall in Europe is often called Switzerland's natural wonder

Jungfraujoch and the Sphinx Observatory

Jungfraujoch and the Sphinx Observatory

May–October • activity

This mountain is often called the peak of Europe

Gotthard Pass

Gotthard Pass

June–October • activity

Enjoy the majesty of Alps from one of the most scenic routes

Lac Léman or Lake Geneva Cruise

Lac Léman or Lake Geneva Cruise

mid-April–mid-October • activity

Explore one of Europe's largest lake and its picturesque surroundings

Cycling

Cycling

March–November • activity

With its great lakes and wide meadows Switzerland is a paradise for cyclists

Teufelsbrücke or Devil's Bridge

Teufelsbrücke or Devil's Bridge

May–October • activity

One of the most stunning bridges in Switzerland

Simplon Pass (Passo del Sempione)

Simplon Pass (Passo del Sempione)

all year round • activity

One of the most scenic drives in the Alps, featured in Giro d'Italia

Grimsel Pass

Grimsel Pass

June–mid-October • activity

The road that crosses the continental divide between the North Sea and the Mediterranean Sea

Aletsch Glacier

Aletsch Glacier

mid-June–mid-October • activity

This enormous ice river could have provided every human being on Earth with a litre of water per day for six years

Susten Pass

Susten Pass

mid-June–October • activity

One of the most scenic roads in Europe with bridges and tunnels

Great St Bernard Pass

Great St Bernard Pass

June–September • activity

A scenic mountain pass that gdot famous thanks to its dogs

Alpine Herbs

Alpine Herbs

April–October • nature

The plants growing on high altitudes have become na​t​ural remedies for many health problems

Beach Season on Lakes

Beach Season on Lakes

June–August • activity

Only in Switzerland you can find such clean lakes in the middle of big cities!

Maloja Pass

Maloja Pass

all year round • activity

A mountain road in the scenic Alps in southeastern Switzerland

Furka Pass

Furka Pass

June–mid-October • activity

A scenic winding road loved by cyclists and motorcyclists

Birdwatching

Birdwatching

April–August • nature

Hundreds species of migrating and resident birds breed in Switzerland

18 THINGS TO DO OUT OF SELECTED DATE RANGE

L'Escalade​

L'Escalade​

December 11–13, 2020 • event

Don't miss this original and colourful Swiss celebration in Geneva

Räbechilbi: Gourd-Lantern Parade in Richterswil

Räbechilbi: Gourd-Lantern Parade in Richterswil

November 14, 2020 • event

Step into a real Halloween atmosphere with this sparkling procession

Eis-zwei-Geissebei (Sausage Tossing)

Eis-zwei-Geissebei (Sausage Tossing)

February 25, 2020 • event

An old pre-Carnival tradition from Rapperswil, near Lake Zurich

Grape Harvest and Wine Season

Grape Harvest and Wine Season

October–November • food

Visit the Canton of Valais or the famous region of Lavaux that boasts 830 hectares of terraced vineyards that stretch for almost 30 km along Lake Geneva

Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets

late November–early January • event

Check out some of the most atmospheric Christmas fairs in Europe to get into the mood before the holidays

White Turf St. Moritz

White Turf St. Moritz

February 16, 2020 • event

Some of the most amazing horse races in Europe

Art Basel

Art Basel

September 17–20, 2020 (Basel) | December 03–06, 2020 (Miami Beach) | March (Hong Kong) |  • event

Don't miss the chance to become a part of the art world for a week full of exciting events

Basel Fasnacht

Basel Fasnacht

March 02–04, 2020 • event

If you think the best carnivals are only in South America, visit Basel and you might change your mind!

Martinstag: St. Martin Festival

Martinstag: St. Martin Festival

November 11 • event

A colourful celebration marking the end of harvest time and the beginning of winter festivities

Locarno Film Festival

Locarno Film Festival

August 05–15, 2020 • event

Whoever gets Pardo D'oro in Locarno will surely become a new star in the cinema skies

Skiing and Snowboarding

Skiing and Snowboarding

December–March • activity

World famous ski resorts are not cheap but they are well worth the price

Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB)

Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB)

August 24–30, 2020 • event

One of the most challenging races in Europe, which goes through the territory of three countries, astonishes with views of mountains, rivers and glaciers

Les Pleureuses or the Mourners

Les Pleureuses or the Mourners

April 10, 2020 • event

The town of Romont is home to an unusual Easter tradition

Ticino Flower Fields

Ticino Flower Fields

March–May • nature

During spring Ticino becomes the most romantic region of Switzerland

Open Air Gampel

Open Air Gampel

August 20–23, 2020 • event

One of the largest Swiss open-air festivals held in a beautiful Alpine valley

Faulhorn-Grindelwald​ Toboggan

Faulhorn-Grindelwald​ Toboggan

December–March • activity

If you enjoy sledding, try the longest toboggan run in Europe

Rendez-vous Bundesplatz

Rendez-vous Bundesplatz

October 19–November 23, 2019 • event

See the Switzerland's parliament in an unexpected light

Mustard Fields in Bloom

Mustard Fields in Bloom

May • nature

Spring means yellow blossoms all over Switzerland

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Switzerland weather in January

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While temperatures vary across Switzerland, January, together with February, share the title of the coldest months. In Bern, Zurich, and Geneva, winter temperatures dangle slightly above freezing during the day and below freezing at night. Up in the Alps in places like Davos, temperatures tend to be lower than in the valleys. Many destinations throughout the country get at least a bit of snow. The exception is the low-attitude territories such a Ticino in the southern part, next to the Italian border. Snow cover up in the mountains is thick and promises an excellent skiing vacation. The days are short with sunrise at around 9 am and sunset at around 5 pm, so plan your travel itinerary accordingly. We encourage you to bring warm winter clothing like a down jacket, thermal underwear, and waterproof boots. In January, you are likely to experience some rain or snow as there are about 15 days of precipitation.

Switzerland weather in February

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February brings slightly warmer weather to Switzerland. Together with January, it has the reputation of one of the coldest months in Switzerland. In Bern, Zurich, and Geneva, average temperatures reach a maximum of 5–6 °C (41–43 °F), while minimum temperatures drop slightly below freezing. Mountainous areas, including Davos, experience temperatures roughly from -9 to 0 °C (16 to 32 °F). The abundance of precipitation is about the same as in January over 13 days when it usually snows. The days are growing longer, with about 11 hours of daylight by the end of the month, so there is more time for hitting the slopes and exploring the sights. Pack layers and bring a winter coat to keep you warm. If you are planning to spend your time up in the mountains, bring sunglasses and sunscreen as the UV index is not on your side.

Switzerland weather in March

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In lowlands, spring arrives in March with warmer temperatures and more abundant precipitation. Cities of Bern, Zurich, and Geneva enjoy the temps above the freezing point for both average highs and lows. If you are into skiing, no worries, as there is still snow at the higher elevations above 1,000 m (3,200 ft). As the sun rays get warmer, most ski resorts might close by the end of March. In places like Davos, daily temperatures crawl up above freezing as well. For the spring trip to Switzerland, you should pack not only warm layers but a few shirts. Bring sunscreen and sunglasses as the sun at higher elevations might be harmful. Days are growing longer, the closer it gets to the spring equinox.

Switzerland weather in April

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Spring is in full swing in Switzerland in April. Temperatures keep rising, wildflowers cover the meadows in Ticino and other regions, and snow has already melted in most areas of the country. The average daily temperature in Bern, Zurich, and Geneva rises to more comfortable levels for sightseeing and walking around. In these cities, the temperature warms up from about 4 °C (39 °F) at night it to approximately 14 °C (57 °F) during the day. It is a relatively quiet time in Switzerland as skiers and snowboarders head back home while summer season hikers are yet to arrive. As the weather is somewhat unstable at this time of the year, you should pack various clothes to be ready for changes. You may want to throw in a waterproof jacket too as it rains for about one-third of the month. The days keep getting longer with more daylight hours every week.

Switzerland weather in May

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May is one of the most unpredictable months in Switzerland. In a matter of days, it could switch from pleasant sunny weather to a miserable experience. Average highs keep crawling up reaching about 18 °C (64 °F) in major cities like Zurich, Bern, and Geneva, while average lows dangle around 9 °C (48 °F). Up in the Alps, in resorts like Davos, it gets warmer too, and even at night, it is mostly above the freezing point. As temperature swings are frequent, pack a wide range of clothing to feel comfortable. The rainiest season in Switzerland runs from May to August. Thus, bringing a waterproof jacket or an umbrella will help you enjoy your trip more. Yet, sunglasses could be a useful accessory too. By the end of the month, the day promises about 15 hours of daylight, giving more time for exploring the beauty of the cities and nature.

Switzerland weather in June

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June promises to be pleasantly warm but with abundant precipitation. Average highs in destinations like Bern, Zurich, and Geneva reach some 22 °C (72 °F), which is a perfect temperature for urban exploration. At night, it gets chillier, so bringing a sweater or a light jacket is a good idea. In the Alpine destinations, the temperature is usually lower, so if you plan on hiking, make sure to bring proper outerwear and waterproof shoes. As it’s the first officially warm month, there is a higher chance of finding some solitude up in the mountains than in July and August. Early morning hikes might be rather cold, but it gets warmer in the afternoon. Precipitation differs across the country, with fewer rainy days in the capital and the Lugano region and more frequent rains in Davos and other mountain resorts. Grab your umbrella or a raincoat to be ready for any weather. June has another perk—the longest daylight hours, especially on the summer solstice. On June 21, at this latitude the sun rises at around 5:30 am and sets at almost 9:30 pm, providing about 16 hours of daylight.

Switzerland weather in July

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July and August share the title of the warmest months in Switzerland. As you might have guessed, July is the peak summer season in this beautiful country. Thus, not only the temperatures are high, but so are the tourist numbers. In Zurich and Bern, the weather is typically T-shirt friendly, with average highs climbing up to 24 °C (75 °F). In Geneva, it is even warmer with about 26 °C (79°F) on a sunny day. It may be chilly in mid-summer on mountain tops, and you might encounter thick layers of snow at higher elevations. Zermatt enjoys snow cover even during the summer months. Precipitation occurs in about half of the month, so an umbrella or a raincoat would be a smart choice. July is an excellent month to enjoy open-air events, go hiking, and swim in the lakes. Yet, besides the summer attire, grab a sweater or a light jacket for cooler evenings.

Switzerland weather in August

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Temperatures indulge travelers all across the country. August shares the title of the warmest month with July. In Bern and Zurich, average highs remain at 24 °C (75 °F), and slightly warmer destinations like Geneva promise about 26 °C (79 °F). In many places around Switzerland, it gets as warm as 30 °C (86 °F) and remains like this for days at a time. Pure Swiss lakes draw even more visitors willing to dip into refreshing waters. Another way to cool off a bit is to wait until the rain, which tends to be frequent in the first half of August. Also, nights remain relatively cold, so bring a sweater and a waterproof jacket besides summer attire and a bathing suit. Daylight duration gradually decreases from about 15 hours of daylight to 13.5 hours by the end of the month. There is plenty of time to engage in outdoor activities and explore the cities.

Switzerland weather in September

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September is an excellent time to visit Switzerland when the weather is pleasant and the crowds are gradually thinning. Although the summer flowers have disappeared, the landscapes are still full of color. The Alps are beautiful, and it’s still warm enough for hiking. Yet, nights are chilly, so make sure to bring some warm clothes. The weather is usually mild but a little wet in September. The cities like Zurich and Bern see lower temperatures in September than in August, but average highs hover over 19 °C (79 °F), promising comfortable conditions sightseeing, especially earlier in the month. In mountainous areas, the air gets colder as well, but days are typically warm, with about 15–18 °C (59–64 °F). Rainfall decreases throughout the month as well. Days are getting shorter as the autumn equinox approaches, and by the end of the months, Swiss destinations receive less than 12 hours of daylight.

Switzerland weather in October

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October is a transition month from the summer-like weather of September to wintry weather that usually comes in November. This month is typically crisp and cool, and crowds are gone, which makes it a great time to visit Switzerland. Major cities such as Bern, Zurich, and Geneva experience average highs of about 14 °C (57 °F), and night temperatures are yet well above freezing. Up in the Alps in destinations like Davos, daily high temps are a few degrees lower than in the valleys, and at night they drop close to freezing. Make sure to bring clothes with the weather changes in mind. Rainy days are frequent, but the intensity is low. Days are getting shorter, with about 10–11 hours of daylight. The time change usually takes place on the last Sunday of October, which kind of moves sunset earlier in the day from about 6:20 pm to 5:20 pm, so plan your itinerary accordingly.

Switzerland weather in November

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November is the month when the winter season could kick off. There is a possibility of ski resorts opening at the higher elevations. In warmer years, skiers and snowboarders might need to wait until December for a proper snow cover. In resorts such as Davos, average lows drop below freezing, and average highs dangle a few degrees above freezing. It’s time to wear your winter attire now like a waterproof coat, gloves, boots, and wool socks. In Zurich, Bern, and Geneva, the weather is not that walk-friendly, but the temperatures are usually well above freezing, dropping closer to 0 °C (32 °F) at night. Precipitation is less frequent, but days are getting shorter as winter approaches.

Switzerland weather in December

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December is known as one of the coldest months in Switzerland with a good chance of snow. At lower elevations in destinations such as Bern and Zurich, night temperatures drop slightly below freezing, while during the day, they tend to be a few degrees above freezing. Geneva usually experiences warmer weather, but bringing along a hat and gloves would be a good idea. In the Alpine regions, including resorts like Davos, it’s a wonderful time for skiing and snowboarding. Snow cover usually stays at higher elevations from December to March. Too keep warm and cheered up, besides proper outerwear, visit one of the local Christmas markets for some hot wine or chocolate. Days bring about 8.5 hours of daylight.