As a country with four beautiful and distinct seasons, the best time to visit Switzerland would depend on what you are looking to do in the stunning country. In essence, any time is a good time to visit Switzerland. There are several factors to consider before you pack your bags and decide when to head over to the scenic European country.
For some people, the best time to explore Switzerland may depend on the weather. Maybe you want to visit during the warm sunny months of the summer, when the days are pleasantly warm but never too hot, thanks to the high altitude.
For some, it may be when the flights are the cheapest. And for others, it may all just come down to the simple fact of getting time off of work. For many people, going at a time when they will be able to ski, for instance, is also a big aspect when planning their trip to Switzerland.
In this guide, we will dive into the best time you can visit Switzerland, depending on your specific choice. With each season coming with its own pros and cons, you just have to decide what works best for your situation and requirements.
Spring in Switzerland
You will be hard-pressed to find a place on this earth more mesmerizing than Switzerland when the wildflowers are in full bloom. Spring is an exciting time to be here.
What makes springtime an even better travel choice is that it is the country’s off-season. That means you will likely find great deals on travel and accommodation.
Furthermore, it is also a time when you won’t have to experience thick crowds and hordes of people in your favorite places, helping you savor the surrounding beauty much less chaotically. We are sure the introvert amongst you is rejoicing in silence!
- Official dates: 21 March to 20 June
- Months: March, April, May
March: Early Spring
The south of Switzerland is where the warmth settles in the earliest, out of anywhere else in the country. In these regions, early signs of spring begin emerging in March.
It is, however, still largely wintery and chilly in most parts of the country, with highs of around 6 degrees Celsius and a fair bit of downpour.
In fact, the mountains are still quite snow-capped by this time, with lots of sunshine reflecting off of the remarkable slopes. Since the temperatures are relatively cooler but the daylight hours longer, early springtime serves as the perfect time to get the best of both worlds.
This would be a great time to grab your ski boots on and go on a nice skiing trip. The Swiss Alps are still covered in snow, yet there are fewer tourists as it isn’t full-blown winter.
One thing to note here is that cable cars are usually closed until the end of May. Therefore, if you want to experience the scenic mountain top views holed up in a cable car, you may want to go a little later in the year.
April to May: Spring Low Season
In April, you can expect the country to start to warm up. By this time, it is too warm to ski and resorts will begin to close, specifically in the lowlands.
If you are on a budget, April is the perfect time to visit Switzerland. More and more summer tourist attractions and hiking trails start to open up. Most trails are rid of snow, but can still feel muddy.
Of course, weather often tends to have a mood of its own and does not follow a definite pattern. Some years, you may find snow in April as well. As a ballpark, though, the temperatures in May hover between 15 and 19 degrees Celsius.
Similar to March, the months of April and May are pretty hushed, with thin crowds dispersed throughout the tourist spots. While the crowds may be few and far between during spring in Switzerland, you would need to check and book beforehand to see what’s available and open when you do reach there.
For train enthusiasts, Switzerland is a great place all year round, but given the blooming Swiss meadows coupled with the last reminders of snowy winters, a train ride in the springtime is hard to beat.
Summer in Switzerland
Switzerland’s peak summer lasts from June till August. The weather is mild, with plenty of gorgeous sun to laze around in and gentle summer winds running through the grassy greens.
Serving as the perfect canvas for hiking hobbyists, trails start to open up, and the lakes get ready for swimmers and boaters. Contrary to the spring months, the prices in the summer are high, with popular tourist locations packed with crowds.
- Official dates: 21 June to 20 September
- Months: June, July, August
June: Early Summer
June is when the peak hiking season begins. All the eagerly-awaited cable cars finally re-open. If you want to enjoy scenic hikes without the interruption of frequent crowds, June is a good month to explore.
If you are a stickler for avoiding crowds, another thing that you can do is visit places that are a bit more under the radar. Think: Mt. Stockhorn and Mt. Niesen.
You may still need to dress a little heavy as some trails may have snow in June. However, hiking areas, such as Canton Valais, experience perfect temperatures of around 20 degrees Celsius along with plenty of daylight hours.
July and August
The weather in July begins to touch a pleasant high of 24 to 25 degrees during the daytime, making it the perfect time to go for a nice dip in Lake Sils or the Aare River.
Also serving as the peak season for coach car tours, summers in Switzerland are a romantic’s dream. Mt. Titlis and Jungfraujoch are favorites amongst fellow visitors. Switzerland in summers is a festive affair with festivals and celebrations cropping up in every corner of the country. You will never find a dull moment while visiting Switzerland during the summer months.
A major event to look out for is the Montreux Jazz Festival, lasting from late June to the mid of July.
Another highlight to space out on your travel itinerary is the Ascona Music Festival. You will witness renowned music artists from around the world taking part in this beautiful celebration of the art of music.
If you are traveling with family, the festival Gauklerfest Interlaken is one to watch out for. The streets are brought to life by a plethora of activities surrounding you, such as juggling, musicals, acrobatics, and much more.
Since summers are the peak holiday season and often serve as the best time to explore Switzerland, you may not be able to score the discounts that you would during the spring. Thus, assess your options and see what works best for you.
Autumn/Fall in Switzerland
Anyone who has been to Switzerland during the fall or autumn period knows the kind of magic this time of the year brings. For many, it is the best time to give Switzerland a visit and enjoy reasonable prices while taking in the breathtaking scenery of the country.
- Official dates: 21 September to 20 December
- Months: September, October, November
During September, summers are gradually leaving with slight fog beginning to settle in. The weather is still warm enough to enjoy most summer activities but not too hot to resort to air conditioning and other heat-combatting tactics that you would otherwise have to during peak summer months.
Very little rain occurs during this period. But the best part is the colorful trees adorning shades of reds and yellows, perfect for the fairy tale lovers amongst you.
The days are relatively shorter. But they are still long enough for you to make the best of your time in the country. For instance, you can still effectively do some trekking without experiencing the extreme end of the weather. Just make sure you do it before October starts, as that is when the temperatures begin to drop down.
September in Switzerland is most notable for its descent of the magnificent cows from the mountains as they head back to the valleys of Alpabfahrt. You would witness villagers gathering to celebrate and welcome the flower-crowned cows with joy and fanfare. The whole festival is an embodiment of warmth and gratification.
In October, the weather starts to get hints of chilliness and the leaves begin to alter. Daylight hours start to decrease significantly and the mountaintops are once again beginning to turn white as snow makes its way onto the slopes.
Hiking enthusiasts need not worry, though, as not all trails are closed as a result of snowing. However, cable cars do begin to shut down during October. But not all is lost in October. As mentioned earlier, any time is a great time to see Switzerland. Similarly, October is the best time to visit Switzerland for those of you who love wine.
This is when you will encounter the Basel Wine Fair at the end of the month. Not only that, but the entire month of October is the grape-harvesting season.
For those of you who don’t care much for the outdoors and would rather go with indoor spots, November is the perfect time to visit Switzerland.
You would find a wide array of different museums and other indoor historical sites, bringing to life the country’s rich past.
November is also one of the cheapest times to get your hands on a nice accommodation and flight deal. Remember to check the weather reports before you book your tickets.
Winter in Switzerland
December through February are the official winter months in Switzerland. For many people around the world, these months signify the best time to visit Switzerland and take advantage of the prime skiing time.
- Official dates: 21 December to 20 March
- Months: December, January, February
In December, Switzerland is cold and dreary. But that does not take away from its magic, as the winters in Switzerland can only lead to two things: enthralling skiing on the outdoor slopes or hearty food and hot drinks by the indoor fire.
Visiting Switzerland during December is a competitive sport in itself. If you want to enjoy the best of these colder months with plenty of snow surrounding you, you would need to book well in advance.
Make sure you are high up in the Alps when choosing accommodation. And did we mention the charming Christmas markets of Switzerland? Christmas in Switzerland is as dreamy as can be.
For the romantic in you, the Zurich Christmas Market will serve as the prime spot. While for those of you with children – or with a sense of fantasy yourself – it cannot get any better than the Montreux Christmas Market, where Santa and his reindeer can be seen making their way through the sky.
January and February
While the first taste of winter starts in December, the most popular months for skiing are January and February. These are also some of the most densely crowded months on the Swiss slopes, with numerous people flocking from around the world to enjoy the breathtaking views of the mountains.
During busy periods, many resorts will require you to book a stay of at least a week. Besides the crowds, these are also the coldest and the busiest months, which means reservations should be done months prior if you want to stay near the slopes.
St. Moritz, a tiny resort town, is the most popular destination during these months. There are plenty of trails to go around and the lakes freeze to make way for popular winter sports activities, such as ice-skating and ice polo.
Being a train lover’s dream, Switzerland’s Bernina Express is not to be missed in the winters as it makes its way from St. Moritz and travels through Alpine valleys, astounding glaciers, and some of Europe’s highest altitudes, providing views that seem too stunning to be real.
Undoubtedly, the winter months are the best time to visit Switzerland for adventure lovers. However, the remarkable cities of this country do not take a backseat with their beauty either. Places like Zurich, Bern, and Zermatt are a delight to explore even in winters.
Best Month to Visit Switzerland?
The best months to visit Switzerland vary depending on your particular choice. If you are on the lookout for outdoor activities that don’t involve a lot of snow, September and October are great choices.
These months are not too cold nor too hot at lower altitudes, and many great trails are still open to the public. You also get to see nature taking its course as the trees change colors, giving a certain aesthetic to Switzerland’s streets.
If, however, you are a thrill-seeker and enjoy any kind of snow sport, nothing beats a trip to Switzerland during the winter season.
Best Time to Ski in Switzerland?
In Switzerland, skiing lasts about six months, starting in November. The best months to ski during that time period are January and February.
Witnessing the highest density of crowds, these months are also the most expensive in terms of travel affordability. Even with the high airfares and accommodation costs, hopeful tourists need to make reservations well in advance to enjoy the best of winters in Switzerland.
Best Places to Visit in Switzerland in Winter?
Switzerland is widely known as a snow sports lover’s dream. But you don’t have to be a proficient skier to enjoy the snow-capped beauty of this remarkable country.
Many indoor activities often don’t make it into mainstream travel discussions. But if you want the best of both worlds, a train ride in St. Moritz’s Bernina Express offers stunning views from the cozy warmth of the steadily-moving vehicle while you look out onto the mighty slopes.
Cities like Bern and Zurich are also great places to explore on foot during the winter months. Not to mention the Christmas markets in these cities that offer memorable activities for families to enjoy.
Best Time to Visit the Swiss Alps?
The Swiss Alps are what many people associate Switzerland with. When you think about the Swiss Alps, a snowy, dreary winter image might conjure up in your mind. However, you’d be surprised to know that the best time to visit the Swiss Alps is from June until October.
During these months, the weather is balmy. Not a lot of rain occurs, and you are surrounded by flourishing nature wherever you set foot.
These amazing weather conditions serve as the perfect time to hike and trek along the many trails across the country while avoiding the rush of the crowds.