Best Time to Visit Switzerland
Best Time for Sightseeing
Sightseeing in Switzerland is a week-long task in the least! There is the Matterhorn, which is the highest peak of the Swiss Alps- a unique pointed peak! And on top of that lies the snow-clad village of Zermatt, which is a must go!
Then there are the cities of Zurich and Geneva, which have a number of natural beauties, museums, art galleries, and other buildings. You must also go to the alpine towns of Jungfrau and Lucerne for the best experience! But all this is done best when it is a little warm; Swiss towns are snow-clad most of the year.
You will be able to see all the towns, buildings and monuments at ease, without being obstructed by either rain or snow! However, April and October is also the peak season. So go towards the extreme ends of the time frame to get the best prices- mid-April or mid-October!
Best Time to Visit for Snow Sports
Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoe trekking- all of these are enough to give you an adrenaline rush! The best time for snow sports is in January and February. All the snow sports destinations in Switzerland open their doors in November and stay open till March.
But November and March do not see the best cover of snow! Skiing and snowboarding are not very safe in thin ice, so it's best to hit up the skiing hubs of Zermatt and St Moritz in January. Many destinations in Switzerland offer skiing and snowboarding opportunities, but these two top the list! St Moritz even allows snowshoe trekking- hiking in 3-4 inches of snow!
This is an activity reserved only for avid trekkers! Even Lucerne is an excellent location for skiing! In Zermatt, you could also try hiking up the Matterhorn- this is a moderate hike in winter! But all this is best done in January, under the thick snow cover!
Best Time for Honeymoon in Switzerland
And needless to say, in a place as picturesque as Switzerland, romance is always in the air! For a honeymoon, there are two distinct seasons in which you should visit Switzerland. You could go in July and August when the weather is warm and pleasant, and all the valleys are green and blooming with exotic flowers.
Or you could visit in winter, in the months of December and January, when all the towns and valleys, even ones as low as 1200 m, are covered with snow! Generally, the best places for a honeymoon in Switzerland are Jungfrau, Lucerne, and Zermatt.
If you are going in summer, you should head for Lucerne and Jungfrau. The green valleys and lakes are mesmerizing. And if you are going in winter, the unanimous choice is Zermatt! Snow-covered and straight out of a fairytale, Zermatt will give you an unforgettable experience!
Best Time for Hiking
Also, the hikes offer panoramic views of the Swiss Alps and lush green valleys. Switzerland has quite a few famous hiking trails, which can give adrenaline junkies the time of their life! First and foremost is the hike to the Matterhorn in Zermatt, which is tricky and challenging, but a treat for the eyes when you reach the summit.
The other more accessible option is the Eiger trail near Interlaken, which is not very high and takes you atop another one of the country’s stunning peaks- the Eiger!
Best Time to Visit Lakes
If you visit in winter, there is a good chance it will be too cold for you to take a stroll by the lake or go for a cruise in the lake. Lake Lucerne, Lake Zurich, Lake Thun and Lake Brienz in Interlaken and Lake Geneva are five of the most stunning lakes in the country and all offer cruises in summer.
In winter, some of the lakes on higher altitudes freeze, and the lower ones do not offer cruises anymore. So to really take in the beauty of lakes in the valleys and mountains, you must visit in summer.
Best Season to Visit Switzerland
Mid-June to mid-September, there is high demand because the snow melts and the hiking trails are ready. Also, the tiny villages and valleys are lush green, and the flowers are in full bloom. On the other hand, in winter, the skiing towns nestled in the Swiss Alps are covered in inches of snow and ready to host tourists for snow sports like skiing and snowboarding.
Thus Mid-June to mid-September is the best season to visit Switzerland in its full glory.
In fact, it might be the best season to visit Switzerland if you consider traveling on a budget! This season lasts from mid-April to mid-June and from mid-September to mid-October. In this season, the weather is still pleasant though it may rain on a day or two. The hiking trails are clear, and even the lakes are at their best. You could avail of a cruise on any of the lakes during this season!
You will be able to take cruises in the lake, visit museums and monuments and dine at budget-friendly restaurants without having a massive crowd around you! However, if you are a skiing enthusiast or a trekker, this season is not the best for you as the snowfall is not good during this time of the year!
Best Time to Visit Switzerland by Month
In cities like Zurich, the average maximum temperature during the day falls to 2 degrees, and at night the temperature is always sub-zero. In the skiing town of Zermatt, the ice coat is thick, and the temperature is sub-zero for almost the whole month! However, it is during this month that you can put on your best skiing effort at Zermatt or St Moritz.
Average Maximum Temperature: 2 degrees Celsius.
You can also try snowboarding and snowshoe trekking. Since there is sunlight for a longer period of time, you have enough time for sightseeing as well, and you can spend more time outdoors. However, keep in mind that the nights will still have sub-zero temperatures, and as a result, you should be prepared with enough warm clothes for the night.
Average Maximum Temperature : 6 Degree Celsius
However, the nights can still get cold, with temperatures falling to a minimum of 3 degrees Celsius at night. This is the best month to visit Switzerland for sightseeing at a shoestring budget! Winter and ski season is over, and summer and hiking season is yet to arrive- so prices are low.
Average Maximum Temperature: 11 degrees Celsius.
The beautiful flowers start blooming across the valleys and meadows this month because of the sunlight and rain. The average maximum temperature is 15 degrees Celsius, and the weather is pleasant. At night, the temperatures may still drop to 4 degrees, so it's better to bring warm clothes along with you if you’re traveling to Switzerland this month!
Average Maximum Temperature: 15 degrees Celsius.
Average Maximum Temperature: 20 degrees Celsius.
It is risky to hike in this weather, but this is a good time for sightseeing within cities- museums and monuments! But you must carry sunscreen and a waterproof jacket with you! You never know what kind of weather will be greeting you that day! However, this is the best month to visit Switzerland without crowds. Very soon, the peak season of July arrives with people arriving from all over the world.
Average Maximum Temperature: 21 degrees Celsius.
You can buy tickets to all the open-air festivals and go for hikes to the Matterhorn or the Eiger! You can also visit Lake Lucerne, Lake Zurich, or Lake Geneva for a breezy afternoon. The average temperature is 24 degrees Celsius, so you can pack only summer clothes. However, the temperature may drop a bit in the evening, so make sure you pack a light sweater!
Average Maximum Temperature: 24 degrees Celsius.
Swimming in the beautiful, crystal blue lakes of Switzerland is a popular activity in the summer months! However, when it does rain, it brings the temperature down quite a bit! Even then, the nights see a minimum temperature of 13 degrees Celsius. Pack summer clothes, swimsuits, and a waterproof jacket.
Average Maximum Temperature: 24 degrees Celsius.
You can hike, enjoy strolls or dips in the lakes and also do a fair share of roaming around the valleys and villages, which are lush green this time of the year. All the flowers are also in full bloom, and hiking by the meadows will allow you to see a variety of pretty flowers!
However, during the second half of the month, the average maximum temperature dips to 20 degrees, and the nights may get as cold as 10 degrees Celsius! So pack a good mix of sweaters, jackets and summer clothes!
Average Maximum Temperature: 24 degrees at the beginning and 20 degrees at the end of the month.
Make sure you pack in layers- it is the most effective way to protect yourself from the chill! But this is the best time of the year to visit Switzerland as the peak summer season has waned and winter season is yet to come!
Average Maximum Temperature: 14 degrees Celsius.
The tourists are few, and the prices of the lodges and flights will be lesser than the summer months! The average maximum temperature is as low as 7 degrees Celsius, and it can fall to a minimum of 2 degrees!
Average Maximum Temperature: 7 degrees Celsius.
All the towns, villages and resorts are brimming with people, and everything is decked up for Christmas and New Year! This is a magical time to be in this country! You can ski with your friends or dine with family- all the options are open in this month!
Average Maximum Temperature: 4 degrees Celsius.
Best Time to Visit Switzerland for Events and Festivals
New Year’s Day
The two top places to celebrate New Year in Switzerland are Zurich and Interlaken. In Zurich, crowds gather around Lake Zurich to watch the spectacular fireworks and dance together! In Interlaken, the revelry goes on till 2nd January- there is a fireworks display at Hohematte, and then people flock to the lake for a music and dance show!
World Snow Festival
Here, for a whole week, artists and sculptors are hard at work to churn out hundreds of beautiful art sculptures! Started in 1983, this event attracts artists from all over the world! All teams are given 3-meter blocks of ice and allowed to create magic with it!
International Hot Air Balloon Festival
Started in 1979, this event is attended by participants of over 30 countries, and it takes place over nine days in the snow-covered valley of Chateau d’Oex! But the best part of the event comes on the 7th day when the balloons light up while hovering over the mountain! This is a treat for the eyes and is called a “night show”!
The festival usually takes place in the last week of February, and multiple events are organized during this time! It takes place all over the valley where clumps of people do the parade in masks made from the Arvenholz tree, a conifer found in the Alps. One of the best parades happens at Blatten in the Lotschental Valley of Switzerland.
Traditionally, the time interval between lighting the Boogg and the head bursting is taken to be symbolic of how the summer will go! If the process is quick, the summer will be warm and sunny. If it takes long, then it will be a rainy, humid summer with less brightness! This festival usually takes place on the third Monday of April.
Fête De La Musique
And secondly, it is used to treat the public to free entertainment- no fee is charged, and concerts take place in public places like parks, so that everyone, irrespective of social and financial status, can enjoy the music!
Rose aroma soaps, essential oils, and perfumed salts are sold. The whole event looks like a happy summer carnival with music, entertainment, and food stalls that sell authentic Swiss fare!
Lake Thun Fest
Dozens of performers fly in from all over the world, and the top few Swiss musical productions are also showcased! Because of the high demand and the fact that it takes place in summer, it is better if you book your tickets well in advance!
Swiss Cheese Festival
It has fun festivals related to cheese- like Full Moon Fondue and traditional Autumn Cattle Drives! Cow milking and cheese making competitions are also held, making this cheese festival an enjoyable one for all, young and old!
Vinea Le Salon Wine Fest
Not only that, but you are also taught about what food matches well with what kind of wine! If you are a novice, then this festival is the best place to find out what your poison is- red wine, white wine or rose! The event generally takes place in September or October in the town of Sierre in Switzerland.