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As an Alpine country, Switzerland is known for its stunning scenery, magnificent snowy slopes, and excellent ski resorts. It is home to some of the world's most beautiful winter destinations, such as Zurich, Davos, and Saint Moritz. So, naturally, many people dream of visiting Switzerland in December to experience the charm of a European white Christmas. With its magical wintry landscapes and centuries-old traditions, celebrating Christmas in Switzerland is indeed a special treat.

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Switzerland Weather in December

Snow fall during December in the Lucerne Reuss.
Expect snowfall during December so pack plenty of layers and winter clothes.

December is the official start of winter in Switzerland, although the snow will start falling in the Alps in November. Thus, the weather in Switzerland in December is very cold, and temperatures range from -1°C to 4°C.

In lowland cities like Lugano, Zurich, and Geneva, the average temperature fluctuates between -1.6°C and 5.4°C. Higher elevation areas, such as the Alps, are much colder during this time. For instance, the average temperature in Zermatt varies between -3.5°C and -12°C.

Switzerland experiences several days of snow during December, so pack plenty of layers and winter clothes. To increase your chances of experiencing a perfect Christmas in Switzerland, visit an Alpine location, such as the Jungfrau Region and Zermatt.

Check out our seasonal overview for the best time to visit Switzerland.

Weather in Switzerland in December - Rainfall and Temperatures

Avg Daily (°C)742
Avg Nightly (°C)2-1-2
Avg Daily (°F)454036
Avg Nightly (°F)363129
Avg Rainfall (mm)707070

Why Visit Switzerland in December

Young woman skiing in the mountains during December in Switzerland
Indulge in the adrenaline rush of skiing and snowboarding during a winter holiday in Switzerland.
Oeschinen Lake glows like a mirror reflecting the snowy surrounding peaks
Switzerland's greatest sights are its Lake Oeschinen, which looks like it's on fire due to the contrast of its blue-colored waters and snowy surrounding peaks.

Many tourists avoid Switzerland in the winter due to the extremely cold weather. But there are great reasons why you should visit Switzerland in December. Here are some:

  • Beautiful Christmas markets: Visiting Switzerland in December also means enjoying its many pop-up Christmas markets in various towns and villages. Montreux's Christmas market is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland. It is the time of year when this resort town on Lake Geneva transforms into a magical winter wonderland.
  • Winter playground: Winter in Switzerland is synonymous with winter sports like skiing. In fact, skiing is one of the best things to do in Switzerland. Most tourists head straight to the spectacular ski resorts in the Swiss Alps to play on the magical, snowy playground during winter.
  • Stunning mountains: Switzerland is home to many natural wonders, such as the iconic Matterhorn, dubbed the ‘Toblerone Mountain’, which looks even more beautiful when covered in snow. The winter season also adds charm to Switzerland's many beautiful lakes, such as Oeschinen Lake, which glows like a mirror reflecting the snowy surrounding peaks.
  • Fewer crowds: December is a low tourist season in Switzerland, which frees up the main cities of Zurich and Geneva, leaving them less crowded for you to explore in a more relaxed way. Take advantage of this opportunity to visit the Swiss National Museum, The Grossmünster Cathedral, and the Saint Pierre Cathedral of Geneva, among other attractions.
  • Great hotel deals: There are many awesome hotel deals to take advantage of when you visit Switzerland during the off-season. Except in the Swiss Alps, a hotspot for skiers in December, you will find many great hotel deals during the winter season in Switzerland. Here are our best deals for a Switzerland vacation.

Where to Go and What to Do

After skiing down the slopes in Alps, a cable car is great to head back.
Hop on a cable car and get ready to ski the slopes in the Alps in Switzerland.

On your winter trip to Switzerland, marvel at historic churches and guild houses in Zurich's Old Town. Since the streets are quiet, you will be able to explore this historic part of the town without having loads of tourists blocking your way or photobombing your snaps. The quiet streets of Zurich are what make the city worth visiting in December. Have a look at our tours to Zurich.

In Lucerne, spend your days hunting down its postcard-worthy structures dating back to the Middle Ages. The city is also home to some of Switzerland's most beautiful Christmas markets, so be sure to check them out. After a day of exploring, the best way to relax is to soak in the thermal baths of Switzerland. You will find the best thermal baths in Zurich, but if you want to unwind while being surrounded by spectacular mountain views, head to The Therme Vals in Graubunden Canton.

When you visit Switzerland in December, sleeping in an igloo is one of the fun things you can do. For this experience, head to the Igloo Village in Zermatt. Spend a night or two there depending on how many days you will spend in Switzerland.

Given its cold weather, some might argue that December might not be the greatest time to travel to Switzerland. But with its incredible wintry landscapes that seem straight out of a fairytale, a holiday to Switzerland in December is always a good idea. This is the time of year when the Swiss Alps create a magical and romantic atmosphere that makes for a truly unforgettable holiday experience. From visiting Christmas markets to soaking in the thermal baths and sleeping in an igloo hotel, a trip to Switzerland in December is one you will never forget.

Plan a customized trip to Switzerland with the help of our local travel specialists.

Related articles:
Switzerland in November
Switzerland in January

Published by Astha Joshi, updated on May 19, 2023

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