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Winter in Switzerland is a magical time. It is the peak of the winter season and the country offers some of the best snowboarding and skiing conditions in the world. The mountain resort town of Zermatt is one of the prime locations for snow sports and is home to the iconic Matterhorn peak. Aside from hitting the slopes of the Swiss Alps, there are winter festivals and events to keep everyone entertained. As most visitors head towards the mountains of Switzerland in January, the cities of Zurich and Geneva tend to be less crowded, a perfect condition for sightseeing tours. Read on to find out why you should visit Switzerland at the beginning of the year.
Switzerland’s weather in January is dominated by cold temperatures and snowfall. The country’s average daytime temperature during this time is 2°C and it can drop to -2°C at night. Zurich is slightly warmer, averaging the daytime temperature at 3°C. In the mountain town of Zermatt, the mercury can drop to -13°C. In terms of precipitation, expect around 70mm of rainfall spread across the month of January. But with frigid conditions, a lot of rain turns to snow, which is definitely what we want to see during the winter months in Switzerland.
Not sure when is the best time for you to visit Switzerland? Check out our handy seasonal guide to help you on your way.
Weather in Switzerland in January - Rainfall and Temperatures
|Avg Daily (°C)||2||6||11||15||20||21||24||23||20||14||7||4|
|Avg Nightly (°C)||-2||-2||1||3||7||11||13||13||10||7||2||-1|
|Avg Daily (°F)||36||43||52||59||68||70||76||74||68||58||45||40|
|Avg Nightly (°F)||29||29||34||38||45||52||56||56||50||45||36||31|
|Avg Rainfall (mm)||70||70||70||70||90||110||80||120||80||70||70||70|
|Avg Daily (°C)||4||2||6|
|Avg Nightly (°C)||-1||-2||-2|
|Avg Daily (°F)||40||36||43|
|Avg Nightly (°F)||31||29||29|
|Avg Rainfall (mm)||70||70||70|
If you plan to visit Switzerland in January, you will be spoiled for choice. Here are some reasons why you should visit the country in January.
- World Snow Festival: Want to experience some Alpine art during your trip? In mid-January, ice sculpture artists from all around the world descend on Grindelwald in the Jungfrau area of Switzerland to show off their skills.
- International Hot-Air Balloon Festival: If the slopes are not your scene, head off to Château-d'Oex in the Vaud Alps towards the end of January for a nine-day festival that celebrates the wonderful world of hot-air balloons.
- Peak ski season: Switzerland’s snow is on point during January. Mid-winter is one of the best times to enjoy the world-class slopes of the Swiss Alps.
- More options: January being Switzerland’s peak tourist season, you will find that there are more flights to different parts of the country, including Geneva, Bern and Zurich.
If you want to learn a new snowsport or put your skills to the test at some of the world’s best ski resorts, head to the Valais region of Switzerland, home to almost 500 kilometers of slopes. Especially with all the fresh powder in January, it is a snowboarder’s and skier's paradise. If you are just starting out, many ski schools are at your disposal. And if you consider yourself an adept skier, raise your skill to the next level by taking on some challenging and technical alpine routes.
If you prefer something a little bit less active, but still want the dramatic views of the Swiss Alps? January is the ideal time to witness the legendary Matterhorn in all its snowy glory. Winter is not the safest time to be hiking in the mountains, but you can enjoy this marvel of nature from the comfort and safety of either the Gornergrat Railway or the Klein Matterhorn Cable Car. It is definitely one of the best things to do in Switzerland in January.
When you are in Switzerland, make sure that you head to the home of fondue, Gruyere. While molten cheese is good all year round, there is something particularly heart (and body) warming about a post-ski fondue right after Christmas break. There is no better way to warm yourself up after a long day in the mountains than to hit the fondue station. And what better way to do so along with a luxurious warm mug of Swiss hot chocolate. That is January in the Alps done right.
If you are looking for a luxurious journey through Switzerland in January, get tickets aboard the Glacier Express between Zermatt and Saint Moritz to enjoy the breathtaking views, linking the two ski hubs. There is something spectacular about the views during the winter. Here are more train tours in Switzerland.
For those who are fond of snowy weather and snowsports, there is no better time to visit Switzerland than in January. The snowy month truly brings out the beauty of the country. The ski resorts offer exquisite conditions for skiing and snowboarding, while the Swiss countryside and cities assume an almost magical look during this time. The memories of Switzerland are bound to stick with you long after you arrive home.
Reach out to our travel experts to plan a customized trip to Switzerland. Just enter a couple of details, like dates and party size and we will sort the rest.
Check out our tours to Switzerland in January for more ideas.