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Switzerland has been one of the most popular tourist destinations for many reasons. The snow-capped peaks, the stunning vistas, endless snow sports, or just relaxing by a roaring fire with a cup of world famous Swiss hot chocolate or cheese fondue in hand. Whatever your reason for visiting Switzerland, you just have to make sure that you’re visiting during the right time.
Determining the best time to visit Switzerland will help you plan your entire holiday, and also let you finalize on what activities you’ll be able to do. So, read on to find out when to visit Switzerland, for your ideal holiday!
- Best time to visit: April – June, September – October
- High Season: July – August
- Low Season: October – March
- Best Ski Season: December – March
- All Seasons: April – June (spring), July – August (summer), September – October (fall), November – March (winter)
- The best time to visit Switzerland is during the shoulder seasons, between April and June, and September to October, when the weather is at best, and there aren’t too many tourists.
- The high season is July to August, when the weather in Switzerland is the warmest it is in the entire year, but you will have to face a lot of tourists, and over 50% increase in prices.
- Winter (between December and March) is low season in most parts of the country, as there will be intense snowstorms. However, this is the best season for those who want to go on ski trips.
Switzerland is a country that at once defies all stereotypes, and lives up to all of them. It’s truly the land of picture–perfect mountains, postcard like villages, amazing cheese, chocolate, and utter peace. However, there is more to discover of this country than most people would expect – from the strict punctuality of the Swiss, to their utter hospitality. You will definitely find something amazing at every corner, there is no doubt that this is one of the most picturesque destinations you’re ever going to visit in your life.
Depending on what you want to do, you will be able to discover different parts of Switzerland, no matter which part of the year your travel in. However, there are certain seasons when the weather in Switzerland makes the destination impossible to resist. You just have to identify the best time to go to Switzerland, based on what you like to do best!
April to June – Spring / Good Season
April – June is a good season to visit Switzerland for a number of reasons. The snowfall would have just reduced to bearable levels, so you will still be able to see Switzerland for the winter wonderland that it is. Moreover, the crowds from the ski slopes would have also left, and the summer crowd would not have trickled in yet, and you will be able to find most accommodation and travel tickets for cheaper.
The weather in Switzerland might be slightly wet during this season, but the accommodation will be cheaper, the wildflowers will be blooming all across the valleys, and a ride on the cable cars will offer stunning views.
- Avg. Temperature: 60 – 74° F / 16 – 23° C (in Zurich)
- Rainfall: 137 – 173 mm
- Season: Spring
- Highlights: There are some places you must definitely visit during these months, especially hiking. All trails up to 2000 m will be clear of snow, providing you a clear path to trek up, with stunning snow–capped peaks to view. This is also a great time to catch those quaint scenic train rides, as well. Make sure you visit Lake Lugano, on the Italian–Swiss border (make sure you carry your passport). Lake Maggorie, and Ronco Sopra Ascona are also stunning places to visit. Make sure you stop by Ascona, for its famous art festival, Artisti di Strada in May, or by Geneva for Fete de la Musique in June.
July to August – Summer / High Season
This is when most tourists descend on Switzerland, and if you visit the country during this period, you will know exactly why. The weather is perfect and warm, with wildflowers growing all across the valley. The snow thaws during this season, even in the higher passes, so you will be able to hike those trails as well!
Summer is one of the busiest seasons in Switzerland, only second to the ski season on the slopes. The prices can go up to 50% higher in the resorts in the mountains, and travel will also be quite expensive. However, all the mountain resorts will be open now, so you will get a great choice of places to stay in.
- Avg. Temperature: 80° F / 27° C (in Zurich)
- Rainfall: 73 – 151 mm
- Season: Summer
- Highlights: This is a good time to go to Switzerland if you want to enjoy wonderful treks. Towards the middle of the season, even the higher trails will open up for hikes. You will also get your own share of adventure sports to choose from – including biking, paragliding, and more. Lake Geneva is a must–see destination. Summer also has a number of festivals – from Fete de Geneve (July–August), or Bol d’Or Mirabaud, the continent’s biggest yacht race, held in Geneva. You can also head to Montreux, with its world-renowned jazz festival.
September to October – Fall / Good Season
These months are absolutely stunning. Fall is always a great time to visit – the weather is pretty warm, but mildly chilly. The days start getting shorter about this time, and the vibrant fall colours begin taking over the slopes. There won’t be as much snow on the higher peaks, and the crowds from summer would have started to leave around this time, making fall a cheaper time to visit. Moreover, you will get better seats on transport, and on the cable cars, now that you don’t have to fight for your spot!
- Avg. Temperature: 57 – 75° F / 14 – 24° C (in Zurich)
- Rainfall: 38 – 53 mm
- Season: Fall
- Highlights: You’ll find the best wine during this season, as this is when the grape harvests happen. The higher passes and pass roads will start closing by October, so visit those spots before they are closed. This is the best time to visit Interlaken, where you can see the stunning Jungfrau. A number of people head to Lake Brienz and Lake Thun for paragliding, or even swimming. Thun has a number of other adventures on offer during this season as well – including flying a 1930s biplane!
November– March – Winter / Low Season
This season is rather contradictory. It’s both the high season and the low season. Many resorts close around this time, but the ski slopes will be wide open, with a number of tourists. Especially around Christmas, a lot of tourists head to Switzerland to experience the snow–capped mountains, and the wonderful ski opportunities (not to mention the Christmas markets). The prices will go down in other parts of the country, except for the slopes – which is where most of the crowds will also be concentrated.
- Avg. Temperature: 41 – 50° F / 5 – 10° C (in Zurich)
- Rainfall: 25 – 196 mm
- Season: Winter
- Highlights: Head to the Valais Region, which is stunning during this season. Head to the Zermatt or Saas–Fee, where 500 odd kilometers of skiing and snowboarding awaits you. Whether you want a view of Monte Rosa, or Matterhorn, you will definitely have a great time. Take a trip on the Gornergrat Railway, or the Klein Matterhorn Cable Car, to discover views that are straight out of a magazine.