So, you are planning a trip to Switzerland but are wondering when is the best time to visit Switzerland? Well, I believe there is no actual best time to visit Switzerland – what’s best for you may not work for someone else.
However, I am assuming you have some ideas on what you want to do in Switzerland, and where to go? But you just need to figure out whether the timing of your visit is ideal for your plans? Therefore I will still be able to help you plan your most memorable trip to Switzerland.
Below you will find numerous factors to consider. These factors will help you to decide if your chosen month is perfect, or whether the location you have planned would work during the season of your vacation.
There are many points to consider which can help you plan your epic Swiss holiday.
In my opinion, any time is a good time to visit Switzerland. Switzerland’s breathtaking scenery, world-class ski resorts, and beautiful mountain lakes seem reason enough to visit the country at least once. Switzerland is extremely versatile and plans can easily be changed and adapted depending on the weather.
- When is the Best Time to Visit Switzerland?
- Which Season is Best to visit Switzerland?
- Average Temperatures in Switzerland
- Peak Tourist Season in Switzerland
- Best Time to Visit the Swiss Alps – Hiking or Skiing
- How long to visit Switzerland for?
- Tips and Suggestions when visiting Switzerland
When is the Best Time to Visit Switzerland?
As mentioned before YOUR ‘best time’ may not be someone else’s best time to visit Switzerland. Other aspects may also determine your best time to travel to Switzerland, such as whether the flights are suitable and cheap, or maybe you would love to attend a particular Swiss Event.
Which Season is Best to visit Switzerland?
You may already know that Switzerland has four beautiful weather seasons, and all of them are completely different. And with each Swiss season, different outdoor activities become available whilst others are closing down.
NOTE: Before I explain the different seasons, let me clarify that the travel seasons in Switzerland are in most places determined by the Summer and Winter season. This is important to note when planning to use any public transport system, cable cars, funicular or boats. You will see that they are advertising their summer timetable and their winter timetables.
Carry on reading and find out which season is best to visit Switzerland – for you.
Spring in Switzerland (March to May)
Official dates: 21 March to 20 June
Spring in Switzerland is beautiful, fresh and colourful. Having said that the Swiss Alps are still covered with snow and the skiing enthusiasts are making the most out of the last few days on the ski slopes. Up to around Easter (which can be in March or April) the skiing season is still in full swing.
During that time, it is possible to ski in the morning and enjoy a pleasant spring flower walk in the afternoon along the Montreux Riviera at Lac Lèman – perfect to catch the best of both worlds. Crowds are thin, prices are starting to drop, and you’ll get over 11 hours of daylight in March.
After the Easter break the quiet time will start in the Swiss Ski Resorts. Shops and restaurants are closing for their annual holiday, and the cable car stations make the most of this time for maintenance and of course taking that well deserved break after the busy winter season. With the quiet time in May the rain may arrive and at higher altitudes some days can be miserable and quite cold again.
Spring Events in Switzerland
It is not a peak season for events but something you should not miss are the beautiful flower displays and events. Flower lovers are in for a real treat in April and May
- Morges Tulip Festival
In April the Morges Tulip Festival takes place on Lake Geneva throughout the month.
- Narcissus Spring Trail
Another unique experience is the Les Pléiades Narcissus Spring Trail – Montreux Riviera in Canton Vaud. For the best viewing of this unique sight, you want to plan to visit mid-May to mid-June. This natural sighting depends on the spring temperatures.
- Spring blossoms
Throughout the country you can experience the beautiful spring blossoms. Whether it is the Cherry trail in Flick or the Apricot blossom trail in Valais, if you are a spring blossom seeker you will be in for a treat.
- Gruyeres – Cheese festival
If you love cheese as much as the Swiss do, then pencil in the first Sunday of May and attend the annual Cheese Festival in Gruyere
Summer Season in Switzerland (June to August)
Official dates: 21 June to 20 September
With the warmer if not hotter weather now all over the country, the season of summer fluctuates between 19°C and 32°C.
The time to live outside has come and wherever you are visiting you will realise just that. Restaurant terraces are popular and the lake promenades are full with happy people acquainting themselves with the surroundings.
It is the season when most of the activities are accessible, all Swiss cable cars are running and the high mountain hiking trails are mostly snow free and awaiting to be discovered by you.
But be warned, whatever your plans are, especially if it involves Alpine activities, you MUST check the weather. Storms can arrive very quickly, which will make your Swiss alpine expedition miserable, cold and a possibly dangerous experience.
Summer events in Switzerland
Should you want to visit some of the biggest summer events in Switzerland then check out the suggestions below.
NOTE: Due to the pandemic and still ongoing investigation of how best to live with this Covid problem, some summer events still get cancelled. Always check the local website for more information. I wrote this post in September 2021.
- Ascona Music Festival in Ticino
The Music Festival in Ascona brings together renowned music artists from all over the world.
This festival takes place within the captivating beauty of Ascona right next to the magnificent Lake Maggiore. A treat for all the music enthusiasts out there, Ascona Music Festival celebrates the very existence of this art
- Montreux Jazz Festival
The famous Montreux Jazz Festival held in July. The biggest music festival in Switzerland with artists from around the world performing for two weeks on the shores of Lake Geneva.
- Zurich– Opera & Food Festivals
In July, Zürich fills your senses with melodious and powerful tunes from within the Opera house. Several dance theatres, art along with delicious world food dishes attract people from all walks of life.
- Interlaken– Gauklerfest
Another festival that takes place in the month of July is the Gauklerfest Interlaken street festival when the streets of the city are brought to life by artists from all over the world.
Take the family and be prepare to be entertained by various acts such as acrobats, jugglers, musicians and so on.
Autumn Season in Switzerland (September to November)
Official dates: 21 September to 20 December
For me, one of the best seasons in Switzerland! The light is unique and to follow how the forests change their hues of yellow to orange and then gold is simply magical. The days in September are still summer like, but don’t expect early mornings and evenings to be as warm. You need to bring warmer clothes to overcome the sudden temperature drops.
Experience the spectacular early morning fog vails which are unique and special for photographers. Most of the high altitude hiking trails are still accessible and display their beauty with the ever changing autumn shades. Switzerland is a paradise for Autumn hiking trails.
Autumn Events in Switzerland
Well, it is the harvest season and all the hard work done on the fields during the summer can now be celebrated.
- Grape Harvest Festival
Although you will see many different harvest festivals or celebrations, one we like a lot is the Wine walk in Valais from Sierre to Salgesh
Another great wine trail is the Swiss Wine Trail along the famous Terrasses de Lavaux in Vaud.
- Désalp / Alpenabzug
To witness a Désalp or also called in the Swiss German part an Alp-Abzug is an unforgettable experience.
This is the time when the cows descend to lower altitude pastures after having spent a minimum of three months high up in the Swiss Alps. This event is very personal and each region celebrates this most colourful event differently.
One of the most famous is the Désalp de Charmey
- Lugano Festival
Heading once more to Switzerland’s most southern canton – Ticino. Held in the month of October is the three-day long Lugano festival, celebrating the arrival of the autumn season. A joyous and exciting festival perfect to taste the ticino flavors and interact with the locals.
Winter Season in Switzerland (December to February)
Official dates: 21 December to 20 March
This is the time of the year which completely splits the country. All the winter sports enthusiasts have been waiting for the temperature to drop and the snow to fall, but there are those who dread the next few months.
Honestly winter is beautiful in Switzerland in the Alps. But I understand for the people living at low altitude that they dislike winter and their moods are low.
Often these parts of Switzerland are covered in thick fog day after day whilst blue sky and sunshine is dominating the Swiss Alps during the winter months. I would definitely say if you are thinking about winter to visit Switzerland, plan to spend it in the Swiss Alps.
Winter Events in Switzerland
It is winter; therefore, it’s the season for all the snow events.
- Snow festival in Grindelwald
Apart from the many different world ski alpine races held in the different Alpine resorts throughout Switzerland there is also the Snow festival in Grindelwald. This is normally held during the cold month of January.
From ice sculptures to ice lollies; the streets of Grindelwald are filled with things made of ice until they all melt away.
- Christmas Markets
Switzerland, like many other countries also have some of the most beautifully decorated Christmas markets. You will find them all over the country and to name a few of the bigger ones,
Zürich Christmas Market, normally held from Mid-November to Christmas
Montreux Christmas Market, 24th of November to 24th of December
Bale Christmas Market Barfüsserplatz, 25th of November until Christmas
- Zermatt Unplugged
One of the last Swiss Alpine events of the winter season, is Zermatt Unplugged. Althogh the date is normally at the beginning of April it is still kind of a winter event. Celebrating the end of a hard winter working season with music. Great bands are playing during this event in Zermatt at the foot of the Matterhorn.
Average Temperatures in Switzerland
Switzerland has a large variation of temperatures that range from well into the minus Celsius like -20°C to a staggering hot 32°C. But this is no wonder with many glaciers, impressive 4000m snow covered peaks, beautiful vineyards and cactus species calling Switzerland their home, that the different temperatures are needed.
The chart below will give you some indications of the seasonal temperatures in Switzerland.
|Travel Seasons||Min/Max Temperature||Season|
|Spring||8°C to 15°C.||Warmer days but cold nights|
|Summer||19-32 °C||Comfortably warm days|
|Autumn||8 – 15°C||Slightly cooler|
|Winter||-1 to -15C||Cool winds with snowfall|
Peak Tourist Season in Switzerland
The summer months in Switzerland are considered the peak tourist season all over the country; festivals, celebrations and colours light up the roads and streets of Switzerland and there is never a dull moment during this time of the year.
For all Swiss Alpine Resorts, I would probably say winter is their peak season. However, there is also the two summer months July and August where these stations are becoming more and more crowded.
If you are planning on visiting many Swiss Cities then count the summer months as the peak season.
Summer Peak Season – July to August
Spring & Autumn Low Season – May to June & November to December
Autumn Shoulder season – September and October
Winter Peak Season (ski resorts) – Festive weeks & February
Winter shoulder Season (ski resorts) – January, March & April
Best Time to Visit the Swiss Alps – Hiking or Skiing
There are a few things to consider when visiting the Swiss Alps.
- Opening of Mountain Lifts
If your plan is to spend most of your trip to Switzerland in the Swiss Alps then definitely make sure you visit within the cable car season.
If you choose to visit during the winter months or during the hiking season, be aware that normally the lift systems CLOSE just after Easter until Mid-June and again end of October until mid-December.
This is a general rule but best is to check with the local mountain station you want to visit to ensure their opening times.
- Hiking season is definitely best during Late June- Late October. Lower mountain trails are usually already accessible and snow free by this time.
- Winter season starts normally mid-December. Although this depends a lot on the snow conditions. If you are here to ski that early in the season, ensure your Swiss winter resort is a high altitude one, like Zermatt or the 4 Vallées Ski Domain, both in the Canton of Valais.
How long to visit Switzerland for?
Now, as we have covered pretty much all the important facts about when it is best to visit Switzerland, you may now ask yourself, how long is a good time to spend in Switzerland? Honestly, this is a question only YOU can answer.
I live here and have yet not seen it all. My Swiss bucket list is growing by the day and although I have the privilege of living in this most beautiful country, I feel I will never see it all.
Sometimes people ask me if they can do our Most Epic Road trip through Switzerland in 5 days? Well, I guess you could if you do not mind to sit in your car the whole time and are happy to miss experiencing a place. A picture doesn’t give the characteristics and love of a destination.
Our family is a slow travel family. We love to see one place to the fullest rather than just ticking off all the Swiss Landmarks without properly being there. If we only have one week, we choose just one area in Switzerland, stay there and explore. Whether it is Central Switzerland, the Valais with Zermatt, or Graubünden, they are all beautiful places.
If you wish to do a road trip through Switzerland, I guess you could do an epic one in 10 days, and you would be able to cover quite some ground.
Fact is, Switzerland cannot be seen in 3 days but if this is really all you have, then plan your base carefully. Zürich is a good place to be for such a short time, as you can be quickly reach many destinations yet not waste hours in the car.
Here are some Swiss Travel itineraries from our blog which may help you to decide.
Tips and Suggestions when visiting Switzerland
Well, I hope I have said it all above. To make it a good trip, plan it well and choose wisely.
Switzerland has a lot to offer and cannot be rushed. I believe you will get much more out of the country by slow travelling and staying in one particular area. If you have a lot of time, you are the lucky one for sure and a lot can be explored.
If you are travelling Switzerland on a budget then this article may help you a lot. Best way to travel in Switzerland
You may also like these Articles from Switzerland
- Glamping & Biking in Willisau Lucern. A Family Weekend Guide
- Epic Summer Road Trip Through Switzerland 2020
- How to Travel Switzerland on a Budget
- Switzerland Itinerary , 7, 10 & 14 Days
- 33 of the Best Viewpoints in Switzerland – NO HIKING required
- Alpstein – Seealpsee Hike with kids – All you need to know
- Things to do in Lugano. 4 Day Travel Itinerary
I hope that the information provided here will prove itself useful and you will be able to answer the question, When is the best time to visit Switzerland after reading this article.
If I have left anything out or you have a question, please ask your questions in the comments below so that other readers can join in the conversation and benefit from your queries also.
Thank you & Never Forget to Explore
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