Known for its breathtaking scenery, top-notch ski resorts, and scenic mountain lakes, Switzerland is one of those places that every travel enthusiast has on top of their bucket list. This tiny nation in the center of Europe has something to offer for everyone throughout the year. Whether it’s the beautiful natural parks in summer, scenic hiking trails in spring, or skiing in winter, Switzerland will never disappoint you. If you are visiting Switzerland for the first time and want to know which time of the year is best for the activities that you are interested in, you have come to the right place. Here is a guide that will walk you through what Switzerland has to offer in different seasons throughout the year.
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Switzerland Throughout The Year
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Peak winter in Switzerland lasts from November to February and is the best time for snow sports which naturally makes it one of the busiest times of the year. The weather can be quite unpredictable during these months and the temperature generally stays just above 0-degree celsius on warmer days and can plummet well below 0 on occasion.
Rain and snow are common features of this season with the bulk of snowfall during the first half of December. By February, the days start to become much longer and the temperature can rise up to 6 degrees Celsius during the day.
Although ski resorts start opening up in November and stay open till April, the best time for skiing is in January and February. However, keep in mind that most ski resorts tend to be filled to the brim during these months, so, If you don’t want to deal with the crowd, you can head to the Zermatt and Theodul glaciers which offer skiing throughout the year.
The months of December and January are the most festive in Switzerland, with a number of different cultural events and festivals taking place during these months. Christmas markets come back to life once again in December and attract hundreds of thousands of locals and tourists.
Other popular events during this time of the year include the Zibelemärit annual market in late November and the famous Genevan festival L’Escalade.
Image Rights: Valais/Wallis Promotion. Valais/Wallis Promotion – Christian Perret
In March temperatures start to rise despite heavy rains and snowfall at higher altitudes and ski resorts stay crowded as usual. By the end of March, you will start seeing some bright flowers pop up as spring slowly approaches replacing the heavy snowfall and rain. The low-lying valley and alpine mountains become lush green and meadows return to life once again.
The Spring well and truly replaces the wet and cold winter in April and May, starting the most ideal time for visiting Switzerland, especially if you are not a fan of skiing. However, if you visit during the end of march and extend your visit into April you can get the best of both worlds.
This is a great time for hiking, however, be sure to bring some waterproof clothing as there is plenty of rainfall in May.
If you decide to visit during this time of the year, don’t miss the celebration of Sechseläuten, which is a unique spring custom in Zurich where a snowman-like figure, known as “Böögg”, is filled with firecrackers and burned to mark the end of winter.
Image Rights: Valais/Wallis Promotion. Valais/Wallis Promotion – Thomas Andenmatten
If you are a hiking enthusiast and plan to explore the beautiful hiking trails of Switzerland, this is the time to visit. Most hikers flock to the country from early July to August, so, if you are looking to beat the crowd it is best to visit in June as the trails are still relatively uncrowded and the weather is much more pleasant.
Although you might get some snow on higher trails, most of the popular hiking locations around Canton Valais and the Lake Lucerne area experience great hiking weather with temperatures staying at and around 20 degrees Celsius.
One of the things that you will have to keep in mind when visiting in summer is that the weather can be extremely unpredictable all over the country during this time of the year; you never know when you get hit by heavy rain.
July and August are the most crowded months in Switzerland. However, you get to experience lake swimming, hiking in high altitudes, and open-air events like the Lake Thun Music Fest and the Paleo Rock Festival, which is Switzerland’s largest outdoor concert. All happening uniquely during this season.
Fall is a magical time in Switzerland, the weather becomes ideal, crowds thin down, and you get all your favourite locations all to yourself. With very little rain and foggy weather, you get to see a whole other side of this gorgeous country. The trees start to change colour and the air has a special scent characteristic of the swiss fall.
Although there is plenty of time for hiking in the fall season, by the end of October, funiculars stop running and the higher trails become inaccessible. The temperature also takes a dip by the end of October and stays in the single digits during the day, whereas the nights become freezing cold. If you are a hiking enthusiast you will love this time of the year in Switzerland; hiking trails become more scenic as the golden foliage makes them more colourful and photogenic.
Don’t forget to visit Engadin which is an Alpine valley situated to the east of the Swiss Alps. It is the place to be if you want to see the best of Switzerland during the fall season.
Choosing The Best Time To Visit Switzerland
So there you have it; a detailed guide to what Switzerland has to offer throughout the year. The best to visit can vary from person to person depending on why they’re going there. If you like mountain hiking, summer is the best time to visit, while winter is more suited for skiing. If you want to see a little bit of everything during your visit, then it is best to visit from April to June. You will get to see a bit of snow at higher altitudes and warmer weather during the later part of your trip.
Regardless of what you like or what time of the year you want to plan your trip to Switzerland, we are here to help. We will curate a tailor-made travel experience and make sure you have the time of your life on your vacation in Switzerland.