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!
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.My personal pick would be October 1st week(preferably as there is less risk of cable cars and trains getting closed). Also 2nd week can be considered. Usually cable cars etc get closed for maintenance in the 2nd half. Also, we can enjoy the first signs of fall when leaves start to color.
January/February: winter high season
- It’s cold and days are short (day light from about 8 AM to 5:30 PM).
- Snow is practically guaranteed from elevations of 1500 m.
- This is a good time for winter sports and cosy city trips. Hiking is only possible in lower elevations or on prepared winter trails.
March: early spring
- March is when the first signs of spring can be found in warmer regions around the lakes in the south of Switzerland.
- It’s pretty chilly in most regions though. In the mountains it’s still winter with lots of snow.
- High ski resorts will be operational. Lower ones may close around this time.
- Lake Geneva, Lake Lugano and Lake Maggiore are warmer Swiss regions to enjoy an early spring.
April/May: spring low season
- Most ski resorts will be closed by the end of April.
- The months between winter and summer are pretty quiet: some hotels are closed, as well as cable cars. There is still plenty to do and see, but you need to prepare and check timetables beforehand. Scenic train rides, for example, can be done all year round, and this is actually a good time: you can watch the remains of winter as well as green valleys.
- The Lake Lucerne and Lake Thun areas offer plenty of hiking and sightseeing options in this season.
June: early summer
- There’s day light from about 5:30 AM to 9:30 PM, and the weather is mild or warm.
- wonderful time for hiking. The highest trails may still be inaccessible because of snow, but the majority will be open.
- Cable cars and cogwheel trains that were closed in low season will be operational again. By late June, all pass roads that were closed for winter should be open. Opening dates vary per season and per pass.
July/August: summer high season
- pretty warm in July and August.
- time for outdoor activities: hiking, biking, paragliding and other sports, enjoying the views from the peaks.
- It’s a perfect time for hiking in high terrain.
- By mid July, these trails should be clear of snow.
- Summer has traditionally been popular among tourists in Switzerland, just like winter.
September: late summer and perfect for outdoor activities
- considered the best month for high altitude hiking.
- A wonderful month which is still summery, but usually not as hot as July and August.
- By the end of the month one can enjoy the first signs of fall when leaves start to color.
October: fall low season
- Weather : can be pretty mild and also chilly
- The first snow fall will occur in the mountains
- Days are getting shorter, with sunrise around 7:45 AM and sunset around 6:30 PM.
- higher trails may get snow covered, especially in the second half of the month.
- Cable cars and cogwheel trains may either close around this time, or not operate for a week or two because of maintenance
November: low season and chilly
- cable cars and cogwheel trains may close for maintenance, so planning ahead is essential.
December: Christmas atmosphere and early winter
- It’s still low season until mid-December.
- When Christmas approaches, things get lively and winter sports resorts open up. The two weeks around Christmas and New Year are the most popular weeks of the year among tourists.
- A white Christmas is not a guarantee, although still common in the high mountains. Don’t expect snow in the valleys and large cities like Zurich. It’s possible but uncommon.
- December is a good time to visit Christmas markets, and for city trips. Days are really short with sunrise around 8 AM and sunset around 4:45 PM.
- Some of the best Swiss cities in December are Basel, Bern, Lucerne, Geneva and Zurich. For a white Christmas, you can consider Saas-Fee, St. Moritz and Zermatt.