When is the Best Time to Visit Switzerland?
Published on: November 1st, 2017
Last modified: July 28th, 2023
The best time to visit Switzerland depends on whether you're after a summer or winter vacation.
Spring and summer is a great time to be outdoors, exploring the countryside and take to the country's many hiking trails. Winter is a magical time, with snowy mountains and towns and villages that are full of charm.
With varying altitudes across Switzerland, even the summer months can be cool in some parts. In autumn - from September to November - the trees start to change colour and make for some beautifully picturesque countryside vistas.
These days, you aren’t guaranteed snow in the winter months, especially in lower lying areas, but you will still find plenty of skiing and winter activities in the higher altitudes. If you’re planning on visiting some of the more remote areas, be aware that some hotels in smaller, quieter towns may close over the period between summer and the beginning of the snowy season.
The Top Things to do in Switzerland
Whether you are in search of great outdoors or looking to experience the thriving art scene, Switzerland is truly a destination that has it all. Here’s when to visit Switzerland to enjoy your favourite things to do:
Go on a City Escape
If you’re planning on spending time in some of Switzerland’s larger towns and cities - such as Bern, Basel, Zurich and Geneva - then no matter what time of year you visit, you’re bound to have a memorable trip. There are museums and galleries, chocolate classes to take part in, and watchmaking studios to visit. Most cities have pretty, festive markets in December though, so a winter holiday could add that extra sparkle to your experience.
Enjoy the Great Outdoors
The best time to visit Switzerland to enjoy nature and the great outdoors is during the spring months of April to early September. As the weather starts to warm up, the countryside becomes green again and all the wildflowers start to bloom. At this time of year, the farmers also start bringing their animals up to the pastures for the summer. This is also one of the best times to board a luxury train ride across Switzerland.
Experience Festival Culture
The best time to visit Switzerland for its festival culture and events is between February and March, followed by July and August. The Carnival of Basel, the biggest carnival in Switzerland takes place annually between February and March. In July, visitors and jazz lovers can enjoy the iconic Montreux Jazz Festival. On August 1st, it is national Swiss Day and you can expect vibrant community parties and fireworks.
Enjoy Winter Activities
December to April is the best time to visit Switzerland for winter activities. This period marks the ski season in the Alps and visitors can find the slopes blanketed in snow and the skies often bright and clear. The Christmas season and February are the busier times, so if you want a little more space to yourself try to avoid those months.