Switzerland Holiday Weather

Weather in Switzerland

Switzerland has different regional climates and each season is different. Here is what you can expect to help you better prepare for that trip of a lifetime.

Spring

Spring runs from the middle of March to the middle of June and the average temperature is from 8°C to 15°C. The temperature is excellent for exploring the country’s exceptional natural scenery. However, it can get cold at night and temperatures can drop to as low as 5°C. it’s advisable to pack winter wear even when travelling during spring. Remember to take your umbrella with you as occasional showers are to be expected.

The hiking trails come alive during spring. Flowering trees juxtaposed with the snowy mountains in the distance are a sight to behold. A few festivals to look forward to in spring are Ascension Day, locally known as Auffahrt and Zurich’s Spring Festival.

Summer

The generally dry summer season begins in the middle of June and lasts until the middle of September. Humidity is expected during summer but it varies greatly depending on the altitude. Temperatures range from 18°C to 28°C and the days are the longest between July and August. There is a variety of activities during summer and the hiking trails are often packed with people.

There is a huge number of festivals and events but without a doubt, the most important is Swiss National Day celebrated on the first of August. If you’re into music, you’ll be delighted and perhaps overwhelmed with the sheer number of performances and artists who participate in the two-week-long event that is the Montreux Jazz Festival.

Be comfortable when out and about during summer by wearing cotton and other light fabrics. Just remember that it tends to cool down at night so you might need a sweater or a cardigan. Since hiking is one of the most popular activities in the summer, it’s essential to wear the right hiking shoes so you can tackle the Alpine trails in comfort and avoid injuries. Finally, it’s not unusual to have afternoon thunderstorms during summer.

Autumn

Autumn is from September to November and is the start of the low season, so if you’re planning to avoid the crowds but still enjoy the beauty of nature in Switzerland, you might want to consider autumn. Even the cows choose to return to the valleys after spending most of their summer grazing on the pastures at the mountainside. The procession of cows back to the valleys is special to locals and is locally known as Alpabfahrt.

The cows pass through the villages and you can see them wearing flowers on their heads and large noisy cowbells. Brass bands, yodelers, and of course, the crowd, also join the festivities. It’s quite a spectacle!

Elsewhere in the country, the leaves change their colours and temperatures drop to as low as 8°C. the days also begin to get shorter come October. This is the time when you should have light jackets handy so you can keep yourself warm if it starts to get particularly chilly.

Autumn is the foggiest time of the year and just like other areas in northern Europe, rainy days are to be expected so make sure you’re prepared for showers. However, the Swiss don’t let the weather dampen their spirits and as a testament to that, you can head to Lugano for the three-day Autumn Festival.

Winter

Ah, winter, the season most people associate with Switzerland! Popular winter sports abound from January when the Swiss snow season officially starts. The temperatures rarely exceed 2°C during winter and the days are shorter with the sun setting as early as 5 in the afternoon. So, if you aim to make the most of the day, you should hit the ground running as early as 6 in the morning. This can be a bit of a challenge for small children though.

When February comes around there’s a bit more sunshine and the skiing conditions remain excellent. However, by the middle of March spring makes itself felt again. Don’t worry if you are into skiing as there are plenty of other things to do in winter such as going on a toboggan run and hopping on a cable car to enjoy the dramatic views. A few hiking trails remain open during winter too.

It is necessary to have the right winter gear to avoid hypothermia. You certainly need a heavy coat, a scarf, gloves, and a hat to keep snug. Wear only shoes with good traction to avoid slipping on icy pavements. Pack some quality sunglasses too if you plan on skiing as the glare makes visibility difficult and may even damage your eyes.

Tip: Winter is the perfect time to indulge in hearty Swiss cuisine and a few you should try is the iconic cheese fondue and raclette. They are going to make frigid winter nights much more bearable.

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