Switzerland Travel Guide: When to Go & What to Pack

Stunning mountain town in Switzerland

Breathtaking Switzerland should be on the travel bucket list of anyone hungry for the world. The cultural diversity of the place is endearing, and every region has something unique to treat you with. The country is peaceful, fascinating, and so unbelievably beautiful. The natural landscapes are truly breathtaking, so it’s hardly a wonder that Switzerland prides itself on some of the most spectacular train routes on the planet. But before you drop everything and go packing for the vacation of your dreams, there are a few things to consider first.

Best Time to Visit Switzerland

Fortunately, just as there is no such thing as bad weather, there is no such thing as a bad season for Switzerland travel. The seasonality is quite prominent in the country, and each month has something unique up its sleeve. Regardless of when you decide to go, you will want to come back to see more. There are plenty of things to do in Switzerland all year round, but certain activities are season-sensitive, so let’s have a look at what one should keep in mind when planning a trip. 

Summer Switzerland Getaway

Summer Switzerland
Summer Switzerland

Undoubtedly, the most popular time for a Switzerland weekend tour is Summer. In July, the peak of the high season, the temperature can rise over 30°C, but generally holds in a more pleasant range of 24-27°C. The weather is great for hiking the mountains trails and exploring the scenic Swiss cities. But be prepared for all the downsides of traveling during the peak of the tourist season: overbooked hotels, inflated prices, and endless crowds. As you can imagine, the lake shores are also pretty much packed in summer, so if you are interested in a beach holiday, it’s better to book your tour a few months in advance.  

If you want something special to spice up your trip, consider visiting one of the famous Switzerland festivals. The summer months host some of the country’s most significant annual events, such as Fête de la Musique, Paleo in Nyon, and the world-famous Montreux Jazz Festival. And if you happen to be in Zurich in August, make sure to stop by the largest Techno party in the world, the Stree Parade.

Autumn Trip to Switzerland 

Autumn Switzerland
Autumn Switzerland

If you are looking for the best time to visit Switzerland for hiking, September is one of your best bets. The crowds and the prices are going down after the end of the summer stir, the weather is still rather comfortable (about 14-18°C), and the rain season hasn’t started yet. The autumn only begins to settle in, so the trails are still primarily flourished in all shades of greens, not gold and browns. 

October brings rains, chill and wakes most of the country’s mountain resorts from hibernation. They begin to open their doors about mid-October after a long summer break. Nature officially changes into the colorful fall outfit, giving Switzerland a special charm and ensuring fantastic photo opportunities. Make sure to enjoy a ride on a cable car or a mountain train to admire the spectacular beauty to the fullest.

Switzerland Winter Tour

Winter Switzerland
Winter Switzerland

In winter, the country attracts thousands of winter sports enthusiasts from all over the world. Mountain resorts that were working half-heartedly in autumn almost overnight become overcrowded. Most travelers choose the Alps as their holiday destination looking for cold and snow and hoping to make some memories, enjoying skiing, snowboarding, and winter hiking on prepared winter trails. The weather in the mountains is quite frosty and can reach over -10°C.

If the idea of spending your holiday doing sport doesn’t hold much appeal to you, but you like the idea of white European winter, the Christmas holidays might be the perfect time to plan your trip. No other country can do the festive atmosphere quite as Winter Switzerland can. Plus, spending a warm evening with your loved one, enjoying a mug of warm Glühwein and some cheese fondue while it’s heavily snowing outside, is the ultimate definition of a perfect evening. You are free to check with the dictionary if you don’t believe us. 

Spring Switzerland Vacation

Spring Switzerland
Spring Switzerland

As the spring slowly takes over winter, crowding out the cold and snow, Switzerland welcomes longer days and sunshine and once again opens the mountain trails for enthusiastic hikers. We advise traveling in late April or early May if you are interested in trekking. This is the best time to visit Switzerland weather-wise, as you get a comfortable temperature with much less humidity than March can boast. Plus, at the time, nature had already come back to life after the winter dormancy. It is bursting with early flowers of all possible shapes and colors, making hiking even more enjoyable. 

What is more, the season of spring in Switzerland means the opening of the country’s wineries (yes, Switzerland has wineries!) and the long-awaited caves ouvertes, the time when all winemakers show off their skills. Charming villages in the Swiss wine regions offer travelers an opportunity to try local wine to their heart’s content. All you pay for is a glass, and in most cases, you even get to take it home afterward as a souvenir anyway. 

What to Pack for Your Trip to Switzerland

What to pack for your trip to SwitzerlandWhat to pack for your trip to Switzerland

Ok, now when the question of when is the best time to visit Switzerland is out of the way, and the date is settled, it’s time to talk about packing.

First of all, make sure to take appropriate seasonal clothes and a pair of comfortable shoes. The chances that you will walk quite a lot during your trip are pretty high. Your feet won’t thank you for bringing only brand-new shoes with you, no matter how fashionable they are. An umbrella and a waterproof jacket won’t be extra either, even if you are going in summer.

Your checklist of vitals should start with documents: passport, visa, insurance, ID card, and tickets. The next thing on the list is to ensure that you are taking some cash and your credit/debit cards with you on vacation. And don’t forget your medications if you take any, and it’s a good idea to check if they are legal in Switzerland beforehand. If not, make sure to take your prescription with you. 

Plus, such important little things as a pen, portable charger, universal travel adapter, earplugs, and a reusable water bottle don’t take much space but can make a huge difference in personal comfort. 

As you can see, going to Switzerland is a fantastic idea regardless of the season. It welcomes travelers all year round and every month holds an extraordinary beauty as well as plenty of opportunities to fall in love with this wonderful country. And if you need any help planning your vacation or require more information about Switzerland travel, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

by Ksenia Zaiceva