Imagine being surrounded by breathtaking alps, shimmering winter wonderlands everywhere you look, and a joyful Christmas spirit. That is what is most fantastic about this planet. So let me take you to the most lovely 12 Best Places in Switzerland to Visit in the Winter. vacation.
Traveling to Switzerland in the winter has numerous benefits. Yes, it is the off-season for cities, therefore less people should be at the attractions. The reason ski resorts are so popular is because they feature so many enjoyable activities for both skiers and non-skiers.
It is undoubtedly the ideal winter destination for adventurous families, skiers, and outdoor enthusiasts. It’s difficult for us to decide which we prefer more: winter in our own country (Banff, Canada), or winter in Switzerland.
What Time of Year Is Winter in Switzerland?
Switzerland’s winter season lasts from December through February. Beginning in November, the temperature drops and there are fewer tourists. Crowds are drawn to charming Christmas markets and cities in December.
The two coldest months of the year, January and February, are ideal for winter festivities and sports. They are also regarded as the busiest times of year for winter activities.
The cheapest time of year to travel to Switzerland is January! Additionally, it is the coldest.
Does it snow all year in Switzerland?
Because Switzerland does not have snow all year round, winter is a particular time to visit if you want to see snow. It has a generally mild climate. They have milder winters than Canada, I assure you!
Mountains and high-altitude regions are distinct because, throughout the winter, snow covers them almost entirely. Although there will be snow and it will be chilly, cities and towns will have gentler weather (temperatures won’t drop below – 15).
Switzerland packing list for winter
A printed version of this packing list for Switzerland in the winter may be found here.
1 or 2 pairs of warm boots To travel light, wear them on flight. Click to purchase this Sorel footwear.
For all the walking and exploring in the ancient town and travelling between places, wear sneakers or comfy shoes.
Carry some warm socks (depending on your stay)
- Parka Jacket Warm The majority of the locations described in this article experience winter temperatures in Switzerland that are below freezing. When you visit the observation decks on the mountaintop, the weather will become much colder and chillier.
- Carry two cardigans or thermals to wear as a layer inside the jacket. Add thermals to the list if you ski or are not used to subzero temps.
- Long-sleeved tops or thermal clothing will keep you warm.
- Dress in a sweater for the Christmas markets. They go well with leggings.
- Long johns or leggings
- Carry one or two warm hats or beanies. Purchase a colourful item for your photographs.
- Travel scarves for both indoor and outdoor use
- Warm Gloves: In the winter, my hands suffer the most from the cold. The same is true for Switzerland. Keep gloves on hand to stay toasty and warm.
- loungewear or pyjamas
The Top 12 Winter Vacation Spots in Switzerland
Holiday Cheer in Zurich, Shopping & Dining
I adore Zurich so much! One of Switzerland’s most attractive cities is Zurich. Altstadt, the ancient old town, is breathtaking in the winter. Everywhere is lit up for the holidays, including the streets, stores, and tourist attractions. Check out our 2-day Zurich itinerary.
Popular tourist destinations including the Fraumünster, Grossmünster, Lindenhof Hill, and of course Bahnhofstrasse are all situated in the old town.
Wandering the Bahnhofstrasse with a hot chocolate in hand and taking in the holiday spirit is one of my favourite things to do in Zurich in the winter. The nearby Werdmühleplatz is home to a modest holiday food market that is a must-visit.
Visit the Fraumünster in the Old Town. This 11th-century church is gorgeous both inside and out thanks to its stained glass windows and holiday decorations.
Zurich has some of the best Christmas markets in all of Europe. Before travelling to other locations in Switzerland, be sure to stop at the major train station, which is home to the country’s largest market. The enormous Swarovski Christmas tree, which is lit up with sparkling lights, is the main attraction.
A great place to begin your exploration of Switzerland is Zurich. The largest airport in the nation and the main hub of Swiss International Air Lines is Zurich. Read our article about Zurich lodging.
Rapperswil: Visiting Swiss Christmas Markets
Another mediaeval town, Rapperswil, is a short drive from Zurich and is ornamented by Lake Zurich. One of Switzerland’s well-known Christmas markets is located there.
The old town centre, which has about 250 market booths, is like a storybook Christmas hamlet and the entire town is illuminated with lovely lights. Shop here for holiday-themed furnishings, presents, and mementos to bring home.
Children’s entertainment options in the market area include musical performances, choirs, carousel rides, and concerts.
Also be sure to visit Rapperswil Castle in addition to the Christmas markets. It is the city’s most recognisable landmark. The castle features a lovely rose garden in the summer that is worth visiting. Due to the picturesque views of Lake Zurich, Zurich is appropriately known as the “City of Roses.”
A Fairytale Resort Town: Zermatt
The charming village of Zermatt appears to have come from a fantasy. Zermatt will steal your heart with its charming alleyways and cafes, the Matterhorn as a backdrop, and the Alps.
Winter sports enthusiasts can easily get to Zermatt from Zurich (4 hours by train, one way). It is for this reason, among others, that mountaineers adore Zermatt. World-class skiing and the mountains are quickly and easily accessible!
Don’t worry if skiing isn’t your thing. Consider taking a cable car journey into the Swiss Alps to get a close-up look at the mountains. You can travel to the nearby mountains via cable cars; consider scheduling it with your partner. And delight in a peaceful, romantic mountain retreat in the winter.
Winter Sports Adventures in Saas-Fee
The ski resort of Saas-Fee is situated in the Saastal, or Saas Valley. In Switzerland, the canton of Valais has jurisdiction over it. Saas-Fee is accessible from Zermatt. 50.9 kilometres separate the two locations on a road.
Saas Fee is a must-see during the winter because it is the epitome of what a conventional ski resort town should look like—pretty lodging, mountain vistas, ice rinks, and activities. It is not as crowded as Zermatt, yet it is still a hidden gem.
Skiing, cross-country skiing, tobogganing, and glacier swimming are all popular winter activities in Saas-Fee. You may even go inside the glacier at the Ice Pavilion. The town’s downtown is car-free and is renowned for its breathtaking vistas of European Alps.
Take a picturesque train journey in Switzerland during the winter aboard the Bernina Express.
In Switzerland, train rides are incredibly scenic. And it is even more beautiful in the winter. Imagine yourself curled up under a blanket (in a train with enormous glass windows) drooling at the snow-covered scenery and the sun’s bright rays.
This experience is essential for individuals looking for a romantic retreat that is peaceful. In Switzerland, there are numerous train routes that connect various tourist attractions.
The Bernina Express is by far the most well-liked and well-known. St. Moritz in Switzerland and Tirano in Italy are connected by this train route across the Bernina Pass.
The entire trip takes four hours to accomplish, one way. For CHF10 per seat, bookings can be made for the winter Bernina Express trains.
Enjoy breathtaking Alps vistas on the Glacier Express.
Another well-liked beautiful rail line to enjoy in Switzerland is Glacier Express. This one also connects Zermatt and St. Moritz. Skiing and a romantic weekend can be had before continuing to St. Moritz for further outdoor recreation.
The train path welcomes you as it travels over bridges, through icy valleys, through tunnels, and over the famous Oberalp Pass. The well-known Glacier Express, Bernina Express, and Golden Pass picturesque routes are all included in the Swiss Pass.
More wintertime adventures in St. Moritz, a charming holiday destination
One of the most beautiful spots in Switzerland to visit in the winter is St. Moritz. The distance from Lugano (LUG) Airport to St. Moritz is 90.4 kilometres. This town stands out since it twice hosted the Winter Olympics, in 1928 and 1948.
St. Moritz transforms into a snowy wonderland in the winter, and with the addition of holiday lighting, the entire community becomes a picture-perfect Christmas village. There are still incredible things to do in St. Moritz even if you don’t ski.
First of all, book a room at a (ski) resort with breathtaking mountain views. It is a winter vacationer’s dream because of the stunning alpine scenery, which includes glaciers, mountain lakes, and slowly falling snow.
Spend some time exploring the village and discovering its history and architecture. shopping in mind? Luxurious brands and charming shops may be found in St. Moritz. Try some mouthwatering cheese fondue while you are out and about!
Now for the adventurous friends. St. Moritz is a snowboarders’, skiers’, and tobogganers’ paradise. The foundation for winter activities in St. Moritz has been laid by natural Almighty, world-class ski resorts, ice skating rinks, and infrastructure.
From ski rentals and instructors to transportation, ski resorts and hotels have everything you need to make your ideal winter getaway a reality.
Region of the Jungfrau: Climb to the Top of Europe
Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland contains the Jungfrau region. The Jungfraujoch, one of Europe’s most beautiful summits, is its most famous feature. The highest train station in Europe, known as the “Top of Europe,” is even more well-known and draws large visitors to the area.
Being a popular tourist destination, you can anticipate busy activity year-round. The main draws for tourists are the skiing and snowboarding, as well as the beautiful mountain scenery.
This is an incredible location to see everything that Switzerland has to offer, including the alps, snow and ice, and jaw-dropping scenery as far as the eye can see, at a height of 3454 metres.
In addition to the scenery and skiing, Jungfrau is a great place to go on winter walks.
The best balloon festival in Switzerland is in Château-d’Oex.
The charming Swiss village of Château-d’Oex is home to one of the world’s top balloon festivals. And this delightful celebration, which lasts for nine days at the end of January each year, takes place. So here’s another awesome thing to do in the winter in Switzerland!
The celebration is attended by many nations, and each nation displays its stunning, multicoloured balloons. With tall, majestic mountains all around the town (I mean, it’s the Alps! ), the balloons float overhead.
There is also a tonne of food and beverages available, so you can eat and drink while admiring the bright balloons lighting up the sky. Riding a balloon is one of the coolest things to do during this festival. One of the most stunning vistas you will ever see is from the top!
You must include this festival tradition, which has been around since 1979, on your bucket list when visiting Switzerland. There is even a Wednesday when the celebration is devoted to the youngsters.
Discover Lucerne, a city with a chapel bridge and breathtaking vistas.
One of the nicest spots to travel to in Switzerland during the winter is Lucerne. Due to the fact that it is off-season, the city is not as busy. In addition, hotels and AirBnBs are extremely reasonable at this time.
BONUS? You query. Lucerne is beautiful, and the captivating snow-capped mountains are not far away if you glance up or venture a little outside of the city.
Christmas, in our opinion, is the ideal time to visit this wonderful city. Plan your trip accordingly to take in the holiday lights in December and January (and accommodation fares). You must see the famous Chapel Bridge, and just think how stunning it will be at night with all the dazzling lights beneath the clear skies.
Popular Mount Pilatus is located not far from the Old Town of Lucerne. If you’re staying in Lucerne, take advantage of this opportunity to climb the mountain and take in the spectacular views.
Another choice is to take the train from Lucerne to Mount Rigi. Despite not being as high as Mount Pilatus, Mount Rigi has equally stunning vistas, making it worthwhile to visit.
Dine at Piz Gloria, the tallest rotating restaurant in the world
Would you like to ring in the holidays and the new year at the tallest rotating restaurant in the world? The Piz Gloria is your best option in those case. It is situated at the top of the Schilthorn, next to Mürren, at a height of 2,970 metres (9,740 ft).
Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland includes Murren
By cable car, you may go to Schilthorn from Mürren. Visit there to celebrate while admiring the mountains. There is an observation platform where you may take in the panoramic views in addition to the restaurant.
The closest airport is in Berne, which is about 49.5 kilometres or 30.7 miles from Mürren.
Geneva’s indoor and outdoor winter activities
Switzerland’s Geneva is a great place to travel to. Those who enjoy both indoor and outdoor activities will find Geneva to be the ideal destination in the winter. In the close-by Jura Mountains, which are home to three Alpine Ski Areas, there are skating rinks and skiing chances.
Make sure to sign up for a beginner lesson if this is your first time skiing; they are well worth it.
The Jet d’eau fountain in Geneva is a must-see. It is chilly and cold near the waves, so dress warmly.
Visit the museums if the cold is too much for you. The United Nations website in the Palais des Nations building comes first. Visit the Musee d’ Art et d’Histoire to discover everything there is to know about prehistoric cultures if you love history like I do.
Geneva is a fantastic place in Switzerland to visit during the winter to experience the Christmas markets. There are numerous markets located throughout the city where you may sip mulled wine and eat other traditional Christmas fare.
The Christmas market with the most classic aesthetic is located on Rue du Mont-Blanc and is open from late November to early January. Food plays a big role in Christmas celebrations. To enjoy the delectable fondue there, go to Café du Soleil.
If you’re in Geneva, make sure to attend the Coupe de Nol, the city’s traditional Christmas swimming competition, on the Sunday before Christmas to avoid missing it. In this competition, some 2,000 swimmers leap into the frigid Lake Geneva waters while decked out in costumes and wetsuits.