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switzerland in winter

Switzerland is a magical place all year round. Each month brings unique opportunities, stunning landscape colors, and exciting things to do. But how is it really in winter? I can tell you that it’s worth traveling to Switzerland even in winter for everyone, skiers and also nonskiers.

I lived in Switzerland for 3 years, each year in a different place. Besides, I’ve been traveling a lot through the countries. Spending 3 winter seasons in Switzerland gave me a great understanding of how the country is in winter.

So, in this article, I’ll share all my insights, tips, the best places to visit, and things to do. Let’s get into it.

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Best Time To Visit Switzerland In The Winter

The best time to visit Switzerland during the wintertime is December and January.

December is the beginning of the season, and fresh snow is almost guaranteed. It’s also a magical time to visit Switzerland, thanks to the Christmas markets in the cities and the unique atmosphere.

The beginning of December is also less crowded, especially on the skiing slopes than the rest of the season.

January is great, mainly thanks to fewer crowds and lower prices. Even though prices don’t drop significantly, it’s one of the months when Switzerland is slightly cheaper.

There are also fewer crowds so that you can explore the beauty fully.

switzerland in winter best time to visit

Switzerland In Winter: Weather Month-By-Month

The weather in winter in Switzerland is usually cold and snowy. However, it varies from the region. Without mountains, the northern part of Switzerland is warmer and gets less snow.

The central and southern part of Switzerland gets a lot of snow, and it’s cold.

Here is a breakdown of the weather in the country each winter month:

Switzerland In December

December in Switzerland can be both rainy and snowy. Temperatures range around 4°C/39°F.

The northern part of Switzerland is slightly warmer, with temperatures around 7°C. It snows only a few inches, and the snow often changes into rain.

The central and southern parts of Switzerland, with the Alps, get a lot of fresh snow in December, which is perfect for all skiers. I was always super excited to see fresh snow when the ski lifts opened at the beginning of the month, and I went straight to the mountains.

Temperatures in the Swiss Alps in winter range around -2°C/28°F (in the mountain towns like Grindelwald, Zermatt, Davos, and Laax) up to -12°C/10°F (in the mountain peaks like Gornergrat near Zermatt, Jungfraujoch, Schilthorn, Mt. Titlis).

Switzerland in December is less crowded in the first 2 weeks, and prices are lower, especially at the beginning of the month, including hotels and ski tickets.


Northern Switzerland: Average temperature 3°C/37°F
The Alps: Temperatures range between -2°C/28°F and -10°C/10°F
❄ Snow: In mountain towns and high moountain peaks, great for skiing
Swiss Cities: Less or no snow
Overall: Less crowded and lower prices first 2 weeks of December

Switzerland In January

January in Switzerland is slightly colder than December. Temperatures range around 0°C/32°F in the entire country.

Northern Switzerland usually gets more snow in January than in December, with temperatures around 0°C/32°F. It’s quite chilly, so bring many layers.

Central and Southern part of Switzerland with the Alps is cold with a lot of snow. January is guaranteed to have snow, and the conditions for winter sports lovers are perfect.

Temperatures in the Swiss Alps are around -4°C/25°F.

Switzerland in January is less crowded after the holiday season, and you can enjoy lower prices.


Northern Switzerland: Average temperature 0°C/32°F
The Alps: Temperatures range around -4°C/25°F
❄ Snow: In mountain towns and high moountain peaks, great for skiing
Swiss Cities: Snowy
Overall: Less crowded and lower prices especially first 3 weeks of January

Switzerland In February

February is the coldest month in Switzerland. There is a lot of snow, which mostly stays on the slopes and on the roads.

The average temperature in February in Switzerland is about -2°C/28°F, which differs depending on the place.

The northern Switzerland usually has snow in February. In February, most cities like Geneva, Zurich, Bern, Lucerne, and St. Gallen are covered in snow. Temperatures range between 0°C/32°F and -3°C/26°F.

The Swiss Alps (central and southern Switzerland) are the coldest in February. It snows a lot, and the conditions for skiing and snowboarding are the best. Temperatures range around -5°C/23°F. And in the mountain peaks, it can get to -15°C/5°F up to -20°C/-4°F.

Switzerland in February is the most crowded in the winter due to the ski holiday season that many countries have. Many people come for ski holidays, and prices skyrocket again.


Northern Switzerland: Average temperature 0°C/32°F-3°C/26°F
The Alps: Temperatures range around -5°C/23°F
❄ Snow: A lot of snow, perfect for skiing
Swiss Cities: Snowy
Overall: February is the busiest winter month and also the most expensive

Switzerland In March

March in Switzerland is calmer again. Snow starts to melt towards the end of the month, and everything gets cheaper. Temperatures in March in Switzerland range around 1°C/34°F.

Northern Switzerland, with cities like Zurich and St. Gallen, has less snow, and temperatures are between 2°C/35°F and 4°C/39°F.

The Swiss Alps in March are still covered by snow, and you can enjoy ski season but for less. It gets significantly warmer in March, and snow melts towards the end of the month. You can easily ski in a light jacket or with no extra layers.

Temperatures in the Swiss Alps range around 0°C/32°F in March.


Northern Switzerland: Average temperature 2°C/35°F4°C/39°F
The Alps: Temperatures range around 0°C/32°F
❄ Snow: Snow melts, but still great for skiing
Swiss Cities: Barely any snow, wet and gloomy
Overall: March is less busy and cheaper, its gets warmer, but you can still go skiing

👉 READ ALSO: Switzerland In November: Best Places To Visit & Things To Do

Best Places To Visit In The Wintertime In Switzerland

Switzerland is a beautiful winter wonderland, but choosing the right destination matters if you want to experience it.

My tip for you is to skip Zurich in winter. It’s cold, but there is no guarantee it’ll have snow. It also doesn’t offer as many activities as other places and the overall atmosphere is not so nice.

If you want to visit a Swiss city in winter, visit Lucerne instead. It’s magical, has snow, and you can do many things around.

With that said, here is a list of the best places to visit during winter in Switzerland:


switzerland in winter best places to visit
Lauterbrunnen & Jungfrau Region in winter

13 Best Things To Do In Winter In Switzerland

If you’re visiting Switzerland in the winter season, I’ve got tips for how to spend your time best.

Whether you’re excited about the ski slopes and some of the best ski resorts in the world, or you’re a nonskier and want to enjoy the Swiss winter wonderland, I’ve got you covered.

Below, I’m giving everyone the best things to do in winter in Switzerland: skiers, snowboarders, and even nonskiers.

Here is a list of the 13 best things to do in winter in Switzerland for skiers and nonskiers:

  1. Enjoy Zermatt & Skiing
  2. Visit Schilthorn
  3. Go Free Ride Skiing In Laax
  4. Enjoy Winter Wonderland In Andermatt
  5. Enjoy Winter Hikes In The Jungfrau Region
  6. Visit St. Moritz & Go Skiing
  7. Explore Jungfraujoch
  8. Ride Glacier Express – Swiss Panoramic Train
  9. Enjoy Lucerne
  10. Make A Day Trip To Mt. Titlis
  11. Visit Gruyeres
  12. Ride Cable Cars
  13. Enjoy Winter Spa

1. Enjoy Zermatt & Skiing

Zermatt is one of the best destinations for skiers in the world. It offers hundreds of skiing slopes, stunning views of the Matterhorn mountain, and great activities.

It’s a perfect place to be for everyone, skiers and nonskiers, too.

If you don’t like skiing, you’ll enjoy riding cable cars, visiting the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, exploring the town, or warming up in a spa with stunning views.

Don’t forget to enjoy Fondue in a Swiss chalet.

best mountains in Switzerland to visit Gornergrat Matterhorn
Gornergrat – Matterhorn

2. Visit Schilthorn

Schilthorn is another great mountain you can visit in winter. While it doesn’t offer as much as Jungfraujoch does, it has some of the most breathtaking views in the entire country.

Stop in Birg (middle station) for the Thrill Walk. Then continue up to Schilthorn for even better views. Eat lunch in the 360° revolving restaurant and visit the James Bond Exhibition.

It’s also a great place for skiers as it has one of the steepest slopes in the world. It scared the h* out of me when I saw it, but it was manageable, and I loved skiing there.

switzerland in winter schilthorn
Me visiting Schilthorn in winter – Switzerland

3. Go Free Ride Skiing In Laax

If you love free rides, you don’t have to plan anymore. The ski resort Laax/Flims offers some of the best freeride skiing and snowboarding. The vast mountains often have a lot of fresh snow, perfect to slide down.

Laax has a great young vibe. There are many snowboarding competitions and a ramp, and you’ll love the winter paradise it offers.

Skiing in Switzerland ski resorts
Me skiing in Laax – Switzerland

4. Enjoy Winter Wonderland In Andermatt

Andermatt is truly one of the most beautiful Swiss towns in winter. It offers great skiing slopes, has some of the best luxury hotels with great spas, and a charming atmosphere.

Andermatt is great for relaxing and disconnecting, especially if you don’t like skiing.

Besides, the Glacier Express stops here, so you can ride it, stay overnight in Andermatt, and continue riding the Glacier Express to St. Moritz or Zermatt the next day.

I highly recommend booking one of the luxury hotels – The Chedi Andermatt. They have a fantastic spa, excellent service, and atmosphere.

Snowing in Switzerland in November
Me living in Flims in November, Switzerland

5. Enjoy Winter Hikes In The Jungfrau Region

If you have someone who loves skiing but you’re not a big fan, visit the Jungfrau region. It has great skiing resorts but also some of the best winter hikes.

So let the others ski while you enjoy the stunning winter landscape and the sun hiking around.

You can ride a train from Lauterbrunnen to Kleine Scheidegg and walk around. Have lunch, enjoy the views, and then hike back to Lauterbrunnen.

Or hike around Grindelwald First to the Bachalp Lake. There are many winter hikes, and the Jungfrau region is the perfect place to enjoy them.

👉 READ ALSO: Grindelwald In Winter: Complete Guide For Your Visit

switzerland in winter hiking
Me hiking around Bachalp Lake – Jungfrau Region

6. Visit St. Moritz & Go Skiing

St. Moritz is a great destination for those who want to go skiing and enjoy relaxation and luxury. It’s a luxury Swiss town in the Grisons region and offers some of the best skiing slopes.

Besides, it’s one of the best towns to go shopping. You’ll get everything if you want to shop for clothes, jewelry, or souvenirs.

It has some of the best luxury hotels, including Grand Hotel Des Bains Kempinski and Badrutt’s Palace Hotel. So you can relax, go to a spa, and then walk around the stunning Lake St. Moritz.

switzerland in winter skiing
Skiing for free on Saturday with my little brother

Winter In Switzerland For Non Skiers: Best Things To Do

Switzerland attracts all kinds of visitors, and winter is not an exception. Even if you’re not a skier or a snowboarder, you’ll still love wintertime in Switzerland.

With that said, Switzerland offers many things to do for nonskiers in winter. So here is a list of the best things you can do if skiing/snowboarding is not your thing:

7. Explore Jungfraujoch

Jungfraujoch is a perfect destination all year round. And it’s the best place to visit for non-skiers in winter. You’ll visit the highest train station in Europe, walk through, and learn about the history of this place.

Besides, you’ll see the largest glacier in the Swiss Alps and enjoy the snow. The entire journey is an experience, and it’s picturesque. I’m sure you’ll love it.

Jungfraujoch Glacier Plateau
Jungfraujoch – Glacier Plateau

8. Ride Glacier Express – Swiss Panoramic Train

Riding a panoramic train in Switzerland is one of the best experiences, and winter is no exception.

Just imagine sitting on a luxury train with comfortable seats and a commentary about the surroundings while sipping hot chocolate, coffee, or champagne and staring at the beautiful winter wonderland.

Glacier Express offers some of the best experiences. It’s an 8-hour ride between Zermatt and St. Moritz and passes through some of the most beautiful places in Switzerland.

Bernina Express is another great scenic train you can ride if you want your journey to be shorter but equally enjoyable.

switzerland in winter glacier express ride
Me on a Glacier Express Ride from Zermatt to St. Moritz

9. Enjoy Lucerne

Lucerne is a true winter wonderland. If you are a city lover, I recommend visiting Lucerne rather than other cities like Zurich, Basel, and Geneva. Lucerne is by far the most beautiful in winter.

You can enjoy all the activities, and there is usually snow. Besides, it offers many attractions and mountain excursions such as Mt. Pilatus or Mt. Titlis or riding a boat on Lake Vierstatter.

Switzerland in winter lucerne
Me exploring Lucerne in winter

10. Make A Day Trip To Mt. Titlis

Mt. Titllis is another great mountain to visit in winter if you’re a nonskier. You can play with the snow, go for a winter hike, or slide. Walk through the ice cave or the highest suspension bridge in Europe. It’s a lot of fun.

Glacier 3000° - suspension bridge
Glacier 3000° – suspension bridge

11. Visit Gruyeres

Gruyere is a charming medieval town close to Bern, the Swiss capital. So whether you’re visiting Bern and want to make some day trips or visit some beautiful town in the winter, Gruyere is great.

It’s not too cold, yet it’s covered in snow. You can visit the La Maison du Gruyeres cheese factory and learn about the cheese production.

Besides, the town has many cute houses and restaurants where you can try Fondue, a traditional Swiss dish.

Switzerland in November Gruyeres medeival town
Gruyeres Medeival Town

12. Ride Cable Cars

In case you’re visiting Switzerland with those eager skiers, heads up. You can still enjoy the ski resort even if you don’t like skiing. Hop on the cable cars and ski lifts and enjoy the winter landscape from above.

You can take a cable car, ride up, walk around, and then enjoy a warm lunch or a cup of hot chocolate in the mountains or sunbathe on the terrace of the mountain huts. It’s a lot of fun, I promise.

switzerland in winter cable cars
Me riding ski lifts in the Jungfrau region

13. Enjoy Winter Spa

Imagine sitting in a whirlpool while breathing the fresh mountain air, watching the stars, and having the snowflakes flying around. This is how a spa in winter in Switzerland feels like. It’s truly one of my favorite things to do.

Another great thing is to go to a sauna, warm up, and then jump into the snow. Many spas have a door through which you can go outside and jump right in. Try it; it’s fun and also healthy.

I recommend these spa hotels in Switzerland for your winter visit – think outdoor pools with stunning mountain views, spa, and sauna world:

The Chedi Andermatt
Park Hotel Vitznau
Six Senses Crans-Montana
Le Grand Bellevue
The Alpina Gstaad

Burgenstock Hotel & Alpine Spa

Switzerland Winter Itinerary

You know how much I love creating travel itineraries for you guys. And so this article is not an exception. I’ve got the perfect winter wonderland itinerary for you to take this season and explore Switzerland.

It’s put together places to enjoy skiing and winter activities, even if you’re not a skier.

So here is my 10-day Switzerland winter itinerary by train:

2.Lucerne – Mt. Pilatus (day trip)
3.Lucerne – Grindelwald
4.Grindelwald & Jungfrau Region
5.Grindelwald – Zermatt
8.Zermatt – Andermatt (Glacier Express Ride)
10.Andermatt – Chur (Glacier Express Ride)

👉 READ ALSO: Best Of Switzerland Itinerary: 8 Days By Train

3 Days In Switzerland In Winter

If you only have 3 days in Switzerland, I’ve got a few itineraries for you, too. So here are our top 3 itineraries for a 3-day Switzerland winter trip:

3-Day Swiss Winter Itinerary For City Lovers & Mountain Excursions

1. DAY: Lucerne
2. DAY: Grindelwald
3. DAY: Jungfrau Region (Jungfraujoch)

3-Day Swiss Winter Itinerary For Skiers, Winter Lovers & Relax

1. DAY: Zermatt
2. DAY: Glacier Express Ride (Zermatt – Andermatt)
3. DAY: Andermatt – St. Moritz

3-Day Swiss Winter Itinerary For Skiers, Luxury & Winter Lovers

1. DAY: Bernina Express (Tirano – St. Moritz)
2. DAY: St. Moritz
3.DAY: Davos

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Practical Tips For Visiting Switzerland

I’ve got some more tips for you to help you plan your visit to Switzerland in the wintertime. It’ll help you get your itinerary together even faster.

Where To Stay In The Wintertime In Switzerland

If you want to visit the best places and do any of the activities I suggest above, these are the places I recommend you to stay in winter in Switzerland:


If you want to visit a charming Swiss city, enjoy boat trips, and explore nearby mountains such as Mt. Titlis and Mt. Pilatus, stay in Lucerne.

Here are my top hotel recommendations for Lucerne in winter:

Backpackers Luzernbudget-friendlybook here
Hotel Des Alpesmid-range hotelbook here
Mandarin Oriental Palace Luzernluxury hotelbook here


If you want to go skiing, enjoy some winter hikes, or mountain excursions such as Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn, stay in the beautiful mountain town, Grindelwald.

I recommend the following hotels in Grindelwald for your stay:

Eiger Lodge Chicbudget-friendly book here
Belvedere Swiss Quality Hotelmid-range hotelbook here
Boutique Hotel Glacier luxury hotelbook here


Zermatt is great for a winter wonderland, skiing, snowboarding, enjoying the snow, and luxury spa and hotels.

Here are the hotels I recommend for your stay in Zermatt:

Matterhorn Innbudget-friendly book here
Swiss Alpine Hotel Allalin mid-range hotelbook here
Matthiol Boutique Hotelluxury hotelbook here


Andermatt is another winter fairy tale in Switzerland that I suggest visiting. It offers skiing slopes, luxury spa resorts, and a cute mountain village. It’s also a stop for the Glacier Express panoramic train.

I recommend these hotels in Andermatt:

Basecamp Andermattbudget-friendlybook here
Radisson Blue Hotel Reussen – mid-range – book here
The Chedi Andermattluxury hotelbook here


If you want to enjoy a bit more luxury regarding services, hotels, and shopping, visit St. Moritz. From skiing to the perfect relaxation or winter walks around the lake, St. Moritz will make your stay super cozy.

Below are the best hotels in St. Moritz I recommend for your stay:

St. Moritz Youth Hostel budget-friendly hostelbook here
Hotel Waldhaus Am Seemid-range hotelbook here
Badrutt’s Palace Hotel St. Moritzluxury hotel book here

What To Pack For A Winter Trip To Switzerland

Switzerland is cold in the wintertime, and so winter clothes are necessary. If you go skiing, pack smart, not much. The same applies to nonskiers.

So here is a quick list of the things I recommend you pack for your winter holiday in Switzerland:

  • Winter jacket
  • Winter pants
  • Warm winter shoes
  • Winter hat
  • Sunglasses – the reflection of the sun in the snow hurts your eyes a lot, so make sure to bring them
  • Thermo clothes
  • Sweater
  • Gloves
  • Thick socks
  • Skiing boots, ski set, ski pools, helmet for skiing
is switzerland expensive budget guide costs experience
Switzerland – Faulhorn

How Much Should You Budget For A Winter Trip In Switzerland

Switzerland is equally expensive in the wintertime as in the summertime. The same applies in the winter; getting some kind of travel pass is best if you want to enjoy Switzerland for less. A ski pass or a winter hiking pass does its magic in the winter.

If you want to travel to Switzerland in the winter and visit many places, get the Swiss Travel Pass or a Half-Fare Card. They’ll save you a lot.

If you want to visit one region in Switzerland, such as Zermatt, Jungfrau region, Davos, or Arosa, get a local winter pass.

Generally speaking, these are the expenses you can expect in winter in Switzerland:

🔅 As a budget traveler or a backpacker, plan to spend around $80 per day.
🔅 Mid-range travelers can expect to spend approx. $240 daily.
🔅 As a luxury traveler, you can spend around $500 per day in Switzerland.

christmas markets in Switzerland Bern
Me enjoying Christmas Markets in Bern

👉 Is Switzerland Expensive? All You Need To Know
Does Switzerland Use The Euro? All You Need To Know

Is Switzerland Safe In Winter?

Yes, Switzerland is safe in winter. In terms of dangers such as scams, pickpockets, or thefts, there is no need to be afraid as nothing like this happens in Switzerland or rarely.

Regarding safety, consider a few things when visiting Switzerland in the winter. Avalanches and snowstorms are dangerous, especially in mountain areas and around skiing slopes.

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Avalanche Risk

Local authorities handle it very well and tell you whether there is a high risk of avalanche or not. For each day, there is a risk level for avalanches on the ski slopes, so if the risks are too high, they tell you not to go skiing/snowboarding.


The same applies to snowstorms. When there is a snowstorm, the cable cars, lifts, and even the roads high up in the mountain towns shut down. So they take care of your safety, and you’d have to stay at your hotel that day.

It only happened to us when we were in Arosa, and we couldn’t get down to the valley because they closed the road due to a snowstorm and a high snow level.

Snowchains are necessary if you drive a car in the wintertime in Switzerland. You have to have them on snowy roads leading to the mountain towns.

Mountain Passes In Winter

Also, most mountain passes are closed in the wintertime in Switzerland. So plan your trip accordingly. You can check the live road status here.


I’ve also answered some of the most frequently asked questions about winter in Switzerland. Check my answers below.

Is It Worth Visiting Switzerland In The Wintertime?

Yes, Switzerland is 100% worth visiting in winter for everyone, skiers and nonskiers.

Switzerland has some of the best skiing resorts in the world so that you can enjoy skiing and snowboarding. Besides, you can go for winter hikes, enjoy a spa, ride on a panoramic train, and admire the stunning winter wonderland.

When Is Winter In Switzerland?

Winter in Switzerland is during December, January, February, and March. It snows in most places, and the temperatures range around -2°C/28°F.

The coldest and most wintery month in Switzerland is February.

Which Month Will It Snow In Switzerland?

It snows mainly in January and February in Switzerland. While most mountain towns already get snow at the end of November, most Swiss cities get snow in January or at the end of December.

Is December A Good Month To Visit Switzerland?

Yes, December is a great month to visit Switzerland. Prices are lower than in the peak season (February), and it already snows in most places.

Besides, you can enjoy the magical atmosphere of the Swiss cities and Christmas markets in December.

How Many Days In Switzerland Is Enough?

15 days in Switzerland are enough. 10 days is a good amount of days to enjoy all the highlights of Switzerland.

And the minimum number of days you must spend in the country is at least 5. This way, you’ll get to do and see the best things Switzerland offers.

👉 READ ALSO: How Many Days In Switzerland Is Enough? Revealed!

WRAP-UP: Switzerland In Winter

This is what winter looks like in Switzerland. All in all, it’s one of my favorite countries in the world to visit, and each season offers something unique. Whether you’re a skier or don’t like skiing, you’ll love Switzerland in the wintertime. So, see some of the best places to visit and things to do, make your itinerary, and set off for a winter adventure.

If you have any questions or need a customized travel itinerary, contact me at info(at)voicesoftravel.com. I’ll gladly help you.

Happy Travels!

voices of travel about me photo

About the author: Nicoletta is a travel enthusiast and passionate language learner. While traveling, she loves to connect with locals using her language skills to learn about new cultures. Look for her skiing, hiking in the mountains, or exploring new destinations as she designs travel itineraries for her clients.

SWITZERLAND: Interested in more articles for Switzerland?
Check out my Switzerland Travel Page.

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