Last Updated: April 6, 2022

Switzerland In Autumn: All You Need To Know

Traveling to Switzerland in the autumn? Then you’re certainly in the right place because this guide has all the information you need!

Autumn in Switzerland is absolutely beautiful, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know to prepare for the trip. What’s the weather like, what you should pack, and which sights you shouldn’t miss are all covered in this detailed guide, so keep reading to get all the info you need to prepare for your trip to Switzerland!

Weather/Climate

Switzerland Autumn

Weather in Switzerland is unpredictable year-round, especially in autumn. September is the warmest Autumn month, with the average highs in the 20s (Celsius) and lows in the 10s in most places throughout the country.

October is much colder though, with average highs in the 10s and lows in single digits. In high-altitude villages like St. Moritz, you can expect the temperature to drop below zero in the evenings even in October.

Another thing to note is that there’s a 23% chance of rain every single day in Switzerland in autumn. It can be anything from a light drizzle that you barely even feel, to a heavy downpour that will soak you if you don’t have an umbrella.

Also, there’s a chance of wet snow in the mountains even in September and October, so you will need some sturdy boots if you plan on doing any mountain hikes while you are in Switzerland.

It’s important to mention that the weather can vary drastically from one region to another. The mountainous regions tend to be colder, with the lakeside towns usually featuring a milder and warmer climate.

If you’re hoping for warm weather, the best time to visit is late September to mid-October, when average temperatures during the day are in the low to mid-20s (Celsius).

What to Wear

Packing Skills

Layer up! The weather in Switzerland is unpredictable, so dressing in layers is the smartest thing to do in the autumn season. Put on a t-shirt, then a lightweight sweater or a fleece hoodie, and top it off with a waterproof and windproof jacket.

For bottoms, pack plenty of jeans, pants, and joggers. It’s not a bad idea to also pack some shorts or Bermuda shorts, especially if you’re going to be in Switzerland in September. However, keep in mind that October and November are pretty cold throughout the country, so it’s unlikely you’ll be able to wear the shorts if you’re traveling through the country during those months.

Another smart thing to pack in your suitcase is a warm, insulated jacket, especially if you’re going to be exploring the places high up in the mountains. It’s not uncommon for there to be snow on mountain tops in autumn, and temperatures can drop below zero in October in high-altitude towns and villages.

As for shoes, comfortable sneakers are the best option for long walks in the cities, but you’ll want a sturdy pair of boots if you plan on hiking through the country. If you are going to be exploring mountains and high-altitude villages, waterproof, non-slip boots are the way to go, considering that you could encounter some snow even in October.

Best Things to Do & See

Bern Switzerland

You know what the weather’s going to be like, what to wear, and now it’s time to go over the top things to do in Switzerland in the autumn season!

Food & Wine

Swiss Food

Among the many things that Switzerland is known for around the world, food and wine are at the top of the list. Swiss chocolates and cheeses are some of the best in the world, and trying them while you’re in the country is a must.

If you’re staying in one of the bigger cities, you can book all sorts of food tours that will allow you to taste the best Switzerland has to offer. Zurich in particular has a lot of these, with chocolate tours of the city, as well as fondue cruises that let you sample some of the country’s best cheeses along with a glass of the best Swiss wine.

Tour the most famous Swiss vineyards to get a sense of where the delicious wines come from, and if you’re really into cheese, plan a trip to the medieval town of Gruyeres. The famous Gruyeres cheese originates from that tiny town, and it’s the best place in the country to indulge in copious amounts of Alpine cheese.

Go on a Hike

Switzerland Autumn Forest

Autumn in Switzerland can be extraordinarily beautiful, and going on a hike to admire some beautiful fall foliage is one of the best ways to spend your time in this beautiful country.

Switzerland is pretty much heaven on Earth for avid hikes, with more than 9,500 hiking trails throughout the country. It doesn’t matter if you’re staying near Lake Geneva or in a village in the Swiss Alps – there’s always going to be at least a dozen hiking trails to explore nearby.

Climb the mountains, walk across Alpine pastures, go for a swim in an Alpine lake if you dare, or climb to a hill to admire a panoramic scenic vista – hiking in Switzerland is a rite of passage and the perfect thing to do when you’re spending autumn in Switzerland.

It’s worth noting that mid-October is the ideal time for most hikes in Switzerland. The weather is usually warm enough that you can hike comfortably for hours, trail conditions are still pretty good, and there are not a lot of other hikers on the trail.

Take a Train Ride

One of the best things to do in Switzerland any time of the year is to go on a train ride. Train travel is the fastest and most convenient way of traveling between the major Swiss cities, but there are also some incredibly scenic train routes that you can take just for the fun of it.

The Bernina Express is one of the best train routes in Switzerland, offering mesmerizing views of lakes, mountains, and glaciers. Another popular train route is Eigergletscher – Jungfraujoch, which takes you to the Top of Europe on the highest railway station on the continent!

There are countless other train rides that offer breathtaking panoramic views, and if you get the Swiss Rail Pass, you’ll be able to explore as many as you want! Look into the travel pass if you plan on traveling in Switzerland for a while. It includes free train travel, public transport in cities, and museum tickets, so it’s excellent value for money.

Admire the Views

banalpsee view switzerland

Autumn is one of the prettiest seasons in Switzerland, mostly because of the beautiful fall foliage that makes everything orange and red. Whether you’re running around Zurich or attempting to climb Matterhorn, just remember to stop for a moment or two and take in the beautiful views.

If you’re a sucker for a pretty view, then you’ll love your time in Switzerland. You can have dinner at the tallest buildings in Zurich, stand on the banks of Lake Geneva, or just ride the mountain cable cars to experience some of the best views Switzerland has to offer.

Indulge in a Relaxing Thermal Spa

Switzerland might not be world-famous for its renowned thermal spas, but it does have quite a few of them throughout the country. One of the best things to do during the colder autumn months is to just relax in a warm thermal spa, especially if you’ve spent the day walking around in chilly weather.

Just like Germany, Switzerland has its own Baden which happens to be one of the top spa resort towns in the country. It’s the country’s oldest destination with thermal baths, as well as one of the oldest places of this kind in entire Europe. The entire town is a spa and wellness center, so it’s a great place if you want your travels through Switzerland to be a bit more hedonistic.

Thermal spas are also common in most of the bigger cities in Switzerland, namely Zurich, Bern, and Luzern. Rigi is another popular town for wellness and spa, and there’s plenty of them in the luxury resort town of St. Moritz as well.

Get on a Boat

Interlaken, Boat Cruise

You can go on sightseeing tours, romantic dinner cruises, and even travel from one town to another by boat. Also, it’s possible to just rent kayaks and ride around on your own, which might just be the best thing to do for adventurers and thrill-seekers.

Another thing worth noting is that the bigger lakes in Switzerland will also offer all sorts of water sports. This is usually more popular during the summer holidays, but some places that are in the warmer areas stay open in the off-season.

This includes stuff like stand-up paddling, water skiing, windsurfing, tandem rafting, and pretty much any other fun water sport you can think of.

Have Some Fun at Oktoberfest

October is an exciting month for beer drinkers in most bigger European cities. Although the traditional Oktoberfest is held in Munich, Germany, there’s a version of Oktoberfest in most bigger cities in Europe.

The Swiss Oktoberfest is traditionally held in Zurich, on an artificial island in Limmat River. It lasts for about a month, from early October until early November, and it’s a great festival for anyone who enjoys drinking beer.

There’s live music, Bavarian food, copious amounts of beer, and the traditional beer festival atmosphere that Oktoberfests throughout Europe are known for.

Visit a City

Zurich View

You’ve decided to visit Switzerland, but have you made up your mind which Swiss cities you’re going to see? It’s hard to choose since all of them are beautiful, and each offers something unique to its visitors.

Bern is the capital city, Zurich is the place that everyone assumes is the capital, Geneva is the it-location for luxury travel and rich people, and Luzern has that old-world charm with its medieval architecture.

The good news is that traveling between the Swiss cities is super easy, so you can visit them all if you have the time and resources. The bad news is that it’s very expensive and you will need a big budget for train tickets and accommodation.

One thing to note is that there’s no need to create a rigid travel itinerary for Switzerland. There aren’t that many tourists during the fall season, so even if you don’t buy tickets in advance and book rooms, you shouldn’t have any issue finding a place to stay.

Relax by a Lake

There are around 1,500 lakes in Switzerland, and it would be a shame not to see at least one of them. If you’re visiting any major cities in the country, then you’re already getting a glimpse at some of the best and largest lakes the country is known for.

But even the smaller lakes are spectacular, and there’s something really special about those Alpine lakes that are surrounded by gorgeous alpine meadows. If you’re visiting Switzerland in late September or early October, it might still be possible to swim in the lake.

Jumping in an Alpine lake is not the best idea since there’s pretty cold even during the summer holidays, but Murtensee and Lake Lauerz tend to stay warm enough for a refreshing swim throughout September and October.

Witness a Cow Parade

Switzerland Cow Parade

How many people do you know who can say that they’ve seen and participated in a cow parade? The beginning of autumn in Switzerland is marked by a cow parade, and it’s the perfect event to experience while you’re traveling through the country.

This is an age-old tradition in Switzerland, and it takes place in many Alpine regions throughout the country. There’s a cow parade somewhere pretty much every day of early October, so if you’re staying in the country then, just check where’s the nearest cow parade to you.

It’s worth noting that this event is also known as the alpine descent, and it’s not strictly limited to cows. Farmers will showcase various cattle during this event, so you might also see goats and sheep. Also, it’s not just about the animals – there’s a lot of yodeling, traditional music, and cheese tastings during these events!

About the Author Anna Timbrook

Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.

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