Traveling to spend summer in Switzerland might not be high on your list of vacation destinations but you’re missing out if you think Switzerland hasn’t got lots to offer in all seasons. Yes, there are no winter sports, but there is a lot more going on!
In the summertime, the hiking trails through the Alps open up, you can walk through lush forests, green valleys, swim in crystal blue beautiful lakes, climb mountains, and take in all the culture of mountain resorts, and the stunning cities.
Have I convinced you that a Switzerland summer is worth considering? Join me as we take a look at all the things you need to know to have an amazing time visiting Switzerland in Summer.
Summer in Switzerland is blessed with great weather and if you stay low in altitude around spots like Lake Geneva, you’ll enjoy average temperatures of 23 to 26 degrees celsius.
I have spent a few summers in Switzerland and it’s pretty hot, daily swims in the lakes are a must, and enjoying a cold glass of wine or a beer on the shores is the way to live life.
If you venture into the majestic mountains, then the temperature does drop between the evenings and morning but it’s still pretty warm.
If you’re spending time in the lower areas when you visit Switzerland, shorts and t-shirts are more than enough with a jumper and trousers for the chilly evenings.
Ladies can wear summer dresses and skirts without worry and of course, everyone should pack their bathing suits for refreshing swims in the lakes.
If you’re up in the Alps, then having some layers with you is a good idea for the evenings, nights, and mornings, a light down jacket and a merino wool jumper is more than enough.
The Jungfrau region is a stunning place and is a must-visit during summer in Switzerland.
The highlight of the region is visiting the peak of Jungfraujoch mountain which is accessed via a cogwheel railway train ride that provides stunning views over the Alps. Once on the top of the mountain, you will see reaching views into the Black Forest in Germany and the Vosges Mountains in France.
It’s wise to have a Swiss pass when doing this journey as the pass will give you a huge discount on this rather expensive train.
While in the area you can stay in the lovely town of Interlaken where you’ll find two lakes joined together with great views. You can hike around the lakes, swim, and grab a boat ride to see the crystal clear waters.
You also have the option to stay in or explore some delightful mountain resorts like Murren, Grindelwald, and Wengen. If you love waterfalls, the Alps, beautiful lakes, and interesting train rides, this spot can’t be missed.
Lake Lugano is one of the main tourist attractions in Switzerland during the summer and this is not only because of how beautiful it is but also thanks to its micro-climate.
The beautiful city of Lugano sits on the Swiss-Italian border and is the sunniest place in Switzerland and has a Mediterranean flair to it with sub-tropical plants, Italian culture, and accents, plus lake views.
This world-class city is home to the rich and famous, has amazing shopping, unforgettable cuisines, and access to some great activities. You can hop on a boat tour around the lake, use boats as transport, go up into the mountains and do water sports on the lake too.
The panoramic views you can see of Lugano and Lake Lugano from the nearby mountains and hiking routes are out of this world. Plus, you’ll pretty much have a lake view no matter where your accommodation is placed.
Mount Pilatus is another of the amazing attractions that should be missed by travelers spending summer in Switzerland. You can travel to this amazing mountain via the stunning Swiss city of Lucerne, set on the shores of the beautiful Lake Lucerne.
To travel to the peak of Pilatus all you need to do is hop on a scenic train ride via the cogwheel railway to see spectacular views of the Alps, the largest town of Lucerne, and Lake Lucerne too.
While staying in Lucerne during your Switzerland trip it’s a must to stroll around the colorful houses, historic buildings, and many bridges of Lucerne’s 15th century medieval old town. Swimming in the lake is also highly encouraged as are boat trips and exploring the lush greenery that surrounds the lake.
If you’re looking to explore the best of Swiss country with a mix of quiet city life and incredible access to nature, this is a destination for your Switzerland itinerary.
Geneva is the second-biggest city in Switzerland and it’s set on the biggest lake in Switzerland, Lake Geneva. You’ll have views of the lake of the Jura mountains on the Swiss side and then views of the Alps and Mont Blanc on the French side.
Geneva is home to the International Federation of the Red Cross, the European headquarters of the United Nations, and the World Health Organization (WHO), making it one of the most significant cities on the planet when it comes to world diplomacy.
This is a destination that has to be added to your summer in Switzerland itinerary as you have access to the lovely old town, see one of the largest fountains in the world Jet d’Eau (Water-Jet), the Palace of Nations, and lots more between its old buildings and cobblestone streets.
Swimming in Lake Geneva is a must, you can explore the rolling green hills around the lake, take a trip into the nearby mountains, enjoy shopping, walk around the lake, take in the sun, see museums, and check out a quaint village or two and historic castles around the lake.
A trip to Montreux, a village on the lake is also a must and if you can time it with the annual jazz festivals then you will have the best time.
RELATED: Learn more about Geneva in the summer
If you want to spend time in the Swiss countryside and enjoy a quiet retreat with your family and a few of the rich and famous, then adding the alpine resort of Gstaad to your Switzerland itinerary is a great idea.
Gstaad is located in the Alps close to Lake Geneva in the Bernese Oberland. It’s incredibly easy to travel to in the summer and traveling to it is stunning as you follow the winding roads or railways through the mountains.
Gstaad is home to incredible hotels, shops, gourmet restaurants, galleries, and more that line this 100% car-free resort. If you want a place to relax during your trip to Switzerland, this is it.
Local activities are mainly based around the nearby peaks and the area is famous for its stunning hikes through the country and if you prefer some biking as well as tasting the great chocolate and cheese on offer.
One of the best things to do while in this town is to get on the cable car which takes you 10,000 feet up to the top of the Les Diablerets Glacier. The cable car ride is amazing enough but visitors’ minds are blown by the views and experience of the glacier.
If you travel to Switzerland in summer, something you have to experience is to see the most photographed mountain in Europe, if not the world, which is the Matterhorn mountain.
To see the Matterhorn, you will want to base yourself in the charming Swiss town of Zermatt which you can get to on the famous glacier express. Zermatt combines the feeling of a traditional town with fine dining and modern living and you can actually see the Matterhorn from Zermatt town.
The streets of Zermatt are incredibly quiet and electric vehicles are only allowed so as not to create pollution in front of the greatest peak in Europe and to keep the village quiet too.
To get to the Matterhorn, you’ll need to get on the Gornergratbahn, the highest cogwheel train in Europe. While you’re traveling on the train, you’ll see 29 peaks, seven glaciers, and of course, the Matterhorn.
If you haven’t visited Rhine Falls by the time you leave your Switzerland summer vacation, then you have missed out.
Located in northern Switzerland near the German border, the Rhine falls are the biggest waterfalls in Europe, and gazing upon the huge volume of crystal blue water gushing down the falls is nothing short of a spectacular experience.
To see the falls, you can either drive from Zurich and stay in Laufen Uhwiesen and hop on a boat to see them up close, or you can book a Rhine River Cruise that can even include Basel, Lucerne, and Zurich.
If you choose to spend the night next to the falls, make sure to enjoy the beautiful sightseeing along the river, have dinner by the river, and spend the evening enjoying all the summer festivities on offer.
While you’re in Lake Geneva and Montreux, somewhere you have to visit is Chateau Chillon, a castle located on an island in the middle of the lake.
This castle is the most visited castle in Switzerland and is accessed via a short boat ride. Traveling to the island is a journey in itself as you’re surrounded by mountains, sights, rivers, and lots more.
Inside the famous castle, you’ll find art dating back to the 14th century, ancient dungeons and subterranean vaults, and lots more. The art is worth seeing, especially if you’re a fan of old paintings.
One of the best things about this visit is that close by is a destination not to pass by. The town of Lausanne sits right on the lake and is one of the most beautiful cities in the country.
A visit to Zurich is also something worth adding to your travel itinerary. Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and it sits on the northern end of Lake Zurich.
It’s a city packed full of history and filled with museums, galleries, and a lovely old town to explore too. You literally drop into the Renaissance period on a walk around the old Zurich between the guildhalls, narrow streets, and medieval houses.
If you’re wondering what the best things about seeing Zurich are, I’d say it’s the balance between city life and nature. You can get into trails for hiking around the lake and into the mountains, pop into town for some culture and great food, and enjoy a bit of the Zurich nightlife.
A boat cruise around the lake is also a great thing to do for tourists who travel to Zurich in the summer as the backdrop of the Alps is mind-blowing. Or ride the Ployhabh to get amazing views of Zurich and the lake from a higher vantage point.
RELATED: If you are planning to travel to Zurich in the summer, check out our detailed guide here.
You have to visit Bern if you can while spending the summer season in Switzerland as this beautiful capital city is actually home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its stunning old town.
The medieval arcades in Bern go back to the 1100s and along with the decorative fountains of old folkloric and historic characters, along with the stunning clock tower are just some of the sights to see in Bern.
You should certainly see the 15th-century Gothic cathedral in Bern, home to the tallest spire in Switzerland and if you climb the staircase, you can see great views of the city.
One of THE year-round destinations in Switzerland to travel to is St Moritz, no matter the season as in the summer you swap skiing and snow-covered slopes for incredible hikes with alpine views in all directions.
You can take a cable car up to Piz Nair and Corviglia to access fresh trails and some of the best views, you can also enjoy the peace and quiet, nearby lakes, and history museum in town that showcases village life from the 13th century to the 19th century.
You are not going to find the best deals in St Moritz, so only plan a visit if you have the budget as this region is pretty much designed to cater to affluent tourists. Unfortunately, this is one of the places to avoid if you’re on a budget.
Verbier is a place that is known for its winter season but it’s worth a pass during the summer in Switzerland too. Alpine hikes, a relaxing atmosphere as well as great rock climbing, biking, canyoning, and more are on offer.
You’ll have to forgo the snow and Christmas markets but you can dine in the stunning villages that surround it and enjoy the summer alpine vibe of Switzerland.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!