Even though its beauty is indisputable, Switzerland in winter reaches the highest level of magic. Gazing into the sun while stepping on the white carpet surrounded by picturesque landscapes is a special experience.
The Swiss are lucky to have the most efficient railway system that can easily take you to different parts of the country.
If you’ve been wondering where to go in Switzerland in winter continue reading.
In this article you will read about:
- Top 8 places to visit in Switzerland in winter
- Weather conditions during winter in Switzerland
- Driving in Switzerland during winter
1. The 8 top places to visit in Switzerland in winter
It’s not surprising there are so many places to visit in winter and so many interesting activities to enjoy greatly. Even if you don’t ski, you will feel blessed under the alpine fresh air while listening to the sounds of church bells, and soaking up the most fascinating scenery.
Check out our list of the most impressive Swiss places to visit in winter:
1. Zurich in winter
There are so many reasons to spend a winter in Zurich – it isn’t too cold, you’ll enjoy the endless shopping opportunities, eat traditional food, visit charming Christmas markets, or visit some out of many neighboring ski resorts.
Winter activities in Zurich
Your winter in the capital can start with the following:
- thermal spa bath
- chocolate tour
Zurich boasts more than 50 museums all around the city! No matter which one you choose to visit, you will have an exquisite cultural experience, and this will be a great opportunity to warm up after a long walk.
After skiing all day on nearby resorts or after a long shopping tour, a relaxation at Thermalbad & Spa Zurich will fully recover your sore muscles and put your mind at ease.
Zurich is such an interesting city, the one that nourishes its history and tradition. It is no surprise it provides 2-hour long group chocolate tours accompanied by local guides. You won’t only try some of the best chocolate, you will also learn new things about the city.
Switzerland winter holidays spent in the capital are very authentic as there are so many things to do. Even though it’s not super cold, you can enjoy winter activities such as skiing, tobogganing, ice skating, or visit beautiful ski resorts nearby that are favorable for everyone’s budget.
2. Winter in Geneva
Geneva under the snow is a blessing for the eyes – you will be enchanted by Christmas markets, have a delicious dinner in some stylish and rustic restaurants, and have an adrenaline rush on the nearby slopes.
The city in winter gets some special effects that guarantee an exciting and memorable experience.
Winter activities in Geneva
Within its architecture, Geneva nourishes long history and tradition that combined with snow invokes images of another world.
Here are some of the things recommended by locals and that will make your winter in Switzerland unforgettable:
- Christmas market
- An educational tour at the Ethnography Museum
- The Old Town Geneva and popular parks
- Festivities of l’Escalade
- Nearby slopes
- Relax at the Spa with the view
- A romantic dinner next to a fireplace
- Shopping in Carouge
- A chocolate tasting tour
- Local wine
Whatever you choose to do, Geneva won’t let you down – it will add some new colors to your overall travel experience so far.
Related: What to do during winter in Geneva
Below are other interesting Swiss places that will make your winter unique and sparkling. Scroll down and find out everything about them!
3. Winter in Zermatt
Zermatt is one of the most popular mountain villages and one of the most photographed winter sports in the world. It is a part of the district of Visp, surrounded by beautiful landscapes at the foot of the famous Matterhorn.
Switzerland in winter is stunning, but Zermatt under the snow comes as a blessing for the eyes! Even if you don’t ski, you’ll be entertained by a variety of other things.
Winter activities in Zermatt
Here are the things that will make your winter in Zermatt unforgettable:
- Gornergrat train ride
- ice skating
Without a question, Zermatt is one of the most popular ski resorts in Europe.
It provides 200 kilometers of pistes, plus, since the border is right here, the visitors can even ski from Italy to Switzerland!
The runs are very long, and they are mostly red – for intermediate skiers. Of course, other lever skiers will also find a piece of winter paradise on this ground.
The Gornergrat Train to Rotenboden is a must for those who want to witness some of the most magical winter sights!
The train will probably be full of skiers, but upon your return to Zermatt, the carriage will probably be empty. Seize this moment to appreciate the surrounding white landscape. The train runs almost every ten minutes.
For a tobogganing adventure, you can rent it at Rotenboden station that lies at 2,815 m. The renting price is CHF 10 per day. Keep in mind that your toboggan ticket does not cover a climb up to the Gornergrat – you will have to get another Gornergrat Ticket.
If ice skating is your thing, you can find the ice rink in the middle of the village where you can make pirouettes with your family and together make a perfect winter in Switzerland. It is opened from 10 am to 7 pm, and it is free to use. You can rent a pair of skates from the local shop in case you don’t have your own.
On the ice rink, you can also play hockey and try curling. While there, you can observe how hockey teams practice, or you can call the Zermatt Curling Club and give it a try.
Zermatt is perfect for family travel, check out other family-friendly places in Switzerland.
Once you visit Lauterbrunnen, you will be under the spell of its uniqueness. This special place boasts 72 waterfalls, hidden valleys, colorful alpine meadows, and rustic mountain taverns.
Even its name, ‘Lauter Brunnen’ – ‘Many fountains’, suggests how beautiful this part of Switzerland is. Next to the waterfalls, fearless mountains raise and divide Lauterbrunnen from the rest of the world.
Lauterbrunnen in winter becomes even more appealing with ski tours, runs, and winter hikes for devoted sportsmen.
Winter activities in Lauterbrunnen
The most popular winter things to do in Lauterbrunnen are:
- winter hiking
Since the valley belongs to the Jungfrau Region ski area, the options for skiing in this area are limitless.
The area gives access to 591 km of runs – with more than 130 marked pistes and over 60 ski lifts.
You can purchase a ski pass with access to the neighboring ski resorts too, including Grindelwald, Wengen, and Murren.
Paragliding is the best option for people who are into adventures and adrenaline rush, and the views from above are breathtaking, capturing the best alpine landscapes under the snow.
Skydiving is another extremely exciting activity above the Bernese Oberland. From an elevation of 4000 m, you will jump out of the helicopter and float back to the ground. Snowcapped peaks will look astonishing from this perspective.
In Lauterbrunnen, you will find the astounding 500 km of hiking trails and routes, suitable for both beginners and experienced hikers.
Try out these easier trails for checking out Lauterbrunnen and the surrounding area in winter:
- Mürren to Allmendhubel Flower Trail
- Murren to Grütschalp
The well-known Eiger Trail is more for experienced walkers and it joins Grindelwald and the Eiger Glacier Railway station.
5. Grindelwald during winter
Grindelwald, Switzerland represents the largest village and the largest ski resort in the Jungfrau region.
It is one of the most popular destinations for holiday tourism, and its mind-blowing scenery will leave you speechless. Cable cars will take you to witness some of the most mesmerizing views of the surrounding area, Grindelwald Glacier, and the lakes.
Winter activities in Grindelwald
Even though it is one of the favorite ski destinations, Grindelwald is rarely crowded. The most common winter activities are:
- winter hiking
There are three stretching base areas and 20 chairlifts that can climb up 42,000 passengers within an hour.
The two ski areas, Männlichen and Wengen, provide 160 km of pistes with about 30 lifts that will transport you uphill to an elevation of 2,500 m.
Another impressive example of the Jungfrau ski region arena is the Schilthorn near Mürren that rises to the magnificent 2,971 m.
Still, the most spectacular ski run of the whole region is the Lauberhorn ski run near Wengen, popular for the World Cup circus.
In Grindelwald, you will find the fascinating 60 km of toboggan runs, including the 15 km of a toboggan run from the Faulhorn into the valley, one of the longest in the Alps.
There are 80 km of winter trails with views across seven 4,000 meters high summits and majestic glaciers for mountain hikers.
6. Interlaken is perfect for winter adventure
Situated between two lakes and the Alps in the background, Interlaken in winter is the best place to visit and enjoy various activities.
Whether you want to retreat or have an adventurous weekend, you will be pleased in Interlaken.
Winter activities in Interlaken
While there, you can go paragliding and have a chill at one of the outside hot tubs on the same day. Everyone will be entertained in Interlaken. It offers you the following:
- Beautiful scenery on the white carpet
- Winter kayaking on the tranquil waters of Lake Brienz
- Countless appealing winter excursions to close and pristine places
- Boat cruise
As you can see, the beauty of Interlaken is limitless. Maybe the best way to capture the most of it is to take a boat cruise. Ensure to catch a glimpse of the Oberhofen, the dreamlike castle on the lake.
For a memorable winter, check out Lake Brienz with a mountain lake tour, and witness stunning villages, cliffs, and fearless waterfalls. For a perfect closure, the boat can take you to the Christmas Markets.
If you spend a winter in Lucerne you will find out why people call it the ‘city of light’.
Skiers can have a great time as the Lake Lucerne region offers several great ski resorts. Many ski and snowboard slopes, sled runs, cross-country ski, and snowshoe trails, are followed by fun snow parks.
Winter activities in Lucerne
A weekend in Lucerne comes as something that the doctor has ordered after a very long and tiresome week. Here are some of the interesting things to do there in winter:
- attend Light Festival
- take a lakeside walk
- take the train to Titlis
The first Light Festival was held in January 2019, and around 17 notable places/installations/projects were lit up from 6 pm to 10 pm.
If you are traveling with your other half, this experience will take your love to another romantic level.
The highlight of Lucerne is its lake, especially the amazingly paved path on the shore. You will enjoy it while feeding the birds and facing the Alps in the background.
When walking through the city, vivid fountains dotted along the streets will fascinate you, too.
To witness one of the most beautiful rides in your entire life, you can take the train from Lucerne to Engelberg. The snowcapped peaks under the placid blue sky never failed to enchant each living soul!
There you can go skiing, snowboarding, hiking, sledding, and so much more.
8. Lugano can be perfect for a winter trip
Lugano is primarily regarded as a summer destination, but once you spend your winter holiday here, you will instantly fall in love and come back again.
It is easy to get around, less crowded during the winter season, and incredibly peaceful.
Winter activities in Lugano
This beautiful town near the border of Italy has a lot to offer even in winter. You can keep yourself entertained with the following things:
- Go up to Monte Brè
- Visit San Lorenzo Cathedral
- Take a Lake Lugano day trip and enjoy the promenade
The funicular can take you up to the Monte Brè but keep in mind that it works only in December, it is closed in January and February. The views can be experienced fully when there are no crowds and on a clear day.
San Lorenzo Cathedral is visible from each part of the town. Visiting this place means paying respect to the town’s history, dating back to the middle ages.
In case you don’t catch any boats in the high winter season, you can take a lovely walk on the lakefront, grab a tea or hot chocolate, and have a lovely afternoon while soaking up the surrounding landscapes.
2. Weather in Switzerland in winter
Generally speaking, in Switzerland in winter is cold, but the average temperature depends on the location and altitude of a certain area.
Mountain areas are the coldest with an average temperature of -10°C (14°F).
On the other hand, northern plains and valleys are warmer with the average temperature between -1 and -4°C (30-25°F), central areas usually don’t go below 0°C (32°F), and in southern areas is the warmest with an average temperature of about 4°C (39°F).
Almost the entire country is covered in snow. Of course, areas higher altitudes have more snow, so as the number of precipitations, and the risk of avalanches. For instance, the average thickness of the snow layer in Engelberg is about 3 meters (9.8 feet).
During your Switzerland winter season, it is better to go to higher resorts to catch some Sun and avoid fogs.
What to wear in Switzerland in winter?
In case you are visiting mountains or cruise on the lakes in winter, you have to put on some warm clothes. The best option is to wear layers. Don’t go without the following:
- windproof/waterproof jacket
- walking pants/leggings
- two high tech fleeces (one with a zip and one without)
- woolen hat/scarf/gloves/mittens
These clothes will keep you warm, and when in layers, it’s easy to take off any unnecessary part and put it into the bag.
3. Driving in Switzerland in winter
Even though Swiss geography is mostly alpine, driving in winter isn’t such an inconvenience if you are well-prepared.
Villages and towns and marked precisely, the roads are in great state, and the snow is regularly cleared.
Most ski resorts are reachable by cars, but some villages are car-free like Zermatt.
It isn’t obligatory to have winter tires but it is strongly recommended. As you can expect the snow in spring and autumn too, it is advisable to have them between October and April. Up in mountain areas snow chains might be a necessity.
If an accident occurs, and your car isn’t properly equipped, you might face the consequences. The policy of most insurance companies doesn’t cover the full damage.
Also, when driving on Swiss highways, you will need a so-called “Vignette” – a highway toll sticker that should be stuck to the windshield. Otherwise, you will pay a heavy fine. You can buy it at most gas stations, border crossings, and post offices.
To skip worrying about all these things, the easiest option is to hire a limousine service in Switzerland. Experienced chauffeurs know by heart each rule and they are always prepared for each scenario.
If you are intimidated by jammed traffic in major cities, relax – chauffeurs always check up on the latest traffic information, and they will precisely avoid it.
Switzerland in winter will be a complete delight with a warm, comfortable, and luxurious limo driving you through the roads paved with snowy charms.
Switzerland in winter – conclusion:
As you can see, Switzerland in winter is radiant – it showers you with beauty on each corner. It has spectacular ski resorts with countless skiing and snowboarding options, charming towns and villages with lovely scenery, and cities with beautiful architecture and long history.
Dive into our list, and find your place that will make your winter unique and memorable.
Don’t forget the most important thing – hire a limousine service to compliment your winter holiday with ease, comfort, and elegance. You deserve it!