Climate and monthly weather forecast

Flag of Switzerland
Flag of Switzerland

The climate of Switzerland

Switzerland has a mostly continental climate that varies significantly by location and altitude. Much of the Central Plateau has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb). A significant section in the north exhibits an oceanic climate (Köppen Cfb). A small area in the south-central region enjoys a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa). The foothills of the Alps are subarctic (Köppen Dfc), with cool summers and cold winters. The climate above the tree line in the Alps is alpine (Köppen ET). Switzerland is a landlocked country in Western, Central, and Southern Europe. Austria and Lichtenstein are in the east, Italy lies in the south, France in the west, and Germany in the north. The temperate latitudes and the Alps chiefly influence the climate.

Switzerland lies between 45°N and 47°N of the equator. The country is mostly hilly and mountainous, with elevations ranging from 193 meters to 4634 meters. The Swiss Plateau or the Central Plateau in the north, the Jura Mountains in the northwest, and the Alps in the south form the three major geographical regions. The Alps cover 60% of the country's total area. Forty-eight mountain peaks are more than 4000 meters high. The Swiss Plateau has west to east orientation and consists of rolling hills, pastures, forests, and lakes. Switzerland has over 1500 lakes, which, along with glaciers, constitute 6% of the total area. Dufourspitze, a mountain peak of Monte Rosa, is the highest point in Switzerland at 4634 meters above sea level. Lake Maggiore is the lowest point at 193 meters. The longest river is the Rhine, with a length of 234 miles. Lake Geneva is the largest lake in Switzerland.

The best time to visit Switzerland

The best time to visit Switzerland is from May to September. The temperatures are mild to warm, and the landscape is free from snow. Late spring has moderate temperatures and sees an increase in sunshine. The High Alps is a popular tourist destination in the summer. Some resorts are open for skiing, even in June. The best time to explore the mountains is from June to August. Summer temperatures are in the pleasant range of 10°C (50°F) to 26.7°C (80.1°F) on the Central Plateau. The rainfall begins to decrease by early autumn in September, which has mild to warm temperatures.

The worst time to visit Switzerland

The worst time to visit Switzerland is in the cold winter season from December to February. The Central Plateau registers freezing temperatures and receives significant snowfall. The mountains receive heavy snowfall, and even the day temperatures register below freezing. The sunshine is weak in the winter and hardly lasts above 2 hours every day. The days are short, and the conditions quickly become cold and dark after sunset. February is ideal for skiing in the winter, with relatively long days and plenty of snow. The sunshine is better than the peak of the winter season.

Spring weather in Switzerland

Spring in Switzerland is a season of renewal. While the Central Plateau occasionally witnesses snowfall, the Alps can experience snow even in early summer. The Fohn winds, warm and dry in nature, are prevalent during this season. The country starts to witness more sunshine, especially in late spring. However, as with other seasons in Switzerland, the weather can be unpredictable due to its varied topography.

Summer weather in Switzerland

Switzerland's summers, influenced by altitude and region, range from cool to warm and are relatively more humid. While the Central Plateau might witness temperatures soaring above 30°C (86°F), such instances are brief. Rainfall is a prominent feature of the Swiss summer, making it the wettest season. The southernmost canton of Ticino often records the country's most intense rainfall during this time. Despite this, summer remains a favorite among tourists, especially those looking to explore the mountainous regions.

Autumn weather in Switzerland

Autumn, starting from September, showcases decreasing rainfall and mild to warm temperatures. The country, known for its picturesque landscapes, dons a vibrant hue during this season. However, the weather remains volatile, shifting without much warning. The cold Bise winds, primarily occurring in winter and spring, occasionally make their presence felt during this time, emanating from the north-east and bringing cooler temperatures.

Winter weather in Switzerland

Winter in Switzerland is synonymous with cold, less humid conditions. Between December and March, freezing temperatures dominate the Central Plateau. The Jura and the Alps face intense cold, blanketed under thick layers of snow. The High Alps and the Jura mountains witness remarkable snowfall, ranging from 2540mm (100") to 5080mm (200"). While the Central Plateau sees a more moderate range of 508mm (20") to 1524mm (60"). Despite its chilling grip, winter has its charm, attracting skiers and snow enthusiasts from around the globe.

Weather in January

January in Switzerland is characterized by its freezing conditions and stands as one of the coldest months of the year. The Central Plateau, encompassing major cities like Zurich and Bern, witnesses temperatures well below the freezing mark, although the chill is more pronounced in mountainous regions like the Jura and the Alps. Weather in January »

Weather in February

Switzerland's chill continues into February, but the month often witnesses a subtle rise in temperatures, making it slightly warmer than January. The Central Plateau, home to cities including Zurich and Bern, still frequently experiences sub-zero temperatures. Weather in February »

Weather in March

March ushers in the early signs of spring in Switzerland, although winter's remnants are still palpable, especially in the elevated terrains. The Central Plateau, including prominent cities like Zurich and Bern, begins to witness a rise in temperatures, often marking the transition from the freezing conditions of January and February. Weather in March »

Weather in April

As April sets in, Switzerland starts to embrace spring in its full glory. The Central Plateau, encompassing key cities such as Zurich and Bern, frequently enjoys milder temperatures, a stark contrast to the freezing conditions of the past winter months. Weather in April »

Weather in May

May heralds the true essence of spring in Switzerland, with nature bursting into vibrant hues of green. In the Central Plateau, where cities like Zurich and Bern are situated, temperatures climb, providing a pleasant warmth that encourages outdoor activities. Weather in May »

Weather in June

June marks the beginning of summer in Switzerland, as warmth envelops the landscapes and pristine blue skies frequently dominate. In the Central Plateau, housing significant urban centres like Zurich and Bern, the temperatures hover between 10°C (50°F) to 26.7°C (80.1°F). Weather in June »

Weather in July

July in Switzerland is synonymous with peak summer, with temperatures often reaching their zenith for the year. The Central Plateau, encompassing urban hubs like Zurich and Bern, experiences temperatures generally ranging from 15°C (59°F) to 30°C (86°F). Weather in July »

Weather in August

As the last full month of summer, August in Switzerland retains much of July's warmth, but with a subtle hint of the approaching autumn. In the Central Plateau, where cities including Zurich and Bern are situated, temperatures commonly vary between 15°C (59°F) and 30°C (86°F). Weather in August »

Weather in September

September in Switzerland signifies the onset of autumn, and with it comes a noticeable shift in the climate. In the Central Plateau, encompassing cities such as Zurich and Bern, temperatures start to cool, typically ranging from 12°C (53.6°F) to 25°C (77°F). Weather in September »

Weather in October

October in Switzerland marks a deep dive into autumn, with nature unfurling a canvas of mesmerizing colors, and the atmosphere turning considerably cooler. The Central Plateau, home to major cities such as Zurich and Bern, witnesses temperatures that generally oscillate between 8°C (46.4°F) and 18°C (64.4°F). Weather in October »

Weather in November

Switzerland in November is characterized by a pronounced shift towards the colder and wetter conditions of winter. The Central Plateau, housing cities such as Zurich and Bern, experiences temperatures that usually hover between 3°C (37.4°F) and 10°C (50°F). Weather in November »

Weather in December

December in Switzerland heralds the true onset of winter. The Central Plateau, where cities like Zurich and Bern are situated, is enshrouded in cold, with temperatures predominantly ranging between -2°C (28.4°F) and 5°C (41°F). Weather in December »


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