Are summers in Switzerland normally this hot?

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4608 posts
Jul 31, 2017 - 9:49 AM

Hi MySwissAlps Team,

When we toured Switzerland starting mid May we were surprised at how warm the days were. We thought perhaps we had just struck an unseasonal heatwave. But following MeteoSwiss since we see that it is still quite hot. Is this a normal summer?

What is the best time to travel through Switzerland if your thermostat explodes if the temperature exceeds around 25C?

10385 posts
expert &
Jul 31, 2017 - 3:45 PM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Rockoyster!

This is my 3rd summer here in Zurich (though I arrived at the end of 2015's summer). 2015 was insanely hot, easily 32-38 degrees for weeks and weeks. They still talk about it in hushed tones here.

In general June to September is 23/24 to 33/34 - this seems normal now. This summer has been much wetter than last summer as well - no idea why but we get 30-45 minutes of really heavy rain and thunderstorms one day and then a few days of 32 and sun and then back again (last summer it felt like we had no rain from late June to early September)

I think your best bet for weather, as well as having main areas/attractions open for you, is to arrive in mid-September.


Last modified on Jul 31, 2017 - 3:48 PM by Lucas
12109 posts
expert &
Jul 31, 2017 - 5:58 PM

Hi Rockoyster,

The average maximum temperature in Zurich is 19 °C in May and 25 °C in July (you can get data from www.meteoswiss.admin.c h/home/climate/past/cl imate-normals/normal-values-per-measured-parameter.html). Unfortunately there is no escape to global warming in Switzerland either, so the average temperature has been rising since the 1980's or so. It's no longer a statistic but really noticeable. It can get as concrete as skiing no longer being possible in certain places or seasons. Summer skiing on Mount Corvatsch ended way back in 1992, for example. Valleys in the south can become pretty hot in summer, like 35 °C. As far as I know that's not unusual, but the number of days like that tends to rise, so the average is not what it used to be.

The graphs on www.meteoswiss.admin.c h/home/climate/past/cl imate-normals.html and www.meteoswiss.admin.c h/home/climate/future/ climate-change-scenarios.html make it pretty clear.

However, all the stats don't help in estimating what to expect for a particular visit. May can indeed be hot but also chilly. If you prefer cooler weather you may want to plan your next visit in April, or late September to mid October (better for tourist attractions as Lucas said). But mind the altitude too. April in Ticino is not at all the same as in the Engadine.

4608 posts
Jul 31, 2017 - 10:27 PM in reply to Arno

Hi Guys,

Thanks for the feedback. Very interesting stats Arno.

Looks like if I want to travel in the summer months I'm going to have to establish a higher altitude base.

659 posts
top member
Jul 31, 2017 - 11:03 PM

I have similar problems coping in high temperatures! We usually visit in July and August because of commitments we have at home but are going to try and escape those commitments next year so that we can travel later. We are considering a week in the Engadine early September, followed by 2 weeks self-catering in the Bernese Oberland and ending with a week in Ticino - possibly Lugano. I realise travel-wise we should do Engadine - Lugano - Bernese Oberland but we thought our plan might be better temperature-wise, quite apart from the fact we could do some laundry while self-catering in the middle weeks!!


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new member
Aug 1, 2017 - 5:55 AM in reply to rockoyster

Hi rockoyster,

>> What is the best time to travel through Switzerland if your thermostat explodes if the temperature exceeds around 25C?

I can understand your preference for travelling in cooler weather, and I agree that September is a great month to travel in Switzerland - the weather is pleasant, the crowds have thinned out, and all the mountain transport is still operating.

The Wengen "regulars" say that the first half of September is best for visiting Wengen. You could start off in the higher altitudes, and move to the lower altitudes later in the month (if your trip lasted that long).

However, given you have family on the German border with Switzerland, and will perhaps take the opportunity for several trips over the coming years, you might want to think about timing some of your trips to include the following:

---A winter experience with lots of snow.

To be sure of good snow cover, I would go in February, but not during the school winter-sport break. To give you an idea of the timing, for 2017 the winter-sport school holiday dates were as follows:

St Moritz 6-17 Feb

Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen etc 25 Feb to 5 March

Zermatt 4-12 March

You can check school holidays (Schulferien) here:

www.feiertagskalender. ch/ferien.php?jahr=2017&geo=3056&kla sse=5&hl=de&hidepast=1

---An Alpabzug

This is when the cows come down in a procession from the high alpine pastures before the winter snows set in: called the Alpabzug in German, or désalpe in French. These processions happen all over the alpine regions between about mid-September and mid-October, but not all of them advertise firm dates far enough in advance to allow you to incorporate them into your holiday plans. One that does is that in Seewis im Prättigau (Graubünden), to which I went last year: rum/topic/alpabzug-seewis-im-praettigau-8-october-2016

---Swiss National Day on 1 August

I have yet to spend Swiss National Day in Switzerland, but there are major celebrations all over the country incorporating cultural activities (such as the wearing of traditional costumes, yodeling, alphorn playing and flag throwing). Some places also have fireworks. Chances are it will be hot though! en-au/service-updates/events.html?strubrik=1560

---Christmas markets; and Christmas itself in an alpine village

The Christmas markets are magical, and there is already quite a lot of information about them on MySwissAlps. Many towns also have beautiful Christmas lights and decorations. As for Christmas itself, snow will not be guaranteed unfortunately, but if you pick an alpine-village hotel that does a special Christmas dinner, it is a lovely experience. And you might be lucky with the snow!

---Chalandamarz in the villages of Graubünden on 1 March discover-our-regions/stories/chalan damarz

---Assorted cultural and other events en-au/about-switzerland/customs-traditions.html


4608 posts
Aug 1, 2017 - 6:20 AM in reply to Removed user

Hi Alpenrose,

Yes, you are right. Several future trips are on the cards. Providing the kids don't decide to move. You never can tell. The world seems much more mobile than "when I were a lad". 👴🏻

Thanks so much for the seasonal suggestions and links. All carefully tucked away for future reference.

A Christmas visit will be a high priority for when the grandson reaches an age where it starts to mean something to him.

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