Winter closures in Switzerland and the weather

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Crazy Kiwi
Crazy Kiwi
27 posts
active member
May 2, 2019 - 8:23 PM

I really want to travel through Switzerland (by regional trains) in winter (January 2020), but have been told cogwheel railways, cable cars, a lot of activities, hotels, etc. are closed during this time. Also, have been told it rains a lot in Switzerland in winter. Is this true? I realise the weather is never a certainty anywhere in the world, but was just wondering if there was any truth to this. Many thks. L.

rockoyster
rockoyster
7668 posts
expert
May 2, 2019 - 10:06 PM in reply to Crazy Kiwi

Hello Crazy and Welcome to MySwissAlps,

January is peak ski season so the joint is jumping. Things rend to go quiet between summer and winter seasons but not when you plan to visit. The cog-wheel to Pilatus is not running but the cableway is (just by way of example).

Rain means snow in the Alps. See www.myswissalps.com/we ather.

Last modified on May 2, 2019 - 10:07 PM by rockoyster
Crazy Kiwi
Crazy Kiwi
27 posts
active member
May 3, 2019 - 11:46 PM

Thanks for the info Rock Oyster.

Even though obviously winter is ski season, I was a bit surprised to hear that winter was 'jumping'. I realise anywhere in Europe is going to be 'tourist heavy', however for some reason I thought your summer would be the most popular for tourists. I feel like I've got a tough decision ahead of me... to still travel in your winter or to travel maybe in your Autumn or Spring. It's not like I haven't seen snow before - I'm originally from New Zealand (now living in Australia) - but it's just that I've seen some absolutely magnificent photos of all the little Swiss villages blanketed in snow and would just really love to be there then, but if there are going to be various closures around the countryside, it seems like I may need to reconsider my travel month. Plus, even though I would be a tourists myself, I was actually hoping to avoid tourists as much as possible. I know how annoying tourists can be! Ha ha! Thanks again for your help.

rockoyster
rockoyster
7668 posts
expert
May 3, 2019 - 11:56 PM in reply to Crazy Kiwi

My summer is the same as your summer!

I last visited Switzerland in May/June. Next time September/October. 😎 🇦🇺

Last modified on May 3, 2019 - 11:58 PM by rockoyster
Crazy Kiwi
Crazy Kiwi
27 posts
active member
May 4, 2019 - 12:04 AM

Ha ha ha..... that's funny. They always say never assume anything!

Which season was the best for you when visiting Switzerland - tourist-wise and snow-wise?

rockoyster
rockoyster
7668 posts
expert
May 4, 2019 - 2:41 AM in reply to Crazy Kiwi

Well I can't say which was best has I've only been once. The second visit is this coming September/October. Late May/Early June was excellent. Low tourist volumes, fantastic weather and still some snow about in the Alps.

www.myswissalps.com/be sttimetovisit

Arno
Arno
14103 posts
expert &
moderator
May 7, 2019 - 1:25 PM

Hi Crazy Kiwi,

I moved the questions you posted in www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/cable-cars-around-lauterbrunnen here, because that thread was about a different topic.

"Hi Steph

I've already had a response from Rock Oyster re the below, but I'd also like your perspective as well, considering you are Swiss and actually live in Switzerland.

I really want to travel through Switzerland (by regional trains) in winter (January 2020), but have been told cogwheel railways, cable cars, a lot of activities, hotels, restaurants etc. are closed during this time. Also, have been told it rains a lot in Switzerland in winter. Is this true? I realise the weather is never a certainty anywhere in the world, but was just wondering if there was any truth to this.

Also, just wondering which season in Switzerland is the most 'tourist heavy'? I thought your summer would be the most popular for tourists . I really do want to travel in your winter because I've seen some absolutely magnificent photos of all the little Swiss villages blanketed in snow and would just really love to be there then, but if there are going to be various closures around the countryside, it seems like I may need to reconsider my travel month. Plus, even though I would be a tourist myself, I was actually hoping to avoid tourists as much as possible. I know how annoying tourists can be! Ha ha!

From your perspective, which season would you say is the best to travel in to see the most and get the most out of my holiday? Because this will be a once in a lifetime trip for me, I won't get a second chance. Are there any little out of the way, off the beaten track type places you would recommend my friend and I visit? Or even cafes, bars, restaurants or accommodation that you would recommend that maybe not many people know about. My biggest concern out of everything is the closures because I really do want to see heaps and heaps of snow.

Many thanks."

Steph
Steph
1984 posts
top member &
moderator
May 7, 2019 - 3:57 PM in reply to Arno

Hello Crazy Kiwi,

Thanks for appreciating my input. Let's see how to best put this..

The majority of visitors certainly come over the summer months and not in winter, however there is also a "winter tourist season" in Switzerland, this is when the skiers come. So if you stick to skiing areas when planning your winter stay you will be on the safe side regarding mountain transportation, as the skiers need to get up the mountain, too.

This page provides a nice overview of opening dates, etc. of Swiss skiing areas:

- www.skiresort.info/sno w-reports/seasonstart/sw itzerland/

I would say the month with the highest risk of rain is generally November, but then again there, if you choose to stay at a higher altitude you might as well already get wonderful snowfall, lovely!
- - www.myswissalps.com/be sttimetovisit

You might want to look at staying in a rental in addition to hotel possibilities, offering smaller and more remote places to stay in, as I get the idea this is what you're looking for. Or consider AirBnB to get some more local input when there?
- www.myswissalps.com/re ntals
- www.myswissalps.com/ho tels
- www.myswissalps.com/ho stels

I personally very much enjoy the area of Lenzerheide near Chur for "non-skiing" winter activities, but you will find nice spots also around Lucerne and of course in the Bernese Oberland. Make sure to check:
- www.myswissalps.com/ac tivities/snow
- www.myswissalps.com/be rneseoberland
- www.myswissalps.com/ce ntralswitzerland
- www.myswissalps.com/gr aubunden

I hope this gives you some idea..I don't want to pin anything down as these experiences are so very individual. The big advantage for your plans is that Switzerland is a fairly small country and the travel system is set up in such a practical way, that it allows you to "jump off" any train (at the station, please!) should you want to explore a village or area.

Best,
Steph

Last modified on May 7, 2019 - 3:59 PM by Steph
Crazy Kiwi
Crazy Kiwi
27 posts
active member
May 8, 2019 - 5:11 AM in reply to Steph

Thks Steph. Info is awesome. I really do want 2 visit in Jan if I can but its just looking harder & harder 2 do so. Thks again. Muchly appreciated

Crazy Kiwi
Crazy Kiwi
27 posts
active member
May 8, 2019 - 5:12 AM in reply to Arno

Thks for that

Annika
Annika
6102 posts
expert &
moderator
May 8, 2019 - 3:55 PM in reply to Crazy Kiwi

Hi Crazy Kiwi! I'm sorry to hear you feel like a visit in January is hard to realize. I don't think it is, to be honest. If you're looking for snowy villages and white mountains, January is an excellent month! Just focus on the higher regions and towns (the ones geared to winter sports) and you'll see that hotels, cable cars, viewing points, restaurants and other services are fully available. There won't be any major restrictions. You'll even find many groomed winter hiking trails, so there's no need to practice winter sports in order to enjoy the scenic views.

Although it's hard to predict anything about weather patterns in general, low clouds and fog can occur in the valleys and lower regions, whereas mountain areas can be very sunny at the same time.

I hope this reassures you. If you're longing to experience snow, a winter holiday is exactly what you're looking for.

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