BEST TIME TO VISIT ZURICH, SWITZERLAND

BEST TIME TO VISIT ZURICH IN SWITZERLAND – WHAT IS THE BEST SEASON TO VISIT?

Are you planning a trip to Zurich and are wondering about the best time to visit Zurich? Well, let me tell you, the timing is everything!

Depending on the season, you could be hitting the slopes or soaking up the sun by the lake. And let’s not forget about the festivals, food fairs, and cultural events that pop up throughout the year. So sit tight, because I am about to take a journey through the best times (and seasons) to visit Zurich and all the amazing things you can do and see!

Switzerland’s largest city is a true gem of Europe and has quite a bit to offer.

With its breathtaking views of the mountains, pristine lakes, and charming old town, Zurich is a city that never hardly fails to impress. Whether you’re looking to indulge in the finest Swiss chocolates or explore the latest trends in contemporary art and fashion, Zurich has something for everyone.

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WHAT ARE THE FOUR SEASONS IN ZURICH, SWITZERLAND?

Zurich experiences four distinct seasons throughout the year. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect:

  • Spring (March to May): Spring in Zurich is mild and yet often unpredictable. Temperatures can range from cool to warm, with occasional rain showers. This is a great time to explore the city’s museums and galleries, as well as the beautiful parks and gardens that come to life with colorful blossoms.
  • Summer (June to August): Summer in Zurich is warm and sunny, with temperatures averaging in the mid-20s Celsius (mid-70s Fahrenheit). This is the perfect time to enjoy the city’s outdoor activities, such as swimming in the lake, hiking in the nearby mountains, or attending one of the many outdoor festivals and concerts. However, from my own experience, I can tell you it can get really hot (above 30°C – 90°F) on some days.
  • Fall (September to November): Fall in Zurich is mild and colorful, with temperatures gradually cooling down. This is a great time to experience the changing leaves and the harvest season. 
  • Winter (December to February): Winter in Zurich is cold and snowy, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. This is a magical time to visit the city’s Christmas markets and enjoy the festive decorations. Skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts will love the nearby Swiss Alps, which offer some of the best winter sports in the world.

Though Zurich has four distinct seasons, it has a moderate climate with no extreme weather conditions.

IS ZURICH IN SPRING A GOOD TIME TO VISIT?

YES, visiting Zurich in the spring (March to May) is a great idea for several reasons.

Rose fountains in Zurich in spring time
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Mild temperatures: Spring in Zurich is usually mild and pleasant, with temperatures averaging between 10-20°C (50-68°F). It’s the perfect weather for outdoor activities, such as biking, hiking, and sightseeing, though it can also get quite cold. Thus, a visit in late April, May, or June would be the best time to visit Zurich.

Colorful blossoms: The spring season brings an explosion of color to Zurich’s parks and gardens, with blooming flowers and trees everywhere. Don’t miss the cherry blossoms at the Chinese Garden or the tulip displays at the Botanical Garden. And for a few days before Easter, you have the stunning “Rose Fountains” sprinkled through the old town of Zurich!

Fewer crowds: Spring is considered the off-season in Zurich, which means fewer tourists and shorter lines at popular attractions. You can enjoy the city’s sights and sounds without the hassle of large crowds.

Festivals and events: Spring in Zurich is packed with cultural and culinary events, such as the Sechseläuten Festival in April (a traditional parade and bonfire), the Zurich Marathon in April, and the Food Zurich Festival in May.

Lower prices: Spring is also a more affordable time to visit Zurich, with lower hotel rates and airfare prices. You can save some money and still enjoy all that this amazing city has to offer.

So, if you’re looking for a great time to visit Zurich with mild weather, colorful blossoms, cultural events, and fewer crowds, then spring is definitely the season for you!

Zurich in spring old town
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NO, spring is not the best time to visit Zurich, and here are a few reasons why.

Unpredictable weather: Although spring temperatures in Zurich are generally mild, there can still be unpredictable weather patterns that bring rain or even snow. This can make outdoor activities less enjoyable.

Limited outdoor activities: While some outdoor activities are available in the spring, many mountain sports such as skiing and snowboarding are no longer possible, and the lake can still be too cold for swimming.

Crowds and high prices during peak season: Although spring is considered the off-season in Zurich, some popular tourist attractions can still be crowded, especially during the Easter holidays. Additionally, hotel rates and airfare prices can be higher during peak season.

Limited availability of some attractions: Some attractions in Zurich have limited opening hours in the spring season or might be closed altogether for renovations or repairs.

Allergies: Zurich’s beautiful blossoms in the springtime can also be a source of allergies for some visitors, so it’s important to take this into consideration if you’re prone to seasonal allergies. I know what I am talking about – as pretty as the blossoming is, it comes with a price for me and other people who have allergies.

So, while spring can be a wonderful time to visit Zurich, it may not be the best time for everyone. It’s important to consider your personal preferences and priorities when planning your trip to this beautiful city.

YES, visiting Zurich in the summer (June to August) is a great idea for several reasons.

Solo female travel girl in Zurich in 2 days with Grossmünster in background
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Zurich in summer

Pleasant weather: Summer in Zurich is sunny and warm, with average temperatures ranging from 18-25°C (64-77°F). This is the perfect weather for outdoor activities like swimming, boating, and hiking.

Festivals and events: Zurich comes alive in the summer with a variety of cultural festivals and events. From the Zurich Street Parade in August to the open-air concerts and movie screenings, there is always something fun to do.

Outdoor dining: Zurich’s many restaurants and cafes offer outdoor seating in the summer, allowing you to enjoy their meals and drinks in the sunshine.

Water activities: Zurich’s beautiful Lake Zurich and Limmat River offer a variety of water activities in the summer, such as swimming, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding.

Longer days: The long summer days in Zurich mean more time to explore and enjoy the city’s many sights and activities. With up to 16 hours of daylight in June, there’s plenty of time to fit in all your must-see attractions.

Overall, summer is a great time to visit Zurich for its warm weather, outdoor activities, festivals and events, and longer days. It’s the perfect season to soak up the sun and experience all the fun that Zurich has to offer.

Switzerland Points of interest Lake Zurich
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NO, summer might not be the best time to visit Zurich, and here are a few reasons why.

High season crowds and prices: Summer is the peak tourist season in Zurich, which means that the city can be crowded and prices can be higher for flights, hotels, and attractions.

Hot weather: While many people enjoy the warm summer weather, it can sometimes be uncomfortably hot and humid for some, especially if they are not used to the heat. I have experienced those days and all I wanted was to escape to the Swiss Alps.

Limited availability: Popular attractions and activities, such as boat tours, can be fully booked during the summer months, so it’s important to book in advance to ensure availability.

Traffic and parking: With more visitors in the city, traffic, and parking can be a challenge during the summer months, especially in popular tourist areas. So, if you visit in the summer, make sure to get around via Zurich Card or the Swiss Travel Card.

Mosquitoes: Summer in Zurich also means an increase in mosquitoes, which can be a nuisance for some.

So, while summer can be a great time to visit Zurich for its warm weather and many outdoor activities, it may not be the best time for everyone. It’s important to consider your personal preferences and priorities when planning your trip to this beautiful city.

YES, Zurich in the fall is a great for why visiting, because of several reasons.
Chinese Garden in fall in Zurich
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Beautiful fall foliage: In the fall, Zurich’s trees turn vibrant shades of red, yellow, and orange, making the city even more picturesque and beautiful.

Mild weather: Like spring, fall in Zurich is mild and pleasant, with average temperatures ranging from 8-18°C (46-64°F). This makes it a great time for outdoor activities and exploring the city.

Lower prices: Fall is considered the off-season in Zurich, which means that prices for flights, hotels, and attractions tend to be lower than during the peak summer season.

Wine harvest: Switzerland is known for its wine, and fall is the harvest season. You can enjoy wine tastings and tours in nearby vineyards – as close as Schaffhausen – or even take part in the harvest process.

Cultural events: Zurich hosts a variety of cultural events in the fall, such as the Zurich Film Festival in September and the Swiss International Holiday Exhibition in November. These events provide a unique opportunity to experience Zurich’s culture and traditions.

Overall, fall is a great time to visit Zurich for its beautiful fall foliage, mild weather, lower prices, and cultural events. It’s the perfect season to experience all that Zurich has to offer without the crowds and higher prices of the summer season.

Polyterassen in Zurich, during autumn time
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Polyterassen in Zurich

NO, fall is not the best time to visit Zurich, and here are a few reasons why.

Shorter days: In the fall, the days become shorter, which means there is less daylight to explore the city.

Cooling temperatures: While fall in Zurich is generally mild, temperatures can cool down quickly in the evenings, making it necessary to pack warmer clothing.

Rainy weather: While fall in Zurich is generally dry, there can be occasional rainy days, which can limit outdoor activities.

Some attractions may be closed: As the off-season for tourism, some attractions may be closed or have limited hours during the fall season.

Limited availability: While fall is less crowded than the peak summer season, some popular attractions, such as boat tours, may still have limited availability.

So, while fall can be a great time to visit Zurich for its beautiful fall foliage, lower prices, and cultural events, it’s important to consider your personal preferences and priorities when planning your trip. If you prefer longer days and warmer weather, then fall may not be the best time for you to visit Zurich.

Here are reasons why visiting Zurich in the winter (December to February) can be a great idea.

Zurich in the winter months activities-2
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Magical winter wonderland: Zurich may transform into a winter wonderland during the winter season. The city is decorated with festive lights, and snow blankets the streets, creating a magical atmosphere. Though Zurich itself might not be covered in snow, areas close by will be!

Christmas markets: Zurich is known for its Christmas markets, which are open from late November to early January. These markets offer an array of holiday treats, gifts, and decorations, making it the perfect place to get into the holiday spirit.

Winter sports: Zurich is surrounded by mountains and offers a variety of winter sports activities, such as skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating.

Lower prices: Like fall, winter is considered the off-season in Zurich, which means that prices for flights, hotels, and attractions tend to be lower than during the peak summer season.

Fewer crowds: Winter is also considered the off-season for tourism in Zurich, which means that there are fewer crowds and shorter lines at popular attractions.

Overall, winter is a great time to visit Zurich for its magical winter wonderland atmosphere, Christmas markets, winter sports, lower prices, and fewer crowds. It’s the perfect season to experience all that Zurich has to offer during the festive holiday season.

View over Zurich in winter Arzo Travels
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NO, winter is not the best time to visit Zurich, and here are a few reasons why.

Cold temperatures: Winter in Zurich can be quite cold, with average temperatures ranging from -2°C to 5°C (28°F to 41°F). This may not be ideal for travelers who prefer warmer weather.

Shorter days: In the winter, the days are shorter, which means there is less daylight to explore the city and engage in outdoor activities.

Limited outdoor activities: While winter sports like skiing and ice skating are popular in Zurich during the winter, other outdoor activities may be limited due to the colder temperatures and snow.

Crowded Christmas markets: While Christmas markets can be a highlight of the winter season in Zurich, they can also be crowded with tourists and locals alike, which may not be ideal for travelers who prefer less crowded destinations.

So, while winter in Zurich can be a magical and festive time to visit, it’s important to consider the colder temperatures, shorter days, limited outdoor activities, and crowded Christmas markets, when planning your trip. If you prefer warmer weather and more outdoor activities, then winter may not be the best time for you to visit Zurich.

WHERE TO STAY IN ZURICH

As mentioned, Zurich is very expensive, and there are no real bargains. I recommend staying close to the city center, but since public transport is pretty good, you can also book a hotel a bit further away, and you will still be mobile. My full accommodation guide for Zurich is here.

Luxury: Baur au Lac – Zurich has some great luxury hotels that are amazing for getting spoiled and enjoying life. Baur au Lac is one of the best-rated luxury hotels close to the city center.

➡️  Book your stay at Baur au Lac here.

Mid-Range: The Glärnischhof by TRINITY – This 4-star hotel is one of the best-rated mid-range hotels close to the city center, right next to the famous Bahnhofstrasse, 

➡️  Book your stay at The Glärnischhof by TRINITY here.

Budget: Oldtown Hostel Otter Warning, there are not many budget hotels in Zurich. This is a good-rated hostel in Zurich. I stayed here once and for a hostel, it actually was quite good for a hostel – especially because of its great location.

➡️  Book your stay at Oldtown Hostel Otter here.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON WHEN TO VISIT ZURICH

Zurich is a wonderful city to visit year-round, but the best time to visit depends on your preferences and priorities. If you love warm weather and outdoor activities, then summer may be the perfect time for you to visit.

If you prefer cooler temperatures and festive events, then fall and winter could be the ideal seasons to visit Zurich. And if you want to experience the city at its most beautiful and colorful, then spring is the perfect time for you to visit. Ultimately, the best time to visit Zurich is the time that suits your personal preferences and travel goals.

Regardless of the season, Zurich offers plenty to see and do, from its stunning architecture and cultural events to its natural beauty and winter sports.

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