Spring in Switzerland | Top Things to Do and See
Switzerland in spring is a time to celebrate as winter’s bitterly cold temperatures give way to sunny, warmer climates. The season is ideal for outdoor activities and hiking through the Alps without the crowds and freezing weather.
In early spring, some of the best towns to visit in Switzerland still experience snowfall. Others bloom into verdant greenery and floral landscapes.
Springtime brings many unforgettable Swiss experiences. This includes thawing hiking trails, water sports, and breathtaking scenery to explore. On sunny days, you can enjoy the warmth by taking a stroll through one of the many parks or along the scenic routes that wind through forests and villages.
This guide will help you plan your Switzerland spring getaway and explore some great destinations you can add to your itinerary.
SWITZERLAND WEATHER IN SPRING
Swiss spring lasts between mid-March and mid-June. Swiss weather can be quite unpredictable all year-round. It is still chilly and snowy in some parts during the early months of spring, but May and June bring sunshine and pleasant weather. Due to the mountainous regions, you can expect snow in high-altitude areas even in late spring – but due to climate change, weather conditions are also changing.
Warm, sunny days are not guaranteed but spring still allows for an abundance of outdoor activities. There are also many fantastic indoor activities for the coldest days.
- Mountainous areas like the Jungfrau Region may still experience scattered snowfall throughout March. Its colder temperatures range from -5℃ to 6℃.
- In lower-altitude towns like Zürich and Lugano, the first spring blossoms bloom towards mid-March. The temperature is slightly warmer, with averages of 9℃.
- Average daytime temperatures in April range between 10℃ and 20℃.
- Mountainous areas are still rather chilly, with temperatures that can drop below 0℃ during the night.
- You can expect some rainfall in April country-wide.
- May weather is moderate and pleasant, with the average daytime temperature being 20℃.
- Nighttime temperatures drop to around 7℃.
- You can expect some rainfall.
- June weather across Switzerland is pleasant, with daily averages of between 16℃ and 26℃ in mountainous areas.
- Low-lying regions like Ticino and Valais can experience warmer temperatures of up to 35℃.
- Daylight hours increase, with up to 12 hours of sunshine daily.
As a testament to how unpredictable weather can be here, early March 2022 was what you’d expect. Warm and sunny days in lower altitude villages, towns, and cities. But, in late March and April, you would still find heavy snow even in lower altitude areas like Iseltwald (566 meters above sea level), which isn’t the typical conditions you’d expect then.
So, my Switzerland family trip in late March/April turned for a few days into a winter trip. Just keep that in mind and do check the weather forecast a few days prior to your Switzerland spring vacation.
SWISS TRAVEL PASS IN SPRING
Before talking about the best spring activities, I like to introduce you to the Swiss Travel Pass. If you use public transportation, I recommend getting a Swiss Travel Pass. Swiss Travel Passes are available for non-Swiss residents. I visit Switzerland often, and most of the time I get one – even if it’s a road trip because they are amazing.
- A Swiss Travel Pass allows you to use trains and buses without any extra costs – so basically, you can use almost all trains and buses for free.
- You can also do boat cruises without additional costs.
- It also gives you a 50% discount on most mountain rides (you can get up via cable car/funicular for half of the price, and if you follow my tips, you will need it twice), and some mountain excursions are even included – including a trip up to Mürren.
The initial prices for a Swiss Travel Pass are quite high – but it pays for itself if you get around via public transportation and are active in Switzerland for more than three or four days. So, check out prices for boats and trains and then calculate if it is a good option for you. Check out prices here.
Top Spring Destinations in Switzerland
Switzerland has many beautiful sights to experience and destinations to explore. The guide below will help you explore some of the best options to add to your itinerary.
Experience Spring in Bern
The picturesque Swiss capital of Bern boasts many cultural and historical treasures. Combine this with breathtaking panoramic views of natural landscapes, and you’re in for an amazing trip.
There are many fantastic things to do in Bern throughout the year, including in spring. Although the temperature remains a bit chilly, there are fewer crowds around, and you can see most of its significant landmarks in one day.
You can experience the city’s unique medieval feeling and charming atmosphere by taking a stroll along the azure Aare River. Along the way, you’ll come across many of the city’s remarkable landmarks, including the famous Bear Pit. You’ll also pass through a significant part of the celebrated Old City of Bern.
One of the best places to spend a springtime afternoon is the esteemed Rosengarten. From late March to mid-April, the ornamental Japanese cherry trees in the park spring into full bloom. This picture-perfect scenery, paired with the phenomenal view of Bern’s Old City, makes it a truly unmissable experience. Also, from mid-March, the famous brown bears in the bear park of Bern awake from their hibernation.
Enjoy the Charm of Lugano
Located in the Ticino region of southern Switzerland is Lugano. The city is a unique blend of Swiss, Italian, and Mediterranean lifestyles. It’s well-known for its many fairytale-like small towns and villages, including the picturesque Gandria and Morcote.
Lugano has mild and comfortable spring temperatures, allowing for breezy walks around town. The city’s Mediterranean-style main square, Piazza Della Riforma, has markets, arcades, and bistros. Here, you can enjoy a relaxing afternoon while soaking in the vibrant, eclectic atmosphere of the city.
The glacial Lake Lugano is a popular outdoor destination during the warmer spring months. Surrounded by spectacular mountains and valleys, the lake is great for avid hikers. Active visitors can also enjoy swimming, paddle boarding, and canoeing in the lake’s fresh, clear water.
There are occasional thunderstorms in the region during springtime. So be sure to check the weather in advance if you are planning outdoor activities in Lugano.
Explore Nature in Lauterbrunnen and Mürren
Lauterbrunnen is a small village located in the Jungfrau Region in the Bernese Alps. It is the perfect destination for nature lovers and those who enjoy calm and tranquility. From lush green valleys to snow-capped mountain peaks and waterfalls, the area’s natural beauty is astonishing.
One of the most spectacular natural wonders in the area is the internationally-acclaimed Trümmelbach Falls. It is Europe‘s only subterranean falls, made up of a series of ten waterfalls hidden in the mountains of Lauterbrunnen Valley. It is closed in the winter months and opens in spring. While a visit anytime during spring is great, May and June are the best times due to their lovely all-around weather conditions.
The lower part of the valley, Hinteres Lauterbrunnental, is a spectacular area for hiking and exploring nature. There are many established trails to follow that will take you past secluded waterfalls, lush forests, flowery meadows (at least in late spring), mountain streams, and moorlands.
And if you head up to the cute village of Mürren, you will find snow until April when the winter sports season ends. It is located at the foot of the Schilthorn peak, at 1638 meters above sea level. Murren is composed of very few streets lined with cute houses, covered in snow in the winter (which lasts until mid-April), and decorated with colorful flowers in late spring and the summer.
With those mountains in the background, Mürren is a perfect postcard of Switzerland! Since Mürren is car-free you can only get there by cable car/train – but that train ride is one of the most scenic in Switzerland, so you will not mind.
Admire the Beauty of Zürich
Switzerland’s biggest city, Zürich, is a perfect spring destination. It experiences pleasantly warm weather and offers many enjoyable activities. With its charming streets lined with gorgeous terraces, eclectic shops, festivals, and scenic gardens, there’s something for everyone.
A popular springtime event in Zürich is the annual traditional festival Sechseläuten in mid-April. It celebrates the beginning of the spring season in a fun way. There’s a parade featuring guild members dressed in historical costumes, traditional music, horses, colorful flags, and flower displays.
The highlight of the festival is the customary burning of the Böögg, where an eleven-foot-tall snowman effigy is set alight at exactly 6 pm. This symbolizes the end of winter and the festival ends with a lively celebration and fireworks display.
Lake Zurich is an enticing outdoor experience where you can hike, cycle, or simply relax on the shore. It is also a paradise for bird watchers, with observation decks in quieter areas. The lake is a wonderful destination for a family-friendly day in the sun.
For the best spring experience, I would visit Zurich only from mid-April to June and not in March (as there it still be can quite rainy and grey overall).
Journey to the Aletsch Glacier
Stretching almost 15 miles in length, the imposing Aletsch Glacier is a magnificent wonder of nature. It holds the title of the largest glacier and the longest ice stream in the Alps. During spring, the immense ice flow starts to melt and makes for a spectacular sight.
A fun way to explore the splendor of the glacier is to take a cable car ride up – either to the Hohfluh, Moosfluh, Bettmerhorn, and Eggishorn viewpoints. All these viewpoints are high above the ground with a staggering altitude of around 7,000 feet. This provides exceptional panoramic views of the glacier, surrounding peaks, and lush greenery sitting at the foot of the mountain.
This region also has an extensive network of running and hiking trails for active visitors. For the more adventurous traveler, there are also activities that will get your adrenaline pumping, such as paragliding, ziplining, and ice caving.
Feel the Sophistication of Montreux
Montreux is a gorgeous and sophisticated town nestled between steep mountain slopes and the beautiful Lake Geneva. It combines magnificent natural scenery with an elegant urban lifestyle for a unique, vibrant atmosphere. While it is also a great destination during the other seasons, it is great to see Montreux waking up and showing its prettiest colors from spring onwards.
The six-mile-long Montreux Promenade is one of the most popular destinations in town. Spectacular displays of spring flowers, street performers, vendors, and breathtaking views line this lakeside boardwalk. This is especially beautiful in late spring. Along the path, there is also a larger-than-life bronze statue of Freddie Mercury that is a popular spot to take a break and pose for some photos.
Situated on the banks of Lake Geneva is the historic Château Chillon, one of Europe’s most well-preserved medieval structures. Dating back to the 13th century, the castle is a highly renowned attraction that draws many visitors. Montreux experiences occasional rainfall during spring, so the castle’s perfect for rainy days.
Experience the Charm of Grindelwald and Grindelwald First
Grindelwald is an idyllic small village surrounded by the majestic mountains of the Jungfrau Region. This famous mountain resort has natural beauty and spectacular scenery, including snow-capped mountains and green valleys in spring.
Thousands of dandelions spring up all over the rolling green meadows from March onwards. This provides the perfect backdrop for the many Alpine cows with their signature Swiss cowbells that roam the area. There is much to enjoy during spring in Grindelwald, including many seasonal outdoor activities. The town boasts 1,864 miles of hiking trails and is also an excellent spot for mountain biking, and running.
If you want to spend some time in the snow, even in March or April, make sure to get up Grindelwald First Grindelwald – a dream destination for any adventurists or adrenaline junkies. At Grindelwald First, a mountain at 2184 meters above sea level, you can do winter sports even until mid-April.
It is also known as the “Top of Adventure” – throughout the year you can do a couple of thrilling activities. The First Cliff Walk is an exhilarating experience that is sure to take your breath away. It is a metal walkway that leads to a viewpoint that juts out from a cliff with a sheer drop of close to 150 feet. While the height might be harrowing, what awaits is totally worth it. You’ll get panoramic views of distant lakes, Alpine peaks, and rocky slopes that are absolutely indescribable.
There is a wide variety of exciting outdoor thrills to enjoy apart from its plentiful hiking trails. As it is still a snowy wonderland during spring, skiing, and snowboarding are popular activities in the area. Another thrilling experience is the First Flyer – a 2,625-foot zipline that flies above the valley at speeds of up to 52 miles per hour. Here is more about a day trip to Grindelwald and Grindelwald First.
Reach New Heights at Jungfraujoch
The Jungfraujoch is a saddle connecting two major 4000ers of the Bernese Alps: the Jungfrau and the Mönch. Fondly dubbed “the top of Europe”, Jungfraujoch sits at a staggering 11,630 feet above sea level. Due to the altitude, the mountains are snow-capped well into spring, and ski season lasts longer than usual.
A great way to explore the area is by taking a trip on the Jungfrau Railway, Europe’s highest railway station. There are also various observation platforms at the railway station. Here, the views of surrounding mountain peaks are sure to take your breath away. And you will also see the Aletsch Glacier (the longest glacier in the Alps) from a different perspective.
A trip to Jungfraujoch is a great way to round up your experience in the Bernese Oberland. You get to stand on one of the highest, most easily accessible sites in Europe, play in the snow, and soak in the magnificent scenery.
Experience Swiss-French Culture in Sion
Located in the southwest of Switzerland in the Valais Region, Sion is one of the most sun-blessed towns in the country. It shares a border with France, and some French culture, including the language, has spilled over into the area.
Sion is home to many renowned vineyards, wineries, historical castles, and ancient ruins. A notable structure is the eleventh-century Château de Tourbillon, a Swiss National Heritage site. This fascinating medieval castle sits atop a hill, and there are hiking trails that lead to it that include a tour of the building’s interior. The surrounding vineyards look a bit bleak in March and April but therefore Cherry blossoms and more are all around the castles.
During spring, Sion’s lovely weather is perfect for spending time outdoors. It has a large park designed for fun and recreation, Domaine des Îles, a popular family-friendly destination. You can enjoy activities like swimming, tennis, mini-golf, and more here.
I’d also recommend a stop at Lac Souterrain, Europe’s largest underground lake. It has vivid blue waters that stay incredibly still and a temperature of 52ºF — just be wary of the bats.
Enjoy the Waters of Lake Thun
Located in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland, Lake Thun is an Alpine body of water named after the nearby city of Thun. The charming town is rich in history, culture, and natural beauty, and is also a great place to start your journey to Lake Thun. You can get a dose of history at Thun Castle, take in nature at Schadau Park, and enjoy a picturesque stroll along the Aare River.
Springtime’s moderate and breezy weather brings many fun activities to the banks of Lake Thun. This includes kayaking, waterskiing, sailing, and canoeing. There are also hiking trails and guided excursions to the Stockhorn, Niesen, and Niederhorn mountains on offer.
Adjacent to Lake Thun is the popular resort town of Interlaken, where adventurers can enjoy many thrilling experiences. The resort offers skydiving, paragliding, and base-jumping, and is a perfect destination for adrenaline junkies.
Final Thoughts on Switzerland in Spring
During the springtime, Switzerland is absolutely breathtaking. It is definitely a good season for a visit because it is much less crowded than in the summer and winter months. You will experience some of the most magnificent scenery and have a wide variety of amazing destinations and activities to choose from.
Enjoy your time in Switzerland in spring.