As summer is just about to heat up, it’s the perfect time to start planning a vacation. And Switzerland in the summer is an amazing time to visit.
There is a wide variety of breathtaking landscapes to discover in Switzerland, from the snow-capped peaks of Zermatt to the historic architecture of Lucerne.
The country is known for its clear alpine lakes, verdant mountain valleys, rolling vineyards, and interesting cities. But what are some top things to do in Switzerland in summer?
As a Switzerland addict, I am listing my favorite Swiss summer activities for you – this guide will leave you with no doubts and help you plan your Switzerland summer itinerary.
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FAQ: SWITZERLAND IN SUMMER VACATION
Ready to explore Switzerland? Let’s get into it. But first, a quick info on the weather in the summer.
WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE IN SWITZERLAND IN SUMMER?
First, a little disclaimer: We cannot rely on the weather in Central Europe – with that said, here is something you still should know about Switzerland in the summer months.
Switzerland enjoys a temperate climate in the summer months, with warm temperatures. Generally, temperatures range from 18-27°C (64-80°F). However, it is not uncommon for temperatures to exceed 30°C (86°F) during periods of high pressure and sunny days. Sunshine is plentiful in the summer months, with an average of 8-10 hours each day.
Rainfall is common in the summer months, with June and July being the wettest months on average. It is not uncommon for thunderstorms to occur during this time. Despite this, temperatures are usually mild enough that rain often passes quickly.
The Swiss Alps are cooler than the rest of Switzerland, with temperatures ranging from 10-18°C (50-64°F). Due to their elevation, snow can be seen on the highest peaks even in summer.
Overall, summers in Switzerland are pleasant and mild. With plenty of sunshine, warm temperatures, and occasional rain.
Check out my detailed guide on the different seasons in Switzerland.
WHAT TO PACK FOR A SUMMER TRIP TO SWITZERLAND?
If you’re headed to Switzerland in the summer months, packing the right items is key. Here are a few things you’ll want to bring:
- Light and breathable clothing made of natural fibers such as cotton, or linen. This will help keep you cool in hot temperatures.
- Sunscreen and sunglasses protect you from UV rays.
- Sunhat and a lightweight raincoat or umbrella in case of rain.
- A pair of comfortable walking shoes that are suitable for any terrain.
- A swimsuit if you plan on taking advantage of the many lakes, rivers, and pools across the country.
- Insect repellent is also a must if you plan on spending time outdoors.
- Finally, don’t forget to pack your camera and some Swiss francs for souvenirs!
With these items, you’ll be ready to make the most of your time in Switzerland during the summer months. Bon voyage!
THINGS TO DO IN THE SUMMER IN SWITZERLAND
Here is a list of the top things to do in Switzerland in the summer.
1 Schynige Platte
Schynige Platte at 2,099 meters (6.886 feet) above sea level is easily accessible from Interlaken (by cogwheel) and makes for a wonderful day or half-day summer excursion.
On the one hand, you have some of the best views of the Swiss Skyline – which consists of the mountains, Mönch, Eiger, and Jungfrau. On the other side, you have the stunning vista of the lakes – Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. Because of the stunning scenery, the Schynige Platte panorama path is frequently used by hikers and nature enthusiasts in July and August. Find out more about day trips from Interlaken.
2 Giessbach Waterfalls
The Giessbach waterfall is located close to Brienz and Interlaken and is a fantastic place to spend a few hours in the stunning Jungfrau region of Switzerland. The magnificent Giessbach waterfall has 14 tiers and drops 500 meters from the Giessbach River into Lake Brienz.
The Grand Giessbach Hotel was constructed in 1874 and is in front of the waterfall. They’re one of the most popular tourist attractions in Switzerland; if you visit them yourself, we recommend you go during summertime when there are fewer crowds and no snow!
Also, it is easily accessible in the summer months, as there is a Lake Brienz boat cruise you can take to get you there.
3 Harder Kulm
The Harder Kulm, the house mountain in Switzerland, stands at an altitude of 1322 meters above sea level and offers breathtaking panoramas of Interlaken below, as well as the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau peaks to the north.
Situated at the end of the Harder, the westernmost forested ridge of the about 19-mile-long, conspicuous mountain range overlooking the north side of Lake Brienz, Harder Kulm is a major landmark in the region. If you’re not afraid of heights, you can take in even more scenery from the perch of the Zwei-Seen-Steg.
The Harder Kulm funicular does not operate in the winter months, so take advance of the opportunity to get up easily by funicular.
4 Lavertezzo Bridge & Valle Verzasca
Lavertezzo’s ponte romano bridge, also known as “Ponte dei Salti” , spans the Verzasca River. It is a classic stone bridge from the Middle Ages. It was partially destroyed in 1868 and then reconstructed in 1960.
A Chapel built in the eighteenth century stands close to the bridge. It isn’t just any old bridge; it has been damaged by floods several times over its lifetime!
The crystal-clear waters of the Verzasca Valley provide a variety of swimming opportunities. Spending a day here is one of the most popular summer activities – so, it does get busy on warm and sunny days!
5 Glacier Express
The Glacier Express is one of the most popular trains in Switzerland. It runs from Zermatt to St. Moritz and takes eight hours, but it’s well worth it. The train winds through some of the most beautiful parts of the Swiss Alps.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the Glacier Express used innovative technology and strategic advertising to become a first-class Swiss tourism product. Demand for this stunning Swiss Alpine train from all around the world has not slowed down.
Large-scale investments in infrastructure, such as climate-controlled panoramic coach cars, play a role in its success, but so do other features, such as its impeccable dining service, one-of-a-kind special excursions, and diverse selection of vacation packages available to tourists around the world.
The Glacier Express also runs in the winter, but summer is one of the best times to enjoy this ride!
6 St.Beatus Caves
The St. Beatus Caves are a spectacular natural wonder. In the summer months, these caves make for an unforgettable activity. As you explore the caves, you’ll be delighted by an amazing array of stalactites and stalagmites that have been formed over thousands of years.
The St. Beatus Caves offer a variety of activities for visitors in the summer months. Cave tours are available in both German and English and they range from one to two hours in length.
On a hot summer day, you can expect mild temperatures averaging around 14°C (57°F) at St. Beatus Caves. Although the caves are cool and damp, they rarely drop below 10°C (50°F), so you won’t need to worry about bundling up too much – but dressing in layers definitely helps.
But even if you decide not to go inside the caves, you can enjoy some of the most beautiful places in the region – in the summer months, flowers add more beauty to the area, and the views on sunny days are some of the best!
So if you’re looking for an adventure this summer, make sure you add the St. Beatus Caves to your list – you won’t be disappointed!
7 Klein Matterhorn
Klein Matterhorn is a peak of the Bernese Alps, located between Zermatt and Breuil-Cervinia. It’s the highest point with cable cars in Switzerland at 4,506 meters (14,783 feet) above sea level, offering some of the best panoramas in all of Switzerland.
The Klein Matterhorn (also known as the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise) is one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting over two million visitors per year on average.
While Zermatt is extremely popular as a winter destination for winter sports enthusiasts, you can also do winter sports in the summer months here at Klein Matterhorn.
Take the Gornergrat railway from Zermatt at 1,600 meters to an elevation of 3,100 meters above sea level.
Having a never-ending panorama of the Matterhorn as your backdrop only enhances the already incredible experience. The view from the peak is breathtaking, with mountains and glaciers stretching as far as the eye can reach. You’ll be able to see across Switzerland, Italy, and France on clear days!
If you enjoy easy hikes, do a short loop hike at the hop – in case, you enjoy more challenging and longer hikes, you can hike down all the way back to Zermatt.
9 Rosenlaui Glacier Gorge
Rosenlaui Glacier is a glacier located in the Bernese Alps, in the canton of Bern. Alpine meadows, soaring maple trees, sun-blackened stalls and Alpine huts, rugged cliffs, and dazzling glaciers – Rosenlauital near Meiringen has it all for a spectacular mountain panorama.
And on top of everything else, there’s a gorge carved out by glaciers that have fascinated hikers and explorers for over a century.
The Rosenlaui Glacier was formed during the last ice age when an enormous amount of snow fell on this area over thousands of years. As temperatures rose, this ice began to melt away until only a small remnant remained.
- The gorge is only open from mid-May to mid-October.
Paragliding is an exhilarating summer activity in Switzerland that almost anyone can enjoy, regardless of age or fitness level.
The sport involves using a paraglider to glide through the air with minimal energy. If you’re looking for some fresh air while visiting Switzerland in the summertime, paragliding will be one of your top choices and you have many places you can enjoy this activity – including Zurich, Geneva, Interlaken, St. Moritz, or Ebenalp Mountain in Appenzellerland.
One of Switzerland’s most visited areas in summer is the valley of Lauterbrunnen. It is known for its stunning cliffs, picturesque villages, and glacier waterfalls.
The Valley of the 72 Waterfalls is a breathtaking area that serves as the entrance to the Jungfrau Region.
Lauterbrunnen is famous for its Staubbachfalle Waterfalls, with an impressive drop height of around 300 meters. In the summer months, you can – after a short uphill walk – get behind the waterfall and enjoy some unique views which you cannot during other seasons.
The Trümmelbach Falls consists of ten glacial waterfalls, which drop a total of 1,500 feet into narrow canyons and gorges. In summer, these cascading waters create a beautiful spectacle of mist and rainbows. They are closed from early November to early April. Check out my Lauterbrunnen guide for more info.
12 Murten / Morat
Murten is a small town in the Canton of Fribourg.
The town has a long history and is located on Lake Morat’s banks. Murten has several medieval buildings that will make you fall in love with it, such as its castle, church, and watchtowers.
In summer, Murten is in particular pretty as the old town is full of flowers – adding even more beauty to the colorful buildings! Here are more reasons why to visit Murten in the summer.
Oeschinensee is a lake in the Bernese Oberland at an elevation of 1,578 meters (5.177 feet) at the trailhead and is surrounded by mountains on all sides.
It also provides you with breathtaking mountain views and blue water lakes. The area around Oeschinensee is popular with hikers and climbers who can explore trails through forests or scale rock faces next to the water.
The best time to visit this region is during summer when temperatures are warm, so you might even dare to dive into the cold water of Lake Oeschinen. June through September are typically ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking and climbing at Oeschinensee. Check out my Lake Oeschinen post for more.
13 Pizol Hike
If you’re looking for a breathtaking mountain hike in Switzerland, go no further than the Pizol Hike. Far above the treeline, the mountain trek passes by five lakes (and some more minor ones), each with its distinct personality.
Starting at the picturesque Wangersee on the Pizol plateau, the path then leads to the stunning blue Wildsee, with the Pizol glacier and peaks in the backdrop. You’ll get an amazing workout and great views of Switzerland’s beautiful mountains and lakes.
It is not an easy hike – unless for a mediocre hiker like me – but so worth it. Here is more info about the Pizol hike.
- Due to heavy snow, the hiking path normally opens only in Mayor even June and closes already in October.
15 Bernina Express (+Bus to Lugano)
If you’re looking for a scenic train ride in summer, the Bernina Express is one of the best ways to experience Switzerland in all its glory. The panoramic train travels from Chur to Tirano through some breathtaking scenery.
It passes over the Bernina Pass, which is 2,253 meters above sea level and is one of Switzerland’s highest mountain passes. The journey takes about three hours and offers first-class and standard-class seating. Find out more about this extraordinary train ride.
- In the summer month, this journey does not end here – you can continue your journey by taking a bus back to Lugano, a gorgeous city in the Italian-speaking part of Ticino.
16 Open-Air Cinema
The open-air cinema is a great way to enjoy the summer trip in Switzerland. Since the temperature remains a bit hot on summer nights, enjoying your favorite movies in an open-air cinema offers fresh cool air out of those exhausted, closed halls.
You can watch movies under the stars and enjoy the beautiful scenery – the atmosphere at an open-air cinema is usually very relaxed and friendly, which makes it ideal for spending time with family or friends.
17 Trift Bridge Hike
The Trift Bridge is widely regarded as one of the most breathtaking examples of a pedestrian suspension bridge in the Alps. Those not afraid of heights will be rewarded with breathtaking views from this location.
Ride a cable car to get as close as possible to the bridge – however, from the cable car station, it takes a couple of hours to actually get to the bridge.
The breathtaking views of the glacier lake and glacier tongue provide more than sufficient compensation for the uphill hike (which is always a pain for me).
Like many other activities mentioned here, it is perfect to do in the summer – during the other seasons, neither the cable car operates, nor is the path made for hiking. Find out more about this hike here.
18 White Water Rafting
Switzerland is a great place to go whitewater rafting in the summer season and offers you to stay cool, enjoy and have fun in the water.
Many rivers are perfect for this activity, including the Rhine, the Luetschine, the Rhone, and the Aare. The most popular river for white water rafting in Switzerland is the Rhone.
The best time to go white water rafting on these rivers is between June and September because it’s warm – because those Swiss glacier lakes can be cold!
19 Hike Lake Gelmersee
Switzerland’s Gelmersee is a true crown jewel. Snowy mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls encircle it. The vibrant colors of the surrounding wildflowers complement the lake’s brilliant blue color.
It is the best summer activity as you can swim here on hot days (then you would really cool down) and enjoy the chilly water.
Located in the Bernese Oberland, Gelmersee serves as a hydropower reservoir. To get to the lake, you may take a free one-hour stroll from the parking lot or pay for a ride on the world’s steepest open-air funicular, the Gelmerbahn. Do not worry though – the funicular is actually not as scary as it looks.
The highlight in my “hiking career“ was hiking around this stunning lake, so let me be your role model for once and so as I did! Here is more info on the hike.
20 Lavaux Hike
The area between Lausanne and Vevey is known as Lavaux, a prime wine-growing zone. These vines overlooking Lake Geneva are breathtaking.
Lavaux was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007 to preserve the area’s unique landscapes and cultural heritage. Bossière is conveniently located near the start of the Lavaux region, making it an ideal starting point for your hike.
You’ll pass by some truly stunning mansions that look out over the vineyards and Lake Geneva.
In all honesty, this is also a perfect fall vacation when the vineyards shine in yellow and red colors, but in the summer, you’ll see them with their 50 shades of green!
The Lavaux Hike takes a couple of hours, but it is suitable for everyone – and especially people of all ages will enjoy this summer hike.
Climb aboard the Diavolezza gondola and be transported to a land of enchantment! Marvel at the four-thousand meter Piz Bernina (one of the tallest mountains in all of Switzerland!), or explore sweeping glaciers such as Pers and Morteratsch.
The views from there are one of a kind. While it is a popular place for winter sports fans in the late fall, winter, and early spring, you can hike on the below glacier or take some time for yourself and escape to the soothing hot springs at the summit. I mean, who doesn’t love Switzerland’s killer tourism scene?
Here is more on what to do in St.Moritz and this mountain excursion.
22 Swiss National Holiday – 1st August
The first of August is the Swiss national holiday, the Swiss National Day. Even though the Swiss Confederacy was established on this day in 1891, and the anniversary has been commemorated yearly since 1899, it has only been a legal holiday since 1994.
In addition to yodeling, paper illumination marches, campfires, fireworks, and stringing up Swiss flags, these celebrations occur across cities, towns, and villages around Switzerland. Those activities are open to anyone who happens to be in attendance on August 1. Find out more about this day here.
22 Montreux Jazz Festival
The Montreux Jazz Festival is a music festival that was founded by Claude Nobs in 1967 and is held at the end of June each year and last about 2 weeks. It is one of the most well-known jazz festivals in the world.
It attracts many international artists from all over Europe and North America each year and many visitors from around the globe who come to see their favorite performers perform live on stage.
The festival also hosts workshops and jam sessions for musicians who wish to learn more about music or have fun playing their instruments with others!
Jungfraujoch is a mountain pass in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland. Located at 3,454 meters (11,332 ft) above sea level it is renowned for being one of Europe’s highest railway stations and a popular tourist destination throughout the year.
In the summer months, visitors can take advantage of the snowy mountain terrain with skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports at the Snow Fun Park located at Jungfraujoch.
Hiking and guided tours are also popular activities, as they offer spectacular views of the surrounding icy landscape and charming mountain villages. Additionally, the Jungfraujoch Sphinx Observatory provides an opportunity for visitors to learn more about the region’s glaciers and climate change research from its terrace viewpoint.
At Jungfraujoch, there is something for everyone, whether travelers are looking for a quiet stroll in nature or an action-packed adventure. With its historical significance and stunning scenery, a visit to Jungfraujoch in the summer is one of the most unique activities.
From its stunning lake views to its charming cobblestone streets, Spiez is the perfect destination for a summer escape. You can enjoy a range of activities such as swimming and sailing on the lake or take advantage of the nearby hiking trails in the mountains.
There are also plenty of cultural attractions including museums, galleries, and historic sites that showcase the region’s rich heritage. The vineyards just add more beauty in the summer months!
So if you’re looking for a summer getaway, make sure to add Spiez to your list of must-see destinations. You won’t regret it!
26 Mountain Biking
Mountain biking in Switzerland is a great way to explore the country’s stunning landscape during the summer months.
With its towering mountains, lush valleys, and picturesque lakes, it’s no surprise that mountain biking is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the country.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced mountain biker – no place is better to enjoy this activity than in the Swiss mountains – pick the Engadine Valley in Grison, The Jungfrau/Interlaken region or pick another region/canton – there is always a place to cycle.
No matter what level of experience you have, summer is a great time to get your bikes and experience Switzerland!
Soglio is a picturesque village in the Swiss canton of Grisons, located at an altitude of 1,400 meters (4,593 ft) above sea level. Its stunning mountain views and traditional architecture make it one of the most beautiful places to visit in Switzerland.
With its stunning mountain vistas and traditional wooden houses, Soglio is one of the best places to visit in the summer months. And as you can imagine, it is also a quite good place to escape a heat wave, thanks to the higher altitude.
28 Saint-Léonard Underground Lake
Explore the crystal-clear subterranean lake located in Switzerland’s majestic Rhone Valley! Nestled between Sion and Sierre, this is Europe’s largest natural underground lake – and one of the best Swiss lakes.
Climb aboard your boat for a 30-minute journey through time – as your guide delves into its history & mysterious origins along with other little secrets that make it so special! It is not only its striking color.
It is closed in the winter months – which makes it the perfect Swiss summer attraction.
Zermatt is located in Switzerland’s Valais canton. This quaint alpine village stands at 1,620 meters (5,315 ft) above sea level and offers stunning views of Matterhorn peak, one of the most famous mountain peaks in Europe.
During the summer months, Zermatt is an excellent destination to escape the heat and explore the beautiful Swiss Alps. From hikes through lush meadows and forests to breathtaking mountain excursions, there are a variety of activities that can be enjoyed in this picturesque region.
Take advantage of the nostalgic mountain cable cars (like Gornergrat) and aerial trams which offer spectacular views of the region’s rugged peaks and glaciers.
So, if you’re looking for an escape from the summer heat and a unique Swiss experience, Zermatt is the perfect destination for your next vacation.
30 Festival de la Cité in Lausanne
Festival de la Cite is an annual festival held in Lausanne. The event is usually held during the summer months of July and August. It was first held in 2000 as part of the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the city’s founding by Jean-Francois Monnier and has been an annual event since then.
The festival involves music performances, street theatre, and other cultural events throughout Lausanne’s old town area, including Place St Francois Xavier, Place des Portes Neuves, and Place des Temples.
At St. Moritz, visitors can look forward to a wide range of outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and paragliding. Water sports enthusiasts can also take advantage of the crystal-clear waters at Lake Silvaplana or embark on boat tours along the lakeshores.
Whatever activity travelers choose to do in St. Moritz, they are sure to be enchanted by its breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain peaks and valleys. With its cooler temperatures, stunning landscape, and range of activities available, a summer vacation in St. Moritz is an excellent way to escape the heat and explore a unique part of Switzerland.
SUP (stand-up paddleboarding) is a great way to explore the water in Switzerland. You can do it solo or in a group, and it’s suitable for all ages and fitness levels. SUP will be right up your alley while visiting Switzerland this summer if you’re also looking for fun exercise.
Since it is a water activity, you can’t enjoy it in winter. Well, you could…but summer is the best time for some SUP time!
The best part about SUP is that it can be done anywhere there’s water: lakes, rivers, and oceans are all fair game. Lake Brienz, Lake Thun, Lake Zurich… there are so many places to enjoy this activity.
The Swiss Travel Pass is a convenient way to explore Switzerland’s vast network of public transportation. It offers unlimited access to trains, buses, boats, and mountain railways all over the country.
With over 45000 kilometers of track, this pass makes it easy to navigate every corner of this beautiful nation. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, the Swiss Travel Pass gives you the freedom to explore this wonderful country and its many attractions. Enjoy breathtaking views of Switzerland’s majestic mountain ranges, pristine lakes, iconic cities, and small towns with this comprehensive travel pass.
Discover the best of what Switzerland has to offer while saving time and money! With the Swiss Travel Pass, your journey through Switzerland will be one to remember.
SOME BENEFITS OF BENEFITS OF A TRAVEL PASS IN SWITZERLAND
- Unlimited access to Swiss national trains, buses, boats, and mountain railways. This included also free public transportation in cities like Zurich, Lucerne, and more
- Free admission to over 500 museums in Switzerland
- Discounts (50%) on certain mountain cableways
- Several mountain excursions, like Mount Rigi or Stanserhorn, are included in the Swiss Travel Pass
Check out prices for the Swiss Travel Passes here.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THINGS TO DO IN THE SUMMER IN SWITZERLAND
Switzerland has so many incredible activities during the summer months. There are plenty of outdoor adventures awaiting you, ranging from leisurely hikes to rafting and paragliding. This is truly a place for multifaceted experiences!
As you can see, there’s no shortage of amazing things to do in Switzerland in the summer. No matter your interests or skill level, combining ample natural beauty with lush well-manicured villages ensures an enjoyable time spent in the land of chocolate, cheese, and hospitality.
So pack up those bags because it’ll be an action-packed Switzerland summer holiday experience promised!