Switzerland is an amazing destination all year round – it has amazing hiking trails in the summer time in the Alps, great fondue and raclette locations in the fall, but winter is the best time for the snow lovers, all the snowboarders, skiers, winter hikers and adventure seekers and February is actually on the best months to visit Switzerland, so what are the best places to visit in Switzerland in February?
Further reading: Switzerland activities in April
If you are coming to Switzerland in February, there is an adventure at every corner in Switzerland, especially if you are in love with a snow: Switzerland has pretty much the biggest amount of ski resorts per capita in the world. Some are huge: more than 150 km, some ar smaller: up to 50 kilometers of slopes or even tiny ones up to 10 kilometers.
Some have snow parks, some are full of beautiful stops on the slopes where you can sip some hot chocolate and continue on, and some have fascinatin mountain stations with shops, museums and restaurants. There is much much to discover.
Further reading: 3 days itinerary in Switzerland
Are you a fan of winter hiking or even snowshoeing? Switzerland is probably the best place for that in Europe. There are many hiking trails in winter all around the Swiss Alps.
If you are not a fan of snow activities – do not worry, there are still plenty of hiking trails which are passable in February and in some places in Switzerland the temperature can get as high as 17-20 degrees Celsius. You can enjoy the slow strolls in the cities as Lugano or Lucerne, take a boat or simply visit the local art museums. There is really really much to do!
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Weather in Switzerland in February
It all depends on the location as Switzerland has high mountains and skiing resorts really high in the Alps, but on the other hand the Ticino canton can get quite warm even in the winter months.
In the mountains, and especially in the skiing resorts, it can get as low as -15 degrees Celsius (5 °F), but if you plan to visit the italian side of Switzerland, Ticino canton or beautiful village of Morcote – you can get even up to 20 degrees Celsius (68 °F) on a beautiful day.
Snow in Switzerland in February
You will get plenty of snow in Switzerland in February, and if you are planning to do some skiing – no worries, you will have no problem.
If you are a fan of snowshoeing and winter hiking – as well, plenty of places will be full of snow.
Top 10 activities in Switzerland in February
Skiing in Zermatt
Zermatt is probably the most famous village in Switzerland as it is located right below the famous Matterhorn mountain (you will find it on the Toblerone chocolate package).
Zermatt is home to the highest mountain station in Europe and as well the highest skiing resort as well. Once you ski in Zermatt you will get to almost 4 000 meters of altitude and even have a chance to ski to Italy and then come back to Switzerland.
The slopes are long, well maintained, you will find a snow park (if you are looking for jumps and other activities) and many many cosy stops with coffee, fondue or other snacks.
Zermatt is simply a winter paradise.
Once you finish your skiing day, you can visit this rustic small wooden village with many restaurants and other places to visit. The village is reachable only by train, so there are no cars on the road (except local small electric cars) and it is very peaceful over there.
Winter hiking in Maloja pass
Actually, there are probably more than 100 or even more winter hiking routes all over Switzerland, but the one in Maloja Pass I really enjoyed myself.
Maloja Pass is passable during winter and leads you to Italy.
But if you stop right on the top of the road, you will find a nice parking spot and the hiking routes are right next to you.
In the beginning you will meet many cross country skiers, but just head to the mountains (direction Lägh da Cavloc) and you will get a real winter paradise. You will pass by a frozen lake, trees are full of snow and the overall atmosphere is really like from a movie.
Once you finish your hike you visit the small village of Maloja there you can find some places to rest or even visit the famous Maloja Palace which is now a hotel.
Sledding in Bergün
Bergün is one of my favourite villages in Switzerland in Graubünden canton.
It is a small village located at 1367 meters altitude and it has probably the longest sledding route in the world (I have not really found something longer, but if you know some place, please let me know).
The whole ride is not 500 meters long, but 5.5 km long! It is 5500 meters sliding down adventure on your sleds while enjoying beautiful viaducts, nature and the snow.
The whole adventure is really amazing as you have to get on the famous Rhaetian Railway train which gets you to another even smaller village called Preda (at 1800 meters altitude) where your sledding adventure begins.
Once you get on the sledding slope, it is quite slow in the beginning, but after the first bridge it gets really fast and fun. Do not forget to use your legs to make yourself slower as it gets really speedy really fast.
There is a even a speed camera which checks out your speed once you go down the slope.
In the end of the slope you will find a small cabin with drinks and snacks, after that you can head back to Bergün village and take a train back to Preda to have this adventure again as one time is really not enough.
If you do not have your own sleds, do not worry, there are plenty of them to rent in the village center or right next to the train station.
Snowshoeing in Grindelwald
This is me in the picture, tired, very tired, but very happy.
I really enjoy snowshoeing as it allows you to get to some crazy locations in the middle of winter.
Snowshoeing can be pretty hard as you basically hike up through the snow in winter conditions, so take it easy and do not rush if that is your first time.
Switzerland has hundreds of snowshoeing trails, but Grindelwald is one of the best places to do it.
If you are a beginner, I recommend to do your first snowshoe adventure on a plain trail (or the one who goes up max 200-300 meters) or even hike down the mountain.
If you are an experienced hiker – you can simply go up the mountain.
There are many snowshoe paths which cross the skiing slopes, so be aware of that and always hike on the sides of the slope, never in the middle. It is much easier to hike on the slopes as they have hard snow and you do not get your legs too much into the snow, which can get pretty exhausting pretty fast.
So to conclude: if you are a beginner, take a gondola or train to FIRST or KLEINE SCHEIDEGG.
From First you can have a really fun hike to Grosse Scheidegg. Simply majestic views.
From Kleine Scheidegg you can hike down to Grindelwald or go to Männlichen.
If you are a professional – hike straight from Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg (elevation change 1000 meters). After your snowshoe adventure, you can take a train back down to Grindelwald.
Cross country skiing in St. Moritz
As it goes for skiing, snowshoeing, winter hiking and the same for cross country skiing – there are trails all over Switzerland.
But St. Moritz is a very special place and they have on of the best cross country skiing routes in Engadin Valley.
The first ever skiing resort in the world is actually St. Moritz, so it is very famous, very posh and with great infrastructure.
It has long cross country skiing routes next to the village which lead further to the mountains and if you are a fan of cross country skiing – you will not be disappointed.
St. Moritz is a great place for such an adventure. Do not worry if you do not have your skis or even do not know how to do it – there are plenty of teachers over there, so it is a great place to learn a new skill.
Visit the highest village in Europe – Juf
I have visited this village few times myself and the fact that it is the highest village in Europe which is being lived all year round, really makes this location exceptional.
Juf is located at 2126 meters and winters can get pretty hectic over there.
If you are driving with your car over there in winter, be aware that you may need chains, as the road gets really snowed in.
Juf village is quite small with old rustic houses and it is the last location on the road – further only huge mountains.
In the village you will find couple of places where you can spend a night, local post with a small shop and a restaurant.
It is actually a pretty cold place in winter months, but as well a great place for snowshoeing or winter hiking.
It is actually a wonder, that such a place is passable by car or train in winter months, and I do not even know which is better – go there by car or train, but I can guarantee that both experiences are really worth it.
Bernina Pass is located at 2328 meters altitude and has some majestic views to the mountains, peaks and glaciers.
Right below the Bernina Pass you will see a huge lake which makes this place even more magical.
If you are hungry and need to rest – no worries, you will find a restaurant right on the top of it.
If you decide to take a train ride from Engadin Valley to the Bernina Pass – you will cross some beautiful forests and get into the open area of the mountains with exceptional views. You can leave the train in Bernina Pass stop, hike around, and take a train back afterwards.
Carnival of Basel (Basler Fasnacht)
It is maybe one of the most amazing events in Switzerland which takes place in February/March. Always be aware to check the dates as the celebration dates skew a bit each year and the even lasts 3 days.
I can not stress enough how important Fasnacht is in Basel as so many people prepare costumes, learns to play flute or any other instrument.
During Fasnacht the city is full of small bands (some are just two people) to huge ones with drums and many different decorations.
The bands walk around the city and play their songs and melodies all day long. Everyone is with a special costume and a mask, so you can not really recognize people, but it looks pretty amazing.
The city is full of confeti (the streets even get soft as so much confeti is being thrown around) everywhere as everyone has a right to throw it on your head, so do not get surprised if some kid throws it to your face unannounced (it happened to me).
The celebration always start at 4am and the whole city and businesses are asked to turn of the lights in the shops and offices. Then the marching begins and ends right after 72 hours.
Visit Morcote and get some sun
Morcote is actually a piece of Italy in Switzerland is quite often voted to be one of the most beautiful villages in Switzerland.
Morcote is located not far from the biggest city in Ticino – Lugano.
The village itself is right on the banks of the lake and you can see Italy on the other side of the lake.
In the village you can find many historical buildings and wander around in the narrow streets.
What is good about Morcote, that even in February it can get pretty warm and it is your chance to escape cold Alps weather and get some sun.
Lucerne is one of the lucky cities where you can get epic views of the lake with huge mountains in the background.
Lucerne is one of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland with beautiful walks by the lake (the water is always crystal clear over there) and a very historic old town.
Lucerne is a perfect place to relax, enjoy the views and have some tee, coffee or local foods as raclette or fondue.
FAQ about Switzerland in February
Do I need snow chains in Switzerland in February?
Swiss people are actually very careful and do not leave open any dangerous roads in winter. If that happens, there is always a road sign warning about band weather conditions and I do not really recommend taking mountain roads in winter if there is a warning sign.
If it happens that some roads gets snowed in during the night, police may stop you in the beginning of the road and asks you to put the chains on. It happened to me once, I did not have any chains and had to turn back.
But most of the dangerous roads in the mountains are completely closed in winter time.
Is it cold in Switzerland in February?
Yes, it can get pretty cold in the skiing resorts, but if you spend most of your time in big cities like Basel or Zürich, the temperatures are quite mild even in February.
Is February a good time to visit Zurich?
Yes, you can visit local museums and other attractions, but even in February a walk next to the beautiful lake of Zürich will be a pleasant experience. Especially on a clear day, as you can see the white Swiss Alps far away.