Would you like to visit Swiss Alps in the summer? If yes, you are here for a treat.
Summer is a great time to visit Swiss Alps and has great weather almost all the time: it’s warm, rains pretty rarely, no strong winds – just perfect weather.
You can be hiking at 2000 m altitude in the summer and still get a great tan. That happens. Wear sunscreen.
What to do in the Swiss Alps in summer?
Hiking in the Swiss Alps
As all the time, my first suggestion is: hiking. Switzerland is famous for hiking, it has so many well-prepared hiking routes that it’s crazy. It would take a lifetime to hike them all, because Switzerland has more than 65000 kilometers of hiking routes. 65 thousand! And what is the best about it, that you can visit the same village in the mountains, take another trail you haven’t tried and the views will be completely different. Mountains change everything and you will never get the same experience.
In the summertime almost all the snow is gone from any hiking routes (especially from mid-July), so you can actually hike pretty high up and enjoy the amazing views. From time to time in these high mountains, you can find a nice little restaurant and have a fondue, coffee, or any snack you like. That is pure Switzerland to me. It is so beautiful up there, so fresh, you can not fall in love with that.
I would really love to suggest you some best hiking trails in Switzerland you can find:
Hiking trails in Wengen – a beautiful iconic Swiss village only reachable by train or foot.
Hiking trails in Lauterbrunnen – a famous Swiss village with huge waterfalls.
Hiking trails in Grindelwald – the center of Jungfrau region, the most famous mountain region in Switzerland.
Hiking trails in Jungfrau region – the collection of best hikes in Jungfrau region.
Piz Tambo hike – a pretty demanding, but immensely beautiful hike up to 3300 meters next to Italy.
Piz Nair hike – a great hike next to the most famous skiing resort St. Moritz.
Meglisalp hike – if you like remote places with valleys and cows – it is the right choice for you.
Hinterstockensee hike – a very beautiful two-lakes hike in the middle of Switzerland.
Gornergrat hike – a very famous location in the most famous village in Switzerland – Zermatt. You are going to love it.
Just check out this website: Swiss hiking routes, and find many possibilities to hike: how long is the hiking route, where is it, how to reach it, what is the altitude and all other information is there.
Paragliding in Switzerland
Paragliding is very very popular in Switzerland and there are many companies who do that. Maybe the most famous city and destination to do it is Interlaken.
If you go there in summer, in the big meadow not that far to the city center, you are going to see dozens of paragliders landing each ten minutes. It’s crazy how popular it is.
Basically, paragliding is possible near most of the mountains and valleys, but if you want to get it easy and fast, go to Interlaken.
Other famous places to paraglide:
Zermatt, Kandersteg, Grindelwald, St. Moritz and many others.
You can check out this article for more ideas: Paragliding in Switzerland.
Swim in a Swiss river
That is wildly popular in Switzerland in cities like Basel, Zürich, Bern and many others. It is a very great way to see the city from a totally different perspective: from being a swimmer in the river.
If you go in the middle of summer in Basel and cross the bridge there: you are going to see hundreds of swimmers. Hundreds.
Be aware, that most of the cities require you to have protection from drowning (most of people use the bags where they put all the stuff and when closed it captures air and do not drown). In most cities you can not swim anywhere you want – rules are mostly written by the river – as some rivers have boats rowing on one side, people on the other, so they don’t mix and bad things don’t happen.
I think that is a great way to see the people, culture and city.
One of the most famous places to swim in a river is Valle Verzasca in the Ticino canton – it has many famous and beautiful places with fresh water.
Take a cable car or train to the Swiss Alps
Most of the mountains and cities have cable cars and these are wildly popular as they can take you to the most amazing viewing spots in minutes.
The prices can vary, but in most places, you can get a cable car ticket for 40 CHF, places like Zermatt are more pricey – up to 130 CHF. But once you get to the top, you are not going to regret it.
All the cable cars are open in summer and that is one of the best times to use it.
The most famous places to take a cable car or train to the Swiss Alps:
- Zermatt. Zermatt has multiple locations, but the most famous ones are Gornergratt and Glacier paradise. Gornergratt is a famous hotel situated at 3100 meters altitude and offers amazing views of the mountains and glaciers. The train will take you up there in about one hour. Glacier Paradise is the highest such location in Switzerland as it is located at 3883 meters altitude. Over there you will find a restaurant, museum, and views of Mont Blanc.
- Jungfraujoch. It is a mountain station situated next to Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen. It is situated at 3463 meters and has the highest chocolate shop in Europe. It has restaurants, amazing views of the glaciers, and winter all year round. The train will take you up there from Grindelwald in about an hour.
- Leukerbad. A cable car from Leukerbad will take you to a fascinating Gemmipass where you will find a beautiful Swiss Alps lake, a restaurant and countless hiking trails.
- Schilthorn. It is yet another famous location that was shown in James Bond movies. It is a mountain station situated at 2970 meters altitude.
- Mount Pilatus. A very famous location is next to Luzern city and lake. Over there you will find a hotel, a restaurant, souvenir shop and many more activities.
Visit a vineyard in the Swiss Alps
Switzerland has quite a lot of vineyards and these are beautifully situated on the mountains.
For me personally the most gorgeous ones are next to Montreux, not that far from Geneva. You can go there and do wine tasting or simply stroll through or next to them. It is very beautiful and the small villages to them have a nice french touch.
The most famous wine-growing area in Switzerland next to the Alps is the Unesco World Heritage site of Lavaux in Vaud canton. It was established in the 12th century when the monks of Cistercian first planted the famous Dézaley vineyard in the land on the slopes next to Lake Geneva. You will be surprised how beautiful and jaw-dropping it is over there.
Visit Swiss mountain passes
Actually, that is a great thing to do all year round, but in summer you can enjoy it the most as you can just jump out in any mountain pass, walk around, and take fantastic pictures for your Instagram 🙂
Some mountain passes you can visit by train which is an amazing experience.
One of the most amazing trains goes via Oberalp Pass – you can take a train as close as Andermatt and just enjoy the slow ride up to the mountains. On Oberalp Pass you will find the only lighthouse in the Swiss Alps and as well you can reach Tomasee – which is a source of Rhein river.
Another great mountain pass to visit by train is San Bernardino Pass in Graubünden canton. It has a massive lake right next to the top and countless hiking trails.
Mountain passes are as well very popular to bike, but you must be aware that the climb will be 14-20 kilometer ride sometimes and you are going to gain more than 1000 meters in elevation or even more.
Other great mountain passes to visit:
Furka Pass – outstanding mountain pass shown in James Bond movies with spectacular views and a very famous Belvedere hotel.
Grimsel Pass – a very beautiful mountain pass with extraordinary nature. If you have more time over there, you can hike to a huge reservoir next to Oberaar hotel. the whole hike back and forth can take up to 3 hours.
Umbrail Pass – the highest paved mountain pass in Switzerland at 2501 altitude which leads to the highest mountain pass in Europe – Stelvio Pass. But Stelvio Pass is already in Italy.
Only by visiting mountain passes you will experience so much of Switzerland that it is going to be a perfect mountain trip. Visiting 5-7 mountain passes can take you up to 3-4 days and on the way, you will see Swiss cows, and small villages, taste local cheese, fondue and so much more.
Jungfraujoch is maybe in the “top 5 places you must see in Switzerland”.
It’s a mountain station sitting at 3466 m elevation. And it is huge. Very huge. And it has anything you want: the highest watches shop in Europe, the highest chocolate shop in Europe, and so on. It has restaurants, amazing viewing points (I was there in the middle of summer and it is fuuuulll of snow) and anything else you would wish to find there.
It takes about one hour by train to reach it from Grindelwald. By a very beautiful train, very Swiss. It goes through Kleine Scheidegg train station which is a beauty itself and then you go into the tunnel which is in the middle of the mountain and you go all the way up inside the mountain to Jungfraujoch. This place is one of a kind. Must see.
Visit small Swiss villages in the Swiss Alps
Once you think of Switzerland, most people think of Swiss cows, huge valleys, local wooden architecture, narrow hiking trails and all of that you can find in small Swiss villages.
I have made a list of the most beautiful Swiss villages right here: The most charming Swiss villages.
My top 5 Swiss villages would be (I will exclude Grindelwald, Zermatt, and Lauterbrunnen from this list as I already mentioned them above).
- Juf – it is the highest location in Europe which is lived all year round. Juf is situated at 2126 meters! In Juf you will find some very cozy old Swiss architecture (wooden houses), a restaurant, and a hotel. It is the perfect place if you want to clear your mind.
- Guarda – it is a small village in Graubünden canton with astonishing mountain views.
- Rasa – it is a tiny village in Ticino canton only reachable by cable car or by foot. No cars. Do not forget to visit the famous swings right outside the village.
- Indemini – it was a completely isolated village with no road passing by till the middle of the 20th century. Its ancient architecture is very well kept and if you would not see some nowadays technologies, you may think that you are right in the 17th century.
- Morcote – it is a jewel of the Ticino canton. The village has a strong Italian architectural influence (Italy is right across the lake).
Most frequently asked questions about the Swiss Alps in the summer
What is the weather in the summer in the Swiss Alps?
It can get pretty hot and reaching 30 degrees Celsius is not an exception. But it all depends how high are you: if you are visiting a mountain pass at 2500 meters, it can get pretty cold and 10 degrees Celsius can be the temperature all day long. The temperatures and weather patterns can be very unpredictable in the mountains, so just in case, always have a jacket and sunscreen.
Is it expensive to visit the Swiss Alps in the summer?
Switzerland is pretty much the most expensive country in Europe, but that does not mean that you have to overspend all the time. I have prepared a list of how to save money in Switzerland. Hotels and food in the restaurant is rather expensive, but you can always prepare your own food and sleep in a hostel or airbnb. The high season in the skiing resorts and mountainous places is of course winter, so summertime is a bit cheaper, but you should always avoid tourist traps.
Does the Swiss Alps have snow in the summer?
Yes. You can always see white peaks and visit glaciers where snow never goes away. Summer is the best time to hike really high and experience higher altitudes as some trails and mountain passes are passable only from mid-July. Summer is the best time to visit the Swiss Alps if you are an outdoors person.
Can you ski in the Swiss Alps in summer?
Yes. Actually, you can. There’s a famous skiing resort open all year round in Saas-Fee.
Is Switzerland better in summer or winter?
It all depends on what you are looking for. If you like skiing – winter is of course the best time to experience that. If you like hiking, camping and spending long time in nature – summer is the best time to visit Switzerland.
Switzerland has a lot to offer in the summer, but one thing I really recommend – just go to the mountains. Breathe it, enjoy it. They are immensely majestic and beautiful. Swiss Alps have so much to offer.
On the other hand: many Swiss cities and villages are so cozy and nice as well. Especially the ones in the mountains, but if you would like to visit Zürich, Geneva, Basel – you are still going to have a great time. Take a swim in the river, in the lakes (all of them are very very clean), eat ice cream and have a good time.
If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.
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