Beautiful every season, winter might be the best time to visit Switzerland. Visiting Switzerland during the winter offers the perfect backdrop to explore travel, culture, and food. From traveling on the Glacier express, experiencing Switzerland’s culture through festivals, and enjoying Swiss cuisines such as Fondue and Raclette you can’t go wrong.
Besides crisp air, freshly fallen snow, and picturesque towns here are 19 additional reasons winterer is the best time to visit Switzerland.
Located at the base of what is quite possibly the most famous mountain in the world, the Matterhorn, and what you might think of when you picture Switzerland in the winter. Zermatt offers the best of Winter in a picturesque small town. The region called the “Matterhorn Glacier Paradise” is home to the highest ski resort and has 54 mountain railways and lifts perfect for any level of skier or snowboarder. Zermatt is also family-friendly with easy access to childcare and offers a host of child family activities. Try your hand at sledding, hiking, and ice sports. For luxury accommodations stay at the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof or Mont Cervin Palace for more reasonably priced options try Hotel Testa Grigia, located in the middle of Zermatt.
2. The Glacier Express
The Glacier Express is probably the closest experience to the Polar Express that you can get. Take the train from Zermatt to St. Mortiz (or vice versa). Named the world’s slowest express train, enjoy riding through the Swiss Alps through 91 tunnels and over 291 bridges. For an extra special experience, book the excellence class with its guaranteed window seats, exclusive bar, entertainment, and a 5-course meal. The Glacier Express is a must for your trip and makes the winter the best time to visit Switzerland, especially if you plan to visit Zermatt or our next recommendation, St. Moritz.
3. St. Moritz
After your journey on the Glacier Express, step foot in the fairytale village of St. Moritz. Historically known as the birthplace of Alpine winter tourism, there is nothing old-fashioned about this historic village. Enjoy the Super Mountain Market, a twist on a traditional farmer’s market. Experience a one-stop-shop for food producers and local artists and creators. After a long day on the slopes, check out one of the many Art Galleries and Museums, such as the famous Segantini Museum or the Engadine Museum. For a bit of luxury and history, stay at the famed Kulm hotel. Enjoy the famous Dracula Club, luxurious restaurants, and their spa. For a more reasonable price, try the Hotel Waldhaus am See located on the shores of the St. Moritz lake with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.
4. The Jungfrau Region
Located in the middle of the Swiss Alps and surrounded by three major mountain peaks, the Jungfrau, the Mönch, and the Eiger, all three are popular ski areas. With numerous trails to explore on foot, this region is perfect for non-skiers as well. This region is also perfect for families with its family-friendly activities. Enjoy snowshoeing, hiking, and the world’s longest sledding run. Don’t forget to visit the highest railway station in Europe the Jungfraujoch.
If you want crisp mountain air and views for days, Jungfrau doesn’t disappoint.
5. Christmas Markets
The best thing about Christmas is the days leading up to the holiday. Filled with Family, Hot Cocoa, Mulled wine, and twinkling lights, Christmas markets are the perfect place to celebrate the season. Switzerland is the best place to visit during winter for the Christmas markets alone. Visit Basel for its old town feel and the largest Christmas market in Switzerland. With over 130 artisans selling goods and delicacies in wooden chalets, the spirit of Christmas is alive and well here. If you want to visit more than one Christmas market, Zurich doesn’t disappoint. Vist Christkindlimarket at Zurich’s main train station to see the 32-foot tall Christmas tree decorated with thousands of Swarovski crystals. Enjoy the romantic vibe at the Zurich Old Town Market or visit one of the larger markets at the Zurich Opera House.
6. Lausanne Lumieres Festival
One of the many reasons Winter is the best time to visit Switzerland is the Lausanne Lumieres Festival, an event designed to focus on light as an artistic element. Walk through the streets on your own or with a guided tour to learn more about the artists and installations. There are also numerous Christmas markets to visit.
7. Mt. Pilatus
A trip to Switzerland in the winter wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Mt. Pilatus. Take the historic cogwheel railway, the panorama gondolas, or the aerial cableway to the peak of Mt. Pilatus. Book the Fondue gondola if you want to really get in as many Swiss activities as possible. Stay at the Summit of Mt. Pilatus at the Pilatus Kulm Hotel to finish your day. For a fun winter treat, book the winter theme room.
8. Festive Hotels
No winter Switzerland visit is complete without visiting a few festively decorated hotels. It’s no wonder winter is the best time to visit Switzerland, with so many festive hotels to choose from for your stay. Christmas Dream at Hotel Beau-Rivage offers traditional charm and luxury in Geneva. While the Landgasthof Kemmeriboden-Bad Swiss Quality Hotel has an igloo you can eat and sleep in.
9. The Fondue Tram
Hot melted cheese, traditional Gluhwein (mulled wine) while twinkling lights and landmarks pass by in Zurich. I don’t think you could get any more Swiss than this tram.
10. Ancient Thermal Baths
Thermal baths are a well-known treat in Switzerland. Thermal baths at St. Moritz, Baden, and Yverdon have been well known for centuries for their medicinal qualities. Visit the Mineral Baths & Spa Rigi Kaltbad or visit the Bogn Engiadina in Scuol for a treat in one of their 6 pools.
Switzerland is beautiful all year round, however, what makes winter one of the best times to visit is the picturesque winter scenes and attractions that are only available in winter. From skiing and sledding to Christmas markets and Fondue, Switzerland shines brightest during the winter months.
Comment below to tell us if you have been to or are planning to visit Switzerland. If you have been, what time of year did you go?