Looking for travel tips for autumn in Switzerland? We got you covered. Visiting Switzerland in the fall is an unforgettable experience. With mild temperatures, stunning panoramas of changing colors, and a variety of cultural activities, this is one of our favorite times to visit Switzerland.
Whether you are looking for outdoor activities, shopping, or leisurely evenings spent exploring the city streets, Switzerland is sure to provide a memorable vacation experience in the fall.
Autumn in Switzerland: Best Places to Visit in Switzerland in the Fall
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Switzerland is a stunning destination in the fall. From exploring picturesque Alpine villages to experiencing traditional Swiss festivals and culinary delights, you will be immersed in the beauty and culture that fall in Switzerland showcases.
Here is how to plan the perfect vacation in Switzerland in the fall,
Preparing for your trip to Switzerland: Autumn holidays
When planning your trip, consider which month you would like to travel. Each fall month is slightly different – temperatures, activities, and festivities are all different.
So it is important to research the weather, activities, and attractions beforehand so you can get the most out of your time in Switzerland.
What are the fall months in Switzerland?
Autumn in Switzerland is from September to November.
As temperatures start to cool and the seasonal foliage begins to change, Switzerland is transformed into a vibrant destination for weekend getaways or extended vacations.
Here is what temperatures look like,
Autumn in Switzerland: Temperature in degrees Celcius and Fahrenheit (Daytime average)
September: 20° C / 68° F
|October: 14° C / 57.2° F||November: 7° C / 44.6° F|
With the advent of fall or autumn months, the crowds have disappeared and you can explore Swiss cities without the hordes that come with summertime.
You can witness breathtaking foliage on trails, and mountain areas, and rejoice in sampling exquisite wines from across the country.
|Zurich: 20 C/68 F |
Geneva: 21 C/69.8 F
Lucerne: 20 C/68 F
St Moritz: 14 C/57.2 F
Zermatt: 16 C/60.8 F
|Zurich: 15 C/59 F |
Geneva: 15 C/59 F
Lucerne: 14 C/57.2 F
St Moritz: 10 C/50 F
Zermatt: 12 C/53.6 F
|Zurich: 9 C/48.2 F |
Geneva: 9 C/48.2 F
Lucerne: 8 C/46.4 F
St Moritz: 3 C/37.4 F
Zermatt: 6 C/42.8 F
Though days may start to become shorter and cooler as you approach winter, it’s worth visiting for cheaper accommodation and flights!
Not to mention better seating options on cable cars and other modes of public transportation!
We will share the average daytime temperatures in Switzerland for the entire year so that you can take a quick look.
|January||2° C / 35.6° F|
|February||6° C / 42.8° F|
|March||11° C / 51.8° F|
|April||15° C / 59° F|
|May||20° C / 68° F|
|June||21° C / 69.8° F|
|July||24° C / 75.2° F|
|August||23° C / 73.2° F|
|September||20° C / 68° F|
|October||14° C / 57.2° F|
|November||7° C / 44.6° F|
|December||4° C / 39.2° F|
Switzerland in September
If you’re dreaming of exploring Swiss cities, taking picturesque train rides, and sightseeing some of the world’s most renowned tourist attractions – then planning a journey to Switzerland in September is an ideal choice.
With fewer tourists you can walk the Old Towns with ease, book organized excursions without difficulty, and locate cost-effective lodging options – all while enjoying lovely weather conditions.
Places like Jungfrau, Interlaken, Geneva, Zurich, Lugano, and Lucerne are usually very busy in the summer months, so come autumn it is much calmer for sightseeing.
This is also a great time to participate in colorful festivals in September in Switzerland. Popular events include wine fests and harvest festivals.
One of the popular harvest festivals is called “Sichlete”. It is held in Bern, and at this event, farmers bring their cows, sheep, horses and more to the square in front of the federal building in Bern, and one lucky winner gets the crown!
Switzerland in October
October is a stunning time of year to witness the vivid hues of fall foliage, as well as take part in breathtaking hikes and bask in picturesque lake views.
When visiting Switzerland in October, you can spend your days exploring the stunning Swiss Alps or take a leisurely stroll along the cobblestone streets of medieval towns.
Later in the month, the weather does get a little unpredictable as the temperatures drop. It is also possible that popular cable cars, funiculars, and cogwheel trains may either be closed or not operational for a week or two because of maintenance.
The high-altitude pass roads will start closing by October.
If you wish to go on hikes, swimming, etc. we recommend avoiding October. As a city and culture lover, you can enjoy museums, spas, chocolate factory tours, etc., and also score a discount on transportation.
Switzerland in November
November is definitely knocking on the winter doors. Temperatures are cooler, and in some places, snow is making an appearance.
But the good news is that – you can still enjoy indoor activities, get some early Christmas shopping done, and more!
As temperatures are cooler, remember to pack warm clothing. And cheer up indoors as November can be a little dull and lacking sunshine outside! November is not the best time to visit for outdoor activities.
In November, however, you can score good flights and accommodation deals.
Note that there is a low possibility of skiing in November.
READ: Our post on 10 days in Switzerland Itinerary, to combine multiple destinations in one trip
Switzerland fall packing list
When traveling to Switzerland in the fall season, it’s important to pack appropriate items that will keep you warm and comfortable during your trip.
Here are some essential items to consider packing for your visit:
- Tops: Pack long sleeve tops/shirts and dresses
- Bottoms: Skip shorts and pack leggings (for hikes), and jeans/pants
- Warm clothing: Warm weather clothing including sweaters, scarves, gloves, hats, and jackets
- Shoes: Comfortable walking shoes or waterproof boots. Here is my favorite one from KEEN
- Sun protection: Sunglasses, sunscreen, and lip balm
- For rains: Sturdy umbrella or raincoat
- Charger: Portable charger for your cell phone and other electronics
- Swiss sim card: Buy it here
- Adaptor: Swiss adapter for charging devices
- Power Bank: Power bank for additional power on the go
- Camera: Camera with extra batteries and memory cards
- FA Kit: Traveler’s First Aid Kit
- Currency: Cash, credit, and debit cards for easy access to money
- Travel insurance: Get a travel insurance quote from SafetyWing to protect your trip to Switzerland
Remember to check the forecast before you leave and pack accordingly so you can make the most of your trip!
Best places to visit during fall in Switzerland
Wondering what is the best city to visit in Switzerland in September, October, and November? We have you covered!
From exploring the glorious Swiss Alps to experiencing traditional Swiss culture, there are plenty of activities that make Switzerland a desirable travel destination for the autumn season.
1. Zurich in the fall
Fall is a wonderful time to visit Zurich in Switzerland! The days are still sunny and warm during the day, but the evenings can get a bit chilly. This makes it perfect for sightseeing around Zurich’s stunning lakefront and exploring its many attractions.
Start your trip by taking in the city’s beautiful cobblestone streets, ancient buildings, and grand churches. When the weather permits, enjoy a stroll along the Zurichsee (Lake Zurich) shoreline or take a boat ride around the lake for stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Be sure to explore some of Zurich’s iconic attractions including the Grossmünster Cathedral, Fraumünster Church, and Old Town. And hike up the Lindenhof Hill and enjoy panoramic views of Zurich and its surroundings.
Zurich is home to many museums including the Swiss National Museum, Kunsthaus Zurich (fine arts museum), and Rietberg Museum which showcases traditional and modern art from around the world. You can also visit the FIFA museum and go shopping!
When it gets cooler, cozy up in a cafe and enjoy some warm drinks or sample some of Zurich’s many culinary specialties like raclette, fondue, and chocolate.
Or soak in the warm waters of Zurich Thermal Baths & Spa!
2. Basel in the fall
Basel is a vibrant city in Switzerland, and fall is an ideal time to visit! The days are sunny and mild with cool nights, making it perfect for sightseeing around Basel’s charming Old Town.
You will love to know that the city is not very crowded during this time and it is easy to find good accommodation in Old Town.
In Basel, you must visit the city’s iconic attractions including the Basler Münster Cathedral and Town Hall.
Be sure to take a stroll along the Rhine River or explore Basel’s many churches and museums such as the Kunstmuseum Basel (Fine Arts Museum) and the Tinguely Museum dedicated to kinetic art.
The culinary scene is amazing in Basel so do not miss that! Basel is also great for exploring places like Colmar in France as well as Germany.
3. Bern in the fall
The charming capital city of Bern is a great destination for an autumn getaway! Start your trip by taking a stroll through Bern’s old town center – a UNESCO World Heritage Site- and immerse yourself in its 1000-year old architecture.
Explore Zytglogge, the iconic 13th-century clock tower, or visit the Bundeshaus, Switzerland’s national parliament building.
Head to the Rose Garden or River Aare for a relaxing walk in nature and take in some stunning views of Bern’s picturesque landscape.
When it gets colder outside, head to one of the many museums in Bern like the Einstein Museum, Bern Historical Museum, and Zentrum Paul Klee.
Be sure to check out the Museum of Fine Arts for an impressive collection of art from around Europe.
For outdoor activities, head to the nearby Jura Mountains for breathtaking views of the region.
Resources: One day in Bern itinerary
4. Interlaken and nearby in autumn
Nestled between two lakes, Interlaken is a popular destination for hikers and skiers.
Located between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, this charming Swiss town is surrounded by stunning mountain views. The Jungfrau region offers incredible views of the Alps including the famous Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau peaks.
We recommend visiting in September for sightseeing and riding scenic trains. In late October and November, it is usually raining and colder.
Start off sightseeing with scenic cable car rides up Harder Kulm for breathtaking views of Interlaken. Afterward, take a stroll around town and explore its many attractions such as the Schadau castle and the Höhematte Park.
When the weather is nice, make sure to spend some time outdoors! Take a scenic boat ride on Lake Brienz and admire its stunning alpine backdrop. Boat cruises operate on a full schedule in September and October, with reduced hours in November.
5. Zermatt in the fall
Zermatt is an idyllic car-free village located in the Swiss Alps and is one of the most popular destinations for fall season travels! With its stunning views, quaint mountain lanes, and a variety of outdoor activities – it’s no wonder why so many people flock to Zermatt during the fall.
One of the best reasons to visit Zermatt is that accommodation is really affordable in the later days of September and October. Come November the weather is almost winter-like and is beautiful!
Soak in the views of the Matterhorn from Zermatt (via the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise). In Zermatt, you can enjoy walks and short hikes in the quaint village, and later go for shopping!
For outdoor adventure seekers, Zermatt is home to some of the best ski slopes in Switzerland, which you must visit in the winter.
6. Geneva in the fall
The beautiful city of Geneva is a great destination and is home to many parks, museums, and attractions.
In the early months of the fall, you can comfortably take a stroll through the Old Town Center. You can explore some of its iconic monuments such as St. Pierre Cathedral, and Place Neuve Square.
Be sure to sample some of Geneva’s local cuisine at one of its many restaurants or cafes.
When it gets colder outside, visit the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum for a unique perspective on international humanitarian law.
On warmer days admire the stunning lake views and the Jet d’Eau fountain. You can also embark on a cruise on Lake Geneva (it operates until October).
Do visit the Flower Clock and see the unique decorations and flower arrangements they have for the fall season.
7. Biel for fall
The town of Biel or Bienne straddles the French and German speaking parts of Switzerland. It is a great destination to visit during the fall. The days are usually sunny with mild temperatures and cool nights, making it perfect for sightseeing and hikes.
There are lots of things to see and do in Biel and nearby. Places like Jura, and Seeland are perfect for a fall weekend trip as well.
In Biel, explore its Old Town area. Take a stroll around Lake Biel and enjoy amazing views of the surrounding mountains or head to nearby forests for a leisurely hike.
Take a boat ride on Lake Biel to experience the fall foliage from the comfort of your seat (and without a hike).
8. Vaud region in the fall
During fall, the vineyards of Lavaux located between Lausanne and Montreux will dazzle you with a fiery display of gold.
Switzerland’s Vaud region is home to the country’s most delectable wines, making it an unbeatable destination to experience both nature and tantalizing flavors in one place!
Head out on a wine tour on a sunny day or enjoy a leisurely hike from St. Saphorin to Lutry, meandering through lush vineyards for exploration in idyllic villages.
9. Upper Valais region for fall
Nestled in the breathtaking Valais Alps, lies Riederalp – a picturesque car-free village. Here you can marvel at some of Switzerland’s grandest natural wonders including Europe’s largest glacier: the Aletsch Glacier!
The area of Aletsch Forest Preserve has a lot of hiking trails where you can see the warm orange tones of larch trees and other fall colors in Switzerland.
The upper Valais region is in the eastern German speaking part of Switzerland.
10. Scenic train rides in Switzerland in the autumn months
The fall season is the perfect time to take in the spectacular views of Switzerland via train! Most of the popular scenic train rides are operating in fall, and it doesn’t matter if it rains or shines, you don’t have to worry about it!
One of the most iconic train rides is the Bernina Express from Chur or St. Moritz to Tirano, Italy. Witness the majestic beauty of Swiss Alpine landscapes as you pass over viaducts and through picturesque mountain villages in this four-hour ride.
The Glacier Express is another must-do train journey in Switzerland. Start your journey in Zermatt and make your way to St. Moritz across breathtaking alpine meadows and glacial lakes.
The train passes through 291 bridges and 91 tunnels, offering a unique perspective of the Swiss countryside.
If you’re looking for something less demanding and more leisurely, try the GoldenPass express line. This train links three of Switzerland’s most beloved lakeside towns – Lucerne, Interlaken, and Montreux, and it is open all year round.
Along the way, you can see picturesque villages, rolling hills, and lush meadows in all their autumnal glory.
SWISS TRAVEL PASS
Get unlimited rides on trains, trams, buses, and boats throughout Switzerland with an all-in-one Swiss Travel Pass!
Buy it online, show your e-ticket on your phone, and start your Swiss Adventure with ease and stay on budget!
Switzerland Autumn Itinerary | Fall in Switzerland itineraries
Here is an autumn itinerary for Switzerland that covers the best of cities, charming towns, and natural landmarks. We have also included a scenic train ride to round off your experience in the country,
Day 1: Arrive and explore Zurich
Arrive in Zurich and explore the city’s many attractions. From its stunning views of Lake Zurich to its fascinating Old Town, take some time to wander through the cobblestone streets and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of this busy Swiss city.
Visit iconic landmarks such as the Clock Tower, Grossmünster Church, Fraumünster Church, and the Bahnhofstrasse. Don’t forget to try some of the delicious Swiss delicacies like fondue, raclette, and rösti!
Day 2: More sightseeing in Zurich, and then start for Basel in the evening
Continue your exploration of Zurich with a visit to iconic attractions such as the Zoo, FIFA Museum, and Chocolate tasting tour, and later in the day, take a scenic train ride from Zurich to Basel.
Day 3: Explore Basel
Spend your day exploring the city of Basel – known for its culture and vibrant arts scene.
With its lovely cobblestone streets, impressive museums and galleries, and beautiful churches, you can explore the city’s many attractions on foot or by taking a leisurely riverboat ride down the Rhine.
Day 4: More of Basel, and ‘Three Countries’
Take a day trip to explore the ‘Three Countries’ area, which includes Switzerland, Germany, and France.
Day 5: Take a train to Zermatt and explore later in the day
Take a scenic train ride from Basel to Zermatt, with its stunning views of snow-capped mountain peaks.
Once you arrive, explore the village and visit iconic attractions like Matterhorn Glacier Paradise or Gornergrat. You may also want to consider a more active excursion such as hiking if the weather is pleasant during your trip.
Day 6: Explore more of Zermatt
Spend the day enjoying all that Zermatt has to offer – from exploring its quaint streets and shops to taking in stunning mountain views.
Day 7: Spend the day at the Glacier Express from Zermatt to Chur
Embark on the Glacier Express from Zermatt to Chur and enjoy the stunning views of this enchanting alpine landscape.
Return to Zurich from Chur in the evening.
Day 8: Take a day trip to Lauterbrunnen from Zurich
Take a day trip to Lauterbrunnen – one of Switzerland’s most picturesque towns with its majestic waterfalls, rolling mountains, and lush green valleys.
Make a stop in Thun before returning to Zurich later in the day.
Day 9: Explore Lucerne and Mount Pilatus from Zurich
Spend your day exploring Lucerne and Mount Pilatus from Zurich. With its iconic Chapel Bridge, picturesque lakefront views, and nearby mountain hikes, this charming Swiss city is sure to impress.
Day 10: Travel to Bern on a day trip from Zurich
Take a day trip to Bern – the capital of Switzerland.
Wander through its medieval streets, explore its many museums and galleries, or take a stroll along the Aare River. Don’t forget to visit some of the city’s iconic attractions such as the Zytglogge clock tower and BearPark!
Switzerland Fall Travel Tips
Although we loved Switzerland in the fall, many consider summer as the best time to visit as the weather is warm. But early fall still presents itself with good weather. With all attractions being open it is a good time to visit Switzerland.
You can surely save money when visiting in the fall as most of the crowds would have disappeared, and enjoy pleasant weather.
Yes, Switzerland experiences the fall foliage season during the autumn season, particularly from late September to October.
For the best chances of chasing fall colors, plan a trip around early to mid-October for most Swiss cities and mountain towns. In the Jura region, bright fall colors can be enjoyed until the end of October.
Valais, the Ticino mountain valleys, and Graubünden are said to have the best fall colors.
Switzerland definitely looks beautiful in pretty fall colors. However keep in mind that September and November in Switzerland can be a little tricky as they are transition months (summer to fall, and fall to winter). So there are chances of rain and cooler temperatures in the fall.
Late September and October can be sunny and also beautiful with fall colors. This is the time to embark on hikes and enjoy train rides before they close for the winter season.
If you love to hike, plan to visit Switzerland in October, and hit the following places for enjoying nature
– Interlaken & Bernese Oberland
– Aargau & Jura
– Engadin St Moritz
– Jungfrau Region
In autumn, the weather fluctuates between 8 to 15° degrees Celsius (46 – 59 ° Fahrenheit) depending on altitude. Temperature is on the cooler side with possible rain showers as well.
Pack a sweater, comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, and sunglasses with an umbrella or light raincoat just in case; you’ll thank yourself later!
Expect 80 mm of rainfall in Switzerland in September. Places like Geneva and La Chaux-de-Fonds experience 8 to 10 days of rain.
It depends on the location. In lower altitudes, expect lush greenery and a beautiful array of blooming flowers in Switzerland, with some trees already beginning to turn their leaves.
Higher up, there will still be plenty of green foliage but more noticeably autumnal hues as the trees near completion of their transformation or have since shed their leaves entirely.
When the summer hiking season starts in the Swiss mountains, from mid-June to early July, this is the time when flowers are evident and they appear everywhere. Wildflowers last through from mid June to early September only.
October in Switzerland is typically a season of transition, with temperatures ranging from pleasantly mild to wet and overcast. While mountain regions could be quite chilly this time of year, the weather at lower elevations remains relatively temperate.
During an average October day in Geneva, temperatures vary from a pleasantly cool high of 15°C (60°F) to a somewhat chilly low of 6°C (43°F). A mild humidity makes the atmosphere pleasant.
Both September and October are great for experiencing the fall season. We personally enjoyed mid-October for autumn colors, fests, and beautiful weather for walks and sightseeing outside!
Early October is a great autumn month for hiking and sightseeing with mild weather and fewer crowds. Perfect to take in fall colors and enjoy discounts on accommodation.
January is the cheapest month to fly to Switzerland. But you can visit in late October and November for a great deal on flights and accommodation.
During the summer months of June and July, the mountain landscape is at its most beautiful. The weather could not be more perfect – mild temperatures that are rarely too hot, days filled with dry sunshine giving you breathtaking views across summits as far as your eye can see.
Additional Sightseeing Tips for Switzerland in Autumn
Planning a trip to Switzerland can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Here are some important tips for planning your Swiss getaway:
Switzerland tourist visa:
Switzerland follows the Schengen agreement, and if your passport is not visa-exempt then you will require to get a Schengen visa prior to traveling to the country.
Passport holders from the United States and Canada do not need a visa to enter Switzerland and stay up to 90 days.
Entering Switzerland and commuting internally:
Zurich International Airport is the best place to fly into. You can fly direct from many cities in the USA and Canada to Zurich.
From here you can either rent a car or take the train to the city centre.
If you are planning on visiting multiple cities then take advantage of the Swiss travel pass and enjoy free rides on the public transportation system (trains, trams, boats, and some scenic rides).
SWISS TRAVEL PASS
Get unlimited rides on trains, trams, buses, and boats throughout Switzerland with an all-in-one Swiss Travel Pass!
Buy it online, show your e-ticket on your phone, and start your Swiss Adventure with ease and stay on budget!
The Swiss travel pass is an all-in-one transportation card that can save you money if you plan on taking multiple trips and also entering museums for free.
We recommend planning out a rough route for your trip so you can make sure to include all the places you want to see.
If you are renting a car, make note that most of the Old Towns in Switzerland are pedestrian friendly. Also, places like Zermatt are car-free.
Make a budget and plan your accommodation, meals, and transportation accordingly. Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world, so it’s important to plan for all costs associated with it.
The Swiss currency is the Swiss Franc or CHF, so don’t forget to exchange some money before you arrive.
Check out what activities, attractions and events are available in the areas you’re planning to visit. Make sure to book tickets and tours ahead of time if you want to ensure availability.
Finally, don’t forget to pack the necessary items for your trip including warm clothes, comfortable shoes, and any other essentials that you may need.
With a little bit of planning, you’ll be sure to have an unforgettable Swiss adventure!
Thoughts on Visiting Switzerland in the Fall
Explore the charming Swiss cities, visit mountain resorts without the crowds, or enjoy a picturesque hike in the alpine valleys fall has it all!
What’s more, Switzerland has special events during the autumn months as locals prepare for the festive season. From street fairs and wine festivals to art exhibitions and outdoor markets, there is something for everyone in Switzerland during the fall.
Shopping lovers will find a great selection of local products and souvenirs to take home or enjoy while sightseeing.
With its grand mountain views, colorful culture, and cozy cafes, it is no wonder that autumn has become one of the most popular times to visit Switzerland.
More Switzerland travel guides:
- Best places to see in winter in Switzerland
- Things to do in Lauterbrunnen in one day
- 2 days in Switzerland itinerary