The peak seasons for Switzerland travel are winter and summer. These are when the main outdoor activities can be enjoyed at their best. There really isn't a bad time to take a Switzerland vacation, however, thanks to the country's beautiful landscape and its fascinating cities. Visiting Geneva in the fall, for example, can be very rewarding, and exploring the Alps is worth it regardless of the month. The range of temperatures in Switzerland essentially corresponds to that of the northern United States. The only difference is that there are fewer extremes in Switzerland in terms of hot and cold.
The Swiss Alps cover over half of Switzerland, and the mountains that pertain to this range can reach heights of around 15,000 feet above sea level. The Alps are responsible for causing some interesting climatic variations throughout the country, often making it hard to predict the weather. When traveling through the Alps on a Switzerland vacation, bringing warm clothes is recommended. Even during the summer months, the temperatures can get relatively cool from time to time. Switzerland's lower areas, which can be found in the north, tend to have warmer temperatures, especially in the summer. In the southern reaches of the country, which is where you will find Lugano, the temperatures tend to remain fairly mild throughout the year. Subtropical vegetation grows here, and it is because of this weather that Lugano has been referred to as the "Monte Carlo of Switzerland."
When general sightseeing is the aim of a Switzerland vacation, summer is the best time to visit, with June being especially ideal. Visitors can comfortably tour the entire country in the summer months, as the mountain passes are all open. Early fall can also be an ideal time to enjoy a trip to Switzerland if general sightseeing is at the heart of things. The warmer months of the year are also ideal for various outdoor activities. Hiking is best enjoyed in the summer, for example, as is sailing. Many of the Swiss cities, such as Geneva and Lucerne, rest on the banks of scenic lakes, in which case swimming is a top warm weather pursuit as well. Once winter approaches, skiing and snowboarding take their rightful places among the top things to do in Switzerland. Mountain resorts like Zermatt, Davos, and St. Moritz figure among the most attractive ski resorts in Europe, and as such, they are popular vacation destinations when the snow is falling.
In some of the Swiss mountain resorts, skiing can continue into the spring and summer months, thanks to the altitude and the heavy winter snowfall. The slopes in and around Zermatt typically stay open the longest, and a spring or summer ski trip to Switzerland doesn't have to be out of the question. For some, engaging in Switzerland travel in the low season will be most attractive, thanks to the discounted rates at the country's hotels. Early November to mid December is essentially the low season, and this is when hotel and flight rates are at their best. The spring and fall shoulder seasons also see reduced fares that help to make off season Switzerland travel very attractive.
In addition to considering the weather, anyone who is trying to figure out when to take a trip to Switzerland will also want to keep the country's annual events and festivals in mind. Like so many other countries around the world, Switzerland celebrates Carnival rather vigorously in February. Basel is one of the best places to enjoy the Carnival celebrations in Switzerland, as is Lucerne, though visitors can expect lively festivities in all of the country's various cantons, cities, and villages. A number of other fun events and festivals, many of which have their roots in local traditions, are held throughout the country during the year. Visitors are encouraged to consider the events schedules for their destinations of choice.
The Switzerland seasons all have their advantages, and visitors who want to get the full experience might want to plan a return visit for another time of year. Skiing during the winter and returning in the summer to hike the mountains and tour some of the country's more attractive cities can be a good way to go. Switzerland is a land of many delights, and even when the outdoor activities aren't at their best, there will be plenty of shopping to do, numerous restaurants to visit, and an array of attractions to take in. A Switzerland vacation is easily filled with any number of fun activities.