With the stunning oranges, reds, yellows and browns of the season, Autumn in Switzerland is a special place for those who visit. From majestic Alp locations to charming Swiss lakeside towns, Switzerland has it all, and we couldn’t resist sharing the Autumn magic with you!
Choosing to visit Switzerland in September, October or November can be just as amazing as Winter, Spring or Summer. It’s the ideal season to avoid all the Summery tourists, but still enjoy the warmish weather, stunning landscape and peaceful locations. You can still hike, explore and enjoy this picture perfect country!
Our post shares some questions about Autumn in Switzerland to help you, followed by many recommendations from other travellers on where they suggest to visit in Switzerland and why, as well as a few Autumn related recommendations!
Most Asked Questions About Autumn In Switzerland
To get you prepared for exploring Switzerland during the fall and autumn seasons, here are some of the top questions we wanted to answer for you:
What months are autumn in Switzerland?
The main months in Switzerland for Autumn are September, October or November.
In these months you can consider:
- Autumn Hiking
- Boat Adventures
- Museum Visits
- City Explorations
- Indoor Spas and Activities
These months are great to visit Switzerland, which we hope to inspire you below on the destinations and activities submitted by other travellers!
How is autumn in Switzerland?
Visiting Switzerland during this season can be stunning with all the warm colours, with many places still warm enough for hiking! However there are also other locations will already have some sprinkles of snow with possible skiing opportunities!
So if you are wondering what Switzerland is like in Autumn, there’s something for everyone with all possible weather types that you should consider!
From our personal experience living in the Ticino canton, September and October can be warm enough to wear just a light jacket or even a t-shirt on some days, whereas November can get more chilly and warmer jumpers are needed. Ticino is the sunniest canton of all of Switzerland, so for other cantons in the North, it can be colder above the Swiss Alps.
Switzerland in September
Mild to warm weather, less crowds but still great weather for outdoor activities and not much rain. A light jacket is best.
Switzerland in October
Warmer clothes definitely needed for the weather, many cable cars and funiculars close mid-month, rain and snow at higher elevation locations and usually the best fall foliage month!
So if you are in to photography, we suggest visiting in October.
Switzerland in November
Snow definitely starts arriving on higher elevation, colder days are also shorter and much less touristic during this time. Warm, waterproof and layered clothes definitely required.
(We visited Zermatt in November – it was cold and already plenty of snow on the upper elevations. It was perfect for an early Winter weekend away, so was definitely more Winter than Autumn based on the location!)
Are Swiss cable cars and Funiculars running?
During the Autumn months, most mountain peaks with cable cars are open until mid-October.
Depending on where you may wish to visit, it will be best to check the official websites of the cable cars and funiculars to be sure of their last opening dates.
In no particular order, we have collaborated with many other travellers regarding their Autumn travels to Switzerland. They have submitted a city, region or activity recommendation on what you can enjoy while visiting yourselves!
Montreux, in the French speaking region of Switzerland is one of the best places to visit in Europe in Autumn. The colours are resplendent as the trees overhanging Lake Geneva turn from golden yellows to deep reds.
Montreux is known for the beautiful Montreux Riviera; a wide, pleasant boulevard in front of the lake where visitors promenade, rollerblade and cycle up and down its shores. The city is perfect for stopping at one of the many cafes and restaurants for a hot chocolate and a raclette or cheese fondue.
Montreux has a fairly mild autumn climate with an average of around 6 rainy days, meaning it’s a pleasant place to visit. It’s worth booking a vineyard tour at one of the many wineries too; the vineyards on the mountains behind Montreux come alive with colours. Look at Lavaux vineyards, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; it has the most incredible backdrop against the snow-capped mountains across the valley from Lake Geneva.
It’s also worth visiting Castle Chillon, the Queen Studio and one of the many unique statues that are built around the city and in the waters of Lake Geneva.
Contributed by Adriana Neptuna at Wanderlicious
Lausanne is a beautiful Swiss city located in the canton of Vaud, on the northern shores of Lake Geneva (fr. Lac Leman). The area is charming all year round, but only during the Autumn months it’s possible to admire the incredible colours show. It’s also the time of the year when everything slows down, the number of tourists decreases and the temperatures drop. It’s a perfect time for those who want to explore Lausanne in a more relaxing atmosphere.
But don’t worry, there are many things to do in Lausanne during Autumn! Take a lazy walk along the Ouchy promenade. Admire stunning views over the snowy Alps on the horizon and the colourful leaves right at your fingertips. Stroll among Lausanne’s old town streets and visit the Olympic Museum. After all that eat some comforting Swiss food like rosti, raclette, or fondue. If you want to take part in some event, take a look at Lutry Grape Harvest Festival which takes place at the end of September.
Magnificent views of the surroundings, gorgeous colour show, laid-back atmosphere without hordes of tourists, peaceful walks in the city, and delicious food… All this makes me recommend Lausanne to you as a great Swiss autumn destination.
Contributed by Sonia Falana-Wysocka from Happy Little Traveler
Saas Fee ski resort located in Valais is one of the best hidden gems to visit in Europe during Autumn. At this time of year you can avoid the winter crowds, and visit this beautiful area during its quiet period. Saas Fee can be reached by car or bus from Visp which is accessible by train from all the major Swiss International airports including Zurich, Basel and Geneva.
There are plenty of things to do for the adventurous including trekking with crampons on Langfluh Glacier, hiking to the top of Hanig Alp, or summiting Allalinhorn peak (4027m).
Tip: If visiting in Valais longer, get inspired with a few more explorations shared here!
However if you want a more relaxing experience, head to Spielboden or Stafelwald, and feed the wild marmots. These critters hibernate during winter but in Autumn you should still be able to see and feed them (peanuts and carrots are their favourite!).
There are plenty of places to stay in Saas Fee including the five star Walliserhof hotel, which will have off peak rates at this time of year. The rooms are incredibly beautiful and there is a spa to rest your legs after a strenuous day in the mountains.
Contributed by Roshni from TheWanderlustWithin.com
I was surrounded by trees, coloured in beautiful shades of red and yellow as I walked along the streets of Zurich. Visiting Switzerland in autumn was a dreamy experience. Autumn in Switzerland is a great time, especially in Zurich where you can enjoy autumn foliage and scenery.
While exploring Zurich, I suggest you buy the Zurich card. This card allows you unlimited transportation for 72 hours including trams, buses, boats and trains. This will make your experience hassle-free.
If you like chocolate, you are going to love the Lindt chocolate factory. A tour experience takes you through the history of chocolate to how it is made today. I was thrilled by their chocolate-tasting experience wherein I could taste chocolate flowing through giant chocolate fountains. You can also sample chocolates of your choice.
You can hike up the Uetliberg mountain to enjoy a panoramic view of the city’s lake and rooftops. Make sure to head up the lookout tower here for the most pleasing view of the city.
Visit lake Zurich to enjoy a boat ride with stunning views of the Swiss Alps in the back and the city in front of you. You can also paddleboard through the lake for a small adventure.
I visited the Frau Gerolds Garten, a cute eatery with an outdoor atmosphere of bars, food stalls, gelato and much more. This is the perfect place to grab a beer and laze around, soaking in the city’s beauty.
When you come to Zurich, you cannot miss Swiss fondue. I would recommend the four-cheese fondue. No matter what season it is, some warm fondue always helps. Zurich is quite an exciting destination and you can also visit Liechtenstein from Zurich, which is a short distance away in autumn.
While walking through the city, do not forget to appreciate the street art and small doses of graffiti. I suggest visiting Zurich in autumn as it has a lot to offer, my personal favourites being the chocolate factory tour and paddle boarding in Lake Zurich. The weather is mild with warm days which allows you to explore comfortably.
Contributed by Lavina Dsouza from Continenthop.com
For a review of our Together In Switzerland personal stay in Zurich, which includes what we discovered, where we ate and slept, check here!
As the leaves turn colour and eventually fall to the ground, Basel remains a beautiful place to visit.
Tucked in the northwestern corner of Switzerland, next to both the German and French borders, Basel’s a popular city known for its art heritage.
Autumn’s a popular time to visit the city’s art galleries including the Kunstmuseum and The Tinguely Museum, which focuses on Kinetic Art.
It’s also perfect for wrapping up warm and taking long walks along the River Rhine, watching the changing landscape.
Tip: Consider a Basel City Tour in a Vintage Streetcar – it’s a great way to learn about the city while also seeing the city from a historical vehicle!
October and November are excellent times to visit Basel, with the Herbstmesse beginning at the end of October and leading through the first two weeks of November. It’s one of Europe’s oldest and biggest fairs, and the entire city comes to life with a carnival atmosphere during this fortnight.
Right at the end of autumn (in the last weekend of November), Basel’s Christmas Markets spring into life – they’re among the best in Switzerland.
I’ve visited Basel in September and November, and while the weather was entirely different both times (September holds onto the last vestiges of summer, whereas there’s much more of a chill in the air in November – although it’s milder than the Swiss mountains!), the fascinating museums and plethora of events make it an autumnal city that’s well worth visiting.
Contributed By Claire from Europe in Winter
Catch a sunset along the Rhine in Basel
One of the best things to do in Switzerland during Autumn is to head to Basel (pronounced bah-zel)and catch a sunset along the River Rhine.
The Rhine plays a key part in Basel life- many things in the city are centred around the river. In the summer, locals swim in the Rhine and sunbathe on its banks. But it’s probably not such a good idea in the colder Autumn months.
You can catch the most amazing sunset ever! Especially at this time of year, when the orange and yellow leaves off the trees combine with the oranges and yellows of the sunset.
Tip: Consider a 2 hour Walking Tour through Basel Old Town – it’s a great way to explore the city!
There are lots of great spots along the Rhine in Basel, but the most popular spot is between the Mittlere Brücke and the Wettsteinbrücke. Even if you don’t catch a cool sunset here, these bridges are the best photo spots in Basel.
While waiting for the sunset, you could even catch a meal in Rhywyera, a restaurant along the Rhine which offers delicious authentic Swiss food along with a gorgeous view of the river.
Personally, I love sunsets and chase them all over the world, but the sunset over the Rhine in Basel remains one of my all-time favourites.
Contributed by Josh from A Backpacker’s World
Canton: Appenzell Innerrhoden
Autumn is a great time to spend a memorable day on Ebenalp Mountain. Make your way up the mountain for dreamy hiking trails with stunning panoramic views and grazing alpine cattle with their musical cow bells.
At the top of Ebenalp you’ll find the Instagramable Aescher Gasthaus am Berg, a rustic chalet built into the side of the mountain. Stop in for a bite to eat or book a room and stay overnight in one of the most unique accommodations in all of Switzerland.
Sunday visitors to the mountain are in for a special treat. Locals make their way up the mountain to attend a church located in a cave! Show up early and experience the sounds of church hymns like you’ve never heard before. They call it natural yodeling, I call it simply beautiful! Make your way down the mountain to Seealpsee, an emerald-green alpine lake that includes dining and overnight options.
Personal sentence: This is one of the most memorable and beautiful travel destinations I have ever been to. I can’t recommend it enough, and I can’t wait to go back again!”
Contributed by Angie Kunze from We’re Not in Kansas Anymore
Grindelwald is a beautiful village to visit in the Autumn. This village, situated in the Jungfrau Region, is home to mesmerising viewpoints and gorgeous nature. There are also many restaurants in the village, many of which have a great view of the surrounding mountains.
The village can be great to visit all year round, but the Autumn period is wonderful because it is very diverse. At the beginning of Autumn, Grindelwald is perfect for hiking while seeing beautiful autumn landscapes and at the end of the Autumn period there is often snow in the village. It is even possible to ski at some places during this season.
Tip: Consider getting the Cable Car Ticket with Cliff Walk ticket in advance for your trip to Grindelwald. It’s a great activity for those who are not scared of heights!
Furthermore, a great event to attend in Grindelwald on the first Monday in October is the Grindelwald Market. This is an event during which many stalls can be seen along the main street of Grindelwald where you can buy lots of unique items and delicacies.
Personal sentence: With its beautiful viewpoints, amazing nature, and picturesque shops, Grindelwald is like a fairy tale.
Contributed by Daniel of North Carolina Travel Guides
Glacier Ganyon – Grindelwald
Switzerland is the second happiest country in the world with plenty of things to do and see in Autumn. One of those sightseeing is the Glacier Canyon Grindelwald. Hiking the Grindelwald Glacier Gorge is something that the whole family can enjoy during Autumn. It is an easy hike even children can do it. You should leave the stroller at home, though because there are some steps and narrow paths that the stroller won’t fit on them. The whole hike takes around one to two hours to complete, so it is definitely doable.
Tip: Consider getting the Glacier Canyon Entrance Ticket in advance!
It is the kind of place where you can experience nature in its true essence. It is surrounded by rock formation and a river pass through it called Lutschine river. As you hike along the river you can hear it roaring and feel the gentle breeze of the wind touching your skin. You will be walking a long a tunnel making your way to the canyon. Once you arrive to the canyon, a staggering rock formation greats you that was formed due to a glacier water melted many years ago. If you feel adventurous, you should walk the Giant Blue Spider Web to catch a glimpse of what Glacier Canyon Grindelwald has to offer.
Contributed by Ossama from Awesome Traveler
Another place that is wonderful to visit during Autumn is Interlaken! For starters, the city is recognized as the adventure capital of Switzerland. Thus, you can find all kinds of fun activities to participate in, whether it’s soaring high above Interlaken and catching spectacular views of the surrounding landscape or hiking to incredible panoramic points!
Tip: Get the Funicular Ticket to Harder Kulm in advance for beautiful valley views!
In addition, Interlaken hosts a couple of fun events during this time of the year. One event worth attending if your travel dates happen to coincide is Höhematte. This famous market occurs four times a year — once during each season. On these designated market days, visitors can explore about 80 market stands and find everything from traditional local foods, such as traditional breads, olive oils, and sausages, to an assortment of handmade souvenirs! So, if you’re ready to witness what I believe are some of the most scenic views this region has to offer, consider visiting Interlaken!
Contributed by Kristin of Global Travel Escapades
In the heat of the Ticino canton, Lugano can be a great place to visit during the Autumn months. Situated south of the Swiss Alps, Lugano is a city with lots to do and see. The Autumn months can be rather warm still in Lugano, ranging from 23° during the day to 6° in the night, based on September to November.
But if you are wondering what is special about Lugano during this season, a highlight is the official Autumn Festival (Festa d’autunno). This is usually held during one weekend in October and great for locals as well as tourists to enjoy for free. The weekend event is the celebration of the harvest season, with fun events and local bites to eat. So it’s a great place for foodies who would love to try local polenta, risottos and dishes with locally picked chestnuts!
If you are visiting Lugano in the rain, don’t let that stop you exploring, as you can also still enjoy a trip to a local museum, a boat ride across the lake, a spa day or a tasting experience!
Sion is in the sunniest and driest of all cantons, perfect for catching autumn rays. Though it’s the capital of the third biggest Swiss canton of Valais, Sion doesn’t see many visitors. It’s perfectly reachable by train in under three hours from the biggest cities.
The historic core of Sion with two towering peaks is something from a Medieval fantasy. One hill features the ruins of Tourbillon Castle and the other the iconic basilica of Valère, which houses the world’s oldest playable pipe organ with monthly concerts. There are beautiful vistas of the Rhône River and the vineyards. In the city, make sure to pass by the town hall’s astronomical clock, the cathedral, and the Sous-le-Scex burial church.
Autumn is the perfect time to see the fairy chimney rock formations called Les Pyramides d’Euseigne south of Sion. This is also the start of a hike to the hot springs of Combioula for a warm soak.
A trip to Sion is not complete without sampling the regional products, such as cheesy Raclette du Valais. Locals are most proud of their white wine from a grape called Petite Arvine. Autumn is also when the local chestnuts are harvested for a local dish called Brisolée.
I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Europe’s biggest underground lake in neighboring Saint-Léonard. The cave closes in mid-autumn, so make sure to check before you go.
Contributed by Iris Veldwijk from Mind of a Hitchhiker
Switzerland Autumn Itinerary
If you are looking for a specific Switzerland Autumn Itinerary for your travels instead of a specific destination, we’ve (nearly) got you covered too! There are many places to explore based on the length of stay you will visit as well as activities you would want to do. So there are truly a lot of options!
For full inspiration on Autumn Itineraries in Switzerland, based on 3 days, 7 days or 10 days, our other posts are coming soon and will be linked here as soon as possible!
Summary Autumn In Switzerland
We hope this post with many locations inspire you to consider visiting Switzerland during the beautiful Autumn season. If you dream to be among the fall colours in the mountains, or walk the city streets with a warm but chilly wind then Switzerland is the place to be!
If you have any other suggestions for Autumn in Switzerland and want to join this post, reach out!