Switzerland in Winter: The Best Things to See and Do

Snowy hut | © SD-pictures / Pixabay
Snowy hut | © SD-pictures / Pixabay
Photo of Sean Mowbray
20 December 2017

So you’ve set your eyes on Switzerland for a winter getaway, but aren’t quite sure where to go? If you’re still not convinced, here are 10 reasons why you should be visiting during winter. To really seal the deal, we’ve laid out the best things to see and do across the country at wintertime.


Top of most Switzerland winter wish lists is a trip to the slopes. Choosing Switzerland as your destination of choice is wise as it’s home to some of the world’s finest resorts like Zermatt and St. Moritz, which combine great skiing with a relaxed vibe. There are also low-cost resorts spread across the country and others that are particular family-friendly. You really are spoiled for choice when it comes to skiing in Switzerland. Take a look at our guide to the most spectacular options to be inspired.

A world of snow and ice

There’s a lot more to Switzerland than just skiing. Taking in some clear mountain air on a snow-shoe trek, admiring the mass of a glacier or simply going for a winter walk are just a few of the great things on offer. Wherever you go, and whatever you do, take care to remember and be a respectful visitor.

Taking a winter walk in Switzerland | © lukasbieri/Pixabay

The Matterhorn and beyond

Catching a glimpse of the Matterhorn, Switzerland’s iconic tooth-shaped mountain, from Zermatt is awe-inspiring at any time of the year, but in winter it’s a little more special. A crisp coating of snow makes the mountain majestic and you’ll find yourself admiring it for hours. However, if you’re looking to explore further than Zermatt, have no fear because Switzerland is packed with mountainous peaks that look great in winter. Have a look at our guide to the most breathtaking mountain views in Switzerland and judge for yourself.

The Matterhorn | © Julius_Silver/Pixabay

Winter markets

Across Switzerland, hundreds of winter markets open up, vendors sell hand-crafted gifts and delicious snacks that you can gulp down with delicious mulled wine. Take a look at the most magical Christmas markets that take place every winter in Switzerland.

Eat, drink and be merry

Needing to knock off that winter chill and defrost your toes after a day on the slopes? Nothing does it like a pot of molten cheese, that’s for sure. Swiss food is notoriously hearty, and made precisely for the winter time when the last thing you want to do is go outside and brave the snow. Whether it’s cheese fondue or raclette, smooth chocolate or a fine wine that you fancy, Switzerland’s winter culinary options won’t disappoint.

Witches, Santa Claus and Balloons – a taste of what’s on show

Winters in Switzerland are an occasion to enjoy the festivities, whether that’s at Christmas markets or at some of the fascinatingly bizarre festivals that take place. Whether you want to watch the Witches Downhill race in Belalp or admire the many different shapes and sizes that Santa Claus can take at the World Championship of Santa Clauses, there are plenty of options. There are also calmer events, like the International Balloon Festival, that is held in Château-d’Oex near Lake Geneva, at the beginning of every year. Check out all the winter events in Switzerland here.

Bern in winter – the city’s historic centre hosts a wonderful Christmas market | © Felix_Broennimann/Pixabay

Chateau Chillon and a fairytale experience

It’s not surprising that many of Switzerland’s myths and fairytales have their origins in winter, and at Chateau Chillon, you’ll feel like you’ve stumbled into your very own wonderland. Sitting on its rocky perch on Lake Geneva, this age-old castle has a commanding view of Switzerland’s largest watery expanse and in winter it is transformed for Montreux Noel, into a truly magical experience. Discover Chillon’s fascinating history (it passed time as a fortress, holiday home and a prison) at what is one of Switzerland’s winter highlights.

Visit Swiss towns

During winter in Switzerland the best place to be is outside of the bigger cities. Sure, they have the winter markets and giant ice rinks, but to truly experience Switzerland you need to explore the smaller towns. Places like Grindelwald, Zermatt, Engelberg and Andermatt are all great winter destinations that’ll allow you to be closer to nature. Take a look at our guides to the best towns in Switzerland and the Alps for more inspiration.

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