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Photos of Switzerland around the year

It is always hard to say when to visit and what to expect; the conditions can vary dramatically between different areas and even from year to year in the same place. I have a more detailed post on the topic of when to visit Switzerland, this is just to give examples. I have also listed my hiking posts by month to provide some more detailed help.

This is a collection of photos that I have taken over the years in different conditions to give you an idea of what to expect during each month (or at least to show how variable it can be). I don’t take many photos in bad or dull weather, so this is a bit biased to showing sunny conditions. The height is given for where the photo was taken from..

If you want more of an idea how it might look at a certain location then many of the webcams at Roundshot have an archive letting you see how the conditions were on any day over the last few years.

Firstly just to show how pointless this can all be: below are two webcam screen grabs of Männlichen around the 21st of May, but in very different years.

The 21st of May 2020 vs 22nd of May 2021 on Männlichen (screen grab via Roundshot).

January

Saas-Fee (1800m) seen from Hanig (2330m), 2020-JAN-04.
Somewhere near Oberegg in Appenzell Innerrhoden (900m), 2018-Jan-06. Snow is very hit-and-miss in the lower areas below 1000m.
Looking north east along the Jura from Röti (1400m), 2018-JAN-14. Winter fog can often sit above the lower lying areas – typically up to 1000m.
On the way to Bussalp by Grindelwald (1600m) looking down the valley towards Interlaken, 2017-JAN-15. More typical alpine winter.

February

The height of ski season in the mountains, whilst things are just a bit grim/boring down below.

Looking down to Lugano from Monte Boglia (1506m), 2020-FEB-01. A very warm and dry winter with very little snow meant that flowers were appearing at the start of February at 1000m.
Grindelwald First (2184m), 2016-FEB-16. Snow, snow, snow.
Chiematt in Lötschental (1600m), 2017-FEB-18.
Lohn (550m) near Solothurn, 2017-FEB-23. It will snow in the Mittelland a few times over winter, but mostly it looks like this (though not always so sunny).
Ski pistes coming down to Grindelwald (1030m), 2020-FEB-24. Normally everything would be white, but after a very warm and dry winter only the snow canons allowed the pistes to reach anywhere near the village. Sceen-grab via Roundshot.

March

The snow will start to recede and flowers will start to pop up low down (but it will still mostly be grim).

View from Männlichen (2342m) into Lauterbrunnen valley, 2018-MAR-24. Higher up is snowy, but below 1000m might well be grass.
Bernina Pass (2250m), 2016-MAR-27.
View from the Lueg (888m) over the Emmental and towards the Alps, 2020-MAR-28. Most low lying areas will look like this. The first flowers will be coming out, but for much of March and into the start of April the meadows will still look a bit sad and the trees won’t be budding.

April

Ski season comes to and end in the higher resorts and by the end of the month all the lower lying areas will be green with flowers everywhere, as for the places in between they will be a bit sad sitting between the seasons. What happens weather wise is anyone’s guess; it might be a glorious heatwave, or it might be freezing rain.

Rougemont to Château-d'Oex
Near Rougemont (1550m), 2023-APR-08.
Launensee (1400m), 2017-APR-02.
Hohe Winde (1204m), 2020-APR-11. Spring still hasn’t climbed up very high.
Morteratsch glacier (2000m), 2019-APR-20. Higher areas like the Engadin might still be covered in snow even towards the end of the month.
Oberdorf by Solothurn (640m), 2018-APR-24. The lower lying areas will be in full bloom by the end of the month.

May

By Monte Tamaro (1900m), 2016-MAY-05. The last bits of snow and the first flowers coming through.
Brünigpass (1000m), 2016-May-08. looking towards the Schwarzhorn.
Looking up Lauterbrunnen valley from Wengen (1275m), 2016-MAY-20.
Ligerz (430m), 2019-MAY-30. The lower lying areas will have been in full bloom for the whole month.

June

Crossing snow fields near Niederhorn (1800m), 2019-JUN-01. And then a little bit later…..
…. walking through flowery meadows above Habkern (1400m) on the same day, 2019-JUN-01. A bit of height or north/south facing can make a big difference at this time of year.
Brunnen (435m), 2019-JUN-06.
Jaunpass (1550m), 2021-JUN-26.

July

There will still be patches of snow higher up, but mostly it is giving way to green meadows.

Hike Champéry Col de Cou
Looking towards the Dent de Bonavau from Pointe des Mossettes (2266m), 2023-JUL-10.
Via Alpina above Mürren
High meadows in flower on the Via Alpina above Mürren (2000m), 2022-JUL-08.
Maighels Pass (2400m), 2021-JUL-11. Still crossing a few snowfields on higher passes – especially after a cold spring.
Glacier 3000 (2944m), 2016-JUL-16. Still snowy close to 3000m whilst the valleys below are green.

August

Brienzer Rothorn (2340m), 2019-AUG-04. Flowery meadows high up with only a few patches of snow left.
Sur il Foss (2315m), 2016-AUG-26. The lush meadows are starting to fade into dry grass.
Parpaner Rothorn (2896m), 2020-AUG-05. A cold front put a few cm of fresh snow on the mountains down to about 2000m and offered fantastic clear views. Such events are not uncommon, but shouldn’t be expected.
Pilatus (2118m) looking over Lake Lucerne, 2018-AUG-05. Summer heat haze is limiting the view somewhat.

September

Temperatures start to drop and the days are getting shorter. The high meadows will clearly be turning brown and fresh snow will appear on the mountains.

Bachlager (1986m) above Grindelwald, 2021-SEP-05. A sprinkling of fresh snow on the peaks and the meadows turning brown as summer comes to an end.
Looking west from the Furka Pass (2400m), 2021-SEP-24. Clear views and brown meadows.

October

Many lower lying areas will often be sat in the fog from the start of October until early into the new year.

Looking over to Silvaplanna from the Corvatsch-Sils hike (2300m), 2020-OCT-13. The classic ‘Golden Autumn’ in the Engadin (though still a little bit too early for the best of the golden larch trees)
Fog in Solothurn (430m), 2021-OCT-27. Some areas might only see a few days of thick fog, others will get it almost daily and can be in it for weeks at a time.
Hiking along the ridge above Gornergrat (3200m), 2017-OCT-21.
Napf (1400m), 2016-OCT-30.

November

This is a very hit and miss month. The last of the autumn colours will fade out at the start and after that it might be snowy in the mountains with some early openings for ski resorts, or it might just be grim everywhere.

Near Trogen (100m), 2015-NOV-07.
Vogelberg (1200m), 2021-NOV-19. Fog covering the Mittelland with clear views off to the Alps.
On the ridge above Harder Kulm (1600m), 2017-NOV-18. Below 1000m everything was snowless and in the fog.
Lauterbrunnen (800m), 2015-NOV-29. The snow can come down very low in November, but it isn’t always like this.

December

Ski season starts early in December, but in recent years there might not actually be any real snow to meet it.

Burgfeldstand (2055) by Niederhorn, 2016-DEC-17. A very warm and dry winter at that point with hardly any snow below 2000m.
Niederhorn (2000m) again but during a winter with a bit more snow, 2019-DEC-31.
Solothurn (430m), 2017-DEC-10. It can snow in the cities…..
… but more often it like look like this with the snow line well above the city. Solothurn (430m). 2017-DEC-06.
Bibern, SO (560m), 2022-DEC-03. Most of the lower lying areas look like this throughout the winter. It might be covered in snow sometimes, but mostly it will just be grass.