Located in the middle of Europe, Switzerland has all seasons of the year and fall is probably the prettiest one. Yes, you can object, Switzerland is beautiful in every season, but Switzerland in the fall is like a fairy-tale come to life: the sun, that is still warm in the lowlands, the cool, crisp air in higher elevations, the colorful leaves…oh yeah, the leaves! From the end of September to October taking a trip to Switzerland is like stepping into a world of mesmerizing color.
In this blog post, I wanted to break down the best places to go in Switzerland to ensure you make the most of your fall trip. My parents come to visit us regularly at this time of the year – just in time for the fall holidays, so we have tried all the tips below in the fall.
When is the best time to go?
The fall season in Switzerland is from September to mid-November. Most mountain resorts and cable cars in Switzerland stay open till the end of October (then they close for maintenance). If there is warm weather in early November, some mountains may re-open for weekends if the weather is nice. On the other hand, if there is early snow, there can easily start their winter season. Please always check the website and the webcam of the place before you go. Some very popular tourist destinations (e.g. Titlis, Schilthorn, or Jungfraujoch) are open year-round, but in this post, I don’t want to focus particularly on them.
When leaves change their color?
Peak foliage season can change from year to year. Leaves usually start changing colors in Switzerland in early October – depending on the altitude. There are so many factors that affect their color: rain, wind, temperature, etc. Here you can find the foliage map, where you can check the foliage update in Switzerland.
Best places for fall in Switzerland
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I know I said I’d take you to the less touristy places but guys, this is the Matterhorn! For most people, seeing the Matterhorn is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And the reason I recommend visiting is that the Gornergrat Railway is open 365 days a year.
2. Jura mountains
Jura & Three-Lakes – the region in northwest Switzerland offers beautiful hiking routes near the lakes or on the ridges of the Jura, which spans 360 km in an arc on both sides of the French-Swiss border. For most of the hikes where you don’t need any mountain transport.
3. Blausee in Bernese Oberland
This is the absolute classics if you visit the Bernese Alps. Blausee is a small lake in the Bernese Oberland, whose incredibly turquoise blue color takes your breath away. It is enclosed in a private nature park where you will find walking paths, a playground, a hotel with a restaurant, and a picnic area.
Another great spot in the Bernese Oberland. The cable car, which takes you in 7 minutes up to 1800 m.a.s.l. is open till the second half of October. Children up to and including the age of 15 travel free of charge when accompanied by their parents. Wow, isn’t it a great offer?
5. Felsenweg Bürgenstock
This is family-friendly classics near Lucerne. The lovely walk begins at Bürgenstock Resort and continues along the Felsenpfad (rock nature trail) to the Hammetschwand Lift which is with 152m the highest external lift in Europe. It is open through to October from 9.30 am – 6.00 pm.
Take a ride with the world’s first Cabrio cable car to Mt. Stanserhorn. It is open till the end of November.
7. Areuse Gorge
Another tip in the Jura mountains is where you cross the iconic stone bridge spanning above the Areuse River.
8. Visiting a Pumpkin Farm
If you cannot imagine fall without pumpkins, visit the famous Jucker Farm not far from Zurich. For many locals “a must-see” place to visit in the fall.
If you are looking for a much quieter place, try the Wyeneth Pumpkin farm near Solothurn.
The Stockhorn cable car is open till mid-November which makes the Stockhorn a great place to escape high above the autumn sea of fog.
10. Lake Thun area
The area around Lake Thun never disappoints. Head to the viewpoint to see the Bernese Alps in all their glory. No mountain transport is needed.
11. Schwarzsee (Black Lake)
This lovely lake in the pre-Alps is great both for families of proficient hikers. There is a theme trail along the lake, or you can hike on the hill above the lake. Als no mountain transport is needed.
Stoos is a picturesque car-free mountain village located in the canton of Schwyz in central Switzerland, which is reached by the steepest funicular in the world. Before the winter maintenance, it is open till the end of October.
Best Switzerland towns to visit in the fall
13. Bern – the capital of Switzerland
In addition to its role as a federal city and thus the seat of government, Bern is also known for its landmarks Bärengraben, Münster, and Zytglogge.
14. Zurich – the biggest city in Switzerland
The charming cosmopolitan city of Zurich is the Swiss metropolis and offers the first-class quality of life. Zurich is known for its excellent shopping along the world-famous Bahnhofstrasse and the city also offers a lot of leisure activities.
The synonym for fall in Basel – the 3rd biggest city in Switzerland – is the Basler Herbstmesse, aka the funfair. In 2021, it celebrated the 550 years of existence!
Neuchâtel, called Neuenburg in German, has a rich cultural and architectural past. Neuchâtel is well known for its watchmaking, vineyards, and beautiful lake promenade.