August in Switzerland has lots to offer visitors this time of year, from fun Summertime skiing to warm river rafting. Switzerland gives vacationers the best of both worlds in the Summer since it’s got every outdoor activity available this month. Some of the best things to add to your list in August should be hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc, visiting the “Top of Europe” and taking sightseeing tours around the country.
We’ll delve into these activities and much more in this complete post on Switzerland in August.
Switzerland Weather in August
August is another great weather month for Switzerland, maintaining that warm mountain air and sunshine. Most of the country will have the warmest temperatures of the year in August, though the averages are pretty comfortable by most standards.
The temperature will vary based on your destination, so it’s important to know the altitude and proximity of your location within the country. For example, if you’re traveling to Zurich, the average temperature lows and highs will be around 55˚F to 76˚F (13˚C to 24˚C) during the day, since the elevation is around sea level at 1,339ft (408m). However, in high-altitude places like Zermatt (where glacier skiing is possible all year) the average lows and highs are 44˚F to 65˚F (7˚C to 18˚C).
Generally, you can expect for sunny days and warm breezes in Switzerland during August. But if you plan on visiting some of the glaciers or high altitude alpine towns, you’ll want to pack some cold weather gear.
Average August Temperature in Switzerland (By City)
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Switzerland Affordability & Crowds in August
August is part of the Summertime rush, where families are enjoying time away from work and school. Not only this, but the weather is immaculate this time of year, granting access to high altitude hiking trails and warm outdoor activities. Because of this, pricing is due to be almost as high as ski season rates.
Travel is undeniably busy and expensive this time of year as all vacationers are clamoring to get to many destinations across the world. Planning ahead will be important for not only flights and hotels, but also train tickets, tours and special excursions you want to accomplish. While it may be busy and a bit pricey, you can guarantee that all accommodations and guided tours are open this season, but availability may be tricky.
Switzerland Snow & Skiing in August
Snow has completely stopped falling in Switzerland by the time August rolls around, but it remains cold in the glacial parts of the Swiss alps. Summer skiing is actually a great pastime for locals and tourists this month since it’s rare you can accomplish this anywhere else.
However, skiing isn’t top of mind for most visitors coming to Switzerland in the Summer, so those that do want to ski will have ample enjoyment of the slopes. Snow quality will still be decent in the glaciers and there are two main resorts we suggest you check out for Summer skiing: Zermatt and Saas-Fee.
Best Switzerland Ski Resorts in August
Both Zermatt and Saas-Fee are excellent ski resorts that remain open year-round for powderhounds and casual skiers alike. In the Winter, they are two of the top resort destinations in the country. In the Summer, the same is true, but there will be significantly fewer people on the slopes.
Zermatt is a charming little ski town that has one big internationally recognizable landmark: the Matterhorn. The town sits at the base of the Matterhorn and surrounding Swiss Alps, making it the ideal vacation spot for outdoor enthusiasts and powderhounds any time of year. The Glacier Paradise portion of the ski resort is open 365 days a year and offers some pretty unique perks.
First, you have to take a series of gondolas up to the peak of the Klein Matterhorn before you can ski the glacier. Once there, you get the choice to ski into Italy or Switzerland since this drop off point sits on the border of both countries. If you spend a ski day here, we highly suggest grabbing some pasta in Italy before making the hour long ski journey back to Zermatt.
Even if you choose not to ski in August, visitors have a big variety of things to choose from. You can still ride the gondolas up to the Klein Matterhorn viewing platform in order to get the most picture perfect views of the alps, or stop at an on-mountain restaurant for refreshments among the glittering peaks. In the car-free village, you can walk to just about anywhere to get delicious food or head out on a tour of the countryside.
Saas-Fee is a stellar destination year round and one of the other best comprehensive places to get the best of Winter and Summer in August. The Saas-Fee ski resort also doubles as the training grounds for Olympic and competitive ski teams, due to the high elevation and perpetually frozen glacier. You won’t typically run into the teams on the slopes, since they have designated training areas, but you can live your own Olympic ski adventure at the Stomping Grounds freestyle park. This park is open to all guests in the Summer and includes a half pipe and big air jumps.
The village is magnificent in August, bustling with activity and warmed by the sunshine. It will have drastically different weather than the mountain this time of year. Like most alpine towns in Summer, Saas-Fee is equipped with beautiful hiking trails, fun water adventures, relaxing spas and delicious restaurants to make your vacation perfect.
Best Things to Do in Switzerland in August
August is a busy, bustling month in Switzerland, so there will be lots of activities to suit your fancy, no matter what you’re interests are. Some of the most popular things to do involve hiking, food tours and boat cruises on the plethora of lakes throughout the country.
Via Ferrata in Murren
If you enjoy or have ever attempted via ferrata elsewhere, you know you’re in for a big treat completing a via ferrata trek in Switzerland. Via ferrata climbing is not for the faint of heart and the course at Murren, Switzerland is no exception. Hikers love it since it for the stunning views of the valley while dangling at heights of 2000ft. The course is open for anyone, but we recommend going on a guided tour for the safest experience.
The course is complete with tight ropes, suspension bridges and steep ladders and sets off from the small town of Murren in the Jungfrau region. To complete the 2.2km trek, climbers will traverse steep, rocky terrain from the valley floor to Gimmelwald on the other side of the mountain.
Bike Lauterbrunnen 72 Waterfalls Valley
Hikers will love the fact that the dreamy town of Lauterbrunnen is just a 4 mile journey from neighboring Murren. This unassuming small town nestled in the heart of the Bernese Alps has inspired the likes of J.R.R Tolkien and other such writers with it’s beautiful cascading waterfalls – 72 of them to be exact! In addition to the beautiful scenery, the town itself is welcoming and quiet making an ideal getaway for nature lovers.
Among all the waterfall trails, it can be difficult to choose which one to take. If nothing else, do not miss the Staubbuch Falls which is Europe’s largest free-falling waterfall. It’s only open from June to October, so August is the perfect time to see it. While most visitors plan to hike here, cyclists will be pleased to know there are countless trails accommodated to mountain biking.
However, if you didn’t bring your bike, we recommend booking a three or six hour e-bike tour with a local guide.
If your goal is the ultimate Swiss Alps vacation with access to busy towns, as well as scenic hiking trails and nature tours, look no further than the ski town turned Summer haven of Grindelwald. In the Summertime, this popular ski resort serves as the gateway to both Lauterbrunnen and the famous Jungfraujoch.
Fun pastimes in Grindelwald include family fun like Summer tobogganing, cliff walking, zip lining, and hiking. The quaint village is also chock full of Swiss chocolate box homes, Germanic architecture, stony storefronts and rolling hills, giving you a gorgeous homebase for your travels through the Bernese mountains.
Jungfraujoch is known as the “Top of Europe” seeing as it has the highest railway station in the continent and one of the tallest peaks in the world. The attraction hosts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, the majority of which come in Summer. And though you’ll be fighting the crowd for a breathtaking view of the Bernese Alps, the weather is absolutely perfect.
On the train up the mountain, you’ll get impeccable panoramic views of the mountain tops on the Jungfrau Railway. You’ll also be treated to a delicious meal on your journey. When you reach the top, a variety of activities await you. The Sphinx Terrace viewing station is the main attraction, but there are also glacier tours, the Ice Palace and sculptures, and the most modern tricable gondola in the world.
Travel through Bernese Oberland
Encompassing all the attractions we’ve mentioned so far is the canton of Bernese Oberland. Bernese Oberland is home to some of the biggest tourist draws in the country, while also housing the capital city of Bern. A tour through this region is spectacular during the month of August with countless things to do along the way.
You’d be remiss if you skipped a ride on one of Switzerland’s efficient trains, which serve as the main form of transportation. The railway will grant the best views of the countryside while quickly delivering you to each destination. Some of the best destinations you should consider in Bernese Oberland include Harder Kulm or the Jungfrau region for hiking, Lake Thun or Lake Brienz for boat cruises and Glacier 3000.
Interlaken is one of Switzerland’s most frequented Summer destinations that boasts beautiful hiking trails and delicious locally crafted chocolates. August is a great month to visit if you’re looking for mountain thrills like steep hikes, paragliding or even spelunking. You can do this at St. Beatus Caves where waterfalls carve through the inside of the mountain and empty onto the valley below. If rafting is more your speed, test your skills on the Lutschine River.
Famous hikes across Interlaken include Harder Kulm on the Hardergrat Trail. Harder Kulm is approachable for most hikers and has a wildlife park that overlooks the valley. The Hardergrat Trail as a whole is a challenging 27 mile hike from Interlaken to Brienz. Much of the trail is less than two feet wide but hikers are rewarded with the most stunning views of the Bernese Alps you can possibly get. August is the perfect month to complete this trail for its ideal conditions.
Paraglide the Swiss Alps
Speaking of Interlaken, it is one of the best locations in Switzerland for paragliding the alps. The city is a great takeoff point for seeing Switzerland’s big three: The Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau peaks. No matter your skill level tandem paragliding is the only way to achieve your paragliding dreams in the Alps.
Another great option for paragliding is previously mentioned Lauterbrunnen, where you’ll witness the 72 waterfalls misting the valley, and Grindelwald where you can see miles down the Swiss Alps. Zermatt is in a league of it’s own, with three different paragliding excursions to choose from. All will award you a different perspective of the unmistakeable Matterhorn peak, though they all take off from different points of the mountain.
Walk through Stein am Rhein
Stein am Rhein is a riverfront municipality that is considered one of the most beautiful towns in Switzerland due in part to it’s Medieval architecture. While other cities in Switzerland also have plenty of preserved Medieval buildings, Stein am Rhein actually has the most national heritage sites in the whole country.
The beauty of this little town is truly remarkable and showcases delicately painted buildings, original wood and stonework, and many historical religious sanctuaries. The top attractions of the town include the Rathausplatz city hall’s intricate murals, Hohenklingen Castle and St. George’s Abbey dating back to 1000 A.D. It’s not extremely popular with tourists, which means you get to experience this relaxing journey with minimal distraction. However, it is near the German border, which allows for easy travel between countries.
Hike Swiss National Park
Swiss natives say that July and August are the ideal months for visiting the Swiss National Park thanks to the beautiful weather and abundant sunshine. August in particular is perfect for catching all of the wildflowers in bloom, since the high altitude area delays the growth in early Summer. Summertime is also great for seeing everything from marmots and foxes to golden eagles to ibex and chamois.
The Swiss National Park is Switzerland’s largest nature preserve where you can find alpine wildlife, sprawling pastures and steep mountainsides. You have 21 different walking trails to choose from, so you shouldn’t be sharing the road with too many hikers even in the busy season. In addition to the hiking paths and the natural photo ops, the park also has outdoor sports facilities, mini-golf course and a wellness treatment spa for relaxation.
Lausanne is located on the shores of Lake Geneva and is home to the International Olympic Committee headquarters. Being this, the Olympic Museum happens to be one of the top attractions, among many other museums and art collections. One thing you won’t want to miss is the Medieval Cathedrale de Lausanne, dubbed Notre Dame of Switzerland, which is the pinnacle of the city’s old town.
We highly recommend taking a boat cruise on Lake Geneva which gives you a new perspective of the town while getting a history lesson on it’s origins. Sauvabelin Tower is another great perch for getting unique views of Lausanne from above. You can also plan to go your own pace and stroll along Le Port d’Ouchy while taking in the sights of the historic district.
Tour the Rhone Glacier
The Rhone Glacier is one of the more magnificent landmarks to visit in the Summertime, since it stays frozen all year long. The glacier is a contributing source to both the Rhone River and to Lake Geneva, which is located high above the popular ski village of Andermatt and welcomes visitors all year round.
You won’t want to miss a walk through the Ice Grotto when you visit the Rhone Glacier. Every year in June, professionals redrill the tunnel so visitors can marvel at the brilliant blue ice cave. After walking through the awe-inspiring Ice Grotto, head to the outdoor viewing platform to overlook the surrounding mountains and across Lake Geneva.
Lake Geneva is a popular area that’s rich in history and thriving waterfront towns. Geneva is the main city on its banks and is home to Europe’s United Nations. Not only does this important town have political significance, but it’s also got some pretty popular tourist attractions that keep the city busy yearround. It also serves as a great launching point for destinations like Chamonix, Glacier 3000, and Chateau de Chillon, which make great day trips during your week at Geneva.
One of the first things you’ll notice when you come to Geneva is the striking Jet d’Eau – an impressive man-made geyser that pumps water 140 meters into the sky. With so much international focus in Geneva, there are many numerous art, history and science museums to explore, as well as city gardens and pristine historic districts to stroll through.
Tour Chateau de Chillon
A quick train ride from Geneva and you can lose yourself in the amazing fairytale castle of Chateau de Chillon. With the French Alps in background, the lake as the foundation and beautifully preserved stonework, the Gothic romanticism has been inspiring visitors for centuries.
If the tour through each of the stunning rooms inside the Chateau leave you hungry, Cafe Byron can satisfy your hunger. The cafe has options for dining in or takeout, which can be eaten as you stroll through the garden promenade. August might still have an influx of tourists this month, but the Chillon Castle is worth a daytrip from Geneva or Montreaux.
Backpack Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc is the highest peak in Western Europe that entices backpackers on a 105 mile trek across 11 different summits. The trail leads hikers through France, Italy and Switzerland, giving you a full take on Europe’s alpine region, complete with breathtaking views and cheeses from each country.
Most people start in Chamonix, France, if they are looking to do the full Tour du Mont Blanc. However, entry points exist at both Champex-Lac and La Fouly, Switzerland, which are both accessible by train from Geneva to Martigny. This is a great option for hiking a portion of the trail if you don’t have time to do the full tour.
Along the way, travelers are presented with loads of cultural experiences in each of the small towns from France to Switzerland. They can get cheese in Switzerland, wine in Italy and delicious baked goods in France. Not only this, but rest stops are available to all guests every few miles along the trail, which are stocked with refreshments for the journey.
August Events in Switzerland
Swiss National Day
The month of August opens with the Swiss celebrating their national day of establishment. August 1 marks the annual celebration of the founding of Switzerland and the holiday is often marked with individual festivals in each community or town. The festivities often include bonfires and fireworks. Rhine Falls will hold its own signature celebration, where the falls are illuminated with colorful light displays and fireworks are set off in the distance. You can expect many businesses to be closed on this day in commemoration of the Swiss Confederation.
Buskers Bern is a giant festival that draws a huge crowd from all over the world. The audience will witness all sorts of performances, from street artists to children’s choirs all over the capital city. This long weekend event pairs amature performers with delicious local food stalls that offer traditional Swiss delicacies alongside flavorful cuisine from various parts of the world.
Lucerne Festival is a five week-long festival which holds over 100 concerts. Many participants ranging in age, ability and genre perform in various venues all over the lakefront city. The festival primarily features Swiss musicians, orchestras and singers, but other international names are also invited to participate throughout the event.
Zermatt Folklore Festival
The charming town of Zermatt, located at the base of the Matterhorn, transforms into a celebratory station of traditional Swiss clothing, food and music each August. There is a Yodel Mass held in St. Mauritius parish church, colorful dress and festive refreshments offered to all visitors. The highlight of the event is the Festival Parade, where music groups, dancers and artists dazzle the onlookers from the banks of Bahnhofstrasse to the Obere Matten fairgrounds.
Switzerland seems to be in contest with itself this time of year, as visitors can flock to the country for not only warm weather, but also frozen glacier snow and skiing. August unexpectedly has the best of both worlds, with pristine blue lakes and shimmering ice cold mountain peaks.
Though most guests will be more interested in the lower altitude cities and warm weather activities this month, it’s nice to know that there’s still plenty of cold alpine fun to be had.
This article is part of Roundtript’s series of expert Switzerland travel guides for every month of the year.
Spring in Switzerland
Summer in Switzerland
Fall in Switzerland
Winter in Switzerland
For a summary of each Switzerland month & season all in one place, check out our big guide to the Best Times of the Year to Visit Switzerland.