in , , ,

Switzerland in October: Everything You Need to Know

If you’ve been thinking about a trip to Switzerland in October, you’ve come to the right place. We made this guide chock full of everything you need to know to have the perfect time.

October in Switzerland is the middle of fall and one of the most beautiful months for vacation. The weather is beautiful, with lows and highs around 40˚F to 60˚F (4.5˚C to 15.5˚C) in most towns. The countryside is covered in Autumn colors and the mountain peaks are topped with snow. October is a fantastic month for the outdoors and sightseeing. There are also a few resorts you could visit for early-season skiing.

No matter what you kind of Swiss trip you’re planning, the full splendor of Fall has come to Switzerland in the month of October and you’re in for a treat.

Switzerland Weather in October

A cow in a field in St. Moritz, Switzerland in October.
St. Moritz / eka_zimina / Shutterstock

October is a beautiful month for visiting Switzerland as most of the country is beginning to cool off and make way for glittering snow on the mountain peaks and high altitude countryside – though it won’t be snowing just yet. Fall is a gorgeous season for vacationing in Switzerland as most of the country will be colored with changing leaves and browning vegetation.

Temperatures will be comfortably cool this month but can vary drastically depending on the region you’ll be visiting – and if you happen to be traveling through many different climates and areas, it’s best to pack for both warm and cold weather.

Generally, you can expect October to be mild and breezy. Be prepared by looking into the altitude of the cities you’re visiting, since this will often dictate the expected temperature and weather. Low altitude cities like Zurich will see lows and highs of around 43˚F to 57˚F (6˚C to 14˚C), while high altitude places such as Zermatt, will see averages of around 33˚F to 50˚F (1˚C to 10˚C).

Average October Temperature in Switzerland (By City)

CityAvg Low (°F)Avg High (°F)Avg Low (°C)Avg High (°C)
St. Gallen3952.23.911.2
St. Moritz31.349.1-0.49.5

Switzerland Snow & Skiing in October

Gondola in front of the Matterhorn in Zermatt, Switzerland in October
The Matterhorn seen behind a gondola in Zermatt in October / Benoit GVA / Shutterstock

Snow is often seen on the mountain peaks and is frequently coating higher altitude areas of the country. The snow quality is pretty light and fluffy and won’t come to the lower altitude regions until next month, but a rare flurry may not be out of the ordinary. The glaciers are always snowy, but they’ll increase in stability and allow for more pistes to open over the course of October. 

Many people aren’t traveling or skiing during this time of the year, which means ski slopes won’t be crowded at all. However, since snowfall hasn’t quite hit the country in full force, there are only a few places where you can have a great ski vacation this month. These include the glaciers at Zermatt, Saas-Fee, Titlis of Engelberg, and Diavolezza near St. Moritz.

Don’t worry, we cover everything you need to know about which places make the best October ski destinations in the next few sections.

Average October Snowfall in Switzerland (By Ski Resort)

Resort NameSnowfall (in)Snowfall (cm)Summit Depth (in)Summit Depth (cm)Base Depth (in)Base Depth (cm)
St. Moritz9.42411.83000

Switzerland Affordability & Crowds in October

Zurich, Switzerland Crowds in October
Zurich / Mister_Knight / Shutterstock

October is great for a trip to Switzerland since it’s part of the low season after the rush of Summer visitors and before the flood of ski travelers. This means that airfare and lodging will be at a low this month, making a trip to Switzerland on a budget much more doable.

However, it’s always worth noting that Switzerland is not known for being a “cheap” vacation at any point in the year, so prices on food, tours and accommodations will often still be higher than other European countries.

With this in mind, October is best for the traveler who wants to experience the outdoor activities and beauty of Fall while saving a little money. Switzerland is beautiful most of the year, but the true magic comes when you get to experience the changing seasons on a lower budget.

Best Switzerland Ski Resorts in October 

The best places to ski in Switzerland in October are the glacier areas around the alps. These glaciers are the only places you can count on for year-round snow. We’ll take a look at what each has to offer and share a brief description of the villages and accommodations.


Zermatt in October
Benoit GVA / Shutterstock

Zermatt is the best all-around ski resort that’s open 365 days a year. It’s got a charming, car-free village nestled at the base of the Matterhorn. The town has friendly residents and is relatively quiet in October. It still offers various outdoor activities like hiking, while accommodating guests with relaxing pools and spas, shopping and delicious dining options.

The slopes at Zermatt are great for all level of skiers. The top of the Klein Matterhorn run, which is the primary starting point for skiing in October, has excellent views of the Matterhorn and surrounding alps, with easy sloping runs that lead back to the village.


Saas Fee in October
Ventura / Shutterstock

Saas-Fee may not have the altitude that Zermatt has, but it offers more in the way of expert and intermediate skiing than Zermatt does. This is a perfect place for brushing up on your skills before the start of the ski season, since there are very few people on the slopes and the multiple ski parks with jumps and bowls. 

The village is a great homebase for an early Fall ski trip, and will be much quieter this time of year. It will most likely be warm in comparison to the mountain temperatures. In addition to skiing, a trip to Saas-Fee could include hiking on beautiful trails, floating on the water, relaxing at the spa and or dining at one of multiple great restaurants.

Mount Titlis

Mount Titlis in October
Judith Linine / Shutterstock

The Titlis glacier is located atop Engleberg and is a very popular mountain for hiking during the warmer months. But the snowy peak will be available for skiing starting toward the end of October, when the conditions are better. This is a great option for visitors who are staying in or near Lucerne or in the Jungfrau region this month. 

The slopes here offer a variety of levels from beginner to expert. Kids can even feel comfortable, provided they stick to the less intense paths. Engelberg town is built around a medieval monastery which serves as the town center and main structure. The town is primarily focused on snow sports, but has a few fun attractions like community spas and a cheese factory.

St. Moritz

St. Moritz river in October.
eka_zimina / Shutterstock

St. Moritz is one of the most well-known Swiss ski resorts in the world, twice hosting the Winter Olympics. The Corvatsch ski area, in particular, is the best part of St. Moritz for very early season skiing. Winter sports are a popular pastime in St. Moritz and you’ll find tourists and locals participating in ice skating, sledding, Nordic skiing and even kite skiing. 

St. Moritz is good for all ski levels with plenty of varied terrain to accommodate beginners to experts. Thrill-seekers will love the Corviglia Snow Park which features 30 different obstacles, among other parks and ski areas in St. Moritz.


Diavolezza skiing in October
Benny Marty / Shutterstock

Diavolezza is a more advanced portion accessible from St. Moritz that is not for the faint of heart. It opens in early October and gives skiers the opportunity to spread their wings on adventurous off-piste runs with excellent snow quality. Powder hounds can get their fill of uncrowded backcountry skiing relatively close to the main Diavolezza ski area. 

The summit offers several delicious dining options though this is somewhat of an isolated ski destination. There is not much in the way of long-term accommodations, but it’s a great choice for adding onto your ski trip from St. Moritz. You can get to Diavolezza via train, car or bus.

Best Things to Do in Switzerland in October

October is the best time of year to experience the fullness of fall in Switzerland. There are lots of things to do, places to go and sights to see this month. We’ll highlight the best Switzerland has to offer for an October vacation, from touring the city streets to enjoying a wine or chocolate tasting.

Marvel at Medieval Basel

Basel, Switzerland in October
Dmytro Surkov / Shutterstock

Basel is well known as an art and cultural hub, which conveniently sits on the Swiss border near France and Germany. It’s loaded with unique museums, art galleries and Medieval structures that should be even more beautiful in the sparkling Autumn sunlight. October is a great time to visit Basel since this otherwise busy city has a little lull in the Fall. 

Some of the best sites to put on your list should include Vitra Design Museum, Kunstmuseum, and the Spalentor Medieval Gate (which has free entry). The art-nouveau St. Paul’s Church, along with the gothic Basel Minster are incredibly relaxing and beautiful for touring. A stroll through the old town is a must, along with a peaceful walk down the Rhine River. You also won’t want to miss the popular Paper Mill which gives a history on the art of papermaking, writing and printing. 

Sip Wine at Lavaux Vineyard 

Switzerland's Lavaux Vineyard in October.
nikonka1 / Shutterstock

October is the peak of grape harvesting season in Switzerland. Though the country is not as famous for their wine as France or Italy, the local wines here are still divine in their own rite. There are several villages that specialize in wine production that also make great touring destinations, such as La Cote, Neuchatel and Praz. 

The best place to go, however, is Lavaux Vineyards on Lake Geneva. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site, recognized for the steep gradation vineyard which is only possible to harvest by hand. The vineyard hires temporary harvesters each year, so anyone planning to stay in the city for an extended time can call ahead for employment and lodging.

Visit Geneva 

Lake Geneva, Switzerland in October.
Anna Nahabed / Shutterstock

While in the area, consider staying in Geneva, the home of Europe’s United Nations. This French-influenced city is rich in history and culture and offers a plethora of great activities for an October tourist. Geneva has many art, history and science museums to explore, including CERN which is the largest and highly esteemed scientific research center in the world. 

There are also some great day trips in the area like Chamonix, Montreux, Glacier 3000 and Chateau de Chillon, all a short boat or train ride away. Boat cruises are one of the number one suggested tours to participate in, where you can sail the waters of Lake Geneva while dining and learning about the city’s history. Chocolate tasting is another great pastime, which is offered at various factories and small businesses. 

Explore Bern 

Bern, Switzerland in October.
Albert Einstein in the RoseGarten / CK Foto / Shutterstock

Bern is the capital city of Switzerland and therefore very busy at peak season. However, October in Bern features beautiful autumn foliage and significantly quieter streets and restaurants. If you are planning to use Bern as a base for your Fall Switzerland trip, October is a great month to do it. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that some hotels and restaurants may take a short break this month before the high Winter season. 

This old world city offers lots of different activities, no matter what kind of fun you’re looking for. Lots of people will enjoy touring the Old Town, where you’ll find an abundance of original architecture dating back to the Medieval time period. Bern Minster and its Minster Terrace should be on your list of things to do in this area. 

The Einstein Museum is another great place to spend your time, and a tour through the Clock Tower or the “Zytglogge” is highly recommended. You can also get a comprehensive tour and learning experience with a short boat cruise along the Aare River, which flows through the city.

Boat Lake Thun & Lake Brienz 

Lake Thun, Switzerland in October.
Thun / ARIYATUCH / Shutterstock

Boat cruises in Switzerland are one of the top recommended activities in the country, since the Swiss lakes are pristine, calm and beautiful at almost any point in the year. October will be one of the last months to go before intense cold sets into the Southern regions of the country, and Lake Thun and Lake Brienz are great options to consider. 

Lake Thun was formed from a melted glacier after the Little Ice Age and has remained a significant lake in Switzerland ever since. The experience on Lake Thun will include a delicious meal with relaxing entertainment while sailing around romantic villages and giant mountains in the background.

Lake Brienz is a neighboring waterway that feeds into Lake Thun, featuring brilliantly turquoise water. It’s markedly unique color draws thousands of visitors each year. The paddle steamer runs regularly throughout the month and guests can choose their tour time based on the cuisine they would like for the journey.

Tour Oberhofen Castle

Switzerland's Oberhofen Castle in October.
Walaiporn Paysawat-Mizu / Shutterstock

Oberhofen Castle is a gorgeous 13th century structure on the shoreline of Lake Thun. This romantic castle in the Bern canton is quite the beauty, appealing mainly to couples who want a unique old world experience. Tours take you through the renovated castle halls and should end with traditional Swiss fare at the castle restaurant that overlooks the water. There’s also a fun hidden photo spot located in the top tower smoking lounge.

October is the last month for visiting the castle before it closes. The season runs from May to October every year. If you plan to spend the day in Oberhofen, take a boat cruise to neighboring Thun on the Aare River. Thun has many scenic walks through the old town, down the historic covered bridges and over to Balliz Island where you can shop at the market and dine at several local cafes.  

Visit Lucerne 

Lucerne, Switzerland in October.
Dmytro Surkov / Shutterstock

Autumnal colored trees and the glistening waters of Lake Lucerne are two excellent reasons to visit Lucerne in October; but there’s also so much more! First, the old town, like most in Switzerland, has decorated painted architecture and several structures from the Medieval Ages that still stand. The Chapel Bridge, unique to Lucerne, is another relic from this era. And to get a really great view of the city, climbing one of the nine towers at Musegg Wall is the way to go.

Lucerne also has no shortage of great restaurants, museums, chocolate makers and watch stores. In addition to this, you won’t want to pass on a visit to the Glacier Garden with artifacts from the Ice Age. You can also find the Lion Monument attraction near the Garden, which is impeccably beautiful with the surrounding Fall foliage. 

Travel through Ticino 

Ticino in October.
Thomas Stoiber / Shutterstock

Ticino is near Lucerne, but has a vastly different atmosphere. This Italian-speaking region of Southern Switzerland is home to Lake Lugano and sits on the Italian border. The city of Lugano is the Ticino region’s top recommended destination to visit. This is due in part to their Falconeria Locarno aviary, Galleria Baumgartner model train station and Monte San Giorgio fossil site, along with gorgeous churches and cathedrals.

In October, chestnut picking is one of the main attractions that visitors are invited to participate in. The tradition of chestnut picking was once a necessity for the peasants in Ticino, but now a celebrated point in the year for remembering the past. The “Chestnut Trail” in Malcantone is one option, while multiple chestnut picking tours from places like Ascano and Monte Caslano pair hiking with chestnut picking fun. 

Via Ferrata in Murren

Via Ferrata in Murren in October.
A_Sh / Shutterstock

October sends chilly winds and possible snow through the valley of Murren, making a risky via ferrata hike only possible for the experts and the most brave of heart. While the adventure is still possible, we recommend looking into a guided tour and choosing the sunniest day of your trip to go. Via ferrata is a fun experience anywhere, but nothing compares to via ferrata in the Swiss Alps

October is the very last month of the climbing season for this heart-pounding trek nearly 2000ft above the valley floor of the small town Murren. The 2.2km course is complete with tight ropes, suspension bridges and steep ladders which help you to traverse steep, rocky terrain from the valley floor to Gimmelwald on the other side of the mountain.

Visit Grindelwald 

Paragliding over Grindelwald, Switzerland in October.
Marek Pelikan / Shutterstock

Grindelwald is one of Switzerland’s Winter playgrounds that offers fun outdoor activities all year long. In October, the ski season will kick off, even if the entire area hasn’t yet been doused in snow. This is made possible at the Bodmi Arena, which is one of Switzerland’s largest beginner ski areas with lots of fun things for adults and children. Night skiing will even be available if the weather permits. 

Other great adventures include family fun like tobogganing, cliff walking, zip lining, and hiking. The quaint village of Grindelwald is also filled to the brim with iconic Swiss architecture, Germanic design, stony storefronts and rolling hills, giving you a gorgeous homebase for your travels through the Bernese mountains. From Grindelwald, you also gain access to the Jungfrau region and Lauterbrunnen via train.

Hike Swiss National Park

Swiss National Park in October.
Massimiliano Paolino / Shutterstock

The Swiss National Park is Switzerland’s largest nature preserve, boasting 21 different walking trails. The hikes range from easy and short to long and difficult, with some trails closing in October due to weather. 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.

The highlight of visiting Swiss National Park in early October is the deer rutting season. Red deer come from all over the park to rut. The sounds of the red deer roaring along with the beautiful autumnal colors on the mountain make a trip in October truly special. You may also see the first snow and other critters scurrying around the trees and trails.

October Events in Switzerland

Food being prepared at Switzerland's Foire du Valais market in October.
Iryna Mylinska / Shutterstock

Foire du Valais

Foire du Valais is a huge trade market held in Martigny, Western Switzerland. Hundreds of thousands of visitors are in attendance for this enormous market, clamoring to see new products revealed and tested at the expo. The event has a different theme each year which highlights a particular industry of interest.

Festa d’Autunno

Festa d’Autunno is a festive food and wine celebration hosted in the lovely Southern city of Lugano. Traditional specialties are always offered to guests of this event, along with a delicious glass of local wine freshly pressed. However, there are always new things to try each year among the colorful stalls, shimmering lights and softly sunlit streets of this beautiful city.


Whether you head out onto the ski slopes for the first bit of the season or cruise the lakes of Brienz, Thun or Geneva, October is one of the most versatile months for a Swiss vacation. You’ll save some money on travel expenses this month, since it’s part of the shoulder season, plus you’ll get to have some fun doing both outdoor and indoor activities.

October in Switzerland is a truly spectacular time of year, so we would highly recommend taking advantage of the lower crowds and beautiful weather for your next vacation!

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.

Switzerland in May

Switzerland in May: Everything You Need to Know

Switzerland in December: Everything You Need to Know

Switzerland in December: Everything You Need to Know