10 Reasons to Visit Switzerland This Summer

by | 12 Apr 2024

While Switzerland might initially conjure up images of snow-capped mountains and winter sports, the summer months show a whole new side to this beautiful country. A perfect balance of adventure and relaxation, find out why summer is one of the best times to visit Switzerland, taking you from outdoor activities and scenic hiking trails to picturesque lakes and historical villages. 

Switzerland has something for everyone, and there’s so much more than just exceptional chocolate to get stuck into, though that is a definite highlight. Come and explore our 10 reasons to visit Switzerland in the summer, and get ready to plan a trip. 

Before you read on: If you’ve set your heart on Switzerland for a summer escape, don’t miss out on limited-time savings with our Seasonal Travel Sale. Save up to $3,600* per couple.

1. Take a dip in Lake Geneva

The largest body of water in Switzerland spanning 45 miles (72 km), Lake Geneva is framed by picturesque towns and the scenic surroundings of the Swiss Alps. An iconic natural landmark, in the summer months it offers a serene setting for a leisurely cruise and rejuvenating swim. If you’re the active type, there are water sports to get stuck into, or charming lakeside towns to be explored with vibrant markets and delicious restaurants.  

2. Stroll the streets of Zürich

The largest city in Switzerland, Zürich in the summer offers a unique blend of cultural vibrancy, natural beauty, and outdoor activities. Immerse yourself in the city’s history by exploring Bern with its Old Town, a UNESCO world heritage site, adorned with medieval architecture and brimming with lively cafes and shops. Stroll along the shores of Lake Zurich, or make the most of the good weather and with the city’s open-air concerts and festivals. If that all sounds like too much, then simply pick one of Zürich’s many parks and green spaces, and relax. 

Explore Bern with a historian on our Country Roads of Switzerland Tour.


Zurich is home to Europe’s largest church clock, with a 5.73 meter-long minute hand

3. Discover the Lavaux wine region 

Nestled on the shores of Lake Geneva with around 200 wineries, the Lavaux wine region offers world-class wines and stunning views. Explore 800 hectares of hillside vineyards, with 10,000 stone terraces set against a backdrop of Lake Geneva. Immerse yourself in the rich heritage of winemaking that dates back centuries, and learn about local wine growing culture and grape varieties grown in this UNESCO World Heritage site. 95% of production is consumed locally, so this is a unique chance to taste wine that you won’t find anywhere else in the warmth of the Swiss sun.  

Unveil the best of Switzerland with a Travel Director here: The incredible insights you’ll uncover in 7 days on Magical Switzerland

4. Take Europe’s highest cable car 

If you’re after some snow even in the summer, take Europe’s highest cable car ride up the Klein Matterhorn. Starting in Zermatt, enjoy stunning views as you ascend to 3,883 meters (12,740ft) to view the magnificent snow-capped top of the world. Taking the title of Europe’s largest summer ski area, here you have the chance to ski all year round. There’s room for the hikers too, who can take on the task of scaling the Breithorn at 4,164 meters (13,660ft), while more relaxed travellers can admire the views from the mountain observation window looking out over the Breithorn. 

5. See a different side to St Moritz   

While best known as a winter mountain resort, in the summer St. Moritz transforms into a playground of activity, perfect for those who like things a little cooler thanks to its higher altitude. A must-go for the more active adventurer, discover the hiking and mountain biking trails that offer stunning vistas of the Engadin Valley and its lakes. Indulge in world-class golfing on verdant courses nestled amidst majestic peaks. Take a rejuvenating dip in mineral-rich thermal baths, or embark on scenic horseback rides through lush meadows. 

6. Marvel at beautiful lakes 

Switzerland has 7,000 lakes, but we’ve picked out five favourites for you to add to your bucket list: Lake Thun, Lake Léman, Lake Brienz, Lake Lucerne, and Lake Maggiore. Enjoy some of the clearest water in the world as you cool off from the summer heat in these Alpine lakes, or treat yourself to a boat ride across the waters. 

7. Stunning train journeys

Switzerland by train is one of the most leisurely and scenic ways to see it. Embrace the glamorous and romantic side of a travelling, and sit back while the breathtaking vistas and alpine landscapes pass your window. Perhaps the most famous and modern of Switzerland’s trains, travelling at just 24mph (making it the slowest train in the world) is the glass-topped Glacier Express The perfect opportunity to see the lush mountain scenery in all its glory during the summer months, it ascends over 6,600 feet between Zermatt and St. Moritz. See for yourself on our Magical Switzerland tour.

Don’t overlook the Bernina Express, a slightly older train compared to the Glacier Express, but one that offers panoramic views nonetheless, journeying through 55 tunnels and nearly 200 bridges. Together, the two trains make up the UNESCO World Heritage site of Rhaetian Railway. Alternatively you can take a ride on the Jungfraubahn, Europe’s highest railway scaling the famous Jungfrau standing at over 13,000 feet tall. For two thirds of the stretch, the cogwheel train travels through a tunnel inside the mountain, though there are windows in the rock wall so you can still admire the view. 

Get on track with your Switzerland facts here: 7 fascinating facts about Switzerland’s world famous Glacier Express


Switzerland has around 3,241 miles (5,215km) of railway, making it the densest rail network in Europe

8. Make the most of cascading waterfalls 

Summer in Switzerland reveals a new side to its natural wonders with magnificent waterfalls. Marvel at the iconic Rhine Falls, Europe’s largest and most powerful waterfall near Schaffhausen, explore the Staubbach Falls in Lauterbrunnen surrounded by lush greenery and alpine views, or discover the fairytale Giessbach Falls on Lake Brienz, a hidden gem on a forested mountainside.

9. Step into a hiker’s paradise

Switzerland’s summer transforms its already striking landscapes into some of the world’s most beautiful hiking trails, with its thousands of trails catering to a range of skill levels. Avid hikers can take on the iconic Tour du Mont Blanc, a multi-day trek offering views of the Alps across Switzerland, France, and Italy, or there’s the option to walk across the lush valleys of the Bernese Oberland on the Jungfrau Panorama Trail, taking you through summertime alpine meadows. 


Switzerland has 38,525 miles (62,000km) of walking trails

10. Dine al fresco

Switzerland has one of the highest densities of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, and the summertime offers the chance to taste local in-season produce while eating al fresco. Absorbing influences from French, German, and Italian food, Swiss food goes far beyond the classics like cheese and chocolate, though don’t miss the opportunity to try a fondue. Each region has its own specialities and traditions, so make sure you get stuck into the staples wherever you choose to go.

Explore our Switzerland guided tours now, and see another side to this magnificent country.

Hi, I'm Jess. While my years of writing experience in the whisky industry took me far beyond Scotland, I now have the chance to write about more places for Insightful (adding ever more to my bucket list). A highlight trip has to be backpacking around Vietnam with my sister, though my trips to Yosemite, Madrid, and the Greek islands are up there too, captured haphazardly on my very unprofessional film camera.