Despite its relatively small size, Switzerland’s complex geography gives the country a wide range of weather conditions, often on the same day.
Temperatures in Switzerland depend largely on your altitude and whether you are north or south of the Alps. Southern Switzerland, which is mainly influenced by the Mediterranean Sea, is characterised by much milder winters than northern Switzerland.
Down-slope winds out of the south, called the 'Föhn', typically bring warm dry air that can cause snow to melt quickly (while leaving some people complaining of headaches). The Föhn occurs in particular between autumn and spring. Cold wind out of the northeast, called the 'Bise', can bring blue skies and very blustery, bitter temperatures in winter.
MeteoSwiss, the country’s national weather service, has a short overview of the Swiss climateexternal link, as well as maps showing weather hazards, precipitation, temperature, wind and cloud cover.
Snow reports and water temperatures
In the event of heavy snowfalls, avalanche bulletinsexternal link are published.
A government websiteexternal link launched in 2014 provides threat levels for a wide range of natural hazards in Switzerland using an easy-to-read interactive map. It’s available in four languages.
Think you know all about Switzerland? Read on for an assortment of facts that goes beyond the clichés. In addition, visit the Federal Statistical Officeexternal link for a wealth of information.
Editorial note: this information was current as of April 2017 and is no longer being updated.