I know Switzerland is the ultimate winter vacation destination but did you know that summer in Switzerland is equally as amazing?
Yep, it’s true!
This charming Alpine country transforms from a winter wonderland into a summer utopia teeming with endless things to do.
So the million dollar question now is, “How can I enjoy my summer vacation in Switzerland?”
Well, here are my tips on the top 7 ways you can enjoy summer in Switzerland exactly like the Swiss do!
7 Awesome Ways to Enjoy Summer in Switzerland (Like the Swiss)
1. Go Camping Outdoors (by Mountains, Lakes, Forests)
It’s definitely no secret that Switzerland has some of the most incredible natural landscapes in all of Europe. From its rugged Alpine terrain to its peaceful green meadows and forests, Switzerland is a haven for nature lovers. So it goes without question that one of the best things to do on your summer holidays in Switzerland is camping.
This beloved Swiss summer activity is fun for even the most timid outdoor adventurer (Don’t worry, there aren’t any dangerous wild animals!).
Besides, campsites in Switzerland are pretty well equipped for any of your camping needs. They’ve got bathrooms & showers with some even having their own mini supermarkets.
If you’re an inexperienced camper (like myself) you may be wondering, how the heck do you even pitch a tent? (lol)
Fret not, there are options for people just like us! Some campsites offer small cabins where you can forget the technical stuff and get straight to enjoying nature. Camping Jungfrau in Lauterbrunnen or Camping Lazy Rancho in Interlaken are but 2 perfect spots/options for this type of camping experience.
2. Indulge in Swiss Cuisine
Integral to any summer vacation in Switzerland is the indulgence in Swiss food and drinks.
In every city & by every lake you’re guaranteed to find at least a few outdoor restaurants & cafes to indulge in Switzerland’s best culinary treats.
If simply sitting at a restaurant arbitrarily choosing a meal isn’t enough for you, take your Swiss culinary experience to level 3000 by indulging in any of the various food tours the country has to offer. Perfect examples of culinary tours you can take are the gourmet food experience in Geneva or the culinary tour from Zurich.
Cheese & chocolate lovers can also rejoice since Switzerland is home to some of the most unique types/flavors of cheese & chocolate.
Oh, and if you feel Switzerland has already shown you its best culinary treats, let’s add wine to the mix!
Yes, Switzerland also boasts many vineyards that produce some of the finest red, white & sweet wines. Spending a sunny summer’s day wine tasting in Lucerne or any of Switzerland’s other wine regions will certainly be a unique highlight to your trip.
3. Party at an Open-Air Music Festival
With warm summer weather comes a lot, and I mean A LOT, of open air music festivals in Switzerland.
They’re pretty much one of the staple summer events here and to miss one is to miss out on a true Swiss summer experience.
Let’s put it this way, the Swiss know how to have a damn good time.
Very much like the name suggests, all summer music festivals in Switzerland are “open air” & typically last between 2-4 days.
You’ll find open air festivals that’ll suit any of your musical preferences. If you’re into rock music, then you’ll definitely love the Greenfield Festival. Hip Hop? Then Open-Air Frauenfeld is the one for you. Maybe you’re more of a Jazz person, in which case you’d enjoy the Montreux Jazz Festival.
There are just so many festivals for you to choose from I’d hope you wouldn’t get confused!
However, two personal favorites of mine are the Zurich Open-Air and Open Air St. Gallen which combine a blend of indie & pop music genres.
If you’re really down for the real Swiss festival experience, consider camping out in the festival’s campgrounds, otherwise you can simply book an accommodation in any of the nearby towns/cities.
4. Swim or Enjoy Water Sports in Lakes & Rivers
Although Switzerland is landlocked by 5 different countries, it makes up for its lack of vitamin sea with its many stunning lakes & rivers!
I kid you not when I tell you that some of these gorgeous lakes seem like they’ve been taken right out of a fairy-tale (Think the Sound of Music & you’d be spot on!)
You’ll probably not even want to disturb these pristine waters but if we learn anything from the Swiss, go ahead & indulge!
Taking a dip in the crystal clear waters is the guaranteed best way to cool off from a long hike or cycle ride.
Many of Switzerland’s popular cities feature these beautiful bodies of water. Take the Zurichsee in Zurich, Lake Silvaplana in St. Moritz or Lake Geneva for instance. All are great places to enjoy a nice swim.
Taking a swim/dip isn’t the only way to appreciate these lakes either. Boat cruises like those on Lake Brienz or Lake Thun, may also be a relaxing alternative you may like as well.
What about water-sport lovers and thrill seekers?
Well, if you’re adventurous enough, a day trip from Zurich to enjoy a rafting tour in Interlaken may even tickle your fancy.
5. Go for a Hike
If there’s anything that the Swiss love to do in summer, it’s definitely hiking!
And who could blame them?
Switzerland is, after-all, home to some of the most magnificent mountains and scenic nature trails! I mean, what better way to enjoy the perfect Swiss summer than by strapping on a pair of hiking boots and exploring the many hiking trails the country has to offer?
Hiking season in Switzerland officially begins in late May when the weather finally begins to get warm and lasts until mid-October.
In typical Swiss fashion you’ll find paths neatly organized and arranged based on difficulty so even the most inexperienced hiker can enjoy a rewarding trek through nature.
Some popular places to hike are Zermatt, where you can glimpse the world-famous Matterhorn or the Seealpsee, a stunning lake in the Alpstein range of the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden.
Honestly, most anywhere in Switzerland will have a great location to hike, it’s simply up to you to make your pick.
6. Light Up a Fire & Get Barbecuing
Who doesn’t love a good barbecue?
I know I definitely do!
And nothing says Swiss summer vibes quite like sausages and cheese grilling on an outdoor flame.
But where can you BBQ?
Luckily for us the Swiss love barbecuing enough that you’ll find public barbecue pits just about anywhere; at the end of hiking trails, by lakes, you name it!
These public barbecue pits come fully equipped with everything you’ll need to get your grill going. So yes, that includes not just the fire pit but also the grill, wood and kindling (sometimes even have an axe to chop your own wood).
7. Cycle Through the Alps & Cities
Cycling is another great activity to do while visiting Switzerland in the summertime & is a much loved sport for the Swiss.
Much like hiking, cycling offers a healthy & fun way to explore this picturesque Alpine country.
Imagine embarking on an epic cycle tour through the French Alps from the popular Swiss city of Geneva?
Sounds amazing, right?
Cycling trails in Switzerland are very well mapped with directional arrows and much of the time have their own dedicated lanes. So don’t sweat it, you won’t have the worry of getting lost or crashing into pedestrians.
Some ski resorts such as Arosa, Lenzerheide & Brambrüesch in the region of Graubünden even transform their slopes into exciting mountain biking routes. (Yes! Technically you can enjoy ski resorts in summer too! *wink*)
So whether it be enjoying a relaxing route through the Alps or zipping through the busy city; cycling is one of those quintessential summer activities in Switzerland you’ll need to try.