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Switzerland for people who like to be warm?

Switzerland for people who like to be warm?

Apr 20th, 2013, 11:51 AM
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Switzerland for people who like to be warm?

Hello, this may seem a bit strange but before we plan a trip to Switzerland this summer, we want to check on the weather a bit. We're from upstate New York, where winters are long and spring still hasn't arrived, so we hesitate to use warm weather months to visit a place that is too chilly.

According to weather.com, the average temperatures in Geneva during July and August range from high of 76 to low of 52, with a mean of 65. This gives us a little pause...

None of the posts I've read have complained about the weather, so it might not be an issue but could anyone who has been there in the summer advise as to what we should expect? Do we pack warm clothing? Is it usually sunny or often cloudy?

Would you advise us to visit or look somewhere else?

cybertraveler is offline  
Apr 20th, 2013, 12:09 PM
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I would go to wunderground.com and look at the history of whatever city although it may not vary that much from weather.com

By the way, is there anywhere in the state of New York where palm trees are growing outside? No? Try viewing the ones that grow in Montreux in that particular microclimate.

Seriously, in the summer I find Switzerland to be wonderfully pleasant even up on the glaciers. It isn't bitter cold. You aren't going to need parkas, etc. Am sure others will comment.
Dukey1 is offline  
Apr 20th, 2013, 12:20 PM
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Which page are you looking at to come to the conclusion? According to http://www.wunderground.com/history/...q_statename=NA , the mean temp for Aug 2012 was 70 and the range went up to 94F. That is my experience with Switzerland in summer in Switzerland: except in high mountains, it is warm to very hot, perhaps too hot at many hotels which lack AC.
greg is offline  
Apr 20th, 2013, 12:28 PM
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From the bbc weather site the Jul/Aug averages for New York and Geneva are -
Av Max 28C Av Min 19C Av Precipitation 108mm
Av Max 25C Av Min 15C Av Precipitation 79mm

Switzerland in summer is gorgeous, you have absolutely nothing to worry about…
sofarsogood is offline  
Apr 20th, 2013, 02:48 PM
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Thank you! It's absolutely blustery outside today, so we really wanted to hear that it will be nice there. Now on to planning an itinerary...
cybertraveler is offline  
Apr 20th, 2013, 04:53 PM
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IMHO a high of 76 is summer weather. I wouldn't go to Switz without a sweater and a very thin rain jacket with hood - but IMHO it is MUCH better for touring than the high 90s and humid that you will find in much of Italy.

If you want hot summer weather - I would not head for Switzerland - since you can get hot days in the valleys - but the mountaintops are always cold - and many covered with snow all year round.
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 20th, 2013, 05:04 PM
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Hi ny,

76 is actually just about perfect comfort for me; it was the 52 that put us off a bit. But after reading several trip reports, Switzerland sounds heavenly, and we definitely want to go there.

The boys complained a lot about the heat in Italy last summer, and truthfully, it was a bit much. So, this will be a nice change of pace. We probably would not want to go up to the mountaintops. I'm just beginning to research and have to admit that I know very little about Switzerland.

Thanks for your info!
cybertraveler is offline  
Apr 20th, 2013, 07:17 PM
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Hi Cybertraveler,

I would plan on summer like weather if it is anything like the 10 days I spent in Switzerland some years back. I just recall that I had too many heavier clothes which I did not need.

As stated above, you will see palm trees and vineyards on the southern exposures near the Italian border. Enjoy…
latedaytraveler is offline  
Apr 21st, 2013, 01:22 AM
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Weather in the Alps is always completely unpredictable. Average temperatures are not a big help.
Usually the Rhone Valley (Brig up to Lake Geneva) and the Canton of Ticino are the driest and warmest areas of Switzerland. July temperatures at Sion often go up to 33 degrees centigrade/90 degrees Fahrenheit, but it can be only 19 resp 65 degrees as well.
The Northern slopes of the Alps (above all between Lucerne and St. Gallen) are colder and have more rain.
We had hot summers with no rain during weeks and we had months of July where, in Norhtern Switzerland, it rained only once (from July 1st until July 31st without any significant interruption).
neckervd is offline  
Apr 21st, 2013, 03:10 AM
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The problem with northern Europe in the summer is there is absolutely no way you can know (in that respect very similar to upstate NY where I spend every summer of my childhood). I was in Zurich a few years ago and it was 90 and sunny (and humid), but the week before, in Interlaken it was low 70s and cloudy for a whole week. Last summer I was in Lux, Belgium, Holland and it was in the 50s as a high many days, and rained at least part of every day for almost two weeks. Averages are no good because any given day could be twenty degrees different from a few days before.

This is why, coming from the northeast, if I want to be assured some 'summer' weather, I always spend at least part of my vacation in Italy, Spain, Greece, Southern France, etc. Those places in June-Aug you KNOW it's going to be sunny and warm. But it's also not a reason to not go to northern Europe. Switzerland is great, I'm going back there myself this summer (after three weeks in Provence and Italy). But I'll make sure I have layers - couple light sweaters, very thin rain jacket, jeans, etc. You just cannot know.
isabel is offline  
Apr 21st, 2013, 08:25 AM
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Thanks for the information from those of you who have been there. Neckervd, thanks for the tips on specific regions. I'm going to look at a map closely today and see where the areas are that we'd really like to see.

isabel, I can see that you know the need for a little sun in our lives! We're planning to take some time in Provence just for that reason. Where will you visit in Switzerland this trip?
cybertraveler is offline  
Apr 21st, 2013, 10:34 AM
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Wonder about going to Switz and not visiting the mountaintops - to me the first thing there I wanted to see. And I'm not a mad hiker/climber person - but you miss much of the country by avoiding ascending at least a couple of the peaks - and seeing the charming villages on the way up or down.
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 21st, 2013, 11:10 AM
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ny, I do want to visit the charming villages, and wouldn't mind the mountaintops if there is a way to get there where I don't feel as if I'm taking my life in my hands to do it. From what I've read, the Swiss transportation system is excellent, so would we be able to get to the places you mention by public transportation?
cybertraveler is offline  
Apr 21st, 2013, 11:30 AM
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You can get everywhere by transportation in Switzerland--and honest to goodness, it's all in sync.

Yep, you need to do some background reading pronto so you can see why taking your boys ASAP is a fabulous idea. Our girls were 8 and 13.

Weatherwise: If I can make an analogy, if you have spent anytime out West in the US in the Grand Tetons (which, by the way, look similar to Swiss Alps), daily weather variation is similar. It could be snowing above so many feet on one day; the next day it could be in the 80's.

Clothing: Layers, layers, layers. Those ugly hiking pants that zip off into shorts. Fleece vests. Gore-tex shells. NO COTTON--even on your tootsies.

We spent a week hiking and generally touring in the Bernese Alps. The day we took that great train up to Jungfrauroch, it was overcast, and we had no view. We STILL loved it. In fact, that railway was just on The Amazing Race and I'm dying to go back.

Weather variations considered, in my overall memories of our week hiking there (WONDERFUL trails), I honestly remember the sun on my face, a sweet breeze, and in general, views to behold. The best travel memory of my entire life (and I've been on the road a bit) was falling asleep to open windows with fresh mountain breezes and the sound of cow bells all night.

So go! I've been to Provence, and I'd take Switzerland any day.
AlessandraZoe is offline  
Apr 21st, 2013, 12:09 PM
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My second trip to Switzerland was in June, and it was incredibly beautiful weather. That said, we were also told that it was a fluke! Of course, July and August are more likely to be warm.

We used only public transportation, and it is indeed amazing. You might want to check out using Untours; they're incredible for Switzerland and for giving you the tools you need to be comfortable in traveling on the system of trains, boats, buses, and cable cars. www.untours.com
Amy is offline  
Apr 21st, 2013, 12:35 PM
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Wow! The more I read, I'm starting to wonder if we should just forget everywhere else and spend the whole trip in Switzerland. Here are some initial spots where I've gone to the websites and look appealing to me: Lucerne, Montreux, Lavaux, Bern, Gstaad...and I've just started!

AlessandraZoe, thanks for the great tips especially on packing. I don't think we'd be doing that much hiking, but definitely want to take the trains and other transportation available. When I checked a website on Jungfrauroch it looked pretty rugged aside from the views of the mountains. Is there anything up there besides the glacier?

Amy, thanks for the tip on untours; I've seen them mentioned several times, and this might be a good way for us to go.

So, would you recommend just flying round trip into Switzerland and is there enough to do for a three week stay, or would we still be able to tack on a few days in the sunshine of southern France?
cybertraveler is offline  
Apr 21st, 2013, 12:54 PM
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So much depends, of course, on what your family likes, but if it includes hiking, you could easily spend three weeks in Switzerland. We spent two weeks in one location (in Reuti) and saw much of the country from there; it was wonderful coming "home" to our mountain chalet. Ticino, Switzerland, (where I haven't been, in fact!) is considered to be more Mediterranean in feel, so you might want to consider combining a stay in the "Heartland" or "Oberland" with a stay there.

I'd personally just go to Switzerland as the packing wouldn't need to be quite as diverse and round-trip is usually cheaper than into one and out of another, but there would certainly be time to do a lot for two weeks Switzerland/one week France.
Amy is offline  
Apr 21st, 2013, 05:58 PM
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Our issue was the opposite of yours - we live in a very hot climate and hoped to be in Switzerland when the air was cool and crisp, so we planned a trip for Late September. I packed clothes to be worn in layers, but we encountered very warm weather and only wore our jackets when we went up the mountains (Jungfraujoch, the Gornergrat in Zermatt) and one day on a lake cruise when it was very windy. Most days we wore light cotton shirts and were very comfortable. We visited places from the very north (Stein am Rhein, on the German border) to the south (towns along Lake Geneva, Zermatt) and were warm in all of them except Zermatt.

While it is an expensive excursion, we loved the Jungfraujoch experience, and there are fun things for children to do there.

I wish I had time for detailed suggestions here, but my trip report and links to photos can be found at http://fodors.com/community/europe/t...ember-2010.cfm
Unfortunately, my life became extremely busy and I wasn't able to finish the report, but it includes lots of general information, our itinerary, and detailed description of the first several days of our trip. I hope to finish it in the near future.
drchris is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2013, 12:48 AM
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"Jungfrauroch it looked pretty rugged aside from the views of the mountains. Is there anything up there besides the glacier?"
except tons of tourists from Asia, Australia and America. The only Swiss people you will see there are the railway staff, souvenir shop keepers and may be someone working in the Observatory.

"So, would you recommend just flying round trip into Switzerland and is there enough to do for a three week stay, or would we still be able to tack on a few days in the sunshine of southern France?"

There is enough to see and to do for sure, but I would nevertheless suggest to spend a few days in the South. There are tons of low cost flights from Geneva and Basle to Nice (easyjet and others); direct flights from Berne to Nice are handier if you are in the Bernese Oberland, but much more expensive (about 120 EUR/PAX/OW/all in).

A compromise could be a stay in the Lake Lugano/Lake Maggiore area, however.
Both, Lugano and Locarno are transport hubs with dozens of bus lines, boat lines on the lakes and hundreds of km of signmarked hiking trails.
Lugano has an international airport and is linked with frequent trains and buses to Lake Como (Como, Menaggio) and to Lake Maggiore (Locarno, San Nazzaro, Luino).

The train ride from Lugano to Locarno lasts 1 hour (2-3 trains every hour, from 5.30am until midnight)

The highest mountains around Lugano are 1600m high: Monte Generoso (cog railway), Monte Lema (cableway), Alpe Foppa (cableway).

Locarno is closer to the Alps: many bus lines go into narrow Alpine Valleys, from where you can go on by cableway up to 2000 metres. If you like small medieval towns, you will like the centre of Locarno (Piazza Grande, etc.).

Culture: 3 castles of Bellinzona (Unesco site), Copy of the Cenacolo of Leonardo da Vinci at Capriasca (Lugano), Sanctuary of Madonne del Sasso (Locarno), Romanesque church of Riva San Vitale (Lugano), Monastery of Bigorio (Lugano), churches of Lugano and Morcote (with stunning views over Lake Lugano), Sanctuary of Re (Italy, close to Locarno).

Both places are fine. Some people prefer Lugano, others Locarno. Don't forget the scenic surrounding villages: Ascona, Ronco sopa Ascona (panoramic view over Lake Maggiore), Brissago, Caslano, Morcote, Carona..... (local buses or trains to Locarno, resp. Lugano at any time).
Cheap hotel in Lugano, in a silent park with subtropical plants and a fine view over the lake, close to Lugano railway station): http://www.montarina.com/

May be you enjoy a cog railway ride to Monte Generoso (1700m, panorama to the Alps from Mont Blanc up to Ortler from the South). Cross then Lake Lugano on a dam and visit Swissminiatur
A few minutes later you will arrive at Lugano, the economic and touristic center of Southern Switzerland. Visit the famous Angioli Church
Continue then, still along Lake Lugano to Gandria
neckervd is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2013, 04:10 AM
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My first trip to Switzerland, several years ago, we combined 11 days in Sicily, flew to Milan and spent one night in Stressa on Lake Maggiore as a 'transition', then 5 nights Interlaken and 2 nights Lucerne, flew home from Zurich. It was a great trip but I'm glad I had that time in Sicily first to get my 'summer' fix since the five days in Interlaken was cool and cloudy most of the time. I also stand by my contention that staying in Interlaken gave us more flexibility. A couple of the days were quite rainy and on those days we did day trips (Bern, Thun, Speitz, boat ride) and on the better days we went up into the mountains (Wegen, Murren, Grindelwald, Gimmelwald, Lauterbrauten). We never did do the Jungfrau because it was always cloud covered (there is a web cam in the center of Interlaken that shows the views on the various peaks, also our hotel owner had a lot of weather 'intelligence' and advised everyone at breakfast about the day's best bets). Had we spent two or three nights up in the mountains and then moved to Bern or elsewhere the next few nights we wouldn't have had the flexibility to pick our day's activities based on best weather. We did do the Shilthorn/Gimmelwald cable car and that was wonderful. Many people do choose to stay up in one of the mountain towns, it is more atmospheric than Interlaken, but you loose some flexibility.

This summer I am planning 6 days in Lausanne with day trips to a number of towns including Zermat. And again my reasoning for choosing the Lausanne base is for flexibility. If Matterhorn is cloud covered every day I won't go. Lausanne area is apparently the warmest area of Switzerland (Palm Trees) but I do think you'd have better mountain experiences in the Bernese Oberland region for a first trip.

I'm going to Provence (St Remy, Aix), Cote d'Azure (Vence, near Nice) and Cinque Terre before Switzerland.
isabel is offline  

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