Switzerland in May

Jul 17th, 2010, 05:34 AM
  #1  
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Switzerland in May

In attempting to make travel arrangements for a possible trip to Switzerland in May, I am finding many, many hotels and guesthouses are closed in May. Are they trying to tell us something? Should I assume that May is not a good time of year, weather-wise or otherwise, for travel in Switzerland?
meggies is offline  
Jul 17th, 2010, 05:40 AM
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No, May is generally fine, it is just in between the two big seasons for tourism -- winter and summer -- and places shut down to do repairs, give the owners a break, etc.... The only downside about traveling there in May is that some gondolas may be closed, as well.
artsbabe is offline  
Jul 17th, 2010, 07:18 AM
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Though many are closed there will be ample ones open for the relatively few visitors in yes this in between the winter skiing and summer hiking hoardes.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 17th, 2010, 07:38 AM
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The last few years have been really lousy weather-wise in May. However, artsbabe is correct that it's really in between the two big seasons.
kleeblatt is offline  
Jul 17th, 2010, 08:21 AM
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If going to the higher mountains I would rather go in June than in May. For the lakes and cities/towns May should be fine. Not for Wengen e.g.
Ingo is offline  
Jul 17th, 2010, 09:04 AM
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In 1999 we spent several days in Wengen around May 7/8/9. It was rather quiet in the town but some shops were open. Our hotel had a restaurant so we didn't have to hunt for a place to eat. For all I know most of the restaurants may have been closed. The rides up the Jungfrau were open but we did see a lot of mud on the trails near the train tracks. All in all we loved the trip and didn't mind being there in shoulder season.

We are now planning our trip for 2011 and will be spending 3 days in the same area but the first week of June...will be interesting to see the difference. We're bringing our 8 and 10 year old children on this trip and plan on doing some hiking. Hopefully the extra month will let things dry out a bit.
Wekiva is offline  
Jul 17th, 2010, 05:57 PM
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Hi meggies -

I prefer to visit Switzerland during the quiet season, and I've visited in May. I love it that time of year, but yes, you will run into hotel and restaurant closures, especially in the mountain villages. Yes, you will run into cable car/gondola closures, yes you will run into hiking trail closures and plenty of mud and possibly snow on the hiking paths...

So plan well. I can think of at least one year round hotel/restaurant in each of the small towns in the BO, so it's certainly not impossible...but, if it's your first visit to Switzerland, you might be disappointed, as you may not be able to do everything you'd like...so it really comes down to what you'd like to see/do.

In my experience, the alpine villages don't get up and running at full tilt until the second or third week of June.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jul 17th, 2010, 06:23 PM
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It's one thing for guesthouses/hotels to be closed in May, more important is that some ski lifts/gondolas/trails, etc close for maintainence. Depending on where you want to go May may not be an ideal time to visit. I have been to Switzerland in May and found somethings to be closed, but this was not my first visit. If you plan in advance you can have a sucessful trip in May depending on what you'd like to see.
justshootme is offline  
Jul 17th, 2010, 07:31 PM
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Strange, we spent time in Switzerland in May a couple of years ago and didn't notice any closings that affected our travels.

We stayed in Lauterbrunnen at the Hotel Oberland and went up to the Schilthorn, stopping in Murren on the way back down. We visited Thun and Spiez and had a marvelous time. The weather was very nice. We even had clear weather on top of Schilthorn.

We also spent a couple of days in Stein am Rhein. We arrived on Mother's Day and it was very crowded but by late afternnon the town was quiet. There weren't alot of tourists the next day, which was fine with us, but it seemed that all the hotels, cafes, etc. were open for business.

I guess it depends on what you want to do.
bettyk is offline  
Jul 17th, 2010, 07:48 PM
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Hotels in larger towns and major tourist centers will stay open all year. If it's primarily a skiing area they may be closed for renovations or similar in May - but some places should be open in all towns.
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 17th, 2010, 08:34 PM
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Just to clarify a bit...regular trains operate year round, as do some mountain excursions, such as the Jungfrau and the Schilthorn (Note: The Schilthorn does close for a few days during the low season for maintenance - usually late April and November). So does the cable car from Lauterbrunnen to Grutschalp, but only for a few days and alternative transport remains open (Stechelberg to Murren)

Others are seasonal:

Harder Kulm: Summer season started May 29, 2010

Grindelwald-First: Summer season started May 29, 2010

Schynige Platte Railway: Open from May 22-Oct 17, 2010

Mannlichenbahn: Open from May 29-Oct 24, 2019

As for hotels...I've been in Murren, Lauterbrunnen, and Wengen when only one hotel was open in each town. Some open in mid-May, others not until later in June. Most are family operated, so opening/closing times vary.

meggies - if you visit late in May, you'll probably be fine, but if you've got your heart set on seeing/doing specific things, you'll want to verify opening times with the various tourist offices to avoid disappointment. Hiking trails are subject to snowfall, so there's no telling what might be open. Plan well, but be flexible.

Larger towns, such as Zermatt and Interlaken shouldn't present any problems.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jul 18th, 2010, 05:04 PM
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Thanks, everyone. This is our second trip to Switzerland and we enjoyed the Wengen/Lauterbrunnen region so much, we want to go back. We are not intense hikers, but do enjoy beautiful scenery. Should we worry about possible flooding in the Lauterbrunnen valley in early to mid May? Just wondering, because of the stream/falls/melting snow and valley location.
meggies is offline  
Jul 18th, 2010, 11:24 PM
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Meggies,

You shouldn't worry about flooding. It can happen any time of the year but the whole valley will not flood.

Listen, I have a feeling you just want someone to say go, the weather will be fine and everything will work out.

The last 4 years, our Mays have been dismal. Cold, wet and little sunshine. Most people now have their weddings in June because May is just too unpredictable. Doesn't mean the next May will be dismal. No one can predict the weather.

Choose a date that works best for you and stick to it. You won't find any guarantees for any time of the year here in Switzerland, although some are better than others.
kleeblatt is offline  
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