Posted by on 28 Sep 2023
Switzerland’s majestic snow-capped mountains offer year-round allure, enticing road trippers and climbers alike. Yet, when winter blankets the Swiss Alps in an extra layer of snow, these peaks transform into a haven for skiing enthusiasts. The allure of pristine slopes beckons skiers from across the globe, offering the long-awaited rush and excitement they've anticipated throughout the year.
But that doesn’t mean that Switzerland in wintertime is only for skiers. Not everyone is an adventure-seeker. Luckily, even non-skiers will find loads to do in this picturesque country during the chilly months. Let’s take a look at nine of the best Switzerland winter activities you can try aside from skiing.
Explore the country’s quaint alpine villages
Topping our list of the best Switzerland winter activities to do outside of skiing is discovering the country’s charming alpine villages.
Some popular towns to check out in Switzerland in the winter include St. Moritz, Grindelwald and Zermatt. To see an alpine village with an old-town vibe, check out St. Gallen.
This university town boasts stunning medieval-looking architecture, a huge Baroque cathedral and tons of guild houses and courtyards. In the wintertime, the city looks enchanting, making it one of the best regions to visit in Switzerland.
Go ice skating over frozen lakes
Another one of the best activities to do in Switzerland in winter is going ice skating while admiring the beauty of Switzerland right on top of its brilliant frozen lakes.
If you find yourself in Jura, Switzerland during the wintertime, try skating in Lac de Joux—one of the most popular frozen lakes in the country during the season.
Just remember that frozen lakes aren’t as smooth as indoor skating rinks that are constantly Zambonied. The ice can be quite lumpy and rough. So, make sure to wear pads and helmets if you’re interested in skating on Switzerland’s lakes.
If you love dogs, you’ll enjoy dogsledding in Switzerland. There’s nothing like the feeling of having happy dogs guide you through the winter trails of a stunning country so you can sit back, relax and enjoy the view of the Alps.
This is a great way to feel connected with dogs while you go on a thrilling adventure without having to ski down a mountain. There are plenty of dogsledding tour packages in Swiss mountains such as the Jungfraujoch in the Bernese Alps.
Hit the Christmas markets
If you’re in the mood for holiday festivities, checking out the Christmas markets dotted around Switzerland is one of the most fitting things to do in the winter.
Major cities like Lucerne, Basel and Zurich host plenty of Christmas markets, where you can hop for traditional, Christmas-themed Swiss crafts and try delicious, authentic delicacies.
Sometimes, Santa Claus will make an appearance at these markets as well. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a Christmas market with a scenic view of the Alps.
Ride the Glacier Express
The Glacier Express is a railway route that connects Zermatt and St. Moritz—two of the most stunning resort towns in Switzerland. While the route is beautiful year-round, it’s especially majestic during the wintertime.
On this journey, you’ll see panoramic views of the Swiss Alps’ snow-capped mountaintops against clear, blue skies as you sit in your cosy cabin. It’s arguably the most breathtaking way to get to a Swiss mountain resort in the winter.
Have lunch at a winter sun terrace
Enjoy a delicious meal in style by dining right by a winter sun terrace to get a stunning view of the Swiss Alps while you enjoy your food. Plenty of alpine restaurants offer their guests a beautiful view of the mountains, from everyday cafés to upscale restaurants.
Enjoy the majestic views, fresh alpine air and natural sunlight when you eat at a restaurant like the Paradiso Mountain Club & Restaurant in St. Moritz. It’s the best way to indulge in European cuisine while enjoying the beauty of winter at the same time.
Go on a winter hike
Squeeze in some physical activity during your holiday and go on a winter hike. It’s a terrific way to see and admire the idyllic, snowy alpine landscapes and frozen lakes up close. It’s perfect for taking beautiful photos to remember your winter Switzerland holiday for years to come!
One of the best winter hiking areas in the country is Laternliweg Schwägalp in Hundwil, Switzerland. The smooth, three-kilometre trail can be finished in an hour, making it perfect for beginners and first-timers. You’ll see Christmas trees left and right, making your holiday spirit grow stronger.
Take a dip in hot springs
If you need a break from the chilly winter, take a dip in some of the popular thermal springs in the country. This is one of the best Switzerland things to do in winter if you miss the warmth of home but still want to enjoy a spectacular view of the Swiss Alps.
Leukerbad is the largest hot spring in the Swiss Alps. As you soak in this resort’s thermal springs, you can take in the view of the gorgeous, snow-capped mountains of Switzerland looming right over you.
Try Out These Switzerland Winter Activities for a Memorable Holiday in the Alps
There are plenty of things to do in Switzerland in winter aside from ski. If you’re not the sporty, adventurous type, don’t even think twice about visiting the country in the winter months.
Even if you don’t hit the slopes, you’ll have tons to do, from visiting charming alpine villages and Christmas markets to trying out Swiss cuisine on a terrace overlooking the mountains.
Whatever you end up doing, we’re sure that you’ll still be able to relish the beautiful, snowy winter sights that Switzerland has to offer.
Make the most out of your winter holiday in the Swiss Alps by checking out some of our other Switzerland travel packages to try out, too!