The best time to visit depends on your personal relationship with snow: If you fantasize about skiing powdery pistes or just the après-ski, Alpine Switzerland is a winter wonderland. posts a list of season opening and closings at various resorts. Winter days are short, but brightened by the lights of Christmas markets and festivals like Fasnacht.

Spring can be fickle, with blossoms making appearances in March only to be chilled by a surprise snowstorm in April. Milder temperatures are more reliable from around mid-May to September. In some mountainous areas, however, summer season doesn’t kick off until perhaps June, with certain trails still snowbound and inaccessible before then.

Around mid-June to early September is peak time for river and lake swims. Hiking can be a pleasure most of the year in the right spot, but especially so from around April or May through October. South of the Alps, it can be significantly warmer year-round. Bear in mind that air conditioning is far from ubiquitous, so summer can get hot and sticky, though less humid than in the U.S. That said, Swiss summers can have cool spells. Rain can fall any time of year. And if you go up a mountain, temperatures can drop dramatically within minutes.

Bottom line: Swiss weather can be unpredictable, so plan for everything, and follow one of the most enduring nuggets of traveler wisdom: Wear layers.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.