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Will rain ruin my Swiss dream vacation?! :)

We will be in Switzerland Aug 1-14. Looks like it is raining now and per weather.com there is 60% chance in most parts of Switzerland of rain during these two weeks. Is this usual for this time of the year?

If it rains, does typically affect the whole day or is it just part of the day?

I realize no one can predict the weather, but curious to know what the locals think about how they expect the weather to be like in Aug 1- 14 (especially in the highlights of our trip Jungfrau (Aug 6-8) and Zermatt (Aug 2-4))? I assume the Alps cannot be enjoyed if it is raining.

Wondering if I should cut my losses when some of my hotel stays are still refundable and plan to go somewhere else (e.g fly to Barcelona and do Spain).

Posted by
3591 posts

Weather forecasts in Mountain regions cannot be trusted this far ahead. Also, while you can't do much if it's pouring, a few showers won't really affect your enjoyment. You can still hike, see the mountains, relax...

Posted by
5463 posts

The weather in Europe is crazy at the moment. Here in Kent in the UK, it was sunny and 36 degrees on Thursday and yesterday it was 17, windy and it rained all day. The rain hasn’t stopped much in 36 hours - we don’t usually get much at this time of year other than the odd 5 minute shower.

The Alps can be enjoyed whatever the weather - you just need the right clothing. No forecast can be accurate more than 3 days ahead.

The best accommodation will have been taken months ago in any place in Europe for August, peak school holiday season.

Posted by
3551 posts

Since really there is no predicting of weather it is a roll of the dice. However I have found it my experience in Switzerland that Jungfrau and Zermatt are the most iffy for weather and can only be planned a few days ahead. This is what I did as I spent many vacations trying to get to Zermatt and the weather was never gd for my summer schedules. I finally saw Zermatt and loved it was smart to wait.
I spent 3 nights there at the hostel as that had a vgd cancellation policy and a view to die for.
Never made it to Jungfrau to due weather but enjoyed surrounding Lauterbrunnen valley area for 4/ nights. They have cameras with live footage of Jungfrau at stations so that up will know ahead if it is clear or not. The fare to get there is very pricey since it is a private rail line.
If the weather is in then it is quite foggy, wet and frankly not worth the trek.
Hope this helps a little.

Posted by
9993 posts

We go to Switzerland (usually Lauterbrunnen area but also have been to a Zermatt in fall) in mid-Sept to late-Oct and the rain never spoils the trip. When the forecast say XX% of rain, it is usually only for part of the day. If you wake up to rain, you may have full sun in the afternoon, but if the morning is sunny, get out the door as early as possible (we usually are on the way at 8:00) as clouds do start to gather even in the nicest days.

Rain in Switzerland beats the heat of summer in Spain in my book. And I am certain the Swiss are glad of any rain this year given the heat.

Posted by
782 posts

First, let me state that, in the Pacific Northwest, rain never stops people from doing things, it just revises the dress code. That being said, the weather in Switzerland (and all of the Alps I've been to) is changeable. You can have fog, wind, rain, and sunshine all in the same 8 hours of "daylight". Days of steady, constant, rain in the summer are rare.

Those picture postcard clear shots of the mountain do happen. But don't be surprised if all you see is a cloud base cutting off the peaks. If all you enjoy in the mountains is looking out and seeing the peaks against a blue sky you need to revise your expectations.

If you're outside and it starts raining hard remember, stay out of the valleys and off the ridge tops. The driest place is usually near the truck of a dense canopy tree.

Enjoy Switzerland.

Posted by
7205 posts

For a more accurate weather app use meteoblue

Posted by
45 posts

Thanks for all the inputs. Looks like seeing the picture perfect views of Matterhorn and the Jungfrau mountains are for the few and lucky even in the best planned trips. At the very least, I have read Rick's book so much now that I can virtually tour Switzerland in my head and imagine the views from the hikes even if all I see is clouds! :)

W.r.t "only if you let it" comment, yeah it's great to be philosophical. But it is also smart to use data to put you in a position that maximizes the chance of a good experience. Of course, shit can still hit the fan and when that happens, you deal with it.

Keeping my fingers crossed that I will at least get some partial good days out of all this.

Posted by
4674 posts

The driest place is usually near the truck of a dense canopy tree.

And then you get struck by lightning...

Posted by
2067 posts

Well OP you will have lots of company if you don’t get the mountain views you seek in Switzerland. Thousands of visitors visit Denali National Park every year hoping to see Mt. Denali in all it’s glory, and most are skunked out as it is a rare view, although getting less rare with changing weather. I hope you get your views.....when I go to Switzerland I will be hoping for the same thing.

Posted by
178 posts

We'll be in the Lauterbrunnen area Aug 8 - 12 and I was wondering the same thing. I have already started packing (since we leave at the end of this week).. and now I'm rethinking a few outfits. Definitely packing a rain jacket and I think I'm going to throw in some pants, a light sweater, and some leggings since it looks like the temperature is dropping. We aren't doing any of the big mountaintops, just some hiking.. but I'm hoping we both luck out and get some sunny days!