April is spring in Switzerland and the low season between the height of winter and summer. But with pleasant weather, thinner crowds, and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, April is a great time to visit. Ride a mountain railway, stroll around a lake in the shadow of mountains, and hike on newly thawed trails. Read on to discover more about traveling to Switzerland in April.

Weather

April is spring in Switzerland, a short season between the freezing winter and hot summer. Snow remains in the highest mountain regions, but most places below 6,500 feet (2,000 m) should generally be free of snow by April. Flowers bloom at lower altitudes as well as in Alpine meadows.

Like at other times of the year, temperatures vary between the lowland areas and the mountains. The average April temperature in lowland cities like Zürich, Geneva, and Lugano is about 56°F (13°C), while in higher-altitude Zermatt, it is only 30°F (-1°C).

Crowds & Costs

April and May are the spring's low season in Switzerland, between the busy winter and summer peak seasons. There is still plenty to experience in this season and without too many other tourists, you can enjoy them all the more.

That said, some hotels, restaurants, and attractions may be closed in spring. Ski resorts will mostly be shuttered by the end of April, and hotels and restaurants in these towns will usually either close shop until the next winter or take a spring hiatus and change gear to prepare for the summer season. Scenic cable cars may be closed for maintenance in spring or operate on a reduced timetable before kicking back into gear in summer.

Switzerland is always an expensive destination, but at least in spring, your first choice of hotel is more likely to be available (if it's not closed!), and you may not need to be so rigid with your transport bookings.  

Where to Go

April is a great time to visit some of Switzerland's many lakes. Lake Lucerne and Lake Thun, both in central Switzerland, are lovely places to visit in April. The picturesque lakes offer hiking trails with great views and plenty of sightseeing options. In the old town of Thun are the 12th-century Thun Castle and the 15th-century Spiez Castle. A boat ride across Lake Thun offers views of mountains, meadows, and forests.

Lucerne is also a convenient starting point for one of Switzerland's greatest rail journeys, the Gotthard Panorama Express (see more below). What sets this journey apart from some other rail journeys is that it starts with a historic paddle steamer cruise across Lake Lucerne to Flüelen, from where the rail journey begins. Lucerne also hosts the annual Lucerne Festival of classical music (see more below).

What to Do

April is an excellent time to take a scenic train ride because although many regular routes operate year-round, some scenic routes start in April for the summer season. Many of Switzerland's rail routes travel through and past incredible mountain scenery and sometimes go to relatively high elevations. In April, you can experience the best of two worlds, with bright spring pastures at lower altitudes and snowcapped peaks in the mountains. 

One option is to ride the 128-mile (206-km) Gotthard Railway from Immensee on Lake Zug, just south of Zürich, to Chiasso in southern Switzerland, near Lake Como in Italy. It includes the world's longest train tunnel, the Gotthard Base Tunnel, which cuts right through the middle of the mountains. A shorter section of the entire journey, the Gotthard Panorama Express, starts in Lucerne. The Gotthard Panorama Express runs between April and October. For more on scenic train rides, read this article.

Events in April

Lucerne Festival, Lucerne. This prestigious line-up of world and classical music performances takes place in the lakeside city of Lucerne. It typically runs for 2-3 days.

International Jazz Festival, Bern. Starting in late March and running until late May or early June, Bern's International Jazz Festival is held in the intimate setting of Marian's Jazzroom.

Tulip Festival, Morges. On the shores of Lake Geneva, this colorful spring festival runs from mid-March until mid-May.

Easter, nationwide. Easter is celebrated and observed as a public holiday in Switzerland, a predominantly Catholic country with a large Protestant population. Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday are holidays, and many businesses are closed. Easter either falls in late March or April.

More Helpful Information

Switzerland in March
Switzerland in May
Best Time of Year to Visit Switzerland
How Many Days to Spend in Switzerland