July is midsummer in Switzerland, and although the country is perhaps best known for its snowy peaks, the temperatures can get pretty hot during this month. Temperatures vary by altitude, but it's not uncommon for lower-lying areas to reach highs of 95°F (35°C). The average July temperature in Geneva, Lugano, and Zürich is around 75°F (24°C). Many travelers may find July a bit hot in the cities. In contrast, high-altitude Zermatt in the Alps has an average July temperature of just 48°F (9°C).
Days are also quite long in July, with the longest day of the year having fallen in late June. Expect the sun to rise before 6 am and to set after 9 pm.
Crowds & Costs
Summer, along with winter, is the high season for tourism in Switzerland. Lovers of the outdoors are attracted to the Alps in summer for hiking and other active pursuits and to escape the relative heat of the cities. Many higher-altitude hiking trails that had lingering snow in June will be clear by July, and you certainly won't have the mountains to yourself.
Summer festivals also attract visitors to the cities, particularly Geneva and Zürich. Book accommodation and travel in advance wherever you want to visit in Switzerland. Also, keep in mind that July and August are when many Europeans take their summer vacation, so expect Switzerland to be busy wherever you go.
Where to Go
Head to the mountains in July, where temperatures are cooler and conditions are best for spectacular views of the Alps, whether you choose to see them on foot, from a train carriage, or from a paraglider. The mountains of Bernese Oberland, Graubünden, and Valais are especially attractive in summer, as well as accessible.
There are many hikes to enjoy around Switzerland in July, but the Aletsch Glacier Trail, in Valais, is a great one-day option. The 10.5-mile (17-km) trail takes hikers past Europe's largest and second-largest glaciers, the Aletsch Glacier and the Fiescher Glacier. It also takes in views of several peaks above 10,000 feet (3,048 m), and there's the chance to see ibex, marmots, and shaggy black-nose sheep. It should take around six hours to complete. Read more about Switzerland's best day hikes here.
What to Do
Summer is a perfect time to cruise on one (or more) of Switzerland's many beautiful lakes, which offer views of the surrounding mountains. Many rail passes include free or discounted lake cruises, so take advantage of these to cut costs in pricey Switzerland. Lake Lucerne, Lake Thun, Lake Geneva, Lake Zürich, Lake Brienz, Lake Lugano, and Lake Maggiore offer cruise options.
Cruising on Lake Maggiore can be extended into a half-day trip to the two Brissago Islands, which sit inside the lake. There are pretty botanical gardens on San Pancrazio, the larger island.
For a more thrilling adventure, why not attempt paragliding? There are many places in the Alps to try the activity, but First is one of the best because of the dramatic views of Mt. Jungfrau. It's in the Bernese Oberland, above the town of Grindelwald. And if you don't mind the heat of cities in midsummer, Switzerland puts on some excellent summer festivals. Whether you're into jazz, pop, theater, or something else, you'll find festivals to suit your tastes in cities like Lausanne, Lugano, Bern, and elsewhere. See more below.
Events in July
Montreaux Jazz Festival, Montreaux. The town of Montreaux on the shores of Lake Geneva celebrates all things jazz for two weeks in early July. It's the second-biggest jazz festival in the world.
Festival de la Cité, Lausanne. Over six days in early July, local and international artists present a vast array of concerts, dance performances, and theatre in the open air.
Estival Jazz, Lugano. Open-air free concerts are held throughout Lugano over a few days in early July.
Gurten Festival, Bern. In mid-July, fans of modern pop, rock, and R&B will want to grab tickets for the four-day open-air festival in Bern.
International Alphorn Festival, Nendaz. This festival in the Valais region celebrates Swiss folk music and dance, including the alphorn it's named after. It's held in late July.
Verbier Festival, Verbier. An international classical music festival that takes place over two weeks in late July and early August in the mountain resort of Verbier.
Traveling to Switzerland in July? Check out these great itineraries
Chamonix to Zermatt Walker's Haute Route - 9 Days. Starting in the Valais Valley and heading east, deep into Switzerland, you'll navigate along the base of glaciers, hike through thick pine forests, and explore small alpine towns on this trekking itinerary.
Bernese Oberland Traverse - 7 Days. Take a classic Swiss hut-to-hut hike through the Bernese Oberland mountains on this week-long trek. You'll go from scenic valley to scenic valley as you traverse past the bases of some of the best-known mountains in the Alps.