November is the final month of fall in Switzerland, and temperatures are generally cold. Conditions are not yet ripe for skiing, but this month is still an excellent time to visit Switzerland's cities for cultural attractions and to make the most of their proximity to the mountains if the weather's fine. Find out more about where to go and what to do in Switzerland in November.


November is fall in Switzerland, but the weather gets more wintery as the month progresses. Snow will fall higher up in the mountains, and temperatures will plummet, but you may still experience fine days at lower altitudes. Temperatures vary a lot by altitude, but the average November temperature in the cities of Geneva, Lugano, and Zürich is around 46°F (7.5°C), while in high-altitude Zermatt, it's just 28°F (-2°C), which is almost as cold as it gets in midwinter.

Crowds & Costs

November is in the low season for tourism in Switzerland, and before visitor numbers increase in the lead up to Christmas and the winter ski season. Generally, the ski season doesn't begin until December. Still, there's a chance that early snowfall will lead to earlier openings, especially in higher-altitude resorts like Zermatt, Saas-Fee, and Verbier. If the season starts early, expect resort towns to get busy, fast.

Conditions in November make this month a great time to visit the cities, particularly if you're less concerned about the weather and more interested in cultural attractions like museums, galleries, and beautiful architecture. You may find discounted accommodation, flights, and activities, although be aware that many tourist facilities beyond the big cities take a maintenance break in the fall.

Where to Go

A good approach to visiting Switzerland in November is to base yourself in one or more of its attractive cities. Many Swiss cities are close to the mountains, so you can enjoy city attractions like museums and galleries when the weather isn't so great, but when it's fine out, you can venture into the mountains on day trips or enjoy great views from around the city. Bern, Lucerne, Lausanne, and Geneva are perfect city break destinations, as are the lakeside towns in the Italian-speaking Ticino region, Lugano and Locarno

Geneva is an especially great destination in November. Over nine days early in the month, the Geneva International Film Festival showcases a range of Swiss and international films. Additionally, visitors to the lakeside city can check out cultural attractions including the Museum of Art and History, the 16th-century St. Peter's Cathedral of Geneva, the Palace of Nations (the United Nations headquarters), and the quirky Broken Chair sculpture beside the UN headquarters.

What to Do

Take a ride along the Glacier Express route to experience the Swiss Alps in November—a month when neither hiking nor skiing in the mountains is possible. This 181-mile (291-km), eight-hour rail journey connects the resort towns of Zermatt and St. Moritz. Passengers are treated to views of a series of peaks (starting with Matterhorn), glaciers, mountain passes, and gorges as the train runs almost the entire length of southern Switzerland's Alps. It also crosses the Oberalp Pass and Landwasser Viaduct.

The tourist scenic train—complete with panoramic windows that run the whole route without your having to change trains—doesn't operate in November. However, the regular train does serve this month, and on the plus side, it's cheaper than the tourist train. 

Events in November

Geneva International Film FestivalGeneva. This festival shows films from around the world in various languages over nine days in early-mid November.

More Helpful Information

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