The sights of Zurich during the summer are one of the best experiences you can have during your visit during this season. Among the most interesting activities to do during this period are climbing Mount First or touring the city.
In summer any activity can easily be included among the best things to see and do in Zurich because the weather is much more pleasant than during the winter. In addition, the landscapes become completely colorful with the arrival of the hot summer season.
1. Visiting the Rhine Falls
With quite warm temperatures and pleasant weather for traveling, visiting the Rhine Falls from Zurich is an excellent choice to do during the summer in Zurich, or at least very close to the city. The best thing about this experience is that during the summer the views of the falls are really beautiful.
In addition, the hiking trails around the falls will allow you to get to know the place from different points of view. Also, a great advantage you have when visiting the falls during the summer is that in this season, the park is open for two hours longer than in winter. It opens one hour earlier, at 8:00 am and closes one hour later, at 7:00 pm.
From the north side you can enter for free, while for the viewpoints on the south side, you have to enter through the Laufen Castle. If you want to appreciate the waterfall very closely you can take a nice boat ride and even get to the stone in the middle of the falls.
This place is known as Rheinfallfelsen and is definitely the best viewpoint of the falls. Once the boat reaches the rock, there is a small place where you can disembark and then climb up a very narrow staircase to the top of the rock and look at the falls. Needless to say, the view is much better in summer and the weather is much nicer.
2. Take the cable car up to Mount First for a hike
Mount First in winter is covered with snow and there is no doubt that this is perhaps one of the top 10 things to do in Zurich in winter. But definitely the best time to visit this mountain is in summer. The weather is much nicer and you can still feel the coolness left over from the winter so you don't suffer from the heat while climbing the mountain.
Another activity that is definitely better to do in summer in this place is hiking. During this walk you can embark on a fun adventure to the cliffs of Tissot, a good place to challenge your adrenaline and live a high altitude experience, literally.
Depending on how you decide to visit Mount First, either on your own or with a guided tour to the area, I recommend looking for the opportunity to get on a motorcycle, which will lead to even more adventures on the top of the mountain.
Again the very warm weather and clear weather will give you a much clearer postcard of the whole landscape, so I recommend you not to waste any time and take all the pictures you want. If you are a lover of adventure photos, this is your moment to do it. And before returning, do not forget to climb the zip line, it is one of the experiences that you will like the most of this tour.
3. Tour the iconic sites of the city of Zurich
There is no better time of year for sightseeing in Zurich than summer. The season in this country is warm enough to bring out your best summer clothes, but cool enough that you won't suffer from heat or dehydration. Thus, you can venture several hours of walking around the city to get to know it from the inside.
You can do this activity on your own or hire a tour guide to accompany you and show you around the city. But in case you go on your own, I have to recommend you to visit the historic center of Zurich and also take the time to soak a little more of Freddie Mercury's legacy if you like music and prefer the classics.
Why Freddie Mercury? Zurich was his favorite city and that's why the city has a statue in his name and remembers the musical legacy of this star. But leaving aside the music, you can also visit other incredible places in the city, such as the City Hall, the financial district and even the University where Albert Einstein studied.
During your walk do not forget to try the most typical Swiss food and drinks, especially chocolate and fondue, typical of the Swiss tradition. Nor can you miss visiting the street with the largest number of stores, which is known as the most expensive street in Europe.
4. Cross the roofed bridge at sunset in Lucerne
Lucerne is a special city to visit at any time of the year, but if there is a time when you can visit Lucerne and marvel at its view is in summer. One of the walks that I like most in this area is its covered bridge. It is one of the architectural wonders and icons of the city.
It is the oldest wooden bridge in Europe, known as Kapellbrücke or Chapel Bridge in Spanish. Its main attraction is the view it offers of the city, which also has a classic and pre-medieval architecture. Taking this walk at sunset will leave you with incredible postcards of Lucerne.
But the bridge is not only attractive for the beautiful view that can be seen from it, but inside there is much more to see. On the roof of the bridge you can see many paintings that reflect the history of the city, so besides being a beautiful walk, it is quite rich in history and Swiss culture.
5. Ride through the Swiss Alps on the Bernina Train
The Bernina Express is one of the best scenic trains from Zurich and is definitely best enjoyed during the summer months. During the ride you will be able to see many alpine villages that dress up in color during this time of the year.
Depending on the type of tour you choose on the Bernina Express, you will be able to enjoy typical Swiss food during your trip, which will make your trip even more enjoyable on one of the best excursions to see the Swiss Alps.
This is a trip that will last approximately 4 hours if you choose to do it in full, so it will be a full day of adventure in which you will have the chance to see the wonders of each of the villages located at the foot of the Alps.
You will love this tour because you will be able to ride the train up to an altitude of 2,100 meters above sea level. In addition to visiting many tunnels, bridges and viaducts. It is a really varied ride that you will want to repeat at least once.
6. View the city of Bern from a helicopter
Among the most pleasant trips you can do in Switzerland in summer is to take a helicopter to fly over beautiful cities such as Bern.
This helicopter tour to see Bern from above is a ten if you want an adventurous experience where you can take beautiful pictures and also enjoy the views in clear weather.
Although you can also do this tour in winter, my recommendation is that you do it in summer because it is at that time when you can appreciate, in addition to the landscape, all the colors that the city of Bern has to show you.
Depending on the type of flight or excursion to discover Switzerland from Zurich you choose, you can do this shared or private tour, while enjoying refreshments during the trip. Definitely from the heights the colors of Bern can be appreciated much better.
7. Sail from Thun to Bern by inflatable boat
I think this is one of my favorite summer activities to do in Switzerland, and the calmness of the waters of the Aare River is on another level. During this experience you will get on an inflatable boat that will take you on an aquatic tour from Thun to Bern. You don't need to bring too much safety equipment and protection, because the waters are usually always calm.
If you want to do this very summery route, you can reach Thun by train and then put your inflatable boat on the river and let it take you all the way to Bern. Although you may think it is an extreme experience, the truth is that there is no more relaxing ride to do than this one. It is definitely an experience that I would recommend you to do with the whole family on your visit to Zurich in 3 days.
You can take on board some snacks to pass the day and enjoy the scenery. This experience besides being very quiet, will leave you with beautiful postcards to take amazing pictures of the scenery around the river. Once you arrive in Bern, you could complement the experience with a rack railway tour through the villages of that locality.
8. Hiking in Ticino
For hot summer days there is nothing better than hiking in Ticino. The route is really beautiful and not very difficult to go through. You will have to use at least four hours to complete the route, but it is a walk that is definitely worth doing.
If you don't mind bathing in cold water, you can bring your bathing suit and jump into the natural pools you'll find along the way. This hiking route will also leave you plenty of opportunities to capture the scenery because you'll be crossing over some bridges from which you'll be able to take some really great pictures.
It is a route that you can do with family and friends without any problem, although it is not an activity that I would do with children because they can get exhausted easily. The alpine landscapes that you will find are beautiful, but the fresh air that you will breathe throughout the route compensates for any fatigue you may feel while completing the route.
9. Go paddleboarding on Lake Geneva
Paddleboarding has become a really popular game, and if you can practice it on a lake with no waves where you feel much more confident to do the moves of the game, so much the better.
This ride is a great adventure even before you get to the lake. You can travel by train from Zurich to Geneva, which is where Lake Geneva is located. One of the best things about this ride is the incredible views from the time you get on the first train until you reach the lake.
Once you get to the lake you can get in the water to swim a little, paddle board or rent boards to stay on and enjoy the tranquility of the lake. This is one of the experiences I like to recommend the most because it is suitable for all kinds of groups, whether you want to go with friends, with your family or even with the kids.
10. Enjoy the extreme slopes of Mount Pilatus
Climbing Mount Pilatus is highly recommended if you like extreme adventures. There is a train line that takes you to the top of this mountain, going up steep paths that will surely make you fall into the car if you don't hold on well. But it's definitely a must-do on your visit to Zurich.
Once at the top you will be able to appreciate incredibly beautiful views and you will also be able to take pictures of the whole landscape. Depending on the type of excursion you choose, you can do this tour from Lucerne, which is ideal if you want to have a complete experience. You can reach Lucerne from Zurich by train and in Lucerne board another train line that will take you to Mount Pilatus.
To get to the top you can even take the cable car that will take you to the viewpoint at the top. You can also live the experience of taking a boat ride at the foot of the great stone mountain, an activity that is ideal to do in summer, since that is the season in which you can climb.
Temperatures in Zurich during the summer
During the summer the climate in Zurich is really pleasant. Temperatures do not rise above 25°C and do not drop below 14°C at night. These temperatures will allow you to live incredible beach and hiking experiences.
Summer is in fact divided into two parts, the first months of summer, i.e. from April to the end of May, are usually much cooler than the rest of the season. This is because there are still remnants of the harsh winter, so these months of mild weather could be considered the spring season.
Summer begins to warm up around June and settles in until September, when temperatures start to drop again to give way to autumn. The hottest month of the year is definitely August, but, in spite of that, temperatures do not usually exceed 25ºC.
Paradoxically, during the summer there is a good chance of daily rainfall. However, the month with the highest probability of rain is June. In August the probability decreases considerably, but it is still high compared to other times of the year.
The influx of tourists in Zurich in summertime
It goes without saying that summer, when temperatures are more comfortable, is when the influx of tourists increases considerably. In Zurich the peak season is summer, so if you don't want to miss out on any attractions or interesting places in the city or outside it, it is best to book everything you need in advance.
The accommodation places are the first to fill up with tourists, so when planning your trip you should try to book well in advance and do it online to avoid being left without accommodation.
The same goes for tickets to museums, parks and other tourist attractions in and around the city of Zurich. Another recommendation I have to give you to visit Zurich or any place in Switzerland during the summer, is to get to each place very early so you can enjoy the scenery and places to see without so many people around.
Prices in Zurich during the summer
As it is high season, prices tend to be really high in Zurich. Already the most expensive city in Europe, Zurich tends to have even higher prices in summer.
A good thing to know if you want to visit Zurich in summer and save some money, is to make reservations in advance. By booking in advance, you can avoid paying what accommodation and attraction tickets can cost during the high season itself.
Private transportation, cabs and car rentals tend to be much more expensive during the summer, as well as train tickets.
What to pack for a trip to Zurich in summer?
Don't hesitate to pack all your summer clothes for your trip to Zurich at this time of the year. Of course, don't forget to pack some sweaters and of course warm pajamas to keep you warm during the cooler summer nights.
Bring sunscreen, sunglasses and plenty of shorts to enjoy the hours outdoors with the sun on your side. Also remember to bring a bathing suit so you can enjoy the natural pools during the hiking activities.