Swiss Observer

10 things to do in Switzerland in summer 2024

CategoryBy missinswiss
swiss in summer

The summer months from June to August bring warm, sunny weather that’s perfect for exploring this beautiful country.

Switzerland is a dream summer destination, offering stunning alpine scenery, crystal-clear lakes, charming villages, and exciting outdoor adventures.

If you’re planning a trip to Switzerland in summer 2024, here are 10 amazing things you won’t want to miss:

1. Ride the scenic railways

Ride the scenic railways

Switzerland is famous for its incredibly efficient and scenic train journeys that wind through the Alps. Summer is the ideal time to experience some of the most spectacular routes.

The Glacier Express panoramic train travels from Zermatt to St. Moritz, passing through 91 tunnels and crossing 291 bridges.

The Bernina Express, a UNESCO World Heritage railway, climbs up to the 2253 meter high Bernina Pass and down to the palms of Italy.

And, the GoldenPass Line connects Montreux and Lucerne on a picturesque journey through the heart of Switzerland.

2. Hike the breathtaking alpine trails

swiss in summer

With over 65,000 km of well-marked hiking paths, Switzerland is a hiker’s paradise in summer. There are trails for every ability level, from gentle walks through meadows to challenging climbs up mountain peaks.

Some of the best areas for hiking include the Swiss National Park in Graubünden, the Lauterbrunnen Valley and Schynige Platte in the Bernese Oberland. Long-distance trails like the Via Alpina, Jura Crest Trail, and Alpine Passes Trail offer multi-day hiking adventures.

Among the most spectacular hikes to discover are the crystal-clear waters of Oeschinensee, the enchanting beauty of the 5 Lakes Pizol trail, the turquoise brilliance of Caumasee, and the dramatic cliffs of Creux du Van. These trails showcase the very best of Switzerland’s natural wonders, leaving hikers with memories that will last a lifetime.

3. Explore the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise in Zermatt

goat in matterhorn

Zermatt is home to Switzerland’s most iconic peak, the 4478-meter tall Matterhorn. While the mountain itself is for experienced climbers only, you can get a close-up view by riding the cable car up to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise,

Europe’s highest cable car station at 3883 meters. At the top, you can visit the Glacier Palace, go snow tubing and enjoy breathtaking views of the Matterhorn and 38 other 4000-meter peaks.

Spend a few nights in the charming car-free village of Zermatt at the base of the mountain.

4. Visit the Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe


The Jungfraujoch is an absolute must-do excursion in the Bernese Oberland. Dubbed the “Top of Europe“, it’s the highest railway station on the continent at 3454 meters.

The journey itself is an experience, as you ride the narrow-gauge cogwheel train up through the Eiger and Mönch mountains.

At the top, you can tour the Ice Palace, brave the Tissot Cliff Walk, take in the sweeping views from the Sphinx Observatory, and even go sledding on the snow in summer.

5. Cruise the Swiss lakes

swiss river cruise

Switzerland’s many pristine lakes are a highlight in summer, and one of the best ways to enjoy them is on a scenic boat cruise .

Especially popular are cruises on Lake Lucerne, Lake Brienz (also check out the Brienz train ride when there) and Lake Thun in the Bernese Oberland, Lake Geneva in the southwest, and Lake Lugano in the south.

Many cruises include stops at picturesque lakeside villages and castles.

You can also rent a pedal boat, kayak or stand-up paddle board to explore the tranquil waters on your own.

6. Discover the Castles of Bellinzona

bellinzona castle

Bellinzona, the capital of Ticino, is famous for its three medieval castles recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Castelgrande, Montebello and Sasso Corbaro were built in the 13th-15th centuries and are among the best preserved fortifications in Switzerland.

You can visit all three on a combo ticket. Be sure to climb the towers and ramparts for panoramic views over Bellinzona and the surrounding valleys. The town has a charming Italian-influenced historic center to stroll as well.

More info:

7. See the Rhine Falls

rhine falls

The Rhine Falls near Schaffhausen are Europe’s largest waterfall and one of the top natural wonders in Switzerland.

The falls are 150 meters wide and 23 meters high, with an average flow of 700,000 liters of water per second in summer.

You can view the thundering falls for free from several platforms, or take a boat ride to the middle of the falls to feel their power up close.

Visit on August 1st to see the falls illuminated with fireworks for Swiss National Day.

8. Attend a summer festival

swiss summer festival

Summer is festival season in Switzerland, with a wide variety of events happening all over the country. 

Music lovers can rock out at the Montreux Jazz Festival, Paléo Festival in Nyon, Gurten Festival in Bern, or the Verbier Classical Music Festival.

Other major events include the Locarno Film Festival, Zermatt Folklore Festival, and the Fête de Genève with its famous fireworks display.

Of course, Swiss National Day on August 1st is celebrated in every city and village with bonfires, parades, and festivities.

9. Go white water rafting in Interlaken

rafting in interlaken

Interlaken is the adventure capital of Switzerland, and one of the most thrilling activities to try in summer is white water rafting.

The turquoise waters of the Lütschine and Simme rivers have class III-IV rapids that make for an exciting ride through canyons and valleys with stunning views of the Alps.

Several companies offer guided rafting trips for all experience levels.

Other adventures around Interlaken include canyoning, paragliding, sky diving, and the via ferrata.

Tip: Find Summer Camps in Switzerland with Best Parents

10. Ride the open-air cable cars


An unforgettable way to take in Switzerland’s dramatic mountain scenery is riding an open-air cable car. 

The Cabrio cable car on the Stanserhorn has a roofless upper deck, allowing for unobstructed 360-degree views as you ascend over 6200 feet from Stans to the mountain summit.

The Gelmer Funicular near Gelmersee is the steepest open-air funicular in Europe, climbing at a 106% gradient up the mountainside.

And the open-top cable car from Raron to Eischoll offers spectacular vistas of the Valais Alps and Rhone Valley.


As a bonus tip, consider getting the Swiss Travel Pass to make the most of your summer adventures. This all-in-one ticket covers unlimited rides on trains, buses, boats, and premium panoramic trains, plus free admission to over 500 museums. You can choose a pass for 3, 4, 8 or 15 days.

With so many incredible things to do, Switzerland is sure to make your summer holiday in 2024 unforgettable. Start planning your itinerary now to experience the best of this alpine gem’s great outdoors, fascinating culture and history, and warm hospitality.