While many may assert that the country's name is nearly synonymous with snow, expats should keep in mind that, overall, the weather in Switzerland is actually fairly moderate.
The Alps and the Jura Mountains create a number of cold microclimates, but most of Switzerland enjoys a typical Central European climate void of extremes. In that vein, expats should do some careful research on the regional weather patterns of the Swiss destination to which they are relocating. Naturally, temperatures become colder as altitude increases.
Keep in mind that the summer months, June to September, are warm with average highs of 69°F (21°C) and are the best time for outdoor activities. Winter is cold, but snow is still primarily relegated to the mountainous regions. The cities in the Swiss lowlands, such as Zurich, Basel and Geneva, experience more fog during this period than anything else. November is the best time for skiing, as it’s before peak tourist season, but at a point when the mountains are likely dusted with white powder.
Most of Switzerland’s rainfall and other means of precipitation arrive in summer, except for the Valais region, which remains comparatively dry.
Expats planning on living in Switzerland will certainly need their winter coats, woollen scarves and leather gloves, but swimsuits and shorts are just as appropriate for the packing list. The Southern Ticino region of Switzerland has weather reminiscent of the Mediterranean.
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