If you are a hiker, mountaineer, or simply a tourist, you might wonder what would be a good off-season time to visit Switzerland. This text will help, so keep reading.
So this will depend on what the term season means particularly for you. If this is not about winter sports, then the top season would mean two summer months (July and August) plus September.
I think this should be obvious from the graph shown below that gives visits per month:
If you want to do some hiking and mountaineering and to avoid crowds, note that weather may be far more stable in September and October than in full season. You will also have far less snow, and such ‘off-season’ activity can extend far into November when the country is far less visited as you see in the graph above.
Going there in May and June may be useless if you plan to go into high mountains. There is normally too much snow. To realize what I mean, it is best to see the picture below.
This is Mont Fort area above Verbier and Nendaz, and the altitude is around 3000 meters, so this area is not particularly high for Swiss standards. The date is May, 29, 2023. So you realize, this is still far too early for ordinary hiking and mountaineering tours. The snow is still deep everywhere, and there are dangers of avalanches as well.
All in all, for hiking and mountaineering, the term off-season should mean late autumn. Do not even think of going there in pre-season, e.g., in May and early June.
Regarding off-season accommodation in Switzerland
It is important to know that in the off-season period mountain huts are normally all closed. Therefore you will have to rely on the so-called winter rooms that many of them provide.
But it is highly advisable that you check information about huts in the area where you plan to go. This because not all of them have a winter room, and also the equipment in them will vary from place to place.
As for renting apartments, you will typically see statements that Switzerland is expensive all year round. But this depends on what you plan to do and when/where you go.
For example, there are many ski resorts where you can find surprisingly inexpensive accommodation in summer months and in autumn. Sometimes this may imply that you are a bit far from the area where you plan to do your hiking, but this is still worth it.
Huts and shelters without guardians
There are many places where you can spend a night with minimal and/or voluntary payments, or without payments at all.
One of them is described in detail in one of my sites, this is about Igloo des Pantalons Blancs at 3280 m. I spent one night there in solitude.
This is a place surrounded by permanent snow and ice, but inside you will have a wood stove with plenty of wood, and a gas stove as well. So I am sure you will be able to appreciate such a luxury and leave some voluntary contribution in the box that is attached to the wall.
There were two more shelters of that type in the same area, but much lower, closer to the Dix lake. When I was there, those shelters used to have a guardian only during weekends. They are normally always open, but it is best to check the current situation because I was there years ago. Avoid weekends and holidays because these shelters may be crowded by local people, they use to come with kids and spend weekends in nature.
Thank you for reading. Let me know if you have questions or comments, there is a comment box below. Have a nice day.