Geneva Weather Overview:
Geneva doesn’t have the weather you’d expect from a city in the middle of the Alps and which is renowned for the nearby ski resorts. Winters are cold but rain and ice storms are more usual than snow and the snow that does fall, often melts quickly in the city. Summers are beautiful with high sunshine hours, very warm temperatures and few wet days.
All Time Highs and Lows:
The highest temperature seen in Geneva was in July 2003 when, during the European-wide heat wave, the thermometer measured 96f. The lowest temperature recorded was in January 2010 when the mercury stopped falling at -19C.
Geneva is described as having a temperate continental climate which is influenced by several factors. Normally, such a climate would expect plentiful snow in winter but Geneva’s low altitude and the influence of Lake Leman and the more distant Mediterranean serve to keep winter temperatures higher than they should be
Month by Month:
January: January is Geneva’s coldest month with the daytime temperature rarely rising above 10C and generally hovering around 5C. When it snows, the streets get slushy but the snow rarely settles for more than a few hours unless it falls overnight when by lunchtime it’s mostly gone. There’s not a lot of sunshine during the month but surprisingly it has one of the lowest levels of precipitation. It’s great for skiing in the nearby resorts and the season there will continue until the end of April.
February: February is only slightly warmer than January and you may see one or two days around 10C but overall it follows the same pattern as January although there are 50% more hours of sunshine than January making the month feel less gloomy.
March: March is a great month for visiting Geneva. The temperature has improved dramatically and sunshine levels are over three times that of January. Many days have a spring-like feel and the flower beds in the city’s parks are showing the first colours of spring. Night-time temperatures are now rarely below freezing and the streets are getting busier in the evenings.
April: April has the lowest rainfall on average for any month and also one of the lowest numbers of wet days. It’s not unknown for temperatures to be in the seventies and spring has definitely arrived.
May: This is the month to get out and explore the nearby mountains. Snow on the lower slopes has disappeared to be replaced by alpine meadows awash with wildflowers. Strangely, it’s the wettest month with eleven rainy days on average but in between, the city is magnificent.
June: Summer’s finally arrived with daytime temperatures in the seventies and often the eighties. Pavement cafes are thriving as people take advantage of the warm weather and sunny days. Rainy days are still common but you won’t be cold when it does rain.
July: The hottest, driest and sunniest month, July is a great time to escape the city and perhaps take a boat trip on the lake or head higher into the mountains where the air is cooler and clearer. The city can be oppressive at this time of year with the urban island effect storing the heat and releasing it into hot nights.
August: Many of the city’s people choose August for their holidays and the resident population is replaced by many tourists. It’s another hot month with temperatures regularly in the eighties and dropping to the low sixties overnight. Days are generally sunny but the heat can trigger some thundery days.
September: One of the nicest times to visit Geneva now that the heat of the summer is spent. September sees temperatures around the mid-seventies but it has the lowest number of rainy days allowing you to plan trips out and picnics in the meadows without the fear of getting wet. Now further away from the summer solstice, sunshine hours have dropped back from their summer highs.
October: Autumn comes with a bang in Geneva with temperatures plunging and the hours of sunshine dramatically reduced. The city becomes windier and the leaves from the trees scuttle around your feet. With daytime temperatures around 16C you’ll need coats on less sunny days and at night, it’s time for hearty meals inside the city’s restaurants whilst only the very hardy brave the outside tables.
November: Grey and gloomy November can treat you to rolling fogs off the lake as the water temperature stays higher than that of the city. Struggling to get above 10C now, winter is truly here with the highest rainfall levels, now sometimes translated into snow and hailstorms.
December: This can be a magical month as snow often falls, adding to the seasonal feel of the city now bedecked in Christmas lights and decorations. Whilst the snow doesn’t last long on the streets, it’s not a long drive up into the mountains for some real Christmassy weather.
Best Time to Visit:
Winter is a magical time for, despite snow not settling for long, the crisp cold days make you want to go for a bracing walk along the lake. If you’re after snow, then the ski resorts in the nearby mountains are less than 30 minutes away and easily accessible by hire car or public transport. Geneva in the summer is beautiful with sultry temperatures, great for relaxing on the lakeside beaches or sitting out in the evening for a meal or a drink.