Zurich is located on the northern edge of the Swiss plateau at a height of around 400m above sea level. The city is on the cusp of the change from oceanic to continental climate and its weather depends on the direction of the wind, mainly westerly, which change with the weather systems. High pressure brings cooler drier winds from the north whilst the westerlies bring mild and damp weather.
All Time Highs and Lows:
Zurich’s weather is tempered by the winds and rarely sees extremes. In the hot summer of 2003, it saw highs of 36C and in 1945 saw a low of -15C.
The region where Zurich is located is where the oceanic climate zone meets the continental zone giving mixed weather but one that rarely reaches extremes. Further east and the winters are harsh and summers dry and hot, further west and they are milder and damper.
Spring: Winters in Zurich aren’t as grey as in Bern or Basle and March manages an average of four hours of sunshine a day. Rainfall in the winter months and the start of spring is light but increases as the season progresses. Temperatures rise significantly between March and May with late spring seeing the occasional day in the low seventies.
Summer: Thunderstorms brought on by periods of humidity cause the summer rainfall levels to be higher than in winter but they are few and far between. With temperatures often in the low 80s in July and August and sunshine levels reaching an average of just under eight hours a day, it’s a great time to be in Zurich.
Autumn: September is one of the better months for Zurich with temperatures still in the seventies, plenty of sunshine and few really wet days. This all changes as we head towards winter and November can be grey and gloomy. You’ll find temperatures plummet at the end of October and the first snow isn’t far away.
Winter: Temperatures rarely rise above freezing in the winter months and the lighter precipitation falls as snow. Each year there’s nearly a month of temperatures below freezing. Sunshine is a rare commodity with barely an hour on average throughout December and January.
Best Time to Visit:
Most Swiss cities are best visited in September and Zurich is no exception. The city is still warm and the lake temperature is still good for swimming. Sunshine is abundant and the rainfall hasn’t yet fallen into the drizzly pattern of late autumn.