When to go to Geneva: climate, best time and tips month by month

Who I am
Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Geneva, capital of the canton of the same name, is the second most populous city in Switzerland (immediately after Zurich), located on the two banks of the Rhone river at the southwestern end of Lake Geneva. Protected by a natural basin, surrounded by mountains, the city has developed since ancient times, establishing itself today as an important economic, commercial and banking center of the country.
If you are planning a visit to Switzerland, here are some indications about the climate, the main points of interest and the most popular events in Geneva.


  1. Climate, Average Temperatures and Precipitation
  2. When to go to Geneva: the cheapest period
  3. Geneva in Spring
  4. Geneva in the Summer
  5. Geneva in Autumn
  6. Geneva in Winter
  7. User questions and comments

Climate, Average Temperatures and Precipitation

  • Best time: from May to September, with preference for the summer (June-August). But watch out for frequent summer storms. In general, Geneva is always enjoyable but in these months the days are long and the temperatures very pleasant
  • Period to avoid: none in particular, but in winter it is very cold. But under Christmas it is beautiful

In Geneva, the climate is moderately continental, with cold winters and quite hot summers. Annual temperatures oscillate on average between 1 ° C in January and 25 ° C in the summer months, with cold and persistent winds in winter which, however, can accentuate the perception of cold.
Rainfall is abundant throughout the year: if in the first months they are linked to perturbations of Atlantic origin, in the summer they appear short, but intense, afternoon thunderstorms that contribute to raising the level of humidity.

When to go to Geneva: the cheapest period

From the point of view of costs, however, keep in mind that, if Switzerland is already much more expensive than we are used to, Zurich and Geneva are among the most expensive cities of all so it will not be easy to spend little. If possible, avoid periods below holidays or bridges, and leave well in advance to look for accommodation and / or various transport, perhaps in this way you will be able to save a little bit.

The best compromise is in the months of August and September, which although the best climatic, are not very expensive. Not being a summer destination par excellence, it is not difficult to find good offers.

Geneva in Spring

Spring in Geneva is still basically cold, so much so that frost and snow can occur until mid-April. From the end of the month on, however, temperatures become more stable and pleasant, even if there may be some afternoon showers which cool down towards the end of the day.
In general, however, it is nice to visit Geneva this season: more than 310 hectares of land are dedicated to the city's green areas (parks, gardens and relaxation areas), mostly scattered along the lake shore.

If you love long walks in nature, you might think about going as far asRousseau Island (once known as the island of ships) to spend a few hours away from the chaos: the island, at the center of which is the statue of the Genevan philosopher, is home to various species of aquatic and non-aquatic birds, and will allow you to enjoy a privileged view on the famous Jet d'eau.
To celebrate the arrival of good weather, the Fete de la Feuille has been organized for over two centuries in the Promenade de la Treille avenue (known for having, among other things, the longest bench in the world: about 120 meters).
Other important events of the period are the International Auto Show (in March), the International Exhibition of Inventions and that of the Book and the Press (both around April).

Geneva in the Summer

Summer is quite hot and sunny, thanks to the high pressure coming from the Azores and which guarantees long periods of good weather. The evening thunderstorms and the breeze that blows from the lake, however, can bring relief during the summer nights so that the temperatures never touch intolerable levels: in general, they exceed 32 ° only a couple of times between July and August.

Taking advantage of the sunny days, many people gather around Lake Geneva where for the occasion real oases of relaxation can be created with deckchairs, stalls for street food, etc. If you are in the city in June, you will have the opportunity to attend the famous Geneva regatta or Bol d'Or (the largest lake regatta in Europe!).
In July, however, the Fete de Genève is one of the most anticipated events in the whole country with parades, concerts, fireworks.

Geneva in Autumn

Autumn comes pretty early in Geneva, since already in October the first gray and rainy days appear. If you are lucky enough to enjoy the last rays of sunshine in the city, you might want to visit the Wall of the Reformers located inside the Parc des Bastions: the monument honors the most significant characters and events of the Protestant Reformation, represented with bas-reliefs and statues of different sizes.

Other important monuments dedicated to the Reformation and very interesting to visit, grouped in the Espace Saint-Pierre site, are the Cathedral of San Pietro, the International Museum of the Reformation (connected to the cathedral by an underground corridor) and the Auditorium of Calvino, or a small chapel in the ancient heart of the city.
The very first days of September, the La Batie Festival is celebrated: over fifteen days of festivities, theatrical performances, modern dance and visual arts gathered along the streets and alleys of the city.

Geneva in Winter

During the winter, temperatures often reach 0 ° and frequent winds accentuate the temperature changes. In particular, when the cold currents of Siberian origin blow, the wind can generate an unusual rime effect on the boats, the piers and the lakefront, creating scenarios more associated with the polar regions of the world.
To temporarily escape these weather conditions, I suggest you take some time to visit the most important buildings in the historic center and the surrounding area: among the most interesting ones, I would like to point out the Grand Theater, the Museum of Art and History and (at least from outside) the imposing United Nations Office which, after the Glass Building in New York, is the largest international operations center of the United Nations.

Among the events of the season not to be missed, however, in addition to Christmas markets, there is certainly the Escalade of Geneva, or the commemoration of the failed attack on the city by the Savoy. For the occasion, the locals wear period costumes and the traditional marzipan sweets, the Marmite d'Escalade, are sold in the pastry shops.

How to dress: what to pack

  • In winter: warm clothes suitable for the cold (sweaters, fleece, jeans and / or long pants, thermal shirts, water resistant shoes, scarf, hat, gloves), coat or down jacket, umbrella.
  • In summer: light clothes for the day and some heavier items for the evening or cloudy days (sweatshirt, long pants, water resistant shoes), umbrella.
  • In autumn and spring: spring / autumn clothes, raincoat, umbrella.

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