Located in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, Locarno is a popular tourist destination. Along with its neighboring town of Ascona, Locarno stands out for its proximity to the gorgeous valleys of the region, its location along the shore of Lago Maggiore, its magnificent climate, and its stunning old town.
With its palm trees, pines, and mild climate, Locarno does have a relaxed, southern flair. It offers a wide variety of activities and things to do. A big plus is that it’s also really sunny here too. If you were wondering when is the best time to visit Locarno, Switzerland, then read on. Here’s what to expect in Locarno during the different seasons of the year, as well as the best time for you to visit it.
When do tourists visit Locarno?
Locarno is located in an area considered to be one of the sunniest regions in Switzerland. With over 2,000 hours of sunshine per year, Locarno attracts many guests at any time of year. While it may not be one of Switzerland’s famous tourist destinations, lots of tourists still visit Locarno from April to October. The winters here are spectacular too.
Considering I live north of Ticino, I’d recommend visiting Locarno after the ski season ends and right before the lakes warm up. I think it would be a great place to visit during autumn too, shortly before ski season begins.
As a result of its southern location, autumn, winter, and spring are milder in Locarno than in the rest of Switzerland. The climate of Locarno can be described as humid subtropical. Its summers are warm and humid. Winters are cold but milder than in the rest of northern Switzerland. Snowfall is also relatively low.
Best Time to Visit Locarno
The best time really depends on your plans and preferences. I would recommend April, May, June, September, and October. During these days, when the ski season is over and swimming season isn’t in full swing yet, flowers begin blooming or leaves change colors in Locarno.
The caveat is that it’s going to be more crowded and it may rain. As long as you avoid the main summer school holiday of July, it will be more comfortable for you.
Locarno in Spring
- It’s the best time of year to visit Locarno in April because of the great weather and temperature.
- Towards the end of April, there’s more rain.
- May is Locarno’s wettest month, with an average rainfall of 167 mm (6.6 in)
- Flowers will start blooming. It’ll be a good time to visit many parks and gardens such as Brissago Islands and Parco Botanico del Gambarogno.
- Hiking is plentiful, but you might get snow on the higher trails at the beginning of the season.
- Cable cars and cog trains may be out of service during this time because of maintenance.
Locarno in Summer
- Summer lasts from May until mid-September.
- Heavy rainfall is expected during this period, especially in May and June. There are also fairly frequent thunderstorms.
- Temperatures reach 28 degrees Celsius, but on average are around 20 degrees Celsius.
- Peak summer temperatures reach almost 30 degrees Celsius in mid-July. The temperatures rarely fall below 17 degrees at night.
- July is the sunniest month, with an average of 8.2 hours of sunshine per day.
- Summer is a popular tourist season in Locarno, so accommodation and other living conditions can cost a little more. One of the most popular destinations in summer near Locarno is Valle Verzasca.
- For outdoor activities such as hiking and swimming, the best time of year to visit Locarno would be between mid-June to mid-September.
- According to the tourism rating, the best time of year to visit Locarno for outdoor activities during the warm season is from mid-June to mid-September.
- Moon & Stars Music Festival takes place every July for eleven days. It is Ticino’s most popular music event featuring selected musicians who give free concerts every day.
- Locarno Film Festival takes place every August for eleven days. Red carpets will be ready for movie stars during this time. Along with Cannes and Venice, it’s one of the oldest film festivals in the world.
Locarno in Autumn
- Autumn generally is from mid-September to October.
- In Autumn, the temperature starts dropping and so does the amount of precipitation received.
- Severe storms can take place during autumn and this can cause floods throughout the canton.
- The temperature drops to 10 to 17 degrees Celsius from the height of 28 degrees Celsius in summer.
- You will find loads of chesnuts everywhere during this season, especially roasted and candied ones.
- Grape harvest also begins in autumn.
Locarno in Winter
- The months of November to February are the coldest of the year.
- The temperatures average around 7 to 9 degrees Celsius and snowfall is expected sometimes.
- The weather at this time of year in Locarno is too cold to be pleasant for warm-weather travelers
- Rainfall is very less during these months. You will have the least chance of significant rainfall in Locarno in the months of January, December, and then February.
- The weather at this time of year in Locarno is too cold to be pleasant for warm-weather travelers.
- Weather in winter is ideal for those who want to go skiing, snowboarding, and do other winter sports.
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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.