When we planned a trip to Switzerland in May, we pictured valleys sprinkled with wildflowers, spotted cows grazing in fields of green, and stunning views from every direction atop mountain peaks.
Instead, after winding down highway after highway hedged in by such beautiful spring views that practically made our eyes pop out of our heads, we turned off the main road to climb the mountain taking us to pristine hiking destination Furenalp, and in less time than it would take to make an Instagram reel, our surroundings transformed into nothing short of a winter wonderland.
Wide-eyed, we wound switchback after switchback, and the more elevation we gained, the thicker the snow clinging to the evergreen trees.
We were beginning to be doubtful that our “early summer” hiking excursion was yet in season. Our trip coincided with a work trip to Germany the week prior, so we knew we were pushing it on the weather front. Summer season in Switzerland doesn’t really start until mid-June, but some peaks open in late spring as early as the end of April. Between winter ski season and full-on summer, many trails close to the public due to being covered in snow or slush. You can’t access closed trails because most of them start or end at the top of a mountain, where a ride on a cable car or funicular is required to reach the top.
Nevertheless, we were intrigued, so we trekked onward, curious to see what awaited us when we reached the base!
As you can imagine, it didn’t get any less snowy when we reached our destination. We rummaged around in the car to find a few more layers (and my waterproof boots!) and then slowly ventured out to see if we might still be able to take the cable car to the top of the peak. To our disappointment and delight, the ground was covered in several FEET of snow. The snow-covered mountain peak straight ahead towered over us, so tall in the sky and reflecting the bright sun that we could barely take it in.
Alas, everything was closed down with no sign of a “spring opening.” (The gondola went up and down a few times, but didn’t appear to be carrying any passengers.) We had arrived just after an unlucky late spring snow storm. In MAY! Unfortunately we were not going to be hiking to any gloriously sunny waterfalls, but we were happy to have accidentally landed on the other side of the wardrobe into a real-life snowy Narnia.
So instead of a sunny hike, we traipsed around a winter wonderland!
Lesson learned: Be prepared for any weather when visiting Switzerland!
P.S. Be on the lookout for prints of these photos in my Etsy shop!