What to wear in Switzerland: Packing List
Are you almost ready for your trip and wondering what to wear in Switzerland? No worries, we are sharing our Switzerland Packing list with you – perfect for all seasons, and for women and men!
From clothes and styling options, electronics to travel documents, we have included everything that you need for an enjoyable trip to Switzerland.
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What to wear in Switzerland Packing List
Pacsafe Venturesafe 45 L | Universal Adaptor | Dress | White flowy blouse | Hiking/walking shoes | SOREL Joan of Arctic Boots | North Face Parka | Sony Camera | Multi-port charging cable
Before we begin with our packing list for Switzerland, here are our luggage recommendations. Salil and I prefer to pack light, and we mostly use our 45 litre backpacks.
Pacsafe Venturesafe 45 L has served us well for the past trips to Europe, and Switzerland is no different. What we like about this backpack is that it opens up from the side like a suitcase and makes it easy to store our packing cubes, and access items conveniently.
It has nice front pockets for storing our charging cables, universal adaptor, notebook, and toiletries. Pacsafe is made of anti-theft and slash proof material, and it keeps our belongings safe when we are using public transportation (you don’t have to worry about theft in Switzerland, but we used the same backpack for all Europe trips!)
Another option is the Osprey unisex-adult Farpoint 40. This is a relatively new product in our collection and I like it already (and it is in red color!). Just like the Pacsafe, it opens up on the side, has dedicated pockets for storage, and comes with a very comfortable strap.
For a daypack, we use Pacsafe Metrosafe 15 Liter Anti Theft Backpack. It comes in a 25 L size too. Salil carries the backpack, and it has our camera gear, sunglasses, and water bottle.
I carry my Longchamp LePliage tote bag in a size small. It is handy to carry my scarf, photo props, and to bring back shopping goodies. The bag usually comes with me, all neatly folded in a small envelope size.
Switzerland Packing List for summer, spring & fall/autumn
We will begin with our summer, spring, and fall packing list for Switzerland (and followed by winter). Now, if you are planning a trip in the following months, this list applies to you,
- Spring: March to May
- Summer: June to August
- Autumn/Fall: September to November
Temperatures in Swiss cities (Zurich, Geneva, Lucerne, Bern) hover around 10 degree C/50 F in the spring, 25 degree C/ 70 F in the summer, and 20 degree C/ 68 in the fall or autumn months. In the peak summer months, rain is also very common.
Here is what you must pack for your trip to Switzerland – Women (Spring to Autumn)
Tops & Blouses
Carry 2-3 tops with you, depending on the duration of the trip, ideally one for every day. If you are like me, who wants to look pretty on camera, then pack cute flowy blouses. They look great in photos with Swiss Alps, and old town buildings in the backdrop.
Plus you can wear comfortable jeans, or linen pants in the bottom!
If you are planning to hike, carry moisture wicking T-shirts on your trails.
BUY: Leopard Print top | White flowy blouse | Long sleeve T shirt
Bottoms – jeans, linen pants, shorts
On our trip to Switzerland, we noticed that people in cities like Zurich and Geneva, near nicer fabrics – clean cut outfits. Jeans are totally cool, as long as they are not super stone-washed, or ripped. Wear dark colored, fitted but comfortable jeans.
I take my American Eagle jeggings with me everywhere, and they are very comfy to wear all day long. You can easily make a style statement with your jeans – pair it up with a designer belt, or leather boots (in late autumn/fall months).
If you are hiking, or at the beach/lakeside, shorts and leggings both are handy. Do pack one if you are planning to hit the biking and hiking trails.
BUY: AE Jeggings | PrAna Shorts | Linen Pants
Dresses & jumpsuits
Wear flowy, cute dresses in the summer and spring months. Pick bright, pastel colors. Dresses (maxi, or short dresses) are lightweight, and very easily packable. Plus you get to look amazing in your photos! BONUS!
In the fall months, you can switch to a jumpsuit or earthy-tone dress to match the weather! Don’t forget to carry a light cardigan though.
BUY: Black Jumpsuit or Romper | Flowy Dress
Comfortable walking shoes, hiking boots
A pair of comfortable walking shoes are a must for Switzerland. From old towns, to reaching the Top Of Europe, you will need shoes (ditch heels!).
Lightweight sneakers or hiking shoes both are good for walking, just depends on what you are comfortable in. Opt for waterproof material. I switch between my KEEN hiking shoes and Steve Madden Sneakers.
If you are team sandals, Teva Hurricane are a great option for walking, especially in the summertime.
Swimming is allowed in many lakes in Switzerland, and there are luxury resorts with pools onsite. So pack your swimwear for the trip.
And don’t forget to add a pair of flip flops.
BUY: One piece swimwear | 2 piece swimsuit | Quick drying towel
A light cardigan is handy all year round – inside scenic trains, at high altitudes, in the evenings, or when it rains (because I am mostly always cold, and I live in Canada – that’s a story for another day!)
The warmest months in Switzerland are also the wettest months. In summer and fall, you can expect rain 9-11 days per month, especially in the cities. So a lightweight packable waterproof jacket (with a hood) is a must-carry item.
BUY: Marmot Rain jacket | Arc’teryx Beta LT Jacket
Sunglasses & sunscreen
In the summertime, temperatures in various Swiss cities can be as high as 28 degrees C/82.4 F. With warm weather outside, it is natural to spend time outdoors; so protect yourself from harmful sun rays and wear sunscreen.
Re-apply them every few hours so that you are protected!
And never leave your sunnies behind. Sunglasses not only provide protection, but they instantly light up your overall outfit! My favorite: RayBan Erika Sunglasses
Whether you are a window shopper, or a credit swiper, it never hurts to look pretty, and put together. Accessorize your outfit with scarves, belts, statement watches, or a hat!
Cross body bag
When you are out and about exploring, sometimes it is nice to go light (and leave your daypack and tote in the hotel). I own quite a few crossbody bags, and for travel, these are my favorites – Gucci Soho Disco bag, and Pacsafe anti-theft purse
Carry a pair (or two) of loungewear, night dress, loose boyfriend shirts – whatever makes you comfy and happy at night!
Here is a quick list for men,
- Bottoms – jeans, shorts
- Walking shoes, or hiking shoes (both waterproof)
- Waterproof jacket
- Sunglasses & sunscreen
FREE DOWNLOAD: All season Europe Packing List
Switzerland Winter Packing List
Chilly evenings start kicking in Switzerland by November. From mid December onwards, you can expect snow and colder temperatures in high altitude towns and mountain peaks. Temperatures in the city are around 0 degrees C/32 F, and in mountain towns it is -2 C /28 F.
In December Switzerland is decked up in festive spirit. This is the time for visiting Christmas Markets, shopping, and ringing in the New Year’s. The week from Christmas eve to New Year’s is also one of the expensive weeks in Switzerland for accommodation, and flights.
January is the coldest month, and this is the perfect time to visit Switzerland for skiing-related activities. February is usually super busy on the slopes, but in the cities, things are a little dull, as it is a low tourist season.
So here are the packing items for winter season in Switzerland,
Winter Parka or warm coat (waterproof)
You will need your warm coat or winter parka during your trip to Switzerland.
If visiting ski resorts, a parka is much better than a coat. This North Face parka has a removable hood, so you can cover yourself when it’s cold and windy. With deep pockets, this is great for keeping your hands warm and toasty inside.
Packable short puffer jackets are a good option too. Opt for something with bright colors to pop against the snowy backdrop (like yellow, red, or blue).
If you are only exploring cities, you can get by with a nice wool coat – the ones that come with a waterproof coating.
Warm boots are a must in winters in Switzerland. Wear tall or ankle-length boots, with a warm insulated lining. It is also important to consider the outsole and check the threading on it. An outsole should provide a grip when you are walking on slippery, and icy surfaces.
Also, consider the weight of the boots as you will be carrying it on your flight, and not wearing it.
BUY: SOREL Joan of Arctic Boots | UGG Boots | North Face Shellista Boots
Socks to keep your toes warm! Buy yours here
A scarf can brighten up your outfit, and keep you warm and cozy. Infinity and triangle scarves are my go to in the winters. I pair them with my plain parka.
Warm gloves are required in the winters. Get gloves with fingers so that you can easily slide in and out when needed.
Also when you are out and about, you will need your fingers for clicking photos or checking your phone, these tech gloves will come in handy. BUY: Goretex unisex gloves here
Pack cute beanies or touques to cover your head and ears. Beanies also add a nice color to the usual/plain winter parkas.
Thermal tops, bottoms, leggings
In high altitudes, the cold weather can be nasty for some. If you are planning a lot of time outdoors, do wear thermal top, and bottoms.
Thermal wear is important so that you are warm, and comfortable, while sightseeing. Depending on your cold threshold you can also swap thermal bottoms for leggings.
BUY: Thermal for her (top) | Thermal for her (bottom)
All Winter Packing List Items: Men & Women
Here is the entire list of packing items for a winter trip to Switzerland for him, and her
- Long sleeve tops, shirts
- Bottoms – jeans, leggings
- Nice sweater dress for dinners out (her)
- Winter boots
- Sunglasses & sunscreen
- Stylish accessories
- Winter parka, or wool coat
- Warm socks
What to pack for Switzerland: Toiletries & medications
Our summer and winter cosmetics list does not vary a lot, except that the moisturisers are more creamier. Anyhow, here is what you must include (and we recommend carrying decent sizes because purchasing them there will be expensive)
- Moisturizers: My number one moisturizer is this Vitamin E cream from Body Shop. I have been using them for over 10+ years, and they are so good. Carry the 50 ml size, which is also carry-on approved.
- Lipstick/balm: Carry chapstick, and your favorite lipsticks, lip color
- Eye pencil: My au-natural make-up includes a foundation and eye pencil! My favorites – IT Cosmetics | Rimmel Eyewear Exaggerate
- Perfume: Travel size perfume
- Toothpaste, toothbrush
- Hand sanitizer
- Don’t forget your prescriptions, and Advil, etc.
What to pack for Switzerland: Electronics
Electronics are just as important as clothing, especially a universal adaptor, and a charging cable. Here is the entire list,
- Phone: Your cellphone. We travel with our iPhones. This is where we store our passes, booking information, use it as a camera sometimes, and also to connect with friends and family.
- Sim card or pocket wifi
- Charger: I love multi-charging cables. They are so handy. We have iPhones, and our camera uses micro USB, so does our power backup. And a cable like this works like magic.
- Universal Adaptor: A universal adaptor is a must. Europe uses a plug with two round pins (type C), unlike the flat ones in North America. You can buy yours here
- Camera: Don’t forget your camera. We carry our Sony Mirrorless Camera and Sony A7iii. The mirrorless is super lightweight, and it can be stored inside a small crossbody bag. The A7iii is super powerful (for gloomy, low lighting photos).
- SD Card: To back up all the photos you will be capturing in Switzerland.
- Laptop: Optional
Checklist for travel to Switzerland: Packing Tips
In this section, we are sharing essential travel documents for your trip to Switzerland, from tourist visa to currency, and insurance.
- Passport: Ensure you carry your passport. It should be valid for at least 6 months from the date of arrival in Switzerland. The passport must be in good condition and not torn or tempered.
- Visa: If you require a Schengen Visa for Europe/Switzerland, do apply for it prior to your trip. Any additional documents that go with the visa should be part of this list (varies).
- Currency and Credit Cards: Don’t forget your credit cards, and currency (Euro or Francs). Francs is the official currency, but you can exchange Euros in Switzerland.
- Transportation: Carry Swiss Travel Pass, City Pass, flight tickets, or any tour confirmation
- Hotels: Confirm hotel reservations, and save your emails or a screenshot of the booking email.
- Travel Insurance: Don’t forget to protect your trip to Switzerland from delays and cancellations. You can check out free quotes here from World Nomads Insurance
Other essentials to bring to Switzerland
- Packing cubes: For easy packing and organization, we use packing cubes. You can buy yours here
- Reusable water bottle: As water is expensive, it is better to carry a reusable water bottle on your hikes, walking trails, and sightseeing tours. Here is my favorite bottle
- Small umbrella: Because it could rain in most touristy months, a small umbrella is handy, when you are out and about
Things to Consider When Packing for a Trip to Switzerland
Below we share some of the factors that you should consider when packing your bags for Switzerland.
- Time of year: When choosing what to pack, consider the month of travel, and the season. We have included the month range for each season above.
- Where are you going: Your packing list for the cities vs resort towns will be different. Most of the popular cities in Switzerland do not experience extremely cold weather and remain pleasant (only with the possibility of rain), so pack waterproof clothing, and clothing appropriate for city travel (walking on cobblestones, shopping, museums, etc). If you are planning to stay in places/towns with high altitudes a pair of warm clothing is always advisable.
- What are you planning to do: Are you planning to go skiing, swimming, or visiting Christmas Markets? Your packing list should reflect that! So don’t forget that stellar sweater dress and comfy boots, swimwear, and boots, or rent ski gear for your upcoming trip!
We have included both the summer and winter packing lists for Switzerland. When visiting during off season, or crossover months, you should carry ‘a pair of something warm’ – scarf, sweater, light jacket, warm socks, whatever you prefer to keep you warm and toasty in the evenings.
We prepare our travel capsule wardrobe by focusing on the weather, and the trip duration, and carry only that, and this allows us to maximize the 45 L backpack space we have!
We hope you found this post on what to pack for Switzerland and related travel tips useful. If you forget to carry something, don’t worry you will find everything in Switzerland, just that it will be a little expensive.
Other Switzerland Travel Guides:
- Find when is the best time to visit Switzerland
- Get Switzerland Itinerary 7 days, 5 days, or 2 days
- Coolest scenic train rides in Switzerland