Packing for Switzerland is no joke! The weather in this beautiful country can be unpredictable, but I’ll help you make sure you’ve got all the right gear and know what to wear in Switzerland and how to organize your Switzerland packing list for winter and summer.
Switzerland is a beautiful and diverse country that offers something for every type of traveler. From the snow-capped peaks of the Alps to the charming cities and picturesque countryside, there’s no shortage of stunning sights to explore.
We’ve had the opportunity to live and work in Switzerland over the last few years and have taken many trips back to visit friends. We love this country, the culture, the beautiful scenery, and the endless outdoor opportunities.
However, packing for a trip to Switzerland can be a bit tricky, as the country experiences a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions throughout the year and throughout each region. Whether you’re planning a summer hike or a winter ski trip, it’s essential to pack smart and bring the right gear.
I’ll help you with a comprehensive Switzerland packing list for winter and summer to ensure that you’re prepared for whatever adventure comes your way in any season.
Don’t have time to read a bunch of reviews and blog posts? Here are our top picks for visiting Switzerland:
Wanderlust Switzerland Guide
Need a quick day-by-day, open-and-go itinerary for Switzerland? Get my guide and let me do the work for you!
Our favorite Hotels in Switzerland
- Zurich: Baur Au Lac
- Lucerne: Burgenstock Alpine Hotel & Spa
- Zermatt: The Omnia
- Interlaken: Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel
- Bern: Hotel Schweiserhof
- Geneva: Swiss Luxury Apartments
- Montreaux: Eurotel Montreaux
Getting Around Switzerland
Our favorite activities and tours in Switzerland
This post contains affiliate links
Switzerland Packing List for Any Season
These are essentials on any Switzerland packing list for any season. Honestly, they’re good for any Europe packing list. I’ll highlight some of my favorite products that I personally use and love here and below I highlight products that are essential for winter & summer.
- A Sturdy Suitcase – High-End or Budget
- Power Adapter for Switzerland
- Portable Charger (my favorite)
- Portable WiFi Device – Use code WANDERLUSTCREW for a discount
- Appropriate Outdoor Clothing (I like to shop here and also here)
- A few nicer outfits for dinners
- Packable down jacket
- Your favorite sun hat
- Sunscreen (my favorite)
- Comfortable Walking Shoes
- Good Hiking Boots (if you’re planning to do lots of hikes)
- Collapsible Hiking Poles
- Packing Cubes
- Capsules for packing medicine, creams, jewelry, and anything small (I love these things!)
- Melatonin for Jetlag
- Packable Day Pack
- Liquid IV for Dehydration
- Waterproof Phone Case
- Reusable Water Bottle
- Swimsuit (these are my favorites for women)
- Quick Dry Towel (if you’re going to any lakes or pools)
- Underwear– I’m obsessed with this brand (they’re owned by Marmot), great for washing & quick drying
- Raincoat (I found this brand in the UK, but they ship to the US. Amazing quality and I own several of their raincoats)
What to Wear in Switzerland in the Summer
In Switzerland, summer temperatures can vary depending on the location and altitude, but generally, temperatures are pleasant, warm, and sunny. Most of these are on my list above for any time Switzerland packing list essentials. Here are some suggestions for what to wear in Switzerland in the summer:
- Lightweight and breathable clothing such as t-shirts, tank tops, shorts, skirts, and dresses. Consider bringing a light sweater or jacket for cooler evenings. One of my favorite brands.
- Comfortable walking shoes for exploring the cities and countryside. Sneakers or hiking shoes are a great option for outdoor activities such as hiking or cycling. We call these “the shoes” because they’re so amazing and everyone loves them!
- Swimwear for lakes or pools. Many public pools and lakes have strict rules on the type of swimwear allowed, so make sure to check before you go.
- Sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun. Sunglasses are also essential for bright, sunny days.
- If you plan on hiking or participating in outdoor activities, consider bringing a light rain jacket or poncho as summer showers can be common.
It’s important to note that Switzerland’s climate can change quickly, so it’s a good idea to check the weather forecast before you pack and bring layers that can be easily added or removed. Additionally, some restaurants, bars, and cultural institutions may have dress codes, so it’s always a good idea to check ahead of time.
What to Wear in Switzerland in the Winter
Switzerland can be quite chilly in the winter, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. There will most likely be quite a bit of snow as well. Therefore, it’s important to dress warmly and layer your clothing to stay comfortable. Here are some suggestions for what to wear in Switzerland in the winter:
- A heavy winter coat or jacket made of a warm, insulating material such as down or wool. I have several Eddie Bauer down jackets and love them I prefer a longer coat to keep my bottom and legs warm. I love that they zip both directions for easy movement when you sit or hike. Paul has one too and loves his.
- Waterproof boots with good traction to navigate snowy or icy terrain. Consider boots that are lined with shearling or another warm material. Another plug for Eddie Bauer. I love their boots and they also have a lifetime warranty. I’ve returned a few boots with the soles worn through after years of wear and travel, and they’ve been awesome and exchanged them easily. I’m wearing them in the photo above with my red Eddie Bauer jacket.
- Warm accessories such as gloves, a hat, and a scarf. These will help keep you warm and protect your extremities from the cold.
- Thick, warm socks made of wool or synthetic materials to keep your feet warm and dry. Don’t underestimate the power of a good wool sock. I’m obsessed with Darn Tough socks.
- Thermal or woolen underlayers to keep you warm in the coldest temperatures. This is essential, especially if you’re spending a lot of time outside. And you should be in Switzerland! Ibex has been around for a long time and make the best Merino wool base layers that I love.
- A waterproof and windproof outer layer to protect you from the elements. Consider a ski or snowboard jacket if you plan on participating in winter sports. If you’re skiing in Switzerland, I’m i love with these ski suits because I love anything colorful!
- Sunglasses to protect your eyes from the glare of the snow.
It’s important to note that Switzerland’s weather in winter can change quickly, so it’s a good idea to check the forecast before you pack for the next few days and bring layers that can be easily added or removed. By packing appropriately, you can enjoy all that Switzerland has to offer in the winter without being hindered by the cold.
You will see all sorts in Switzerland from active gear to formal dress depending on where you are. While participating in outdoor activities, it is acceptable to wear active gear like hiking clothes, yoga pants, and athletic shoes. At restaurants, especially during dinner, it is expected that you should dress up a little bit. Business casual is fine.
Yes, you will definitely see locals wearing jeans in Switzerland.
Yes, wearing shorts is acceptable in Switzerland. At nicer dinners, pants would be preferred.
I hope this Switzerland packing list has helped you decide what to wear in Switzerland and will help you feel confident in you packing.