Switzerland Packing List: What To Wear For Your Trip

switzerland packing list

If you are lucky enough to visit Switzerland, you are in for a fantastic time. Between the mountain peaks of the Swiss Alps, the lakes, valleys, rivers, and waterfalls, plus the amazing cities, there is a lot to explore.

Since Switzerland is such a diverse country with many different activities, putting together your Switzerland packing list isn’t easy. Add in the changeable weather, and you have an even more significant challenge.

Not to worry, having spent a lot of time in Switzerland, I am here to help. Below, you will find a Switzerland packing list for all the seasons that also take into account your activities. Whether you’re going on a winter trip or summer, we have you covered.

What To Wear in Spring/Summer/Fall

The weather in Switzerland is very changeable in spring and fall. It is consistently pretty hot in summer with sunny skies. However, if you are in the Swiss Alps, it can go from warm and sunny to cold and windy relatively fast.

The Switzerland Packing List you will find below will cover you for all the weather you might experience in spring, summer, and fall.

Spring/Summer/Fall Packing List (Clothes & Shoes)

What To Wear for Summer

  • 1 Waterproof & Windproof Jacket
  • 1 Light down jacket
  • 1-2 Light sweaters
  • 2 Pairs of pants / trousers
  • 1-2 Pairs of leggings
  • 2-3 Pairs of shorts
  • 5 T-shirts or tops
  • 2 Dresses or skirts
  • 1 Light scarf

Shoes for Summer

  • 1 Pair of flip flops (for swimming, shared showers)
  • 1 Pair of sandals for hot days
  • 1 Pair of hiking boots for tougher hikes
  • 1 Pair of sports shoes for light hikes
  • 1 Pair of dress shoes or high heels for a night out

Waterproof & Windproof Jacket

A waterproof jacket is always needed in Switzerland, especially in the mountains. When the winds pick up, it gets cold very quickly and the rain often comes with them.

And remember, Switzerland sometimes has four seasons in one day. So, a rain jacket will keep you dry and warm no matter what comes.

Light Down Jacket

I would also recommend bringing a light-down jacket with you. The evenings get cold in spring and autumn and at higher altitudes in the summer.

When walking home from dinner or starting a hike in the early morning, you will be happy to have a light-down jacket with you.

Jeans & Chinos

Two pairs of pants (trousers) is the minimum you should bring with you. Jeans are great for when you are in the city and some pants like chinos are great for everything, including hiking.

Ladies, you may want some stylish linen trousers for being in town in the summer evenings.

Shorts

It can get sweltering in Switzerland in the summer. Especially since temperatures have started rising in the last few decades.

So, having some shorts is key to being comfortable during your trip. Pack at least 2 or 3 pairs for summer and at least 1 for spring or fall.

T-shirts & Tops

Around 5 t-shirts or tops are ideal for a trip to Switzerland. You’ll be hiking in them, wearing them during the day, and at the beach in the summer. They are also great for layering on the colder days of spring and fall.

Light Sweaters

A light sweater or two should also be on your packing list for spring, summer, and fall. A merino wool sweater is great for layering on colder days and will remove the chill on chilly evenings in the summer.

Dresses & Skirts

Some dresses and skirts are perfect for spring, summer, and fall in Switzerland. They are great for beach days, lunches, and dinners. Bring 2 of each.

Leggings

Leggings are great to wear with a dress/skirt in spring and fall when the colder weather comes in. One or two pairs should be enough.

Scarf

A light scarf for spring and fall is a good idea, and it will also be helpful in the mountains in the summer.

Flip Flops / Sandals

Flip flops or sandals are perfect for walking around the cities and lakes of Switzerland in the summer and on the warmer days of spring and fall.

Hiking Boots

You must bring hiking boots with you if you intend to conquer some of the more demanding mountain trails.

Sneakers

Sneakers are always helpful and will work for tamer hikes; you can wear them on cooler days in spring and fall.

Dress Shoes or High Heels

If you want to dress up for those romantic candlelit dinners, you will need some dress shoes or high heels, too.

Spring/Summer/Fall Packing List (Underwear, Socks & Accessories)

Underwear, Socks & Accessories

  • 1 Protective hat for hikes or city walks
  • (optional) 1 stylish hat for your outfit
  • 1 Pair of sunglasses
  • Swimmers (and goggles are optional)
  • Towel for swimming
  • Thermals for the mountains
  • 5-7 Socks & underwear (or more if you can’t do laundry)
  • Reusable water bottle (easy to fill in Switzerland)
  • Swiss knife for picnics

Hats

You will want a hat to protect you from the sun while hiking or hanging at the beach. You may also want to add a stylish hat for lunches around town

Sunglasses

Sunglasses are a must. They protect your eyes around the lakes and at high altitudes.

Swimwear & Goggles

Life in Switzerland during the summer revolves around the lakes. Taking a swim is a must, and since they are crystal clear, some goggles are essential so you can see all the fish while you swim.

Thermals

One set of merino wool thermals might save you in the mountains during spring and fall. Hopefully, you won’t need them, but you will be glad you have them when you do.

Towel

A small travel towel for the lakes is also vital, especially when swimming in high alpine lakes as they are chilly and you will want to dry off.

Reusable Water Bottle & Swiss Army Knife

A reusable water bottle will not only save you money but also saves the environment too. The tap water in Switzerland is excellent and you can fill it up while hiking from glacial streams and local fountains that are everywhere in the cities..

A Swiss Army Knife is always handy to have with you so you can fix something or cut cheese for your lakeside picnic.

Socks & Underwear

A few pairs of socks are essential. Ankle socks are great with sneakers in summer, some light hiking socks are also a good idea if you plan on long walks in the mountains.

5 pairs of underwear and bras are also essential and enough for a more extended trip.

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Switzerland Packing List for Winter

What to wear in Switzerland in winter is all about layers. The weather can be extremely cold, and when the sun shines, you can overheat quickly.

Dressing in layers allows you to add and remove them as you go, so you are always comfortable and have an enjoyable trip.

Here is a packing list for winter that includes a winter sports section.

Winter Packing List (Clothes & Shoes)

Underwear, Socks & Accessories

  • 1 Warm winter jacket
  • (optional) 1 Down jacket
  • 1 Fleece or woolen sweater
  • 2-3 T-shirts or tops
  • 2 Pairs of pants or jeans
  • 1 Pair of winter leggings (ladies)
  • 5-7 Socks & underwear (or more if you can’t do laundry)
  • 1 Pair of waterproof walking shoes

Waterproof Warm Winter Jacket / Warm Coat

You will wear a warm, waterproof jacket in Switzerland almost every day during the winter. It is key to blocking wind chill, keeping you dry and warm on the coldest days.

Down Jacket

A warm-down jacket is ideal for layering under your coat and is a must-have when in the mountains during winter, especially at night or when you are less active.

Fleece

A fleece or two is also needed for layering under your down jacket when it is bitterly cold.

Merino Wool Sweater

Merino wool is the perfect layer as it helps you wick sweat and stay comfortable as temperatures change or while you are active.

T-shirts & Tops

A few t-shirts and light tops are always great to have when you are not active or the weather isn’t too cold.

Winter Leggings

Warm leggings are a perfect underlayer with pants and can be worn with a dress.

Pants

Two pairs of jeans or chinos are great for the evenings in winter and layered with thermals when it is really cold.

Waterproof Shoes/Waterproof Hiking Boots

Cold feet are not an option. Some waterproof shoes and hiking boots are essential to keeping your feet warm and day, especially when hiking in the snow.

Winter Sports Clothes

We have covered almost everything you need to layer with while on the slopes. But you will still need a ski jacket and ski pants.

Ski Jacket

A waterproof ski jacket that is both breathable and has enough to layer and let you move is key to enjoying your time skiing.

Ski Pants

Make sure you have some waterproof, breathable, and warm ski pants. They are essential to your comfort on the slopes.

What To Wear In Winter (Underwear, Socks & Accessories)

Underwear, Socks & Accessories

  • 1-2 Sets of thermals (top & bottom)
  • 1 Beanie or hat
  • 1 Pair of sunglasses
  • 1 Woolen scarf
  • 1 Pair of winter gloves
  • 5 Pairs of winter socks (Merino wool is ideal)
  • 5-7 Pairs of underwear (depending on laundry options)
  • 1 Umbrella

Thermals

Something you have to pack for Switzerland in winter is thermals. A full set of thermal pants and a long/short sleeve thermal top are a must.

Two sets of thermals are a good idea, too, as you can use one for skiing that can be filled with sweat and one for strolling around the ski resorts in the evening.

Warm Socks

Warm socks are a must. A thin pair of merino wool socks for an underlayer and a thicker pair to layer over them will keep you snug. Some ski socks are also essential if you plan on hitting the slopes. Plus, some day-to-day socks are a good idea.

Hats

A warm hat is another thing to pack for Switzerland in the winter. A warm beanie is ideal; a beanie with a brim is even better to protect you from the sun while skiing.

Sunglasses

Polarized sunglasses with mirror lenses are a must-have when skiing. The glare from the snow is intense and your eyes will get damaged without them. A good pair of ski goggles is also a good idea.

Scarf

A warm scarf is another must-have for warmth and ensuring you don’t get sick during your vacation.

Gloves

A good pair of gloves are essential for your winter Switzerland packing list. Choose waterproof gloves that also work with touchscreen phones to take pics and send messages without getting frozen hands.

Umbrella

You will experience rain and/or snowfall during winter while in Switzerland. A small umbrella is ideal to stay dry in a sudden downpour.

Underwear

5 pairs of underwear and bras are also essential and enough for a longer trip.

Evening Wear

If you plan on spending time in Swiss cities, then some smart loungewear or evening wear is essential. The Swiss tend to dress up quite a bit and you don’t want to be caught out.

Evening Wear

  • 1 Pair of smart pants
  • 1-2 Shirts (men)
  • 1-2 Dresses (women)
  • Dress shoes or high heels

Smart Pants

One pair of smart pants is a good idea for dinners out, and two pairs might be needed if you spend a while in the cities.

Smart Shirts

Smart shirts are great for high-end dinners at Switzerland’s many top-notch restaurants.

Dresses

Dresses are ideal for cities and when out for dinner

Smart Shoes

Some smart shoes that don’t take up too much space are a good idea. Leather boots also work in winter as they keep you dry and warm.

Toiletries

Everyone needs some toiletries with them when they travel. You can pack light and avoid bringing shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner as your hotel room will likely provide them.

Here is a list of toiletries to bring with you:

  • Aftershave/perfume
  • Shaving essentials – electric razor/razor/shaving foam/epilator
  • Face and body moisturizer
  • Sunscreen
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash
  • Shampoo, body wash, conditioner (if you don’t want to use the hotels)
  • Exfoliating face wash
  • Deodorant
  • Hairbrush or comb
  • Tweezers
  • Nail clippers

If you want to bring make-up with you, don’t forget these:

  • Small make-up mirror
  • Mascara
  • Rouge
  • Eyeliner and eyeshadow
  • Powder and brushes
  • Make-up remover
  • Lipstick

Electronics

Electronics

  • Laptop
  • Phone
  • Power pack (for longer days out)
  • Travel adapter
  • Camera & camera bag
  • Headphones/ear buds and a speaker

Laptop

If you like to watch movies, edit photos, or want to work online while you are traveling or while in Switzerland, your laptop is essential.

Phone

Traveling without a phone is not a good idea. You’ll need it for flights, navigation, planning public transportation, buying tickets, taking cute photos, and lots more.

Power Pack

Being able to charge on the go makes a world of difference. You can always keep your phone topped up to get around and recharge your camera in the mountains if you need to.

Travel Adapter

Swiss sockets are rather annoying as they have a unique shape. Ensure you have a travel adapter with a Swiss plug on it to charge all your things.

A travel adapter with USB ports will allow you to charge multiple things at once, like your laptop, phone, and camera all at the same time.

Camera & Camera Bag

Most of us just use our phones to take pictures these days but the landscapes of Switzerland deserve a proper camera if you have one.

The photos you take with a DSLR of the mountains, lakes, and rivers will be worth blowing up, printing, framing, and hanging on your wall at home.

Headphones & Small Speaker

If you love music or want to watch a movie on a train, then some headphones are a good idea. Playing some music on a small speaker while having sunset drinks on the slopes or by the lake is always nice.

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Other Things to Pack for Switzerland Trip

Medicine

It goes without saying that you should bring any prescription meds you need with you. Be sure to bring the prescription in case TSA asks for it at airport security.

You should also bring ibuprofen as well as paracetamol with you when you visit Switzerland. Ideal for headaches and muscle injuries, and it saves you from going to a pharmacy while you are there.

Water bottle

I have already mentioned bringing a water bottle but I’ll do it again. A reusable water bottle is a must as you won’t have to pay for water and can take it on adventures.

Packing Tips for your Switzerland Trip

  • Layers are key in all seasons, especially in the mountains in summer when you are most likely to get caught without them.
  • Comfortable walking shoes are a must so you can explore as much as you would like
  • Rolling suitcases or duffles are ideal for getting from the train station to your hotel
  • Pack things that have more than one function – a ski jacket will double as a winter coat, for example

Choose the Right Luggage

The first step to ensuring you get your Switzerland packing list on point is choosing the right luggage. It mainly comes down to how you plan to travel around Switzerland and what activities you plan to do.

Checked Luggage

It is hard to pack light for Switzerland if you intend to explore everything it has to offer, from the Swiss Alps to everything in between, and even more challenging if you plan to ski.

Chances are, you’ll also take advantage of Switzerland’s impeccable public transport system to get around.

Therefore, I recommend you bring either a large suitcase with wheels or a large duffel bag with wheels. This will make changing to trains and walking from train stations to your accommodation much easier.

If you are backpacking around Switzerland and know you’ll have some longer hikes to do with all your luggage or need a multiple-day pack for adventures, then a large backpack is also an excellent way to go.

Carry-On

I would highly recommend using a sizeable 2-day backpack as your carry-on baggage. You will be out and about exploring and having a large enough backpack makes this much more manageable.

You can use the same backpack for a ton of things. Fill it with drinks, picnic food, towels, and swimwear for days at the lake beaches. It is perfect for hiking, and you can even take it skiing.

Light Foldable Bag

A light foldable bag is also a great idea when traveling to Switzerland. You can use it for grocery shopping, picnics, and to carry your valuables when popping out to dinner or a sunset drink by the lake.

Packing Cubes

When packing light isn’t easy, packing cubes make life much easier. Not only do they keep your things much more organized, but they also reduce the overall volume to create more space if needed.

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Plan Your Trip to Switzerland

Accommodation: I always book my hotels via Booking.com. They have some of the best rates, longterm deals, easy cancellation and more
Transport: Train travel is one of the best ways to explore Switzerland. Buying a Swiss Travel Pass is a great way to save money on travel and museums.
Car Rental: Having a car gives you flexibility on your travels. I use RentalCars.com and Discover Cars to get the best deals on car rentals in Switzerland.
Luggage Storage: Find out where you can store your store your luggage while you are visiting various places in Switzerland.
Trips & Tours:Viator and Get Your Guide are the best places to find local tours and trips for your adventures in Switzerland.
Packing: Here are my recommendations for what to pack for a trip to Switzerland. As someone who has lived half their life in Switzerland, I have a good idea of what you need to bring!
Written by Ashley Faulkes
As a twenty-year resident of Switzerland, I am passionate about exploring every nook and cranny of this beautiful country, I spend my days deep in the great Swiss outdoors, and love to share these experiences and insights with fellow travel enthusiasts.

2 thoughts on “Switzerland Packing List: What To Wear For Your Trip

  1. Hi! This has been really helpful. I’m heading to Switzerland with my husband end October – do you reckon to pack & plan for winter? We’re planning to spend a week in Lucerne & Jungfraujoch region. We’re both Singaporean, living in the sunny side of the world.

    1. Hi Charlene, In Switzerland you always need to be prepared for both warm and cold. Take this week for example, it is 30, but last week strangely it was snowing in the mountains. And in October it is even more likely to be cold, especially in the mountains (Jungfrau region). In Lucerne you will be ok with city stuff – jeans, shirt,t-shirt, sweater and light jacket (or down jacket worst case) but in Jungfrau, you will be going to 3500m+ so it could be freezing and windy. So down jacket, water proof jacket, gloves, warm hat etc. Like skiing. It could be sunny up there, but if you are in the shade, it will be cold. Better prepare for the worst and not need it :>
      Ashley

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