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The Ultimate Switzerland Packing List

If you’re heading over to Switzerland, you’re going to need to pack well to take full advantage of visiting this insanely beautiful country! Once you’ve planned your itinerary (check out some of my favourite day trips in Switzerland!) and you’ve figured out what activities you want to do, you’ll need to get packing! After living part-time in Basel for a few years now, I’ve created the ultimate Switzerland packing list.

In this post, I’m first going to cover a Switzerland summer packing list and hiking packing guide, then I’ll jump into my Switzerland autumn packing list, a cosy winter packing list, and finally, a spring packing list. Let’s dive straight into it!

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Switzerland Summer Packing List

Summer is one of my favourite times to visit Switzerland – the summers are hot and sunny, but a cooler mountain escape is never too far away. I have a general summer packing list for Switzerland below, but a bit further down in this section, I have tips for adapting this packing list to the month you’re travelling.

Switzerland Summer Packing List – Clothing

The number of items you bring is totally dependent on how long you’re travelling. I tend to pack light and wash clothes more often, but feel free to edit this list to how you see fit!

  • 3 shirts/tops – Swiss summers are pretty warm, so I’d recommend short sleeved shirts or tank tops!
  • 2 shorts/skirts – I like to pack one pair of shorts and one skirt. I find both comfortable so they’re perfect for walking around the cities or throwing over a swimsuit.
  • 1 dress – A basic dress is something I always like to pack. It can be another item for daily wear, or you can dress it up if you need to look a little smarter.
  • 1 sweater – Evenings can get a little chilly, and with changes in altitude, it’s nice to have a sweater just in case its a little cold.
  • 5 pairs of underwear – Always better to bring too many rather than too few!
  • 2 bras
  • 1 swimsuit – There are plenty of gorgeous lakes in Switzerland to dive into. I’d pack a swimsuit just in case!
  • 4 pairs of socks – wool socks are my go-to in both summer and winter for their ability to keep me warm/cool and wick moisture. DarnTough and Smartwool are my favourite brands!

Switzerland Summer Packing List – Shoes

When it comes to shoes, I pack super light because they’re the bulkiest items and I love to pack carry-on only! Again, feel free to use this as a rough guide and to alter the list to suit your needs.

  • Sneakers/trainers – this is going to be the shoe you wear the most. It’s great for walking long distances and you could probably get away with going on a small easy hike with it.
  • Dressier shoes – these are your dinner shoes or your shoes to wear when you want to dress up slightly more!
  • Flip flops – these are great to carry if you’re planning on going to the lake or if you’re staying in hostels. I also like wearing Birkenstocks (even though they aren’t flip flops—I have a plastic pair that look smarter than flip flops but are waterproof for showers or swimming).

Summer Accessories for Switzerland

There are some things that I would never leave for Switzerland without!

  • 1 hat – protect your face from the sun!
  • 1 backpack or purse
  • 1 reusable water bottle – there are fountains ALL over Switzerland where you can fill up with cold fresh water, so bring a reusable water bottle. Essential!
  • Sunscreen – A necessity, ESPECIALLY when hiking. That mountain sunshine is intense.
  • Umbrella – Bring this just in case the weather turns!

What to wear in the Swiss Alps in Summer

If you’re planning on going hiking, you’ll need to pack more clothing so you’re ready for any adventure thrown at you! Whether you’re planning on tackling Mt Pilatus, crossing the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world, or exploring the cliffside bisses, here’s what you should consider packing.

Here’s my go-to packing list for a Swiss Alpine adventure!

  • Wicking shirts – I like to wear tank tops in the summertime but I also think having a T shirt is good (in case you get burnt).
  • Stretchy shorts – I’m a sucker for a good pair of biker shorts, but you’ll want to hike in anything that doesn’t restrict your movement. Sometimes I feel a bit too warm in leggings, but if you prefer leggings or trekking pants, go for it! Depending on the hike, leggings or pants might be a better option (especially if you have to bushwhack!).
  • Fleece – I always hike with a fleece and I’m always glad I bring it! Even in the summertime, I tend to use it! It can get windy up in the mountains, or my sweat cools at altitude and I get cold! Bring a fleece or light midlayer.
  • Rain coat – It’s no fun getting stuck in the rain when you’re hiking, and in the mountains, it can get really dangerous! Bring a rain coat just to make sure you’re prepared!
  • Hiking boots – There are some hikes in Switzerland where you can get away with wearing trainers, and then there are some where you absolutely cannot. Bring a pair of hiking boots with you if you’re planning on doing some incredible hiking. I love my Lowa Renegade GTXs.
  • Baseball cap or wide-brimmed hat – Trust me on this one. I’ve been burned too many times.
  • Day pack – Dueter is my favourite brand of hiking packs, but if you’re looking for a well-known Swiss company to take along on your trip, Mammut can be found all over the world.

What to Wear in Switzerland in June

In June, you’ll be just getting into the warmer months. I’d adapt the packing list above to have a pair of pants/trousers, just in case it’s a little cool! I’d also bring a lightweight long-sleeve top that you could wear on warmer days or cooler days. June is also the month with the most rainfall, so make sure you bring that umbrella, and possibly a raincoat!

What to wear in Switzerland in July

In July, Switzerland is a great hiking destination. I wouldn’t make too many changes to the packing list above.

What to wear in Switzerland in August

If you’re heading to Switzerland in August, it’ll be warm! I would definitely make sure to bring that reusable water bottle!

Switzerland Autumn Packing List

Autumn is an AMAZING season to visit Switzerland. Early Swiss Autumns are generally the perfect temperature – not too cold but not hot! It’s the perfect time to wear typical Autumn fashion – light jackets, sweaters, trousers, and hats! You don’t need to bundle up too much, but layering is still a great idea. Getting into November, however, you’re going to want to pack some heavier knits and coats.

What to wear in Switzerland in September

In September, the weather is still pretty warm for the first half of the month! I would bring a mix of summery and autumnal clothing. Dresses would work, but have a denim jacket or something to layer on top. During the second half of the month, temperatures will drop a little – this is when you’d start transitioning to an autumn wardrobe with more cosy fabrics. Think light knits and flannels! I have a really light down sweater that is perfect for this time of year.

What to wear in Switzerland in October

In October, pack light knits, medium-weight jackets, and long pants. If you’re planning on heading into the mountains, pack a warmer jacket, but you could still probably get away with thinner knits.

What to wear in Switzerland in November

In November, temperatures start to drop. I’d wear chunkier knits and bring a warm winter jacket! It won’t be absolutely freezing, but you’ll definitely want to dress warmly. I would take a look at my winter packing list and skip the thermals/base layers, unless you want to ensure you’ll be cosy!

Switzerland Winter Packing List

This Switzerland winter packing list will keep you cosy and warm during Switzerland’s coooollld winters. Although people may think that its a little too chilly to visit Switzerland in the heart of winter, winter is actually a great time to explore – there are fewer crowds (except for in the ski resorts!) and the entire country looks like a winter wonderland. Whether you’re exploring Lugano or St. Gallen, or just passing through Switzerland whilst visiting Alsace’s Christmas markets, this packing list will keep you comfortable and warm!

Switzerland Winter Packing List – Clothing

This is my packing list that will keep you warm through Switzerland’s winters!

  • 2 base layer tops – These long sleeve tops are what you’ll wear under everything else to trap heat in! Merino wool is a great option, but if you’re sensitive to wool or vegan, Uniqlo heattech tops are amazing, too! Both are warm but thin – no bulk!
  • 2 sweaters – I like wearing neutral sweaters when travelling to a cold destination because they’re so versatile! Think tans, navy, black, brown, or white. Wear the bulkiest sweater on your travel days to save luggage space!
  • 2 pairs of trousers – denim is always a good option in terms of matching! I love how low-maintenance black denim is.
  • 1 pair of base layer/thermal leggings – wear these under your trousers! When I learned to layer thermals under my jeans, the GAME WAS CHANGED. Instant layer of warmth.
  • 5 pairs of underwear
  • 2 bras
  • 4 pairs of wooly socks – the warmer, the better!
  • 1 very warm coat

Switzerland Winter Packing List – Accessories

These accessories will keep you cosy!

  • A hat – Berets, baker boy caps, and beanies are all going to keep you a little warmer! Bring more if you want to spice up outfits – I find that hats can totally change a basic outfit and they don’t take up too much space!
  • Gloves
  • 1 backpack or purse
  • 1 reusable water bottle/keep cup – A water bottle is always good to have, but a keep cup or thermos would be amazing to take hot chocolate/tea/coffee on the road with you!
  • Umbrella – Always good to have on hand

What Shoes to Wear in Switzerland – Winter

These shoes will make sure you’re covered across all terrain!

  • Snow boots/waterproof hiking boots – these will make sure you don’t slip in the snow if you decide to go for a winter walk
  • Comfortable boots – walk around the city in these! I like boots because they keep my feet protected from the cold slush that sometimes accumulates on the ground.

What to wear in Switzerland in December

In December, I’d recommend checking out my winter packing list above! That should cover everything you need.

What to wear in Switzerland in January

This is a COLD month – I wouldn’t make any changes to the packing list above.

What to wear in Switzerland in February

February can sometimes bring a little more rain. I would pack a rain coat on top of everything in the winter packing list, and definitely bring that umbrella!

Switzerland Spring packing list

The first half of spring can be a little chilly – I’d stick to wearing thick knits, cosy jackets, and warm trousers! In the mountains, base layers might be nice to have on hand. April and May bring a slight rise in temperatures, so you’d be able to get away with wearing thinner clothing!

What to wear in Switzerland in March

I’d bring a rain coat and umbrella, but otherwise, I’d actually stick to the winter packing list, as it’s quite cold!

What to wear in Switzerland in April

In April, you’ll have some warmer days. I would recommend wearing long sleeve shirts and trousers, along with a warm coat. Alternatively, you could wear a lighter coat and a thicker knit underneath. You don’t need to pack for winter, but definitely bring warm options! Dresses and tights are also a great option.

What to wear in Switzerland in May

In May, you can definitely get away with wearing lighter jackets. The air might still have a bite to it, but bringing a scarf would definitely help! I would pack mainly trousers, but pack lighter tops – no winter knits needed! Light sweaters or long sleeve tops are good choices. If you get lucky, you may be able to get away with wearing a T-shirt on particularly sunny days!

I hope that this packing list was helpful! Have any suggestions? Leave comments down below or email me at carionanya@gmail.com

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