WHAT TO PACK FOR SWITZERLAND – PACKING LIST
- 1 WHAT TO PACK FOR SWITZERLAND – PACKING LIST
- 2 GENERAL TIPS FOR WHAT TO BRING TO SWITZERLAND
- 3 Switzerland Weather
- 4 SWITZERLAND PACKING LIST
- 4.1 Luggage for Switzerland
- 4.2 Clothes to Pack for Switzerland
- 4.3 Toiletries to Pack for Switzerland
- 4.4 What to Pack for a Day at the Lake
- 4.5 Tech Stuff to PacK For your Switzerland Vacation
- 4.6 Random Things to Pack For Switzerland
- 4.7 What to Pack for Switzerland in Winter
- 4.8 FINAL THOUGHTS ON PACKING FOR A SWITZERLAND TRIP
While you might have to think about which places to visit in Switzerland, you will also need to plan what to pack. Switzerland is very expensive – so, if you pack properly, you can save time and money.
GENERAL TIPS FOR WHAT TO BRING TO SWITZERLAND
So, the first part of the post is a general packing list. Then you will find a packing list for summer, fall and spring, and then you will find an additional packing list for winter.
Of course, the weather is one of the most important factors for your packing list. So, what is the weather like in each season? First of all, here in Central Europe, we can never rely 100% on seasons, and the weather is not always what it is “supposed” to be.
- Summer Weather in Switzerland: Summer in Switzerland (June to August) is mostly beautiful. From July to August the daytime temperature range is 18 to 28 °C (65° – 82° F) – however, rain is quite common in Switzerland. Unfortunately, I can say this with confidence.
- Spring and Fall Weather in Switzerland: In spring and autumn, the daytime temperature ranges from 8 to 15 °C (46° – 59° F) and it is probably one of the best times for long hikes and city sightseeing. Rain is also common.
- Winter Weather in Switzerland: Switzerland’s winter months are from December to March. Although the outdoor air has a definite chill, the ski slopes are primed for fun, and the scenery is particularly magnificent. The trick to enjoying Switzerland during winter is to come prepared. Be advised that the average temperature can reach as low as -10° F (-23,33°C) in mountainous regions. You’ll want to have your packing list waxed if you want to enjoy Switzerland’s mountain views. However, freezing temperatures and snow are no longer the rule in Switzerland, especially in the lowlands. Actually, many ski resorts could hardly survive without artificial snow. But in general, there is snow – especially in the mountains and thus you should dress appropriately. Winter in Switzerland is considered both a high and low season for tourism, especially for those who love Christmas markets and shooting down the slopes.
SWITZERLAND PACKING LIST
Here are items that you will need in Switzerland regardless of the season.
Luggage for Switzerland
Since Switzerland is a safe travel destination in general, you could bring your fancy suitcases. However, if you are a backpacker you´ll find plenty of your equals in Switzerland.
- Suitcase: Though it depends, on where exactly and for how long you travel, I recommend taking a good, light, and quality suitcase with you where all your clothes and most of your toiletries fit in.
- Carry-On: I normally always have extra carry-on luggage with me.
- Laundry bags: They are great if you travel for longer and don’t want your dirty and clean clothes to mix up. I prefer them over plastic bags.
- Packing Cubes: Packing Cubes are the new must-items when it comes to traveling, they are convenient, and they also come in cool colors. I recommend using packing cubes that make packing and organizing easier and do not forget a laundry bag.
- I choose a cross-body handbag with a zipper (just to be safe) and several extra pockets for my handbag.
- Passport Holder, depending on where you are from, an ID might not be enough, so you might need a bigger wallet (aka a passport holder).
- If you go on a beach holiday (in Switzerland, this means spending time at the lakes), you should also take a light and (ideally foldable) beach bag or a cotton bag instead.
Clothes to Pack for Switzerland
- Hats: A hat is more than just an accessory in summer, so my must-have item is a stylish hat.
- Sunglasses: Another must-have item are Sunglasses. Ray Ban seems to be always a great choice, but the most important thing is the quality (sunglasses are an investment in healthy eyes)
- Jewelry: I love jewelry but since I tend to lose stuff, I do not wear much. One exception are watches: I am totally addicted to watches.
- Maxi Dresses: Summer means wearing cute dresses and Europe is made to wear maxi dresses.
- Skirts: You can wear short skirts in most places, some shopping malls actually have dress codes and do not allow too short skirts or shorts (though many do not follow the rules)
- Linen Trousers: Though I love maxi dresses, the best thing to wear when it is hot is probably linen trousers – combined with a cool tank top and nice flat sandals it can be super chic.
- Some long skirts should be on your list.
- Tops: The more the merrier – my rule for hot destinations. I love skirts/trousers which I can wear with tops that are easy to change and are made from cotton are other light materials.
- Shorts: Shorts are okay for most places – I love them, especially for the beaches.
- Denim is big in Europe
- Cardigans and jackets: It can actually get chilly in the afternoon – not only but also after the sun sets. So definitely take at least 1 or 2 cardigans or jackets.
- Blouses: Some cute blouses should be on your list
- Footwear: flat sandals, flip flops, and ballerinas. But also a pair of sneakers are almost always a good choice, too. If you are into hiking, make sure to pack proper hiking boots.
Toiletries to Pack for Switzerland
If I travel for 10 days or shorter I take travel sizes toiletries which I refill with my natural and organic beauty products from home (shampoo, conditioner, hair masks, cleaning water, and cleansing milk). Of course, you could buy toiletries here as well, but if you do not want to waste your time in drug stores or supermarkets, use this checklist for Europe.
Forget all the different small bags for shampoo etc. – get them all packed in a Toiletry Kit and have them super organized with you.
- TSA-Approved Clear Travel Toiletry Bag (if you fly)
- Travel bottles to refill – I refill them with my own organic products that I normally use (I do not use shampoo & conditioner provided by hotels)
- Electric Hair Removal Epilator (only if you stay longer than a week or if you remove your body hair with it) – otherwise a razor or whatever you prefer
- Face cream – (which I also use as a hand cream, so I do not have to take another cream)
- Refillable Travel Size Perfume Bottle
- Toothbrush and toothpaste and mouthwash plus Dental floss
- Refreshing towelettes
- Magnifying make-up mirror
- Nail polish and nail polish remover + glass nail file
- My favorite hairbrush (especially for longer hair) – or if you have less space take a comb
- Hair ties
- A small cosmetic bag with the following items:
- Eyebrow powder (Taming & Shaping Kit For Brows)
- Eyelash curler
- Eyeliner and eye shadow
- Make-up brushes
- Cotton swabs
Here are a few more items I personally hardly use but which might be important to you, so I added them here:
- Hair spray
- Hand cream
What to Pack for a Day at the Lake
- Swimming Suits: bikinis or swimwear in general, Switzerland might not have typical beaches but its stunning lakes will invite you to jump into them.
- I love kaftans and think it is best to wear them from the beach to the hotel room. Luckily, they look super cool these days.
- Beach Bag: I recommend one of the cool beach bags, which are light, affordable, and stylish.
- Flip Flops are my must-have for the beach, aka lake days.
- If you have a great hotel with a private beach section, you probably do not need a towel. If this is not the case not it should also be on your list. If you do not have any beach towels yet, click here to get your beach essentials.
- A reading book / Kindle is also a great idea for a day at the beach.
- Click here to find my complete list: What to pack for a day at the beach (or lake)
Tech Stuff to PacK For your Switzerland Vacation
- I have my laptop with me whenever I fly – however, I do work online while traveling, and I also watch Netflix on it.
- My phone is, without a doubt, one of my most useful and important (travel) items.
- My camera is a must – because Europe has so many great spots that need to be photographed.
- I admit that I still don’t have a kindle, so a “real” book is often essential.
- A day at the beach or pool would not be perfect without my iPod.
- Power Charger- how long does your phone battery last? Not long? Neither does mine, so this is essential.
- Switzerland operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz
- Do you need an adapter? Well, it gets a bit complicated here: Swiss plugs and wall sockets are non-grounded wall outlets with 2 holes and grounded wall outlets with 3 holes. The non-grounded European plug with two pins will often fit in a Swiss wall socket. But not always because the European prongs are a bit bigger! Other plugs will mostly not fit, so an adapter is needed. This means= when I charge my mobile, it is fine – if I want to charge my laptop, I need an adapter because the prongs are bigger. Complicated, I know.
Random Things to Pack For Switzerland
- Umbrella (it can still rain quite a lot in the summer)
- Medicine (headache pills etc.)
What to Pack for Switzerland in Winter
If you’re planning to travel to Switzerland during the winter months, the key is dressing in layers. The temperature can reach freezing levels, and yet the sun can be deceptively strong. You can work up a sweat on your adventures. Dressing in layers allows you to keep warm without compromising on comfort.
In the same breath, your items should be versatile in function. For example, pack a jacket that is both waterproof and warm. Also, comfortable walking shoes are essential. If your Switzerland itinerary takes you through snowy areas, then snowshoes – or at least very good hiking boots that are waterproof – are a must.
Everyday Attire Essentials For Switzerland In Winter
At the top of your packing list should be the following versatile, essential items. Using these items to dress in layers will keep you both stylish and warm.
- Coat – Warm And Waterproof: A warm, waterproof jacket should be one of the very first items that you think to pack. Avoid choosing a bulky jacket that takes up a lot of space. This can make you feel uncomfortable when you have layers underneath. Instead, opt for a lightweight, trench raincoat that will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable.
- Hat: Science tells us that we lose up to 10% of our body heat through our heads, meaning that it’s essential to keep this area warm. A knitted beanie is a perfect solution for keeping the warmth in while you venture out. A hat will keep you toasty warm whether you’re on the slopes, sipping coffee, or exploring the sights.
- Gloves: Have you ever tried to use your phone with frozen fingers? It’s a nearly impossible task. A pair of gloves can do wonders for your mobility, dexterity, and comfort. This makes it one of the most important items on your Switzerland packing list. When selecting your options, it’s worth investing in a pair that can dry quickly and are touch-screen compatible.
- Scarf Or Turtleneck: A warm scarf and/or turtleneck sweater are key items for keeping your neck covered. Not only do these items keep you warm, but they also prevent you from getting ill (and thereby ruin the fun). A turtleneck sweater is perfect as a garment to wear underneath your jacket, while the scarf can be removed easily.
- Leggings: There’s a reason that almost every woman owns a pair of leggings. They are both comfortable and snug. Leggings are an essential item to pack as you can dress them up or down. You can even wear them underneath your denim as an extra layer of warmth.
- Socks: When it comes to packing socks for your Switzerland trip – the thicker the better. Chances are that you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors in the snow, and you’ll want your feet to be warm and cozy. If you plan on hitting the slopes at any stage, then you’ll want your socks to be extra-thick or padded for increased comfort.
- Thermals: A quality set of thermals is your key to enjoying the winter weather in Switzerland. They provide the extra layer of heat that will allow you to spend an extra hour on the slopes, or to pack fewer items on your road trip instead of excess clothing.
- Comfortable Walking Shoes: If you can only pack one pair of shoes, then make sure that they are a trusty pair of waterproof snowshoes. You’ll want your shoes to be as versatile as possible. Snowshoes allow you to enjoy a variety of activities while keeping your feet warm and dry.
One of the best top reasons to visit Switzerland during the winter months is winter sports opportunities. While most ski resorts will offer rental equipment, there are a few essentials to pack for yourself.
- Ski Jacket: When choosing the perfect ski jacket, you need to consider warmth, level of waterproofing, and freedom of movement. A jacket that is adjustable in fit seals effectively, and dries quickly is the perfect apparel for snowboarding, skiing, and other winter outdoor sports.
- Ski Pants: A trusty pair of insulated ski pants are the next essential item for all winter sports fans. Make sure that your choice of pants is breathable, warm, and waterproof. These details will keep you dry, warm, and comfortable on the slopes.
- Winter Protection: There are a few items that will make your winter vacation all the more comfortable. The last thing that you want is to be soaked on your first day, or get a migraine from snow blindness.
- Umbrella: Regardless of what time of year you visit Switzerland, it’s always a smart move to pack a foldable umbrella. The nifty item doesn’t take up too much space. It can be the difference between a leisurely stroll in the city streets and getting caught in a flu-inspired downpour.
- Chapstick: Visiting Switzerland in winter will most likely find you spending hours of fun on the snow-covered slopes. This can quickly dry out your lips and burn your skin. In this instance, you’re going to be grateful that you’ve packed your moisturizing stick of Chapstick.
- Sunglasses: The best days on the slopes are the ones accompanied by clear, sunny skies and good conditions. These circumstances also increase the glare of the sun on the white snow, making it close to unbearable on your eyes. A pair of polarized sunglasses or ski goggles can protect your eyes from the wind and bright light.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON PACKING FOR A SWITZERLAND TRIP
To avoid some costly shopping, it is important to have all essentials with you. Switzerland is such an amazing place with so many unique places to visit that you do not want to spend much time in malls to get clothes and items you forgot to bring.
Whether you visit in summer, fall, winter, or spring – with this Switzerland packing list you should be all set. If you are still looking at how to create an epic Switzerland itinerary, check out my post with suggestions on how to spend your time in Switzerland.
Happy travels and stay safe!