Pack with confidence and avoid baggage fees - clothing tips and packing checklists for your vacation

What to Wear in Switzerland

Lake boat trip, Ticino, in June

Lake boat trip, Ticino, in June

Walkers in Appenzell, September

Walkers in Appenzell, September

Zurich in September

Zurich in September

General Packing Tips

  • Very smart casual or smart business orientated clothes will carry you through for business, sightseeing and for eating out.
  • Dark colored clothing is always popular in Switzerland.
  • A light raincoat and travel umbrella are useful all year round.
  • The sun can be deceptively strong even if the temperature feels cool. This is especially so at altitude and on the lakes, so we suggest that you use a good quality sunscreen (we love the Riemann P20 range for 10 hour protection) and sunhat.
  • Make sure you take comfy footwear for daytime (try Hotter shoes, they provide total comfort and look great too).

Clothing Tips for Women

  • We recommend low key but quality jewelry.
  • Swiss women don't seem to wear skirts in the winter so pack any that you need, as you won't find them in the shops.
  • A pashmina is a versatile piece that will dress up any outfit.

Clothing Tips for Men

  • There are no specific things to bring to your attention, check out our packing list for our suggested capsule wardrobe.

Pack for the Weather

  • In the winter (November, December, January, February and March) most people wear snow or thermal boots, even in the cities. It is important that you get soft rubber soles because even medium soles get really hard in the freezing cold. Make sure too that they have large spaces between the tracks, or the snow will get stuck in them and make them very slippery.
  • The winter months are freezing cold and, as well as layers, you need to pack a thick coat, gloves, warm hat and scarf.
  • For extra warmth pack some long thermal underwear - you'll be grateful you did.
  • merino wool is a good choice to wear against your skin as it naturally helps to regulate your body temperature. It keeps you warm in the cold, wicks away moisture when it's hot, and doesn't retain odours - even after prolonged wear.
  • Even in summer - June, July and August - the evenings can still be cool so pack a lightweight jacket, sweater or a versatile pashmina.
  • Dressing in layers will help you with the temperature changes during the day, whatever time of year you visit.

Regions of Switzerland

  • In Geneva you can never be overdressed - even down to the gold shoes for shopping!
  • Walking in the Swiss Alps is fabulous, but the terrain can be tough. Good walking boots with ankle support are a must, and make sure you ‘wear in' your walking boots/shoes for a number of weeks before your trip - you'll be so much more comfortable if you do.
  • If going up mountains or on the lakes in winter it is best to wear layers e.g. thermals, proper walking pants, a thin jersey and two high tech fleeces, one with a zip and one without and a light Goretex jacket which is waterproof and windproof. This will keep the bulk down and it's easy to remove layers and pop them in a day pack.

Other Things To Pack

  • A lightweight day sack or shoulder bag will come in handy to carry your sightseeing essentials.
  • If you tend to buy bottled water, consider carrying a Go! Filtered Water Bottle - fill up from any source and get clean, safe drinking water without wasting plastic bottles.
  • Look after your mobile phone with a phone bunjee - it protects against loss, theft and damage. It's particularly useful for peace of mind on outdoor pursuits.
  • To use electrical gadgets you may need a travel adapter plug, and also a step down voltage converter if your devices are not designed for European voltage (230V).
  • If you're aiming to travel with just carry-on baggage, try the CabinMax soft-sided rucksack - it's light, roomy and has plenty of pockets to keep your stuff organized.
  • Avoid paying unexpected baggage fees - use an accurate luggage scale to ensure you keep within the weight allowance. Don't forget to leave room for souvenirs on the way home! Chocolate and cheese are of course popular buys, but if you're wanting a Swiss army knife remember this can't be carried in hand luggage.

Last updated 16 June 2015.

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Pack Light

  • Less luggage to carry
  • Save time packing and unpacking
  • Save money on baggage fees

Pack Right

  • Respect local cultures
  • Feel comfortable and confident
  • Suitable outfits for all occasions

Bestsellers For Switzerland

Water-to-Go 500ml Go! Filtration Water Bottle

Water-to-Go 500ml Go! Filtration Water Bottle

Safe, filtered drinking water for everyone on the Go!

100% Cashmere Poncho

100% Cashmere Poncho

Beautiful soft 2-ply cashmere poncho, one size fits all

myBunjee Classic Mobile Phone Protector

myBunjee Classic Mobile Phone Protector

Fed up of dropping or losing your phone? You need a bunjee!


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Advice You Can Trust

Being a native German, living in the States and organizing small group travel to Europe I find your site accurate and very helpful. My clients often ask what to pack when visiting Europe and I loved your motto: Dress smart! Nice job guys:)

- Russ and Elke, USA