Are you going to central Europe this season and wondering what to wear in Switzerland?
Switzerland’s street style is a mix of the old-fashioned and a casual vibe, meaning your favorite jeans and sneakers will pass.
Nevertheless, here’s a complete packing list to stylishly and comfortably blend in.
Whether traveling to Zurich, with its impressive architecture, or Lucerne, the picturesque medieval city, dressing the part is advisable.
We’ve covered you for each season, including toiletries and accessories for men and women.
What Should I Prepare For Switzerland?
Before I get into the what-to-wear list, I must share some of my must-have luggage bits and accessories as a frequent traveler.
While the trick to cram more into your suitcase is packing cubes, using backpacks is perfect for light backpacking trips.
I have had these 6 OlaHike Packing Cubes for over a year, and they look as good as new.
They fit well in my large and medium-sized suitcases and the Kelty Coyote 60 ltr backpack. At a good price point, this bag is surprisingly excellent quality and will handle all your rough trips.
If you travel for several days, it will comfortably hold enough luggage and is sturdy for those public transport rides in Switzerland.
There are plenty of compartments to organize your universal travel adapter, cameras, toiletries, and two water bottles.
Besides luggage, remember to book your flights in advance and look out for deals months before you travel.
I always start every travel itinerary with insurance confirmation, as anything is possible in a new country. Having peace of mind in case of any eventualities makes for smooth holidays.
Next, look into your accommodation options. Switzerland has many hotels, Airbnb, and hostels available for luxury travelers and those on a budget.
Lastly, if you intend to visit several cities, consider car rental for ease of movement and convenience.
Switzerland Packing List For Every Season
Your ideal clothing packing list will depend on the time of year you travel to Switzerland. I’ve been there between seasons, and while winter was quite different, my luggage didn’t change much.
There are pieces I never take a trip without, as they come in very handy, like a light, waterproof jacket, and a scarf.
Here’s a list of what you must pack for your adventure to Switzerland.
What to Wear in Switzerland in Summer, Fall, and Spring
Although the summers in Switzerland are hot, they tend to be the wettest. It may be bright and sunny one minute, then wet and chilly in the next.
In this case, what to wear in Switzerland in June, July, or August is a mix of light and quick dry outfits.
On the other hand, the fall months of September, October, and November in Switzerland are cooler.
Long-sleeved tops and cashmere sweaters will offer warmth while being light on the body. It still rains a bit, so a medium-weight overcoat is necessary.
Meanwhile, in the spring, the weather fluctuates a lot in Switzerland. The afternoons and evenings tend to be crisp in March, April, and May, and warmer clothes are perfect.
Layer your clothes with a water-resistant coat or fleece jacket.
Even when traveling for three days, I always find myself overpacking (and so do thousands of women).
However, this year, I have been packing essentials only, making my trips much more enjoyable. Worrying about extra luggage on my flights and losing my bags is no longer a concern.
For a summer, fall, or spring in Geneva, Zurich, Bern, or Lucerne, here’s what to wear:
Pack at least two pairs of your favorite jeans, not ripped or rugged ones, as city folk prefer a neat look. Dark shades in a comfortable fit are cool for day excursions and nights out.
Bring a few cotton shorts to go hiking or take long beach walks in summer. They also make excellent every-season loungewear after a long day of sightseeing.
Wear linen pants for a semi-formal yet stylish look for a day at the museums or art galleries.
Besides being airy in the balmy weather, they will dry quickly should it rain in the middle of the day.
Flowy tops and blouses
Pair your bottoms with flowery, loose-fitting tops and blouses. 3 to 4 pieces should be sufficient, depending on how long you stay.
One per day is good enough, and they go well with either jeans, linen pants, or shorts.
Summer Dresses and Jumpsuits
We all love pictures, especially in beautiful locations, and a mountain backdrop is the best look when in a summer dress.
Throw in two colorful ones as they take little space in your luggage. Add a few jumpsuits in cool shades for spring and fall.
Comfortable Walking Shoes
Ditch your heels for comfort in Switzerland. Your waterproof, well-worn sneakers are fine, but you can bring extra hiking boots.
I love my Adidas Ultraboost as they are wide-toe and lightweight for everyday wear. Sandals are also perfect for beach days.
When it pours in the middle of the day, a light cardigan will protect you from the sudden chill. It is also a nice cover-up for dinner dates and evening strolls in the city.
Choose a foldable waterproof jacket if you’d rather skip carrying an umbrella during the day. You can shake it dry and put it back into your day bag once the skies clear.
A Crossbody Day Bag
Use a crossbody bag to carry your gadgets, sunscreen, lip balm, wallet, and passport all day. It hugs your chest, making it safer for day tours in crowded places.
While the traditional attire in Switzerland has lots of embroidery, the modern man wears simple outfits.
A casual vibe similar to the US is common, especially with teens who dress for comfort. For men visiting Switzerland in summer, here’s the ideal packing list.
Jeans and Chinos
A pair or two of well-fitting jeans and chino pants will be comfortable for a few days in Switzerland. Carry a pair of shorts for those lazy days at the beach or in the hotel room.
Pair your pants with polo shirts or button-down tops for a smart casual look. Not only will you look stylish in your photos, but they are appropriate for every occasion.
Bring a lightweight sweater for those chilly evenings or if you are in a high-altitude area. Toned shades will go well with every outfit, jeans or slacks.
If you are outdoorsy and prefer hiking to city tours, pack waterproof items, including hiking boots. Thermal tops and bottoms will also be useful on the cold mountain trails.
What To Wear In Switzerland In Winter
If you are unsure what to wear in Switzerland between December and February, the list below is all you need.
Like all winters in Europe, it can get extremely cold, with snow expected in the mountain regions.
For both men and women, thermal layers are a must. Pack gloves, scarves, hats, and an excellent quality jacket you can wear daily.
Similar to all the other seasons’ shoe options, a waterproof, comfortable pair is a must-have.
For a skiing trip in January, carry the following items.
Waterproof Winter Coat
You will need a winter parka for your skiing trip to Switzerland. Pack a bright-colored down jacket warm enough to wear in the city.
Warm Winter Boots
These are a must-have, ideally longer or ankle-length with insulation. Ensure the boots are snug and the soles are sturdy to avoid slipping on ice.
Scarves, gloves, and woolen socks are a necessity when traveling to Switzerland in the winter.
Opt for gloves that are easy to wear and remove, and bring a beanie to cover your ears outdoors.
Thermal Tops and Bottoms
The high-altitude spots in Switzerland get extremely cold, and layering with thermals when going outdoors is recommended. Bring several pairs, including leggings for women.
Toiletries and Accessories to Pack for Switzerland
Although my summer or winter toiletries do not change much, I pack more sunscreen and moisturizers.
Besides cosmetics, you will need all medical prescriptions filled before your trip.
Check to confirm that your tourist visa is valid, and so should your passport.
Moreover, bring some cash besides your credit cards for tips and small transactions in the local currency.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a dress code in Switzerland?
No. While the Swiss usually dress in casual outfits, they wear them in layers due to the weather pattern. When it gets toasty, you can remove a coat or sweater.
Also, you can put on a cozy layer when the air turns frosty. However, dark suits and dresses are common for both men and women for formal or business meetings.
What can I not bring to Switzerland?
The customs department prohibits all illegal items, especially guns and narcotics, from entering their country.
Should you want to pack food, you should declare it as long as it does not exceed the duty-free allowance.
Can I wear crop tops in Switzerland?
Yes, you can, although you will need a layer for the evening chill that is common even in summer.
Crop tops are a casual outdoor look, especially for teenagers, but may be out of place in fine-dining restaurants. Pack a denim or cotton button-down shirt that you can layer in semi-formal settings.
Can you wear ripped jeans in Switzerland?
While you can wear ripped jeans in Switzerland if you do not have an option, they prefer the plain dark hue variety.
Pair them with sneakers or running shoes. You will, however, spot the younger Swiss population in distressed pants, an edgier look that suits them.
Are clothes expensive in Switzerland?
Yes. Compared to other European countries, some brands of clothes in Switzerland are more expensive.
However, watches, designer bags, and chocolates are not only shopping classics but are also quite affordable.
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