Packing for Switzerland this summer?
The clothes you are going to need will depend largely on the activities you have planned and the altitude you will be at.
Even in the summer months, Switzerland has a much cooler climate than Australia.
July weather in Switzerland.
If you are visiting the major cities, such as Geneva, Zurich and Lucerne you will expect average daily temperatures of around 14-26C. (55-79F). We did however experience a scorching 38 degree day during our visit to Lucerne.
In the alpine areas, such as Grindelwald, where we spent a week, you will expect temperatures of around 10-19C (50-66F), cooler of course at higher altitude if you plan to visit the alpine regions. You can also expect some rainy days.
We plan a casual, relaxed holiday, staying in holiday lets, B & B’s and reasonable hotels. We self cater, occasionally dining out at the local pub, or restaurant and do a lot of walking to take in as many attractions as we can.
If you are planning dinners in five star restaurants and visits to the opera, or an adventure holiday with lots of outdoor activities, your packing list will probably be much different to mine.
The key to packing for Switzerland without taking your entire wardrobe is layering.
You will need a multi-functional, interchangeable wardrobe – items that can take you from a day’s sightseeing to dinner at the pub. You will also need clothing you can layer, as the weather in Switzerland can change suddenly, particularly in the alpine regions.
Exploring Lucerne, Ian was wearing shorts and T-shirts, I was wearing a lightweight dress.
Walking in the Swiss Alps we wore jeans, singlet, long sleeved shirt, lighweight jumper, rainproof jacket, scarf and beanie, stripping clothes off as the day warmed up.
You will also want clothes that can be washed and dried quickly and easily and require little or no ironing. We found that irons are not normally available in European accommodation and in-house laundry is exhorbitantly expensive.
Planning your wardrobe
I love the “capsule wardrobe”, it really does simplify your holiday packing. Basically it comprises of a number of pieces that you absolutely LOVE that will mix and match together.
Before I bring out the suitcases I start by laying what I think I am going to need out on the bed and cull from there. Then pick a colour theme – black, white, red and taupe was my theme last trip.
I start with black pants and skirts with white tops and shirts, as these can easily be dressed up or down with scarves, necklaces and accessories. I also tend to choose tops, pants, shorts and skirts over dresses for their versatility.
So, based on our experience last year, here is my packing list for two weeks in Grindelwald and Lucerne
Lesley’s packing list:
- 5 sets of underwear – these can be washed out in the bathroom every couple of nights
- 5 pairs of warm socks.
- one light thermal singlet (for the Swiss Alps)
- one summer and one warmer nightgown
- two pair black pants. These can be teamed with T-shirts by day for sightseeing or dressed up with a blouse and accessories at night for dinner.
- three pair of comfortable casual pants or jeans.
- two pair of shorts or three-quarter pants (one which can double as swimming shorts if it really is warm enough to swim).
- three short sleeve T shirts – white, red, taupe and black
- three long sleeved T shirts – white, red, taupe and black
- two lightweight jumpers – one black one white. As well as saving space in your suitcase, a lightweight jumper can be layered over a long sleeved T-shirt when walking in the alps and won’t be a nuisance if you need to take it off and pop it in your day pack.
- one light cardigan – taupe
- 3 long sleeve shirts – red, white and black. Can be layered over T-shirts or under jumpers and dressed up with accessories for dinner.
- one iron free black skirt – can be worn day or night
- Two iron free dresses.
- Two non-iron evening tops- can be worn with any pants or skirt
- Taupe leather jacket – can be worn over every outfit in wardrobe.
- black swimsuit
- white “foldable” sunhat
- Woollen scarf and beanie
- sturdy walking shoes, black “ballet flats”, white sandals and one pair black evening sandals.
- necklaces, scarves and earrings to accessorise outfits.
- Light rainproof jacket, which can easily be folded up in your daypack
Ian’s packing list
Ian’s packing list is devised along similar lines – his clothes are mostly grey, navy, green and taupe.
- five sets of socks and underwear
- two pair PJ’s
- one thermal singlet
- Three pair of jeans
- Three pair of casual pants – can also be worn to dinner
- one pair “good pants” – in case we do go to a fancy restaurant
- one “good” shirt and tie
- three pair of shorts – one can double as swimmers
- three T-shirts
- two “polo shirts”
- three long-sleeved shirts – can be worn over T shirts and under jumpers
- two lightweight jumpers
- two belts
- walking boots or joggers, casual shoes (will “pass” in a nice restaurant), sandals.
- Short woolen jacket.
- Woollen scarf and beanie
- Light rainproof jacket
Unless you are planning serious hikes in the alps, hiking boots are not essential. You will need comfortable walking shoes such as joggers, which take up less room in your suitcase than hiking boots. Sandals may be cooler on hotter days in the cities, but are not really kind to your feet on the cobblestoned streets. A pair of sturdy flat shoes are a better option. Don’t even think about high heels.
- tote bag -plastic shopping bags do not exist in Switzerland and you will need to bring your own shopping bag. Also useful for a day roaming around the villages
- Battery pack phone charger, which will give you five full charges on your phone.
- Lightweight day-pack that can fit jumpers, rain jackets, tourist leaflets, water bottles and snacks
- A larger scarf of pashmina can live in your tote, and is great if you need to cover up to enter a church, or to ward off a slight chilly breeze.
- Even though it may be cool in the alpine regions, the UV index is high, so you will need sunglasses, hats and sunscreen
- If you have enjoyed this post and would like to learn more about planning a trip to Europe, click on the Amazon link at the bottom of the page, where you will find a range of travel guides which we found helpful. We do earn a small commission from any sales