Switzerland is a challenging place to pack for. I puzzled over what to wear in Switzerland in the summer for MONTHS before our trip. Here is the dilemma. Parts of Switzerland can get downright HOT in the summer time. There are other parts (think up in the mountains) where evenings are cool and you may even encounter snow.
This could easily be an all purpose Europe packing list. For warmer European destinations, just take out some/all of the fleeces/long sleeve shirts and long underwear and substitute with a couple more shorts/t-shirts/tank tops.
If you enjoy reading this, come back up to check out these other posts from our Switzerland travel adventure!
- A Complete Two Week Austria and Switzerland Itinerary with Kids
- Where to See the Best Mountain Views in Switzerland
- Is the Swiss Travel Pass Worth It? Comparing Swiss Train Discounts
The fact that we were traveling with only one large backpack for all of us made our packing strategy even more important. We knew that we were staying at a few hotels and hostels that had laundry facilities available, but I still planned clothing that would pack small and dry overnight should we need to wash in the sink.
When planning for what to wear in Switzerland, I tried to choose colors that were all in one color palette so that all of the tops would essentially go with all of the bottoms (at least for the adults…kids are just ok wearing whatever). I went with a cool, neutral color palate that matches what I see in other people’s travel clothes for Europe.
Here is our Switzerland packing list for our August trip to Switzerland. We are two adults and two kids. All of this along with our other travel odds and ends fit into one large hiking backpack and two small carry ons. We wore pretty much everything on the list, including the long underwear!
Switzerland Packing List for Mom:
- 1 Black travel skirt: This is my favorite travel skirt…it even has zippered pockets!
- 1 Khaki travel skort: This is very similar to the one that I have and I find it to be a very versatile piece…though you could easily substitute shorts.
- 1 pair of dark grey travel pants: Pick something that is quick drying (no cotton!) and dark so it doesn’t show the dirt. I love these Columbia travel pants…they are functional for the trail yet trendy enough to wear out to diner!
- 1 pair of dark grey travel capris: This is a very nice option for travel capris. Stylish!
- Long underwear bottom/top: Silk long underwear are a great travel investment! They are SUPER comfy and take up almost no space in your suitcase!
- Long sleeved travel shirt: I really like something light weight and quick drying that has sleeves that will stay rolled up. I have used this shirt for hiking, touring around town and as a quick drying cover up for the beach!
- 2 Polyester/synthetic golf polos: Pick something in a brighter color that you like…I am a cheap skate and I find TONS of these in the sports clothing section of the thrift store! The collar makes it a little dressier than just a t-shirt.
- Sun hat: I traveled with a straw sun hat for years…it sort of became my defining travel item. Now I also have a neutral grey hat that is less beachy looking. I wear both depending on the destination.
- Rain Coat: I am boring in this regard…I go for something lightweight,super packable, and functional in plain old black.
- 1 Dressier polyester/nylon 3/4 sleeve patterned shirt (to dress up skirt): I added this to the list because I was missing a dressier piece to wear with the black skirt for a nice dinner or evening entertainment.
- 1 Black pashmina scarf or wrap: A scarf is a travel must have! It has a whole range of uses. Airplane pillow, blanket for cold child, dressy piece for dinner. As an alternate, this wrap looks super cozy and functional!
- 1 pair hiking boots
- 1 pair black sandals: A comfortable pair of black sandals that could be worn with a casual outfit or dressed up with a skirt for dinner. These are my all time favorite sandals – lightweight, quick drying and the pair that I have has lasted FOREVER!
*** (things that I wished that I had packed: One more shirt, just to add variety. I felt like I was wearing the same thing over and over a little too much. I also forgot to bring something to sleep in.)
Switzerland Packing List for Dad:
- 1 pair of jeans
- 1 pair of light weight hiking pants: I got a pair of Rail Riders hiking pants for my husband and these are the most well made, sturdy lightweight travel pants that I have ever seen. He is normally a jeans guy and doesn’t like the lightweight feel of traditional travel pants. These feel a lot more substantial and heavy duty.
- 1 long sleeve collared shirt (polyester, quick drying): Pick a long sleeved shirt that will look equally as nice on the hiking trail or touring around town. This one is a nice choice as the sleeves roll up. You can often find 100% polyester men’s long sleeved shirts in thrift stores that will fit the bill.
- 1 short sleeve polo type shirt: Again, you can often find these in abundance under the guise of golf shirts in the sports clothing section of the thrift store!
- 2- short sleeve quick drying t shirts: These are a travel wardrobe staple for my husband. Two or three of these in a neutral color are always a good idea to have in your backpack!
- Rain coat: Go with a neutral color and this will also be a solid choice as a windbreaker for a cool evening in town!
- Pullover fleece: He never actually wore this, but this makes a nice bottom layer underneath the raincoat for cold evenings or wet, rainy days.
- Hiking Boots
- Swim Trunks
Switzerland Packing List for Kids (each):
- 1 Long sleeve shirt: Long sleeved travel shirts for toddlers and kids are a little hard to find. REI COOP makes a quick drying, long sleeved toddler travel shirt. You might start looking there.
- 3-4 short sleeve shirts: Columbia makes a nice kids short sleeve travel shirt that packs nicely and dries quick. Here is a boys version and here is a girls version. Quick drying kids t-shirts meant for sports wear are also easy to find in major stores (often on clearance) to add in some more t-shirts for variety.
- 1 long underwear top/bottom: A long underwear set can keep kids warm on cool, rainy days and can double as pajamas! We actually wore our long underwear in Switzerland in August multiple times!
- 2 pairs of long pants: A pair of jeans and a pair of quick drying travel pants is usually what we pack. Here are some nice, economical kids hiking pants in a girls version and a boys version. You can often find nylon athletic pants at your local store or thrift store that work equally as well and are much cheaper!
- 2 pairs of shorts: These are easier and cheaper to find in locals stores or thrift stores as nylon sports/athletic shorts.
- Swim suit
- Rain Coat: Something packable and lightweight.
- Pullover Fleece: The fleece works well on its own for its “cozy” factor for kids and also works together with the raincoat for a layering effect. Columbia makes a really nice selection of kids fleeces to choose from.
- 1 pair of hiking boots
- 1 pair of sandals: Having a pair of sandals is nice for beach time but also nice for planes and trains and for other times when you kids need a break from their hiking boots (or if boots get wet). The Crocs Crocband sandal has been our go to sandal for the kids. They are super durable and lightweight.
- Winter hat: Yes, really. If you go up into the mountains where there is year round snow you will be glad you have it.
- Pair of thin gloves: Ditto for the gloves.