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Deciding on a summer packing list for Switzerland needn’t be hard with this comprehensive and stylish packing tips post.
With blue skies, lush greenery and calm waterfalls Switzerland is one of the prettiest places you can visit in summer. The rolling hills of the mountain villages, and lakes of the main cities are great for strolling and paragliding with the sun out and pleasant temperatures.
In summer, temperature rise to around 18-28 C / 65-82 F, which still is a little fresh but pleasant enough to get around in dresses and (padded) sandals. For those who are used to 35 C/ 90 F+ summers make sure you bring a cardigan for the cooler days and atleast one pair of enclosed shoes.
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What’ll you’ll learn:
- Seasonal packing overview
- Switzerland summer packing list
- Hotel recommendations
- Sightseeing ideas
When to Visit Switzerland: Weather and Seasons
What to pack in Spring in Switzerland (March, April, May): Spring in Switzerland holds moderate temperatures for the traveler, although the higher up into the mountain you get the more you’ll want to have some tights packed in your luggage. A light jacket and a few cardigans are good to have for chillier days.
What to pack in Summer in Switzerland (June, July, August): Switzerland in summer is a great time to pack dresses and shorts with cute sandals. Pack a floppy hat or two for sun protection and cute photos.
What to pack in Fall for Switzerland (September, October, November): Fall in Switzerland can be a little chilly if you’re not too used to the cold (*cough Australians), however for everyone else its standard fall temperatures. Pack one warmer jacket, a pair of boots, and some cardigans. Stockings or leggings will also do you well here to pair with dresses or skirts.
What to pack in Winter in Switzerland (December, January, February): Winter is a great time to visit Switzerland especially if you’re into skiing and snowy days. Be sure to pack 1-2 warm jackets as well as boots, gloves and a beanie (woolen hat) to keep yourself warm.
What to Wear in Switzerland in Summer
How to dress for Summer in Switzerland:
- 2-3 pairs of shoes: Sandals will do well in summer, but make sure that they’re comfortable if you’ll be doing a lot of walking (something like this). You could make one of these a sneaker if you need it.
- 6-10 pairs of underwear: If you’re happy to hand-wash these you can get away with packing less.
- 3-5 bras
- 1-2 x hats – here are some options.
- Sunglasses x 1-2
- Swimsuit x 1-2 – I personally love this brand (See prices and styles)
- Cardigan x 1-2: For evenings and colder days. Pick cardigans in a neutral color.
- Tops x 4-7: Again, it depends on if you’re willing to handwash or use the hotel’s laundry service. If you’re intent on traveling as light as possible go for the lower amount and make full use of the facilities to clean them.
- Dresses x 2-3: While summer in Switzerland isn’t sweltering hot, you will be fine here in short dresses. If you prefer dresses over tops and bottoms you can switch the amounts around.
- Bottoms x 3-5: You’ll be fine walking around in shorts and skirts but consider packing one pair of longer pants.
- Leggings x 1-2: Great for hikes or wearing under dresses – see some options here.
- Stockings: If you’re used to warmer climates you may find yourself a little chilly on colder days. Packing 1 or 2 pairs of stockings is a great back up just in case.
What to Pack for Switzerland in Summer: Other Items
- If you’re bringing any prescribed medicine from home make sure you bring your prescription with you just in case you’re asked about it.
- A basic first aid kit if you have space containing re-hydration sachets, as well as sore stomach and headache medication. However you’ll have no problem buying medicine here as most people understand and can speak English. Expect to pay a bit more than you would back home.
- Phone and charger
- Camera + lenses. I”d recommend a wide angle if you can only pick one lens and you plan to visit a lot of scenery and pretty buildings. That way you can get more in the shot. I myself use the Sony a6500 and a 19mm f/2.8 lens.
- Batteries + charger for camera
- International adapter for power points – see prices here.
- Portable battery like this one– great for charging your phone or camera when the battery runs out and you don’t have access to a powerpoint.
- 2-3 8GB memory cards. It’s better to spread your photos out in case of memory card failure, just make sure you keep them in a safe spot. I recommend this brand.
Makeup & Toiletries
- Toothbrush & toothpaste (travel sized)
- Your normal make up – keep an eye on how much space you have though. You could pack them in a this makeup bag which is made specifically for travelers.
- Solid shampoo OR travel sized shampoo and conditioner. Solid shampoo is easier as it wont leak through your bag if you accidentally knock the lid off. Solid shampoo can also be used as soap and for hand washing your clothes
- 2 bank cards – take one MasterCard and one Visa as not all banks in Switzerland will accept your card. It’s also great to have two as your not in too much trouble if one gets stolen.
- 2 x photocopies of your passport – one left at home, another left in a different spot to wear you keep your actual passport. This can come in handy if your passport is stolen.
- A lock for your bags in transport or for the lockers in dorms
- Suitcase: You’ll be fine traveling with a suitcase, just be aware that some cities may have cobblestone streets. I recommend this suitcase, but it may or may not meet your airlines carry on limits so check the dimensions if you don’t want to check a bag.
- Backpack: Equally suitable for traveling in Switzerland, take a backpack if that’s what you prefer. If you’re able to pack light and adamant about traveling with a carry on, I recommend this Osprey 46L.
Where to Stay in Switzerland in Summer
- Budget: Being the most expensive city in one of the most expensive countries in the world, prices in Zurich are going to make your soul hurt. Especially if you’re on a budget. One of the cheapest dorm room options is the SOS Budget Hotel (more details here). Located relatively close to the train station its a good featuring its own ATM for easy cash access, free wifi and the option to have breakfast included.
- Midrange: The 3 star Sorell Hotel Seidenhof (see prices here) is a great choice for private rooms close to the train station and tram. I really liked my time staying here and enjoyed the included breakfast and being in the centre of the city. There’s an Asian themed restaurant attached to the hotel and a massage salon downstairs.
- Luxury: It’s far too hard to pick just one luxury hotel as Zurich does them so genuinely well. My favourites are the Park Hyatt Zurich (classic decor) and the Widder Hotel (edgy and unique). Both include baths, a restaurant and bar, and too many other features to list here – click on the hotel names to see more details.
- Budget: A welcome relief from the pricing in Zurich, the Downtown Hostel Interlaken is a good choice for backpackers looking for a dorm room. Situated close to Interlaken West Train station, it provides guests with lockers, a towel, as well as kitchen and laundry facilities. See prices here.
- Mid-range: Less than a 5 minute walk from the Interlaken West Station, the Hotel Central Continental is a great choice for a budget private room. The hotel is on the banks of the Aare river so you’re guaranteed a good view each time you walk in and out. There is also a bar and restaurant onsite. See more information here.
- Luxury: One of the more affordable 5 star option, the Lindner Grand Hotel is a great choice for old world luxury. I stayed in the junior suite during my time here and had epic views of the Aare River, the cable car + mountain, and the pretty church close to the hotel, all from my sitting room. So I’d definitely recommend that room if you have the cash even just for the views alone. The hotel also features a restaurant, pool, sauna and beauty treatments. See the latest prices here.
- Budget: For a budget option on the shores of Lake Lucerne, Backpackers Luzern is a great choice for backpackers. The hostel has its own kitchen and common area for meeting other guests. See the latest prices here.
- Midrange: The Felmis hotel is your best bet for a affordable private room, with many rooms having views of the mountains and the hotel even has its own restaurant. Its not quite in the center of Lucerne, however there is nearby transport that will take you there. More details + prices here.
- Luxury: Much like with Zurich, its really hard to pick just one luxury hotel in a city like Lucerne, so I’ve narrowed it down to two. My pick for a quiet escape is to stay at Gasthaus Badhof, which has its own golf course and restaurant. It’s located away from the center so truly is a good place to get away from the traffic, loud noises and hordes of tourists. For something closer to the city center try Château Gütsch which is a 19th Century castle with pretty themed rooms. The chateau has great views over the town, its own restaurant and a 24 hour reception. See prices by clicking on the hotel names.
All other cities in Switzerland
- For all other cities you can search by visiting Booking.com’s website.
Don’t Forget to Pack Travel Insurance | Switzerland Packing List for Summer
Travel insurance is an essential part of any trip as it safeguards you against a couple of things that could go wrong while overseas. The three main ones being a medical emergency, theft and damage to property.
I’ve only used one company on all of my trips and have had some pretty good experiences with them, hence I’d recommend World Nomads. The things I like the most about World Nomads is that its relatively straight forward to claim, you can book even if you’ve already started your trip, and its one of the cheaper companies out there.
To see prices and what’s covered you can visit the website here. Make sure to read the terms and conditions so you know ahead of time exactly what’s covered.
Packing List for Switzerland: Safety and Health
Being a 1st world country you wont have a problem finding medicine here, nor will you have to stress too much when visiting a doctor. Many Swiss speak English as a second language so that will help greatly if anything goes wrong while you’re here.
Safety wise, I never felt afraid while in Switzerland, and found the people to be quite friendly and willing to help.
I could get lost in a 3 metre box and I indeed did get lost on my way to the hotel from the train station. I had three people ask me if I was lost and direct me, without me evening asking for help. They could just see I looked confused and thought I might be lost. So don’t be afraid to ask for help if you get lost while in Switzerland.
Apart from that the same safety precautions you have in your home country apply. Be careful if you’re alone late at night and don’t leave your valuables unattended.
Popular Day Tours in Summer in Switzerland
- Day trip to Jungfraujoch: hop on the world famous railway to reach the epic views at the ‘top of Europe’ – see the latest prices here.
- Take a day trip to Interlaken and one of the country’s prettiest alpine village Grindelwald. Find more details here.
- Explore Mt Pilatus by cog wheel train and cable car to see epic views of the city and lake, followed by a boat cruise. See prices here.
- Day trip to Interlaken and Grindelwald – hit two of the prettiest alpine villages in one easy day trip. You can see more details here.
- Hop on a bike and take a bicycle tour through the city and its historic center – the tour lasts roughly 3 hours and you can find more information here. For something less active, try this 2 hour eBike tour instead – see prices here! And finally since Switzerland has all forms of transport covered, you can also do a similar tour by segway (much easier than they look).
- One of the attractions Switzerland is most famous for is the legendary Jungfrau train that takes you up high into the mountains for an epic view over the region. It’s a little pricy but the views and train ride itself are worth it! See the latest prices here.
- Paragliding: my first time paragliding was done in Interlaken and it was an amazing experience. Flying over the trees, the city and seeing the lakes from above was something I’ll never forget. If you want to try click here to see prices and details.
- Take a day trip to the legendary Jungfraujoch (see prices here) and take a look down from the ‘top of Europe’. It’s a very pretty train ride there and back so this is one where you’ll definitely want to bring your camera.
- Explore Lake Brienz, Aare gorge, a pretty waterfall and a traditional Swiss fishing village on this day tour which takes you to almost everything you could want to see near Interlaken. See the latest prices and more details here.
- If you’re after something more adventure take a look at this canyoning tour, and this canyon swing experience.
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