What to wear in Switzerland in the summer

Deciding what to pack when visiting Switzerland in the summertime isn't as easy as throwing in a summer dress and being done with it. While summer weather is a lot more reliable than the rest of the year, the weather can still vary depending on not only when in summer you visit, but also where. With the temperature changing between north and south, valley and mountain, it can make knowing what to pack a little complicated.  So just like in the colder months, layers will be your best friend. 

Before you start packing, consider the following: 

  • Check the weather for all the destinations you will be visiting remembering Switzerland has a varied climate. Use Swiss-based websites such as Meteo Schweiz or Meteo Centrale

  • Will you be mostly in the city, in the mountains or a mixture of both? Where you are staying will have an effect on what time of clothing you will need. 



Summer outfits

For the most part, all you will need for a Swiss summer are light summery outfits. Think tops and shorts, skirts and dresses made of light materials that will breathe well, especially if the summer of 2018 is the new milestone in which we measure summer temperatures. 

Leggings

Bringing along a pair of lightweight leggings for layering is a great idea for those chilly mornings or dining outside of an evening. Bonus is that they don't take up much room in your bag when you no longer need them on. 

What to wear in Switzerland in Summer
What to wear In Switzerland in the summer

A pair of jeans or long pants/trousers/longer shirt

I hope you won't need them, but you will thank me for packing something warmer such as a pair of jeans or long pants for a random chilly day. It is rare for the weather to stay fresh the entire summer (although it has happened) but even if you are not spending a lot of time in the mountains, it's a good idea to pack just in case. 

Active wear

Summer is hiking season and if it is on your to-do list then bringing along quick-dry/easy breathing activewear is a good idea. Consider multi-purpose hiking pants that zip off to create shorts or maybe a 3/4 length style for hotter days. You will be grateful for the quick-dry material when you've run into a rainstorm.

What to wear In Switzerland in the summer
What to wear In Switzerland in the summer

Light cardigan/jacket 

The mornings can be chilly, especially in early summer, as can mid summer in the mountains or if the sun hits behind a cloud. You will be glad to have something to cover the arms. Keep it light. 

Fleece 

The saying in our village is that it is always a layer colder up in the mountains, so if you plan to travel up, come prepared with a fleece. Great for cooler mornings or when a wind is blowing and great for layering under a rain jacket if it suddenly drops in temperature. 

Hoodie

We always travel with a hoodie. They just come in handy no matter the season. Sometimes to lounge around in, sometimes when the places we are staying in a colder than expected, we even use them for sleeping. They also come in handy when the sun goes down, and you want to still sit outside with a glass of wine by candlelight.

Rain jacket 

Yes, it may rain. I hope for you it doesn't, but as the Swiss say, there isn't bad weather just bad clothing choice, so come prepared with a rain jacket.  If you are sticking to the cities, you may be able to get away with just bringing an umbrella. But if you are planning to do any hiking or long walks, carrying an umbrella will get old fast, so having a rain jacket will be valuable A simple one you can roll small may be all you need, especially if you don't plan to wear it much again after your trip. I have a dressier rain jacket as well as a more sporty looking one and will choose between the two depending on activity.

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What to wear In Switzerland in the summer
What to wear In Switzerland in the summer

Shoes - Ballerinas, flip-flops, hiking boots and co

As soon as the sun comes out, I love to kick off those socks and go straight into my summer shoe. I mix it up between Ballerinas, sandals and flip flops on a warm day. Great for city trips, spending time at the Badi or going out to dinner. 

But those shoes aren't going to cut it if I have a lot of walking to do. For days exploring cities with flat ground, a pair of sneakers will do fine, but for anything more and especially if it will get wet I will be wearing my trekking shoes. They have a decent tread to make sure I won't slip and hold up well to rain as well. However, for more challenging hikes with unstable and rocky trails, a pair of hiking boots will protect the ankle from rolling over. 

Swimmers and towel etc.

Yes, bring your swimming supplies!! Switzerland may not be the first place you think of for a swimming holiday, but I promise you there is an entire Badi culture and you will want to be a part of it. The Swiss when not traveling spend their summers cooling off at the closest swimming pool, lake or river, so join the locals.

Hat, sunscreen and sunglasses 

Bring a hat! The sun is intense, especially in the summer and so make sure you are smart and protect yourself and of course the kids too. If you do plan to be up in the mountains for an extended period, bringing along a warmer hat for younger kids, may not be a silly idea. However, items like that are easily purchased wherever you are and make a nice souvenir. 

I hope that this list helps you in your packing for your next Swiss adventure. Have I missed anything on the list? What are your essential items in your Swiss summer suitcase?