The most beautiful country in the world, Switzerland is a destination that everyone should visit (if they are able) once in their lifetime.
Hiking in the Swiss Alps, eating fondue, or walking through small villages with freezing glacier water, everything tourists see in Switzerland is fairy tale-esque
My favorite part of Switzerland was the hiking, which is why there is an entire section of this article dedicated to hiking!
But let’s be honest. Sadly, not everyone can afford to visit Switzerland.
Expect to spend *at least 200 USD per day!
So, what do you need for your trip to Switzerland?
Pre-Departure Checklist for Switzerland
1. Passport and Passport Cover
Please check that your passport has at least six months before it expires, and that you have at least two passport stamps!
I was surprised to learn about Switzerland joining the new European Visa system, ETIAS.
Called the ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System), this new visa includes a background check, and it costs $.
I recommend checking out https://www.etiasvisa.com for new information.
However, this list of countries raises some questions for me…. but the most pressing one is:
#1 Croatia and a few other countries that did not participate in the Schengen agreement were safe-havens for the 90/180 reset. Will this continue?
Anyway, if you have any questions, tweet at me @worldembark and I will do my best to explain/help. (Or if your country is not part of the system, please message me, and I will help out to the best of my ability.)
3. Passport Photos
Maybe for a SIM Card. That’s the only reason.
However, SIM Cards in Switzerland are very expensive.
If you are coming from someplace such as Italy, I recommend purchasing a SIM prior to your arrival. (Germany is no cheaper either.)
If you are visiting from the United States, it might be cheaper to turn on international roaming for a few days.
(Switzerland is very easy to navigate if you cannot utilize either option.)
4. Pictures of Passport & Credit Cards
For safety reasons, have pictures of your passport/credit card(s) in the unfortunate event of theft.
(Back your pictures up in the secured cloud for peace of mind! I recommend DropBox or Amazon Photos.)
Reminder: If your passport is stolen/lost, please contact your local embassy or consulate.
Some cities that might have a consulate in Switzerland include: Lucern, Zurich, or Geneva.
Embassy Location: Bern
Please Note: This is not exhaustive list of all cities that might have a consulate in Switzerland. And there might be one in Lichtenstein (S/O to Julie).
Best Types of Luggage for Switzerland
5. Backpack or Suitcase
Thousands of visitors visit Switzerland annually with suitcases and backpacks.
In my experience, the roads were always paved. And each one of the transportation options (train and bus) had luggage racks.
Clothing & Shoes
Clothing for Hiking in the Swiss Alps!
6. 2 Pair of Quick-Drying Pants
Something that repels water is a bonus. However, you will want these pants to be light AND have a lot of pockets.
7. 1 jacket
The higher in elevation you go, the colder it’s going to be. (And the more snow there is.)
However, for your jacket, I suggest packing something small. Additionally, make sure that the jacket has enough room to fit layers underneath.
8. 2 T-Shirts/Tops
For me, the key to hiking is not the tops/t-shirts.
10. Under-Clothing Leggings & Tops
Layers, Layers, Layers. For Switzerland, it is integral as you might experience a sudden rainstorm.
UnderArmour is my go-to, but some prefer Nike, 32 Degrees, etc.
Clothing for a Summer Swiss Holiday
6. 2 Pair of Pants
Switzerland never is very “hot,” even in summer. (Okay, I think 40 degrees is when it starts to get warm.)
The temperature is going to vary wildly between the mountains and the lower areas like Bern.
You can expect the country to never exceed regularly over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. (26.7 Celsius)
The mountains will be cooler, especially the higher you go. In some cases, especially once you are above 13,000 feet (4,000 meters), you will have to wear pants.
It will also rain a lot in Switzerland. So, jeans might look nice, but they take forever to dry. (And you cannot wear jeans on a hike through the Swiss Alps. Be better than me!)
Some restaurants serve food with outside dining. So, if a lot of your time could be spent outside after the sun goes down, you will need something to stay warm.
You will be limited to rivers, lakes, Alpine Lakes, and ponds around Switzerland. Just be aware: They can be very cold!!!
10. 5 T-Shirts or Tops
I always suggest purchasing a quality pair of socks (or two!), and Switzerland might be a destination where you wear more tennis shoes or walking shoes rather than sandals. (Hence the reason for more socks.)
Also, you could end-up in a surprise rain storm, so plan ahead if you need extra socks.
12. Dress Clothing
For more formal restaurants, , you can bring formal attire. Just be aware, these meals in Switzerland will cost several hundred dollars. For most tourists, I would imagine that it is not necessary.
Clothing for a Winter Swiss Holiday
6. 4 Pair of Pants
Unless there is an extreme heatwave, expect to wear pants most of the time.
The type of activities you plan on doing (city escapes don’t require ski pants), could influence whether you can wear denim or other heavier fabrics.
7. 1 or 2 jackets
It’s going to be cold. In winter, temperature around Bern is around 0 Celsius. (32 Fahrenheit)
The higher in elevation you go, the colder it’s going to be. (And the more snow there is.)
(In Switzerland, the sun goes down around 4:45PM (16:45) in the winter.)
8. 5 T-Shirts/Tops
Warm tops such as wool.
9. 0 Pair of Shorts
How ’bout no?
12. Dress/Fancy Clothing
To each their own.
13. Under-Clothing Leggings & Tops
Layers, Layers, Layers.
Anytime I travel, I always pack some form of under-layered clothing such as UnderArmour.
If it’s moisture wicking, that’s even better.
What are the Best Hiking Shoes for Switzerland?
14. Hiking Boots
For hiking in Switzerland, you are going to need a pair of hiking shoes that have a lot of grip, plenty of ankle support, and are going to last a long time.
The nice thing about Switzerland is water-crossings are limited (if you want), so you don’t necessarily need waterproof shoes.
What Shoes do I need for Switzerland
14. Comfortable Walking Shoes
The best way to explore Switzerland is via the train, bus, and walking. So, pick a pair of shoes you are comfortable walking around in.
15. Tennis Shoes for Summer/Boots for Winter
Where to buy toiletries in Switzerland?
Extra Items Needed for the Perfect Switzerland Holiday
17. Reusable Water Bottle with Filter
The water in Switzerland is safe to drink.
I carry too much photography equipment, so I use a backpack for daily use. However, I am starting to get old. So, I am looking to decrease my kit in size and weight. A sling bag might be the perfect daypack.
19. Sunscreen & Chapstick
Somehow, Switzerland was the first place I got sunburned while I was in Europe. I was out in the snow for three hours at 13,600 feet without. Don’t be like me… be better.
I love Switzerland pictures. Please tweet them at me! @worldembark is my handle
Switzerland uses the Franc. The currency is beautiful but heavy. Every small unit of currency (5 Francs and below) are actually coin.
However, I found that everyone accepted credit cards. The two most accepted payment systems worldwide are Visa and Mastercard.
22. Travel Insurance
I was screwing around on a hike in Switzerland, slipped on a rock, and almost fell backwards. You probably will want travel insurance, just in case.
23. Sim Cards
I didn’t use a Sim Card in Germany, Switzerland, or Italy. However, I think you need an ID to purchase a SimCard here. Maps are everywhere and very detailed.
Backpacking Essentials for Switzerland
I use the Peak Design 35 L Travel backpack. It’s expensive but looks brand new despite months of abuse across different climates.
There are a couple of other backpacks that are great too. REI and Osprey are reputable brands.
25. Earplugs and Sleeping Mask
Essential Items for a good night sleep in a hostel.
For those times you forget to put on sunscreen.
For those times when you don’t want to put on sunscreen.
27. Sleeping Bag
A former colleague of mine carried a sleeping bag AND a tent. I would never do that. Very few hostels allow sleeping bags/bring your own bedding in 2022 due to the possibility of bed bugs.
28. Some sort of Emergency blanket
This is probably not needed for its purpose, but you might need to repel some water at any point in your trip. (Think poncho)
29. Battery Pack
Something large enough so your cell phone can bail you out in case you get lost.
30. More Pairs of Socks
Can never have too many.
31. Microfiber Towel
Nothing fancy. But it does help and dries fast.
32. Travel Lock
I carry a few travel locks, and I recommend you do too.
That’s all I can think of to make sure you have the best Swiss Holiday!
Enjoy the food, scenic views, and people, as those are the things that make Switzerland a great place to visit!
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