Preparing for your trip to Switzerland is really important, you probably start by choosing a destination, thereafter before leaving home it’s time to pack your bags! In this blog, we will inform you about what to wear when visiting Switzerland during the winter season.
/Every product is independently selected by our editors. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission\
The winter season in Switzerland is gorgeous, autumn is over, temperatures start to drop further and the first signs of winter appear. This makes the landscape look magical. Enjoy a walk through the Swiss alps or of course enjoy the numerous possible winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding or cross country skiing. It’s time to prepare you for your next visit to Switzerland during the winter season, let’s dive into it!
First of all it’s good to realise that besides the changing nature, the weather does change significantly as well. There will be more snowfall, the temperatures will drop, below zero degrees Celcius during the night and mostly during the day. To dress accordingly for the winter season, the key is to use layers, easy to peel off and maybe put on again when it gets colder in the shadow and evenings. This may sound tricky therefore we made a guide to help you pack your bags for a visit to Switzerland during the winter season.
What’s the weather like in Switzerland during the winter season?
The average temperature during the winter season in Switzerland is around 2 degrees Celcius(35,6 Fahrenheit). This is an average temperature during the whole season, temperatures do vary. It can be colder on some days but due to climate change, it can be warmer as well. Unfortunately due to the worldwide climate change which affects Switzerland as well, we notice changing temperatures in comparison with 10 years ago. The climate is getting milder. This means fewer cold winters. The snowfall is less certain due to warmer temperatures as well. Unfortunately, this uncertainty won’t change, due to climate change. This means you will have to check the weather forecasts and webcams to be sure of snow.
It’s good to notice that temperatures do drop rapidly when you go up in the mountains. To give you an idea, every 100 metres the temperature drops by 1 degree on average. In the major cities such as Lucerne or Zurich, you will experience some more mild temperatures, above zero degrees Celcius.
Which months is the winter season in Switzerland?
The winter season is from December till March. Although the snow will mostly fall in the months, of January, February and March. Winter weather with colder temperatures can occur from mid-November till early April.
Visit Switzerland during the Winter season
The secret trick is to work with layers. The temperature varies throughout the day. When the sun appears it can even be comfortable to take off your warm ski jacket, while enjoying the sun on a terrace with freshly brewed coffee. This being said, it’s important to work with layers, which you can easily put on or take off.
One little disclaimer;The way you need to dress while visiting Switzerland really depends on your own sensitivity to cold, some people come from a warmer climate like Dubai, some people come from colder climates like Sweden or Denmark. We try to give an overview created with the help of our friends in order to get an average guide about what to wear when visiting Switzerland during the colder Winter season.
Which shoes to wear during the winter season in Switzerland?
We love to walk in snow boots or hiking shoes. Snow boots will keep your feet warm. In case of hiking shoes, please invest in good waterproof hiking shoes, believe us, it’s worth it to keep your feet warm. Consider checking out these snow boots for women or these Nautica snow boots for men, they keep your feet so nice and even more important dry during your visit to Switzerland.
On city trips, leather/snow boots are the way to go. If you are uncertain about your footwear, take some woollen insoles with you, we like them because they keep our feet a little more warm during colder days.
Definitely consider investing in snow boots, if you travel during the winter season in a snowy area with lots of snow. These boots will prevent your pants from getting wet as well. Many people wear snow boots in the cities as well, probably because they are so comfortable and warm. Some people ask if you can wear sneakers with socks, yes it is possible. But we cannot guarantee you will keep your feet warm and dry. In the cities, you can walk in sneakers because most roads and pavements are cleaned of snow.
Which socks to wear?
Socks, are really important to keep your feet warm. We wear ski socks on most of the winter days. Keeps your feet so nice and comfortably warm. During days when the temperature is well above 0 degrees Celcius thick socks do the job as well.
One tip, when buying your new snow boots, try them with ski socks as well. These socks are thicker so you might need to size up your boots to be able to fit in with ski socks.
Keeping your fingers warm is essential. That’s why proper quality gloves are worth it. In cities, you can wear these leather gloves with touchscreen, really handy or other simple gloves. In the cities, the temperatures are higher than in the mountains. Also, it’s way easier to wear less clumsy thick gloves while shopping.
In the mountains though, or when performing winter activities such as skiing. You need to buy good winter ski gloves. They need to be water and windproof, check out these high-quality ski gloves for under 20 dollars, which we love!
Which hat to wear?
A hat is so nice during the winter season. Actually, we wear them during the autumn seasons on colder days as well. When there is wind, it’s nice to cover your ears with a hat. This being said, consider buying a hat which covers your ears as well, not only your head.
On the slopes, while skiing, a head is great under your helmet as well, maybe try a balaclava under your helmet. Seriously, a balaclava is so nice when it is a cold ski day, the wind can be harsh for your skin, and the balaclava will keep your skin protected. Check out our favourite balaclava here. For the people who do not like hats, consider a headband like this one, this is great too to cover your ears from the cold wind. Especially for your kids, a hat is a must, it will keep them warm during colder days.
Scarves during winter in Switzerland
Scarves are great, just like a hat or headband, we love to wear them during colder autumn days as well. The scarf can keep your neck warm. The vivid colours do give a nice touch to your winter outfit as well. Neckwarmers are also a great alternative if you do not like scarves. Check out this neck warmer, really love this one.
Sunglasses during the winter season?
You might not have thought about sunglasses during the colder winter season, but yes a must. It’s so much more comfortable to wear sunglasses on sunny winter days. The snow reflects the sun, and for the bright light, sunglasses are great. For your kids, ski goggles are great too.
Extra layer: undershirt/singlet
In Switzerland, a singlet is called unterliebli. Mostly they are called undershirts or singlets. One thing they’re good at, keeping you extra warm. During colder winter days they function as a nice additional layer. During the winter season, we always wear them under our t-shirts. We recommend doing so too.
Thermal clothing is great to keep you warm. Some people wear them too when visiting cities, this really depends on how sensitive you are too cold. But definitely consider buying or taking them with you in case you are feeling a bit colder than expected, this thermal clothing is the best. when performing ski activities these are a must in our opinion. Thermal clothing is an extra warm layer of clothing to prevent you from getting cold. Good quality thermal clothing is key to success, there are many many good brands existing with thermal clothing.
Definitely take some jeans with you, they are great. Especially for kids, wearing ski trousers is perfectly normal. Cardigans are great to keep you warm.
It’s good to note, inside it’s nice and warm of course, so when going for dinner you can definitely wear a dress or thinner clothing as central heating will make you feel comfortable wearing thinner clothing. If you have to walk/travel to a restaurant make sure you wear some warmer clothes.
What jacket to wear in Switzerland during the winter season?
Many people wear ski jackets as a normal jacket in Switzerland during wintertime. The main reason is that these ski jackets are most of the time wind and waterproof and will make you feel and keep you so nice and warm. We love this ski jacket, the blue colour is beautiful. Ski jackets/pants are perfect for your kids to wear every day. There is a reason that kids wear brighter colours, in this way you can easily spot your kids. So we definitely recommend choosing a brighter colour for ski clothing for your kids like this one.
Extra: wear sunscreen in Switzerland during wintertime
As we explained above, the sun reflects on the snow. You can easily be sunburned by the bright sun up in the mountains. Definitely use proper SPF sunscreen. You do not need to wear sunscreen on your whole face. Especially cover those parts that are continuously exposed by the sun.
All in all, we can conclude that good preparation is key for a visit to Switzerland during wintertime. Temperatures drop during the winter season under zero degrees Celcius. Wearing several layers is the way to go, just like in the Autumn season.
In this post, we summed up several clothes that are a must when visiting Switzerland in the colder winter season. We hope this guide helped you pack for a visit to Switzerland during the winter season. If you have any questions, leave a comment below!