We visited two very different areas of Switzerland while we were there in December.
Yes, both were cold. And yes, both required the obvious winter gear (jacket, hats, sweaters, the usual). However, one was a city (Luzern) and one was a luxury ski town without cars (Zermatt), so, outside of the base layers, each spot required a few different pieces.
I’ll be doing full posts on each city, but for the sake of this post, let’s chat a little about the specifics. Here’s what you need to know to help you pack properly- Luzern has all the urban city vibes. For the most part, you’ll be walking around the town to get to all your activities, so be sure to have comfortable shoes and lots of warm layers. An over-the-shoulder bag is good to keep your hands free to document your trip with a camera, or to just keep them tucked away in your coat pockets for extra warmth. While you’re more likely to go out for drinks than you are dinner, you don’t need anything overly dressy (a nice sweater, jeans and booties work just fine). Zermatt, on the other hand, is a full on glam ski town. There are no cars so you’ll still be doing lots of walking, just in more snow (though they do do a good job of keeping things clean and clear), and there are definitely a lot more opportunities to go out for both dinner and drinks, but again nothing overly fancy is needed. If you go to après ski, literally everyone will be in ski gear (and I do mean everyone). If you go to the top of the mountain/go skiing, you will, obviously, want all the layers. As for the glam, where I really noticed it was in the jackets (fur or Moncler), the boots (Moon Boots), the accessories and the ski gear. You certainly aren’t frowned upon or looked down on if you’re walking around in anything but designer, but it’s just something to be aware of.
Outside of all the standards that come with me on any trip (things like my black tote bag, skincare line-up, jewelry, underwear, etc.), you can see everything I packed for Switzerland, listed out below. I’ve linked exact items where possible, or included similar pieces for things no longer available. And, of course, if you have any specific packing questions, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask, or let me know in the comments (below).
NOTE: Anything with an asterisk is a piece I found especially helpful/was really glad I brought and, more often than not, wore on repeat throughout the trip.
Crewneck sweatshirt* (comfortable, warm, easy to layer and easy to keep casual or dress up, as needed)
Black booties* (so comfortable and honestly could have gotten away with these as my only shoe option for the whole trip)
Over-the-shoulder bag (to keep hands free and in your pockets for extra warmth)
Eye mask (to use in place of standard eye cream)
Beauty elixir (good to spritz on and keep your face feeling moisturized and fresh throughout the day)
Jade roller (to help de-puff from traveling and change in elevations)