What to pack for Geneva, Switzerland: Geneva packing list for all seasons

Lake Geneva Switzerland

Complete packing list for Geneva, Switzerland: learn what to pack for Geneva in each season with this list of must-haves and accessories to be comfortable and stylish during your stay in Geneva.

I love visiting Geneva.

I adore that you can see the mountains from the city center, the lake’s lovely views and the pretty streets of Geneva’s old city center.

I also love the many options for day trips from the city. However, for the longest time, I didn’t love packing from Geneva!

Highly seasonal and with changeable weather, deciding what to pack for Geneva used to be a bit of a headache.

In the end, I decided to solve the problem by creating a packing list I could use over and over again.

During my regular trips to Geneva for work and vacation, I took notes of what worked for weather and style, what didn’t, and I came up with this master list of what to wear in Geneva in each season.

I have taken into account the weather but also the style of this beautiful city: it worked perfectly for me and I hope that this Geneva packing list will help you too feel comfortable and stylish at all times.

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Photo of Geneva with overlay text: what to Pack for Geneva Switzerland in each season

Geneva weather overview

Geneva sees four different seasons, each very different from the other.

Following a weather pattern similar to that of most of central Europe, Geneva sees a mild to warm summer, cold winter and rainy and chilly shoulder seasons, but with a bit of a twist.

Due to its location in the middle of the Swiss Alps, Geneva gets specific weather conditions that make packing for it a little less straightforward than it may seem.

In this Geneva packing list, I am sharing Geneva essentials for all seasons and also go into details about each time of the year.

What to pack for Geneva: style overview

Geneva is a beautiful, elegant city with a relaxed yet curated fashion sense.

I define Geneva’s style as business casual.

The presence of a large International and often young workforce means the city isn’t overly dressy and you will see in many cases jeans and a nice top will be appropriate.

However, Geneva also has many upscale stores, restaurants and is the seat of international corporations.

This means in many cases the jeans will be designer, the bags will come from fashion houses and the coats would probably sport recognizable brands.

You do not need to wear designer clothes in Geneva (I don’t!).

However, I always find that making an effort to have my better clothes here goes a long way to make me feel in sync with the place.

My key to packing for Geneva is to pack small but well: few, well-picked pieces help me go day to night, and they allow me to feel good at all times, without breaking the bank.

What to pack for Geneva in winter: Geneva packing list for the cold months

Packing for Geneva in winter is pretty straightforward.

While the exact weather conditions will change each year, you can assume that Geneva in winter will be cold, grey and possibly rainy / with snow.

Month*Temperature low/highRainy days
December0C/ 32F – 5C/41F9
January5C/41F – -1C/30F 9
February7C/44.6F – -1/30F7
March11C/52F – 1C/33.8F8
*Technically, winter in Geneva is 21 December – 21st March: for packing purposes, I believe it is helpful to think of the whole of December as winter

The best clothing for Geneva in winter is warm sweaters, tights, a warm winter coat, a scarf and gloves.

I am a cold creature and I also find a thermal layer useful.

me dressed in winter clothes in Geneva
Me, all wrapped up when visiting Geneva old town in winter

However, it is good to know that indoor heating can be strong in Geneva, so you want to make sure you can easily unwrap when needed.

My must-have items for winter in Geneva are:

  • Underwear
  • Warm tights and socks
  • Woolen dress
  • Winter pants / trousers
  • Long sleeve tops
  • Thermal layer – you can find here >>> a list of my favorite thermals for city travel
  • Short sleeve woolen tops – these are perfect for layering and look very stylish indoors
  • Woolen sweater and cardigan
  • Warm winter coat
  • Scarf, hat, gloves
  • Warm pajama/ nightgown
  • Warm slippers for the hotel
  • Necklaces and earrings
  • Crossbody bag as day bag for the city – you can find here >>> a selection of my favorite crossbody bags for travel
  • Travel umbrella
  • Rain resistant boots.

The best shoes for Geneva in winter

If you come from places that see snow in winter, your standard city boots for snow will be perfect for Geneva.

If you don’t, I recommend you wear proper rainproof winter boots with warm socks.

To be in the city, you do not need heavy snow boots: just make sure you have a thick sole with a bit of grip: it will protect you from slipping and prevent the cold from creeping in.

I have a pair of Columbia city boots that work perfectly. If you are on the lookout for winter city boots, I highly recommend them!

Sorel winter boots I find are a little on the heavy side for the city but can be great if you are planning on a prolonged stay and day trips.

Rain-resistant ankle boots are also great as they can easily go day to night.

In all cases, I recommend you avoid heels. If you like the extra height, opt for chunky heels that allow you to walk comfortably: in Geneva, you will walk quite a lot as there is a lot to see!

Find here >>> my travel guide to Geneva in winter

What to pack for Geneva in Spring

Packing for spring in Geneva is not easy.

During this season, the weather is exceptionally changeable and what you get each also changes widely. In general, spring in Geneva is on the chilly side.

From March to mid-May, it is safe to expect a grey sky and bring a proper winter coat.

As May arrives, the weather tends to improve and you can get nice sunny days: you will still need layers and a coat but you shouldn’t need full-on winter boots or extra-warm things.

Month*Temperature low/highRainy days
March1C/33.8F – 11C/52F 8
April4C/39F – 15C/59F8
May8C/46F – 19C/66 10
For packing purposes, it is helpful to think of March, April and May as spring months. June is technically spring until the 21st but it can already be considered summer

My basics for Geneva in spring are:

  • Underwear
  • Tights
  • Socks
  • Mid season dress (merino wool and a cardigan work for me)
  • Jeans / long pants
  • Hiking pants is planning on late spring mountain walks
  • Long sleeve and short sleeve tops for layering
  • Short sleeve sweater for day to night look
  • Cardigan
  • Woolen sweater
  • Ankle boots / fashion runners
  • Pajama
  • Slippers for the hotel
  • Necklaces and earrings
  • Sunglasses
  • Scarf, light hat for early spring
  • Ankle boots or fashion runners
  • Travel umbrella
  • Mid-season coat: in March, you will still need a winter coat while in May you can opt for a lighter, midseason jacket.
child in Geneva

Best jackets for Geneva

In Geneva, you need a proper winter coat in winter and you want to have a good jacket on you or with you at all times also in spring and autumn.

Coast and jackets that work for me are a long Patagonia coat for winter, puffy jackets for the mid-season and faux leather jackets with a pashmina or scarf in the milder season.

Locals often wear Canada Goose coats in winter or sheepskin coats so if you already own these items, they can be appropriate for the coldest months. Make sure whatever outer layer you go for is rain resistant.

What to pack for Geneva in summer

Summer in Geneva can be sunny, bright and warm.

At this time, you want to make sure you pack short sleeve tops, light dresses and sandals.

You are also likely to want to enjoy the nice beaches of Geneva so a swimsuit and flip-flops are also a good idea.

MonthTemperature high/lowRainy days
June23C/73F – 12C/53F9
July14C/57F – 26C/79F7
August13C/57F – 26C/79F8
the jet d'eau geneva with two red foldabe chairs in the foreground. N 2 at my top 5 kids frienldy attractions in geneva

My must-have for Geneva is summer are:

  • Underwear
  • Long trousers / pants (linen work well)
  • Summer dress
  • Short sleeve tops
  • Light Cardigan for evenings / mountains
  • Summer pajama
  • Swimsuit
  • Flip Flops
  • Necklaces and earrings
  • Day bag

What to pack for hiking in Geneva in summer

If you are in Geneva in summer, chances are you will be tempted by hikes on Geneva’s beautiful trails.

For basic hiking, you will need sports trousers/leggings, shoes with good grip, a cardigan or warm layer and a windbreaker.

If you are planning on proper hiking, it is better to follow a specialized hiking packing list as the trails here can be serious and you want to be well equipped.

What to pack for Geneva in the fall

Autumn in Geneva is a lovely season, the changing leaves bringing to the city an undeniable charm.

The fall gets progressively cold in Geneva and for most of the season, you will want to have a good outer layer with you and be ready for rain.

September is still technically a summer month however, towards the end of the month you want to be ready for chiller air.

MonthTemperature high/lowRainy days
September10C/50F – 21C/72F 7
October7C/44.6F – 15C/59F9
November2C/35.6F – 9C/48F9
December0C/32F – 5C/41F9

My go-to packing list for fall in Geneva includes:

  • Underwear
  • Tights (from late September on, if wearing skirts)
  • Skirt / mid season dress
  • Long trousers/pants, jeans
  • Short and long sleeve tops
  • Mid season cardigan / short sleeve woolen top (as layer abov long sleeves)
  • Mid season jacket up to October – full winter coat for November December
  • Scarf/hat/gloves for November / December
  • Rain resistant shoes / ankle boots
  • Pajama
  • Slippers for the hotel
  • Travel umbrella
  • Necklaces and earrings
  • Crossbody bag

Other things to pack for Geneva: documents and tech

For all seasons, don’t forget to also pack your documents and tech. My packing list for Geneva includes:

Toiletries and personal items

For a basic yet well stocked up toiletry bag, I usually pack:

  • Solid soap – one of my favorite eco-friendly travel products and a super handy one when packing light
  • Shampoo/conditionar/hair mask
  • Hydrating lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Shaving essentials
  • Face wash
  • Face moisturizer
  • Lip balm
  • Tweezers
  • Hair brush / Comb
  • Hair ties
  • Feminine Hygiene products
  • Toothbrush /toothpaste /floss
  • Make up if using

The best luggage for Geneva

When traveling to Geneva, I usually carry one or more of the following bags, depending on the length of my stay.

  • Hard side luggage with wheels
  • Carry on travel backpack – mine is an Osprey40L Farpoint
  • Crossbody bag for daytime
  • Pretty crossbody bag for evenings out
  • Toiletry bag
  • Hiking back if planning on long days outfoors

What to pack for visiting Geneva with kids: Geneva packing list for families

Geneva's vintage merry go round, with horses and carriages

If you are planning a visit to Geneva with kids, I recommend you also pack the following items:

A good stroller – Geneva is stroller friendly but I find the best stroller here is sturdy and with good wheels.

These are best for the cobbled streets of the city center and it is also the best if you want to hike the trails. If you can pack it, an all-terrain stroller here is a great choice.

A good footmuff for winter

A rain cover for your stroller

A proper winter suit for winter for babies /toddlers

Proper walking shoes – you can find a selection of my favorite travel shoes for kids here (all season)

All your bottles, sterilizer/soother, etc. While you can buy anything in Geneva, the prices are rather high so the more you carry from home, the better it will be for our budget.

Cuddly toys / books / stickers

Baby/toddler carrier if planning on hiking

Hooded towel for summer on the lake.

I hope you found this packing list for Geneva helpful and it helped you decide what to pack when planning a trip to this wonderful town. Safe travel planning!

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