Clothing for Switzerland in December

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4 posts
new member
Sep 24, 2017 - 8:06 PM

Hello, can you help me with the average temperatures in Switzerland in December. I have looked at some forecasts but it also seems there is a big difference in temperature up in the mountains.

Please can you also advise on the type of clothing to pack. Are thermals and coats good enough or is for example snow gear required?

thank you

Last modified on Sep 26, 2017 - 8:20 AM by Sue G
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Sep 24, 2017 - 11:49 PM in reply to joyandjohn

Hi Joy and John,

Yes, altitude does indeed affect temperatures, but even Zürich and Luzern are extremely chilly in December. I'm Australian, a non-skier, and where I live winters are comparatively mild, so I might feel the cold a bit more than some people who are more used to it. I have spent time in the Swiss Alps during winteron three occasions so far - twice in late December and once in February. February is colder, and there is more snow about.

At Christmas last year in Wengen, Grindelwald and Mürren, it was cold and dry, but there was no snow in the villages, or even at Kleine Scheidegg. There was snow on the surrounding mountains though. The Jungfraujoch has year-round snow.

Any mountain tops you are likely to visit will have heated indoor areas - restaurants, shops and viewing areas. However, it is good to be suitably dressed in order to enjoy spending time outdoors and making the most of the mountain-top experience.

Here are details of the sort of clothing I wear in winter in the Swiss Alps, in which I have remained warm and comfortable for long periods outdoors, including in snow.

  • Thermal tops and leggings.
  • Polar fleece jacket with full length zip. Full-length zips enable you to open the jacket if you are feeling a bit too warm. I like to have zipped outside pockets.
  • Down-filled jacket. Mine is 80% goose down. I prefer styles with zips that open from the bottom as well as the top, with removable hoods and zipped pockets. They are OK for short periods in falling snow, but are not waterproof enough for rainy conditions. If it rains, I wear an inexpensive lightweight waterproof jacket over the top of the down jacket. Ski jackets are waterproof, but I find them too bulky and heavy for travelling around.
  • Heavyweight pure-wool hiking socks.
  • I wear Gore-Tex-lined waterproof hiking shoes to keep my feet warm and dry and to provide good traction. I have also worn these shoes comfortably in the tropics, so they are a good all-rounder shoe.
  • Cap, scarf and gloves of course. I prefer polar fleece to wool for these, but have some fine woollen glove liners for particularly cold days. I also wear ankle and wrist warmers in extra-cold conditions.

I hope this gives you a few ideas for deciding what will be right for you.


Last modified on Sep 26, 2017 - 8:21 AM by Sue G
4 posts
new member
Sep 25, 2017 - 8:00 PM in reply to Removed user

Wow this is really informative! Thank you

204 posts
active member
Sep 25, 2017 - 10:42 PM

Hi Guys,

The key here is layers, several thin layers are better than one thick one. For me, the most important part is keeping the wind out. If you can do that, the battle is half won. The other important point is keeping the extremities warm - fingers, toes, ears and nose. These parts can really hurt if they get too cold, so make sure you have good gloves and a warm beanie.



Last modified on Sep 26, 2017 - 7:28 AM by Sue G
13 posts
new member
Sep 27, 2017 - 8:54 AM

In addition to all that, I carry a very lightweight, waterproof jacket with me everywhere. Not only for rain, but mostly for wind. There are many lightweight cross country ski gloves that are also wind proof to keep your hands warm. There are cross country hats that are also wind proof.

Keeping warm for me is mostly about wind or even breeze.

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