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Taking a trip to the beautiful European Alps this summer? Here are our recommendations on what to wear in the Alps!
What to Wear in the Alps in the Summer
Written By: Angela Sterley
A trip to the Alps is an exciting experience unlike anywhere else in the world. During the summer months, there are endless outdoor activities and hikes throughout the picturesque region to take advantage of.
The weather can vary throughout the season and higher altitudes often have entirely different temperatures than the villages below. The locals can be seen dressed for their outdoor-oriented lifestyles and visitors should also come prepared to explore the mountains.
Below are the must-have essentials to bring along on your trip to the Alps.
One of the primary draws to visiting the Alps in the summer is the selection of extreme sports. Participating in these activities does require a certain amount of clothing preparation since there are many items not durable enough or appropriate for extreme sports.
If you plan to explore the skies or kickbike down a mountain, it’s required by most excursion companies to wear closed-toed, secure, laced shoes, so they don’t fall off while in the air, during landing, or while coasting down the mountain.
Find out the best shoes for walking, hiking, and trekking on a Round-the-World trip!
Warm jackets and sweaters are essential
If you’ll be participating in an activity such as paragliding, which requires jumps off high hills and mountains, those high altitudes may mean colder temperatures. Bring a warm jacket!
A sweater or long sleeve shirt is also a staple to wear underneath your jacket, even on days that are warm at the bottom of the mountain.
Learn about layering for cold weather and some of our favorite jackets for travel!
Be prepared for snow even in summer
If you plan to venture to the peaks of the mountains, you’ll likely run into snow, even if the temperature is warm in the villages below. Destinations such as Chamonix have gondolas up to the tops of the mountains.
Though some of the peaks have small lodges and walkways that can keep you safely away from the snow, other mountain tops require short treks through the snow to reach a lodge or restaurant. Therefore, it’s not recommended to wear summer sandals to the top.
Bring warm clothes and waterproof shoes to be the most comfortable during your trip up to the peaks.
Find out how to choose hiking boots and the 5 styles TFG readers voted as their favorites!
Pack durable pants
If you plan to go on a hang gliding adventure during your stay, be sure to wear durable pants before heading up the mountain. You’ll be face down for landing and may experience heavy abrasion between the legs of your pants and the ground, so delicate fabrics could rip.
A pair of jeans or pants in a durable fabric is fitting for this type of activity, and are a staple to have with you in the region.
Here are a few key points to help you choose the best jeans for your trip!
Bring waterproof clothing
One of the reasons the Alps are such a beautiful destination is the frequent rain. It can vary from a light drizzle to pouring rain, even in the middle of the summer. A waterproof jacket will ensure you don’t end up completely soaked during your visit.
Taking along an umbrella is also helpful when walking between the shops and restaurants in the villages. Don’t forget waterproof shoes; they’ll end up being life savers on the drizzling days that are likely to come during your stay.
Take a look at the most popular waterproof jackets for travel!
Bring hiking clothes
One of the essential activities when visiting the Alps is exploring the many hiking trails in the region. The type of clothing you wear while hiking can vary dramatically, depending on the altitude of your hike.
The higher altitude hikes will likely involve snow, which requires a more thought-out wardrobe than the lower altitude hikes. Cold weather clothing is a must on these hikes, including warm hats, layers, and waterproof clothing to prevent you from getting wet in the snow.
If you’re planning on taking on a tougher hike, include a pair of waterproof hiking boots. Check the weather forecast before setting out on your high altitude hike to ensure you’re completely prepared for the conditions.
What to wear hiking in lower altitudes depends entirely on the weather. Again, always check the forecast before your visit, as you could experience cold and rainy days that require the waterproof clothing mentioned above.
On the contrary, there are also often sunny days where breathable fabrics and layers are a must. Though lower altitudes will rarely experience heat waves, days in the low- to mid-70s are common in many of the villages and surrounding areas throughout the Alps.
Need the best hiking gear list for female trekkers? Read this post!
Much of the Alps experience mild days in the summer, which makes it important to pack layers. Mornings tend to be cooler but the clouds often burn off by the afternoon, revealing sunny skies.
Whether you’re participating in an extreme sport excursion or going on a hike outside the village, layers are a must for this region, especially if you plan to split your time between a lower altitude village and high mountain peaks.
Take along versatile clothing pieces
If you’re planning to pack light, try to bring versatile outfits that could be worn both while doing extreme sports and also during hikes or in the rain.
Ensure your waterproof shoes can also be worn during a trek in the snow and on mountain peaks, and that your layers can be worn while exploring villages or on a low-altitude hike to a nearby waterfall.
Always bring a swimsuit
Large lakes can be found along the border of much of the Alpine region. Bring along a swimsuit so you can take advantage of the crystal clear water.
Even if you don’t plan to visit any of the lakes, there’s nothing better than a dip in a jacuzzi overlooking the stunning Alps!
Here are the 23 best one-piece swimsuits of the season!
During a trip to the Alps, you’ll likely be spending the majority of your time outdoors, enjoying the breathtaking scenery. The key to a great trip is to bring along the right accessories to ensure you can fully enjoy your experience without feeling unprepared.
- Water bottle. Stay hydrated during all your activities!
- Walking poles. It’s common for avid hikers to bring these items. They can be especially helpful in high altitude hikes where the environment and terrain can be more difficult.
- Sunglasses. The snow can reflect the sun and lower-altitude areas often experience sunny days in the summer.
- Waterproof gloves and a warm hat. If hiking in snow, these items will help keep you warm in the freezing temperatures on the mountain peaks.
What do you carry in your day bag while traveling? Read this post!
What else would you add to our Alps packing list? Please comment below!
For more packing tips, please visit these Europe Packing Lists:
- The Ultimate Packing Guide for Europe
- How to Choose the Best Walking Shoes in Europe
- What to Pack for Switzerland
- What to Wear in Zurich
Suggested travel resources:
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Author Bio: Angela Sterley is a Los Angeles-based travel and lifestyle blogger. She has a background in the fashion industry and is on a mission to explore all the world has to offer. Join her adventures on Destination Drifter and follow her on Instagram.