Winter in Europe can be crazy cold; it can also be such a magical time to visit. If you’re visiting from a warm destination, it can, however, be a little tricky trying to figure out exactly what should be on your Europe winter packing list. To ensure you’re warm enough while traveling in Europe, it really is important to take the time and ensure you have all the essentials on your European winter packing list.
With some city temperatures reaching well below zero it’s important your winter in Europe packing list includes lots of layers. This will ensure you’re warm enough so you can enjoy all the city sights.
If this all sounds a little too daunting, then this packing list for Europe winter guide is going to be really helpful. In this Europe packing list winter guide, I’m going to cover exactly what I pack when I travel. This guide includes all the clothes you should pack as well as other travel essentials.
I highly recommend you print off this packing list Europe winter guide and tick the items off as your packing, so you don’t forget anything.
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Table of Contents
Europe Winter Packing List
To make it easier for you, I have broken this winter packing list Europe guide into the following categories: clothes, shoes, bags, electronics, toiletries and travel documents.
Clothes – Packing List for Europe Winter
When it comes to your winter packing list for Europe, it really depends on what countries you plan to visit. If you’re going to northern Europe, it can be bitterly cold, while further down south the temperatures are much milder. So do keep this in mind as you go through this packing list for Europe in the winter guide.
Regardless of where you travel in Europe, the number one rule when it comes to winter travel clothes for Europe is to dress in layers. You will need a base layer, mid layer and top layer.
When I say base layers, I’m referring to thermals. That is the clothing that you wear directly against your skin before you put on other clothing. Now to whether or not you need a base layer really depends on where you are going in Europe and also your individual tolerance to the cold.
For those that feel the cold easily, you will most definitely want to bring along a base layer or two, while if you’re visiting the south of Europe, you may very well not need a base layer at all.
If you decide to add a base layer to your packing list for winter in Europe, you really don’t need more than two sets; you could even get away with just the one if you’re packing light – which I recommend you do.
When packing for winter in Europe, I’d recommend bringing a base layer made from merino wool as this is great at keeping moisture away from your body, is odour resistant, lightweight and not bulky. Base layers made from merino are more expensive, but believe me when I say they are so worth it in the long run.
Mid Layer – Bottoms
When packing for Europe in winter, if you decide to skip the base layer, the mid layer is super important. I’d recommend looking at some fleece lined leggings to keep you super warm. If you do have fleece lined leggings in most cases you could definitely skip the base layer.
Other great mid-layers for your Europe in winter packing list include your favorite pair of skinny jeans, warm leggings, or even just your standard pair of travel pants. Even if you’re more of a skirt kind of girl – you can add a skirt or two when packing for Europe winter. Skirts and cute sweater dresses paired with some thick leggings and boots, work great in Europe during the winter. All I’d say is if you prefer skirts over pants, pack the same number of skirts instead of pants – you don’t get to bring both!
Add 2-3 mid layer bottoms to your winter Europe packing list, which will work for both a day of sightseeing and that can be dressed up for going out in the evenings.
Mid Layer – Tops
You only need around 3-5 tops which you can mix and match with your mid layer bottoms. For your travel essentials for Europe winter, I recommend bringing a range of thin long sleeved tops, lightweight sweaters and maybe even the one bulky sweater.
While when you’re outside your tops will be underneath your jacket, while inside most places are heated, and so you’ll want your tops to look great as you’ll most likely take off your jacket.
If it’s super cold, you may even want to add a fleece over the top of your long sleeve top as well. Also, don’t forget at least one t-shirt – it can get rather warm in some places.
Whatever you bring in this section – don’t let the total number go fast 5. That’s regardless of whether you’re packing for 2 weeks in Europe winter or a month!
For packing light for Europe winter, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend you bring anything special in terms of stylish outfits. Rather I’d recommend that any of the dresses, pants, skirts, and tops you bring along can be dressed up.
You may even want to bring along some nice chunky jewelry or scarves that will really add some style to an outfit. A nice sweater dress is perfect for being casual during the day and dressy at night. Just make sure you bring some thermals to wear underneath.
One of the most important Europe winter travel essentials is a great quality warm jacket. As to what type of jacket you will need, really depends on just how cold it will be.
A midweight packable jacket may suffice, or for super cold weather you may need a heavyweight, full length jacket and even a light jacket under that! Click here to read my guide on the best women’s winter jackets for cold weather.
If you’re travelling to a range of destinations with various temperatures, choose your jacket based on the coldest destination. For the other warmer places you can always just change your layers underneath as required.
Just know you’re likely to be wearing this jacket every single day of your trip and given it’s the top layer it’s going to be the item of clothing you will see the most and appear in all your photos. So with this being said, this is one piece of clothing that I recommend getting something you love and not going for the cheapest option you can find.
You could also bring along one of those packable down jackets. They are so warm, yet pack down so tiny and weigh almost nothing. Even if you’re preparing a backpacking winter Europe list, a packable jacket is easy to squeeze in.
I also recommend bringing a waterproof jacket or at least a water-resistant jacket, that will protect you until you can reach shelter. If the jacket you bring isn’t waterproof, I’d also recommend bringing a packable rain jacket. These are great for putting at the bottom of your day pack and pulling out if the weather turns bad. Click here for my guide on the best lightweight rain jackets for travel.
In addition to your jacket, you may like to bring a light sweater or cardigan as well, to wear when indoors and a bulky jacket is just too warm for you.
In terms of underwear, I recommend two bras and a pair of knickers for each day. If you’re preparing a packing list for 2 weeks in Europe winter, just bring five pairs of knickers and have them laundered or hand wash them during your trip.
Just bring along whatever you usually wear, but if you want to go all out then you can invest in some super warm merino undies!
Having a swimsuit on your list might seem a bit strange, but if the hotel you’re staying in has a swimming pool, the chances are the hotel pool will be heated and so still a nice place to relax at the end of the day.
Scarf, Gloves and Beanie
I recommend going for a colour that will match all your clothes so you only need to bring the one set – particularly if you’re preparing a backpacking Europe in winter packing list and space is limited. If however you’ve got the space you could bring 2 sets in different colours so you can accessorise a bit and change up your outfits.
When it comes to what gloves you bring, consider getting waterproof ones if you think you’ll be playing with snow and also get ones that have touch screen fingers so you can use your mobile phone for Google Maps and other apps that help you get around.
Waterproof Boots– Europe Packing List Winter
For Europe, in winter you are definitely going to want to bring along a pair of cozy waterproof boots. Given you are likely to wear these all day every day, they need to be super comfortable and look great with all your outfits. Click here to read my guide on the best boots for women.
Also make sure you bring along 2 – 3 pairs of super warm socks. Don’t bring just any old pair of socks, bring ones that are designed to keep your feet nice and warm. Click here to read my guide on the best warm socks.
Just to change things up a bit, you might want to also bring along a pair of comfortable ballet flats, but otherwise, there is no need to bring any other shoes for Europe in the winter.
Luggage and Bags: Packing List Europe Winter
Of course every travel checklist needs luggage to transport all your things, here’s what I recommend.
I recommend you pack as light as you can for any trip and that goes for luggage too. Don’t go for the biggest suitcase you can find, instead find something as big as absolutely necessary. I’ve got a separate post on luggage I recommend you check out. Click here to check it out.
A small shoulder bag or crossbody style bag is ideal for keeping your wallet and camera with you at all times. I like one that goes across my body.
Unfortunately some cities are also known for their pickpockets, so it’s worth investing in an anti-theft bag like this one from Travelon. This Travelon handbag has built in security features such as slash proof, lockable zippers, hidden compartments and RFID block pockets. It’s also the perfect size for fitting in everything you need for a day of sightseeing.
If you prefer a small backpack for city sightseeing over a hand bag, consider an anti theft backpack like this one Pacsafe backpack with built in security features.
A backpack is also great for your carry-on or personal item for your flight too.
Packing Cubes, like these ones are a must to keep all your belongings organized. I find packing cubes help me pack lightlight as well as keep all my belongings well organized.
Electronics: Winter Packing List Europe
When it comes to electronics and tech gear, this is a personal thing, so here are some items you may want to consider.
Don’t forget to bring your mobile phone of course so that you can keep in touch with family and friends. Also, make sure you have a prepaid SIM for the countries you are visiting so you can use Google Maps to get around as well as a range of other apps to make your trip easier.
You’ll no doubt want to take plenty of photographs on your trip. If you’re after a new camera, I can highly recommend the Sony A6000, which is what I use to take all my photographs.
When it comes to memory cards, I recommend taking two. One for the camera and one for as a backup! Plus you will be surprised just how many photos you actually take on your trip.
Depending upon where you’re visiting from, you may need to bring a plug adaptor. I recommend you get a universal one like this one here that way you can use it no matter where you travel to in the future.
Laptop / Tablet
If you need to work while you’re online, then you might need to bring your laptop. Some people also bring their laptops or tablet to watch movies on the go.
For listening to music or streaming movies while traveling, don’t forget to bring along some good quality headphones. I like ones like this as they are noise-canceling ones.
Chargers and Cords
Of course, with all these electronics you will need their associated chargers and cords to keep them charged up while you are traveling. Chargers can easily be forgotten, so don’t leave them behind.
As well as all your different electronic’s chargers and cords, you’re going to want to bring a power bank to keep all your electronics fully charged throughout your trip. Taking endless amounts of photos each day can easily drain your phone while you’re and about. You don’t want to be stuck with a flat camera or mobile.
A power bank like this Anker is ideal as it is lightweight and can charge two devices at once.
Toiletries – European Winter Packing List
Toiletries can be somewhat personal, however below I’ve provided a comprehensive list of all the essentials you may need on your Europe spring break. You can, of course, buy all these items in most cities, so it’s up to you which ones you bring from home and which ones you purchase once you arrive.
Make sure you bring some moisturizing cream for your face, eyes and body as whether you expereince sun, cold or wind this can make your skin dry.
Given its winter, a razor is optional.
This is a personal choice but bring whatever you might need for a night out.
Shampoo and Conditioner
A small travel size, enough for one week, is plenty. If you’re travelling light – leave this at home, either your hotel will have a good supply or you can purchase when you arrive.
Again only if you really must – if you’re travelling light, it’s really not necessary as you’re accommodation will no doubt provide it. Even if you plan on staying at a backpackers you can purchase on arrival.
Toothpaste and Toothbrush
Of course don’t leave home without it – but then again if you do forget- you can easily purchase on arrival.
Hair Brush and Hair Ties
Bring along whatever you usually like to use to keep your hair looking great.
It can be very hot business sightseeing, even during cold weather, so you won’t want to forget this one!
Bring any medication you may require. At least bring some pain killers, you don’t want to have to be worried about where the nearest pharmacy is just because you have a headache.
Even during the winter months, the sun can still be fierce, particularly out on the snow. So ensure you have good quality sunscreen to protect your face and body and choose one that’s at least SPF 30 –
Lastly, if you’re going to travel carry on only you will need 100 ml non-leak containers to store your liquids. Ensure you purchase a good quality set that won’t have your liquids leaking all over your stuff. Click here to buy these ones from Amazon.
Last but not least, don’t forget all those important travel documents, money and somewhere to carry it all.
Passport / Visa
If you’re headed overseas, don’t forget to bring with you your passport.
You may even like to get yourself an RFID passport wallet like this one pictured which keeps your electronic information safe.
A travel wallet comes in handy when you have multiple tickets for transport, tours and hotels as well as somewhere to keep your passport and foreign currency. Click here to read my guide on the best travel wallet for women here.
When I travel, I want to have with me a variety of options for money. I always have some cash, my debit card so that I can withdraw money from the ATM’s and my credit card.
If you want to be extra safe with all your valuables, then you might want to consider getting a security pouch to wear under your clothes. Click here to read my guide on the best money belts for women.
Of course as soon as you book any trip, you should be taking out travel insurance. Never leave home without it!
Other Things you Might Bring
Well that’s a pretty comprehensive list of all the things you’ll need for Europe in spring, but here just a couple of other things you may like to consider.
- Travel guide for your city destination.
- Books make excellent company for the time you will spend in transit, at the airport and relaxing in your hotel room.
- Travel Pillow: Handy for long flights. I really like the kind pictured here as you can use it in multiple positions.
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