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What To Pack For Europe In Winter


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Mable Nord



Traveling to Europe in winter can be an unforgettable experience. From the charm of the Christmas markets to the snow-covered landscapes, there is a certain magic in the air. However, packing for a winter trip requires careful planning to ensure you stay warm, comfortable, and stylish throughout your journey.


When preparing for your winter adventure in Europe, it’s essential to consider the climate of your destinations. Northern countries like Germany, Sweden, and Norway experience harsher winters with freezing temperatures, while southern destinations like Spain and Italy have milder climates.


In this comprehensive guide, we will outline the essential items to pack for European winter travel. From warm clothing and footwear to accessories and gadgets, we’ve got you covered. By following these tips, you’ll be well-prepared for the cold weather and able to enjoy your trip to the fullest.


Keep in mind that packing light is key, as you’ll likely be navigating through airports, train stations, and cobblestone streets. With that said, let’s dive into the must-have items for your winter journey in Europe.


Warm Clothing Essentials

When packing for Europe in winter, it’s crucial to prioritize warm clothing that will keep you insulated from the cold temperatures. Here are the must-have items:

  1. Thermal Base Layers: Invest in thermal tops and bottoms made from Merino wool or synthetic materials. These layers will provide warmth without adding bulk and are perfect for wearing under your clothes.
  2. Thick Sweaters and Hoodies: Pack a few thick sweaters or hoodies to layer over your thermal base layers. Opt for chunky knits or fleece materials for added warmth.
  3. Long-Sleeve Shirts: Pack a few long-sleeve shirts in breathable fabrics like cotton or flannel. These can be worn as standalone tops or as additional layers for extra warmth.
  4. Warm Pants: Bring along a pair of insulated pants or thermal leggings to wear underneath your jeans or trousers. This will keep your legs warm and protected from the cold.
  5. Gloves, Hats, and Scarves: Don’t forget to pack accessories that will keep your extremities warm. A pair of insulated gloves, a knitted beanie, and a cozy scarf will help retain heat and protect against frostbite.

Aside from these essentials, you may also consider packing earmuffs or earmuff headphones, which not only keep your ears warm but also allow you to enjoy music or podcasts while exploring your destination.


Remember, layering is key to staying warm in winter. Opt for thin, breathable layers that you can easily adjust as needed. This will help regulate your body temperature and ensure you’re comfortable in changing weather conditions.


Layering Items

Layering is the key to staying warm and comfortable in winter. It allows you to adjust your clothing throughout the day as the temperature changes. Here are some layering items to consider:

  1. Thin Base Layers: Start with a thin base layer made from moisture-wicking materials like polyester or Merino wool. These will help regulate your body temperature and keep you dry.
  2. Mid-Layer: Add a mid-layer such as a lightweight fleece or a down-filled vest. This provides additional insulation without adding too much bulk.
  3. Insulated Jacket: Invest in a high-quality insulated jacket filled with down or synthetic insulation. This will be your outermost layer and should be both water-resistant and windproof.
  4. Waterproof Outer Layer: It’s important to have a waterproof and windproof jacket or shell to protect you from rain, snow, and strong winds. Look for jackets with sealed seams and adjustable hoods.

When layering, remember to focus on breathable fabrics that allow moisture to escape, preventing you from feeling sweaty and uncomfortable. It’s also helpful to choose items that can easily be packed and won’t take up too much space in your luggage.


By layering your clothing, you have the flexibility to add or remove layers based on the weather and your activity level. This way, you can stay warm and cozy without feeling overheated or bulky.


Coats and Outerwear

When traveling to Europe in winter, your coat will be your best friend. It’s important to invest in a high-quality, warm, and stylish coat that will protect you from the cold weather. Here are some key considerations:

  1. Parka or Puffer Jacket: A parka or puffer jacket is a great option for extreme cold temperatures. Look for one with down insulation or synthetic fill for optimal warmth. Choose a longer length to keep your legs protected from the wind and snow.
  2. Wool Coat: A wool coat adds sophistication and elegance to your winter wardrobe. Opt for a classic pea coat or a tailored wool-blend coat for both style and warmth. Look for one that is water-resistant or can be treated with a waterproof spray.
  3. Trench Coat: A trench coat is a versatile choice that works well for both casual and dressier occasions. Look for one with a removable inner lining for added warmth and protection.

In addition to your main coat, consider packing a lighter jacket or fleece for milder days or layering purposes. This will allow for more flexibility in adjusting your clothing to different weather conditions.


Keep in mind that your outerwear should not only provide warmth but also offer protection against wind, rain, and snow. Look for coats with adjustable hoods, secure pockets, and durable materials that can withstand the elements.


Lastly, choose coats and outerwear in neutral or versatile colors that can easily be paired with your other clothing. This will ensure that you have a cohesive and stylish winter wardrobe throughout your trip.


Footwear Choices

Choosing the right footwear for your winter trip to Europe is essential for both comfort and practicality. Here are some footwear options to consider:

  1. Winter Boots: Invest in a pair of sturdy, waterproof boots with good traction. Look for boots with insulation to keep your feet warm and dry, even in snowy and wet conditions. Opt for boots that come up to at least your ankles for added protection.
  2. Comfortable Walking Shoes: It’s important to have a pair of comfortable walking shoes for exploring cities and tourist attractions. Look for shoes that are waterproof or water-resistant and provide good support.
  3. Insulated Socks: Don’t overlook the importance of warm socks. Invest in a few pairs of thick, moisture-wicking, and insulated socks to keep your feet cozy and dry.

When packing your footwear, consider the activities you’ll be doing and the types of terrain you’ll be encountering. If you plan on hiking or engaging in outdoor activities, bring a pair of waterproof hiking boots. If you’ll be mostly navigating city streets and public transportation, a stylish pair of weather-resistant boots or comfortable walking shoes will suffice.


It’s also a good idea to pack a pair of slippers or cozy socks to wear indoors, especially if you’ll be staying in accommodations where you’ll need to remove your outdoor shoes.


Remember to break in your new shoes or boots before your trip and ensure they fit properly to avoid discomfort or blisters. And don’t forget to pack some blister band-aids or moleskin just in case.


By choosing the right footwear, you’ll be able to navigate the winter streets of Europe with ease and comfort.


Accessories for Winter Survival

When traveling in Europe during the winter, having the right accessories is crucial for staying warm and comfortable. Here are some must-have accessories to pack:

  1. Beanie or Hat: A warm beanie or hat is essential for keeping your head and ears protected from the cold. Look for options made from wool or fleece for added insulation.
  2. Scarves and Neck Warmers: Pack a few scarves or neck warmers to keep your neck and chest warm. Consider options in different lengths and thicknesses to accommodate various outfit styles and weather conditions.
  3. Gloves or Mittens: Invest in a pair of insulated gloves or mittens to protect your hands from the freezing temperatures. Look for options that are touchscreen-compatible, so you can still use your phone without exposing your hands to the cold.
  4. Hand Warmers: Consider bringing along disposable hand warmers for extra warmth on particularly chilly days. These small packets can fit inside your gloves or pockets and provide hours of heat.
  5. Ear Muffs or Ear Warmers: To protect your ears from the cold wind, consider packing a pair of ear muffs or ear warmers. They’re compact, easy to pack, and can add a cute touch to your winter outfit.

In addition to these accessories, consider investing in a good-quality, insulated water bottle. Staying hydrated is important, even in cold weather, and a warm drink can provide additional comfort on those chilly days.


Remember that layering accessories, such as wearing a hat under your hood or a scarf over your face, can provide extra protection against the cold. Experiment with different combinations to find the best way to stay warm and comfortable during your winter adventures in Europe.


Electronics and Gadgets

When traveling to Europe in winter, it’s important to bring along some essential electronics and gadgets to enhance your experience and stay connected. Here are some must-have items to consider:

  1. Smartphone: Your smartphone is a versatile tool that can serve multiple purposes during your trip. From navigation and translation apps to capturing memories with high-quality photos, make sure to have your smartphone with you and consider bringing a portable charger to keep it powered throughout the day.
  2. Universal Power Adapter: Europe uses different electrical outlets and voltages compared to other regions. Make sure to pack a universal power adapter that can accommodate various plug types, ensuring that you can charge your electronics without any issues.
  3. Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot: Staying connected is essential, especially when navigating new cities or relying on online resources for information. Consider renting or purchasing a portable Wi-Fi hotspot to have reliable internet access wherever you go.
  4. E-reader or Tablet: If you enjoy reading or want to have entertainment options during your travels, consider bringing an e-reader or tablet. This will allow you to have a variety of books, magazines, and movies at your fingertips without adding extra weight to your luggage.
  5. Camera: Capture the beauty of Europe’s winter landscape with a good-quality camera. Whether it’s a DSLR or a compact camera, make sure to have the necessary equipment and accessories, such as spare batteries and memory cards, to document your journey.
  6. Noise-Canceling Headphones: Long flights, train rides, or even crowded cafes can be noisy. Noise-canceling headphones can provide a peaceful oasis, allowing you to listen to music, podcasts, or simply enjoy some quiet time while traveling.

Remember to pack the necessary charging cables and adapters for all your electronics, as well as any external storage devices or backup solutions to ensure that you don’t run out of space for your photos and videos.


While technology is helpful, don’t forget to put your gadgets aside at times and fully enjoy the beauty and experiences that Europe has to offer in winter.


Toiletries and Personal Care Items

When packing for your winter trip to Europe, it’s important to not overlook your toiletries and personal care items. Here are some essentials to include in your toiletry bag:

  1. Toothbrush and Toothpaste: Ensure you have a travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste to maintain good oral hygiene during your trip.
  2. Shampoo and Conditioner: If you have specific hair care needs, consider bringing travel-sized bottles of your favorite shampoo and conditioner.
  3. Body Wash or Soap: Pack a small bottle of body wash or a bar of soap to keep you refreshed and clean throughout your journey.
  4. Moisturizer: The cold winter air can cause dry skin, so bring along a moisturizer for your face and body. Look for one that offers intense hydration and is suitable for your skin type.
  5. Lip Balm: Protect your lips from becoming chapped and dry by packing a lip balm with SPF. Opt for one with natural ingredients to provide nourishment and protection.
  6. Sunscreen: Although it may be winter, the sun’s UV rays can still damage your skin. Pack a sunscreen with a high SPF to protect yourself when you’re outdoors.
  7. Medicated Creams or Ointments: If you have specific skin conditions or allergies, make sure to pack any medicated creams or ointments you may need.
  8. Prescription Medications: If you take any prescription medications, ensure you have an ample supply for the duration of your trip, along with the necessary documentation.
  9. Travel-Sized First Aid Kit: It’s always a good idea to have a small first aid kit with essentials like band-aids, pain relievers, antiseptic wipes, and any other medications you may need in case of minor injuries or illnesses.
  10. Personal Hygiene Items: Don’t forget items such as razors, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, and any other personal care items specific to your needs.

Remember to pack these items in travel-sized containers to comply with airline regulations and to save space in your luggage. Additionally, consider using a toiletry bag or organizer to keep everything neat and easily accessible.


Taking care of your personal hygiene and well-being is important, even when you’re on the go. By packing these essential toiletries, you’ll be prepared for a comfortable and fresh journey in Europe.


Medications and First Aid Kit

When traveling to Europe in winter, it’s crucial to be prepared for any unforeseen medical situations or emergencies. Here are some key considerations when it comes to medications and your first aid kit:

  1. Prescription Medications: If you take any prescription medications, ensure you have an adequate supply for the duration of your trip. It’s also wise to carry a copy of your prescriptions and a letter from your doctor, stating the purpose of the medication.
  2. Over-the-Counter Medications: Pack a selection of over-the-counter medications to address common ailments such as headaches, cold and flu symptoms, allergies, upset stomach, and motion sickness. Remember to check the regulations for carrying medications in your destination country, as some may have restrictions or require proper documentation.
  3. First Aid Kit: It’s always a good idea to have a basic first aid kit on hand. Include essentials such as band-aids, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, tweezers, scissors, and pain relievers. If you have any specific medical needs or conditions, make sure to pack any additional supplies or medications that may be necessary.
  4. Cold and Cough Remedies: Being exposed to different climates and environments can increase the likelihood of catching a cold or cough. Pack some cough drops, throat lozenges, and a cough syrup to alleviate symptoms and provide relief.
  5. Allergy Medications: Winter allergies can still affect individuals, so if you suffer from allergies, include antihistamines or nasal sprays to manage your symptoms.
  6. Hand Sanitizer and Disinfectant Wipes: Keeping your hands clean is essential for preventing the spread of germs. Pack travel-sized hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to ensure good hygiene during your travels.

It’s important to consult with your healthcare provider before your trip to ensure you have the necessary medications and receive any specific advice related to your health condition. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the local emergency numbers and medical facilities in your destination in case of any medical emergencies.


By being prepared with medications and a well-stocked first aid kit, you can address minor health issues and have peace of mind during your winter journey in Europe.


Travel Documents and Essentials

When preparing for your winter trip to Europe, it’s crucial to have all the necessary travel documents and essential items. Here’s what you need to remember:

  1. Passport and Visas: Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your planned departure date. Check the entry requirements for the countries you’ll be visiting to see if you need a visa, and if so, arrange it in advance.
  2. Travel Insurance: Protect yourself against unexpected events by purchasing travel insurance. It should cover medical emergencies, trip cancellations or interruptions, lost luggage, and other unforeseen circumstances. Keep a copy of your insurance policy and emergency contact information handy.
  3. Flight Tickets and Itinerary: Print or save electronic copies of your flight tickets and itinerary. Make sure you have all the details, including confirmation numbers, departure times, and any connecting flights.
  4. Hotel Reservations: Keep a copy of your hotel reservations and contact information. It’s a good idea to have digital and printed copies in case of any issues or delays.
  5. International Driver’s License: If you plan on renting a car during your trip, check if you need an international driver’s license and obtain one before you travel.
  6. Currency and Payment Methods: Research the currency used in your destination countries and plan accordingly. It’s wise to carry a mix of cash and debit/credit cards for convenience and emergencies. Notify your bank in advance of your travel plans to avoid any issues with card usage abroad.
  7. Travel Adapters: Europe uses different electrical outlets, so pack travel adapters suitable for your destination countries. This will allow you to charge your electronic devices without any complications.
  8. Local Maps and Guides: While smartphones offer convenient navigation, having physical maps and guidebooks can be helpful, especially if you encounter limited internet access or prefer a more traditional approach to exploring.
  9. Emergency Contact Information: Carry a list of emergency contact numbers, including local authorities, your embassy or consulate, and your travel insurance provider. It’s always better to be prepared for any unforeseen situations that may arise.
  10. Reusable Water Bottle: Staying hydrated is important, especially during winter travel. Bring a reusable water bottle to refill throughout your journey, reducing waste and ensuring you have access to water at all times.

Keep all these important documents and essentials organized and easily accessible during your trip. Consider using a travel document organizer or a dedicated folder to keep everything in one place.


By having all your travel documents in order and packing the essential items, you can focus on enjoying your winter adventure in Europe with peace of mind.


Miscellaneous Items to Consider

When packing for your winter trip to Europe, there are some miscellaneous items that can enhance your comfort and overall experience. Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Reusable Shopping Bag: Many European countries have embraced sustainability, and you may find yourself exploring local markets or grocery stores. Packing a small reusable shopping bag will come in handy for carrying your purchases.
  2. Travel Pillow and Blanket: Long flights or train rides can be more comfortable with a travel pillow and blanket. Choose a compact and lightweight option that can easily fit in your carry-on bag.
  3. Travel Locks: Keep your belongings secure by packing travel locks. They can be used to secure your luggage during transit or your hotel room’s valuables drawer.
  4. Folding Umbrella: Winter weather can be unpredictable, so it’s wise to pack a small, folding umbrella that can easily fit in your bag. This will keep you dry during unexpected rain showers.
  5. Reusable Hand Warmers: In addition to disposable hand warmers, consider investing in reusable ones. These can be heated up and reused throughout your trip, providing a sustainable and cost-effective way to keep warm.
  6. Travel-Sized Laundry Detergent: If you plan on doing laundry during your trip, pack some travel-sized laundry detergent or laundry sheets to freshen up your clothes.
  7. Ziplock Bags: These can be incredibly useful for organizing and separating items in your luggage. They are also handy for storing small toiletries, containing spills, or keeping wet items separate from dry ones.
  8. Portable Phone Charger: Keep your devices charged on the go by bringing a portable phone charger. This ensures you won’t run out of battery during long days of exploring.
  9. Travel Journal and Pen: Preserve your memories by bringing a travel journal and pen. Jot down your experiences, observations, and highlights of your trip.
  10. Snacks: Have some non-perishable snacks handy for long travel days or when you’re in need of a quick energy boost. Granola bars, nuts, or dried fruit are compact and easy to pack.

These miscellaneous items may seem small, but they can enhance your travel experience and provide convenience when needed. Remember that packing smart and being prepared can make all the difference in ensuring a smooth and enjoyable trip.



Preparing for a winter trip to Europe requires careful consideration of your wardrobe, accessories, and essential items. By packing strategically, you can ensure that you stay warm, comfortable, and well-prepared for your adventure. Here’s a summary of the key points to remember:


Start with warm clothing essentials, including thermal base layers, thick sweaters, warm pants, and accessories like gloves, hats, and scarves. Layering these items will help regulate your body temperature and provide flexibility as the weather changes.


Invest in a high-quality coat and outerwear, such as a parka or wool coat, to stay protected from the cold and wind. Consider the climate of your destination and choose the appropriate outerwear accordingly.


Choose footwear that is both warm and functional. Look for waterproof and insulated boots for winter conditions, and don’t forget to pack comfortable walking shoes for exploring cities.


Pack accessories like beanies, scarves, gloves, and ear warmers to provide additional warmth and protection against the cold. These items can make a significant difference in your comfort level throughout your trip.


Consider bringing essential electronics and gadgets like smartphones, universal power adapters, portable Wi-Fi hotspots, e-readers, cameras, and noise-canceling headphones. These items will enhance your travel experience and keep you connected and entertained.


Don’t forget about toiletries and personal care items. Carry travel-sized essentials like toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, and lip balm to stay fresh and comfortable during your journey.


Include a well-stocked first aid kit and any necessary medications to stay prepared for any medical situations that may arise.


Remember to bring all the necessary travel documents, such as your passport, visas, flight tickets, travel insurance, and hotel reservations. Additionally, consider packing a reusable shopping bag, travel pillow and blanket, travel locks, folding umbrella, and other miscellaneous items to enhance your comfort and convenience.


By taking the time to pack these essentials and considering all aspects of your trip, you can embark on your winter adventure through Europe with confidence and ease. So, pack your bags, bundle up, and get ready to create unforgettable memories in the enchanting winter wonderland of Europe.