How to Pack for Winter in Europe

how to pack for europe in winter
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If you have dreams of dancing through snowy cobblestone streets while sipping mulled wine and walking through charming European Christmas markets you’re not alone.  I first decided to visit Europe in the winter because I thought I’d be able to avoid the crowds and things would be cheaper – and while that’s true (aside from the few weeks around Christmas) – I now try to visit Europe each and every winter to explore Christmas markets, chase the northern lights, ice skate my way across London, and soak in the beauty that is Europe in the wintertime.

I decided to write this post after I personally traveled across Europe – solo – from October-January with one backpack and one piece of luggage.  I traversed the continent moving west to east and north to south.  I packed things that were incredibly useful, and things that just took up too much space.  I left things behind as I went, only to make space for new purchases.  But overall, my packing list for Europe in winter got me through mild to freezing days.  This is everything I would recommend packing for a trip to Europe in the winter!

 

Read about my favorite European winter destinations/winter experiences:

 

The Best Luggage to Take to Europe

First things first when it comes to packing – you need luggage to put your things in.  My biggest tip for traveling – especially through Europe in the winter – is to not overpack.  Overpacking just leads to hassle and headaches and it’s not worth it – especially when you’re pulling your luggage down a snowy, cobblestone street.  But, with that being said – here are my favorite pieces of luggage to bring with you to Europe!

 

Calpak
AirTag Case Keychain
AirTags
Toiletry Bag
Packing Cubes
Nordace Backpack
Calpak
AirTag Case Keychain
AirTags
Toiletry Bag
Packing Cubes
Nordace Backpack
Calpak
AirTag Case Keychain
AirTags
Toiletry Bag
Packing Cubes
Nordace Backpack

 

Pro tip:  Avoid purchasing any white bags that you’ll be checking-in on an airplane – they are bound to get dirty fast!

 

Packing Essentials

Next up:  Your essentials!  These are things that you cannot travel to Europe without!

  • Passport
  • Travel insurance – I don’t like to travel abroad without travel insurance; I personally use and recommend Safety Wing (I think this is especially important in the winter because to potential flight delays and cancelations due to snow)
  • European adapter

 

Best Boots for European Winter

You absolutely can’t be comfortable walking around Europe in frigid temperature if you haven’t packed warm boots.  (I’d also argue that warm socks make a huge difference too!).  Below you’ll find the boots I recommend to keep your feet warm while exploring!

 

Columbia Women’s Ice Maiden Snow Boot
Sorel Joan of Arctic Boot
Hunter Sherpa Snow Boot
Timberland Boots
Backcountry Blundstone Thermal Boots
Columbia Women’s Ice Maiden Snow Boot
Sorel Joan of Arctic Boot
Hunter Sherpa Snow Boot
Timberland Boots
Backcountry Blundstone Thermal Boots
Columbia Women’s Ice Maiden Snow Boot
Sorel Joan of Arctic Boot
Hunter Sherpa Snow Boot
Timberland Boots
Backcountry Blundstone Thermal Boots

 

Best Coats for Europe Winter

Just like boots – a warm coat is a necessity if you’re visiting Europe in the winter.  I invested in this coat and would absolutely recommend it.  It is expensive, but the warmth is unmatched and I’ve had it for years now.  If you’re going somewhere extra cold, you might even consider layering with a light jacket with a winter coat on top!

 

North Face Women’s Arctic Parka
Long Downcoat
Landsend Insulated Coat
Columbia Insulated Jacket
Northface Burgundy Puffer 2000
Avec Les Filles Puffer Coat
Amazon Women’s Lightweight Jacket
North Face Women’s Arctic Parka
Long Downcoat
Landsend Insulated Coat
Columbia Insulated Jacket
Northface Burgundy Puffer 2000
Avec Les Filles Puffer Coat
Amazon Women’s Lightweight Jacket

 

What to Wear for Winter in Europe

winter in poland

 

Warm Clothes

 

Nordace Merino Wool Ankle Socks
Ekouaer Women’s Turtleneck
Anrabess Women’s Crew Neck Sweater
Evan Oversized Turtleneck Sweater
Merokeety 2 Piece Outfits Fuzzy Fleece Pajama Set
Yeokou Women’s Warm Sherpa Lined Athletic Sweatpants
32 Degrees Heat Thermal Base Layer
Zesica Crew Neck Sweater
Nordace Merino Wool Ankle Socks
Ekouaer Women’s Turtleneck
Anrabess Women’s Crew Neck Sweater
Evan Oversized Turtleneck Sweater
Merokeety 2 Piece Outfits Fuzzy Fleece Pajama Set
Yeokou Women’s Warm Sherpa Lined Athletic Sweatpants
32 Degrees Heat Thermal Base Layer
Zesica Crew Neck Sweater

 

Pro tip:  Roll your clothes instead of folding them!  You’ll have more room this way.  I’d also consider bringing a laundry bag so that you can keep your clean/dirty clothes separate!

 

Warm Accessories

Not only will these accessories keep you warm – they will also help your outfits look different each day!  Truth is, when I pack, accessories are my favorite thing to pack because they don’t take up much room and they can truly make a dull outfit shine!

 

Aneco Winter Warm Set
FarFetch Ear Muffs
MaxMara Beanie
NovForth Winter Neck Warmer
C.C Soft Stretch Winter Warm Cable Knit Ear Warmer Headband
Brook + Bay Fleece Ear Muffs
Simari Winter Gloves
Carhartt Women’s Knit Pom Beanie
Furtalk Womens Winter Scarf Cashmere
Aneco Winter Warm Set
FarFetch Ear Muffs
MaxMara Beanie
NovForth Winter Neck Warmer
C.C Soft Stretch Winter Warm Cable Knit Ear Warmer Headband
Brook + Bay Fleece Ear Muffs
Simari Winter Gloves
Carhartt Women’s Knit Pom Beanie
Furtalk Womens Winter Scarf Cashmere

 

Pro tip:  Don’t forget to throw in hand and feet warmers for those extra cold days!

 

Warm Intimates

 

Pro tip:  If you’re going to be gone for a while, I recommend bringing at least 12 pairs of underwear so that you’re not constantly needing to do laundry.

 

How to Layer Your Clothes

Layering is key when it comes to staying warm in Europe.  Here’s how you’ll layer your clothes from top to bottom!

  • Beanie/ear muffs/ear warmer headband
  • Scarf/neck warmer
  • Thermal undershirt
  • Turtleneck sweater
  • Light jacket (if very cold)
  • Heavy coat
  • Gloves
  • Long underwear (if very cold)
  • Pants
  • Wool socks
  • Boots

 

Electronics to Pack for Europe

Electronics are certainly not a necessity to travel to Europe in the winter, but in this section I’ll share with you the electronics I travel with.  Of course, if you love capturing pictures and videos, you’ll more than likely be wanting to take a camera and maybe your computer to edit your photos; but if that isn’t your thing – you can skip over this section!

 

Electronic Organizer
Portable Charger
Kindle
Apple Laptop
GoPro
Canon EOS R
DJI Drone
Selfie Light
Apple AirPods
Electronic Organizer
Portable Charger
Kindle
Apple Laptop
GoPro
Canon EOS R
DJI Drone
Selfie Light
Apple AirPods

 

Health Items to Pack for Europe

As a nurse, of course I can’t not include health items that I would recommend packing if you travel abroad.  Below you’ll find a few health related items that I took with me and they all came in handy!

  • Pill box (this is better for a shorter trip so you can count out your prescription/non-prescription pills and you don’t have to take a bulky bottle with you)
  • First aid kit (there are scissors in this first aid kit so if you’re doing carry-on only, make sure to remove them before packing!)
  • Bandaids (included in first aid kit linked above)
  • Unisom (I always travel with Unisom to help me catch some Zzz’s on the airplane and to help with jet lag – I also use this mask to get some sleep on the plane)
  • Liquid IV (I bring this just in case I get sick and dehydrated; but it does not replace a doctor!)
  • Advil (included in first aid kit linked above)

 

Advil
Unisom
First Aid Kit
Pill Box
Liquid IV
Advil
Unisom
First Aid Kit
Pill Box
Liquid IV
Advil
Unisom
First Aid Kit
Pill Box
Liquid IV

 

Packing Tips

1.  If you’re going to be gone a long time and staying in rental properties, make sure to pack miniature Tide PODS to wash your clothes (I purchase the whole box and then pack a few with me – in a bag – on each trip)

2.  Travel with reusable plastic bags – it never fails that I always need a bag for something

3.  For more space, roll your clothes instead of folding them

4.  Weigh your bag before getting to the airport; and know your baggage limits for each airline you fly.  In Europe, most airlines are very strict about weight for carry-on bags and I’ve had to check several carry-on bags for not meeting the weight requirement.

 

FAQ

Q:  “How cold does it get in Europe in the winter?”

  • A:  This really varies depending on where you’re going.  If you’re planning to visit the south of Spain – temperatures are generally nice enough that you can wear shorts somedays!  But if you’re going to the Nordic countries, you can expect frigid temperatures and minimal sunlight.  I would suggest doing some research on weather patterns based on the country/countries you’re planning to visit.

Q:  “Which European destinations should I visit in the winter?”

  • A:  If you’re traveling to Europe in the winter to avoid crowds, take advantage of low-season prices, and you’re looking for good weather – I would highly recommend Southern Spain or Portugal.  But if you’re traveling to Europe to visit the quintessential Christmas markets I’d suggest Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, and Estonia.

Q:  “Do you have any tips for packing light?”

  • A:  Packing light is my specialty!  While its hard to do when you’re packing winter clothes, my biggest tip is to wear your heaviest items on the airplane so that you can fit more in your carry-on bag, thus eliminating the need for a checked bag.  I also recommend only bringing one coat, one pair of boots, etc and just re-wearing those things.  Lastly, accessories are key to making an outfit shine.  Instead of bringing more clothes – consider different hats.  Something that is compact and light, but can make your outfit look different.

 

I hope that this European packing list – winter edition – has proved useful!  If you have any questions about packing or visiting Europe in the winter, let me know in the comments below.

 

For more European inspiration, don’t miss…

 

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Disclosure:  This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my link, at no cost to you.  Passports and Preemies is also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees.

 


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Kylee is a NICU nurse passionate about making travel affordable and accessible to nurses. Inspiring nurses to travel both near and far, Kylee began Passports and Preemies in 2017 while volunteering in Skopje, North Macedonia as a way to reach nurses and advocate for the prevention of nurse burnout by traveling. Kylee has been a NICU nurse for 9 years and a travel nurse for 7 years. Since starting her career in travel nursing, she’s worked in six different states, 10 different hospitals, volunteered as a nurse in North Macedonia, worked as a nurse in Saudi Arabia, and has traveled to 45+ countries. Her favorite travel nurse assignment was in Seattle and her favorite destination is Georgia (the country). Kylee is the original creator of the “8 Day Vacay” – a vacation geared towards nurses who aim to take advantage of the potentially 8 days off between work weeks with no need to use PTO.

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