Complete winter packing list for Europe travels to be comfortable and stylish when traveling around Europe in the cold season.
Winter trips in Europe can be wonderful.
Depending on where exactly you do, you may experience a winter wonderland, a magical Christmas market, a mild and beautiful crisp day perfect for a Europe city break or you can even get a bit of everything if you fly around or make the most of the excellent European train system.
One thing however is sure: your packing will need to be able to cater to different weather conditions so some packing tips and a good Europe packing list for winter is handy!
This is what I usually pack for winter in Europe: general items and specific list for destinations that require different attire.
If you are looking to get new luggage for your trip, I recommend you consider a good lightweight travel backpack: they are excellent for train travel and city breaks and what I normally use on my own trips.
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How cold is Europe in winter?
Winter is cold in Europe. However, how cold depends on where in Europe you are.
In general, it is good to foresee very cold and snowy weather conditions in all Northern European Countries, in continental areas such as the central part of Germany or Poland, and at higher altitudes.
At a glance, the high/low temps across December, January and February in some of European Capitals historically are:
- Stockholm 1/ -3C – 33/26F
- Reykjavik 3/-2C – 26/28F
- Berlin 4/-2C – 39/28F
- Amsterdam 7/0C – 44/32F
- Vienna 5/1C – 41/33F
In the Southern part of Europe you will have, as a general rules, milder temperatures however you should not expect short sleeve weather
- Madrid 10/3C – 50/37F
- Rome 13/3C – 55/37F
- Athens 15/7C – 59/44F
What to pack for Europe in winter: the best shoes for a winter trip
Good winter shoes are a must when traveling in Europe during the cold month.
They are as essential as a good coat and they are the one item I believe it is worth spending time and money on.
A good pair of winter shoes can last you for years and will guarantee protection for insidious and potentially dangerous low temperatures.
The best shoes for Europe in winter tick the following boxes:
Comfort: you will walk a lot in Europe, so good, broken in, easy to walk in shoes are a must
Rubber sole: this is not a must however, it is highly recommended especially for slippery surfaces such as cobbles. They also tend to be warmer than other types of soles, that may allow cold and wetness to seep through.
Warm and waterproof: the best shoes for Europe keep you warm and dry. While not the whole of Europe experiences snow, most European locations in winter experience at least some rain.
Not having to go back to the hotel in the middle of the visit to change your shoes will go a long way to make your day better!
Top tip: If you are in a destination that doesn’t usually see much rain, I highly recommend you pack an extra pair of shoes, just in case you get caught by a sudden shower. It may take more than one night for shoes to dry: having a second pair makes this occurrence less annoying.
Our favorite shoes for winter travel are:
- Ankle boots like these, perfect for a day to night look, a great solution if you like to pack light
- Tall boots, for a more stylish look
- Lightweight snow boots for city walking
- Full on snow boots or snow city boots for outdoor pursuits, mountain destinations or snowy cities
What to pack for Europe in winter: outer clothing
Good outerwear such as a warm coat, scarf, hat and gloves are a necessity for winter in Europe.
Good to know: some Southern European destinations have temperatures that can be deceiving.
Rome, for instance, doesn’t Gert very rigid winters however, it is very humid, which can result in your day feeling a lot more miserable than you had expected. A good coat, like shoes, is a must pretty much anywhere during the December – February stretch.
- Thick waterproof jacket
- Umbrella – make sure it is wind resistant, especially if traveling in Central-Northern Europe and in Ireland and the UK.
Other clothing items for winter in Europe
- Socks, ideally above the knee, cushioned for walking for destinations in the North of Europe
- Thermal leggings – useful especially in the North of Europe, usually non essential in Mediterranean destinations
- Thermal layer – useful in Northern destinations and possibly UK and Ireland. Find our recommendations to choose a good thermal for travel here
- Long sleeve tops
- Winter dress – a good solution for a day to night European city look
- Long winter trousers
- Jeans, for city trips. I recommend against them if going to Iceland or if planning outdoor activities as they get cold and uncomfortable when wet.
- Snow trousers and shoes for Iceland or outdoor pursuits
- Short sleeve top for layering only
- Warm sweater or woolen sweater
- Warm winter sleepwear
- Slippers for the hotel – especially in the South of Europe it is common for the hotel floors to have no carpets. This is excellent for allergies and cleanliness but can result in really cold floors for your feet – bring your own warm slippers for comfort.
- Water shoes or water for the kids is staying in hotels with pools
Best things to pack for winter in Europe: toiletries and personal accessories
When choosing you travel accessories, I recommend you opt for eco-friendly ones.
They can be excellent in quality and will help you be a more sustainable traveller. You can find eco-friendly travel products we like here.
Whatever solution you go for, you may may need to pack:
- Face and body wash
- Shamopoo and conditioner
- Face and body hydrating cream with UV filter + hands cream against the cold
- Dental kit
- Feminine higene products
- Make up
- Travel pillow for plane or train/bus
- Basic first aid kit for travel, ready made or that you can stock youself
Traveling with kids? Then you may need extra accessories: have a look at our selection of the best family travel gear here.
What to pack for Europe in winter: tech
- Universal travel adaptor (different European countries have different power sockets)
- Personal wifi hotspot
- Roaming plan for your phone – ask your provider at home what can work best for you
- Portable powerbank
- Drone / other tech if using
- All your favorite travel apps (Accommodation booking, tickets, attractions, maps etc)
- Wireless headphones | Travel pillow for the plane | Eye mask for the plane | Other travel comforts
Essential documents to visit Europe in winter
- ID (please be advised it is compulsory to have on you at all times in several European countries)
- Visa if applicable – Find official EU immigration rules here
- Up to date vaccination booklet (if applicable, check with your embassy)
- If traveling with a child with a different surname as yours, you may be asked for additional documents: please check with the embassy of each country you intend to visit as rules may vary.
Best luggage to visit Europe in winter
- My favorite luggae with wheels for Europe is – PC Omni by Samsonite
- Travel backpack – Osprey Carry on travel backpack
- Crossbody bag – amazing for carrying your essentials while staying safe and stylish! Have a look at my favorite corssbody bags for travel here
Extra items to bring if visiting Europe with small kids
- A good stroller. Find our recommendations for best strollers for Europe | Best double strollers for travel | best all terrain strollers for travel (great for outdoor destinations like Iceland)
- Make sure you have a stroller footmuff to keep baby warm while sightseeing
- A stroller travel bag to protect your stroller when handled in rainy airports
- A portable high chair for easier restaurant meals
- A booster seat if renting a car: find good booster seats for travel here and list of plane-friendly car seats here (don’t forget to also carry a car seat bag to keep them safe is checking them in)
- A car seat travel bag to protect it from the weather if sent by plane
- A car seat bunting to keep baby warm in the car and outside if using a travel system
- A sleeping solution if not relying on hotel cots: find good travel bassinets for baby here and travel cribs for toddlers here.
- Also check out: our baby travel essentials and toddler travel essentials
Packing list for Europe in winter by destination
I hope you found this quick overview of the best things to pack for a winter trip to Europe useful. Safe travel planning!