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How to pack for Europe in winter (Essential tips + packing list)

Have you booked your trip to Europe and are now need to know what to pack to travel around Europe in winter? We have you covered with this complete guide to what to pack for London in winter.

This essential European winter packing list will provide you will provide all the information you need to ensure you pack the right clothes for your European vacation. With ice, snow and freezing Arctic winds often the norm during winter in Europe is essential to pack the right clothes.

After travelling extensively around Europe (including living and working in Switzerland as well as a French ski resort in the Alps) this packing list is based on years of experience!

Tips for putting together your European winter packing list


Think carefully about the luggage you will use. If you are heading to multiple destinations consider how you will be travelling between destinations. 

If you are travelling by train it is important to ensure sure you can lift your bag over your head when it is full.  It is safer to put your bag in the overhead storage area where you can keep an eye on it.

Unfortunately, there is a problem with pickpockets everywhere in Europe including on trains so you need to keep your belongings close. Definitely keep cash/cards and passports on your person. 

I recommend purchasing anti-pickpocket products to add a layer of protection to your belongings. After an attempted robbery by pickpockets in Paris I always travel with my anti-theft backpack, day pack and crossbody bag. 


The most important thing is to pack clothes that you can layer. It WILL be cold so lots of thin layers with a coat over will keep you nice and warm.

Conversely, if you get too warm it is easy to simply remove a layer or two!


Comfortable, waterproof, slip-proof footwear is essential. You will find it easier and safer to get around particularly on icy or snowy walkways.

Remember many of the cities in Europe have cobbled stoned streets and they are treacherous when wet. I wear a pair of fur-lined boots that keep my feet comfortable, warm and dry.


Take small travel-sized reusable bottles of any make-up, moisturiser and check if your hotels supply toiletries as this will save space and weight.

Check the weather forecast

Check the weather forecast a week before you depart to ensure you are prepared for the conditions.

What to pack to travel Europe in winter


This is my recommended packing list for a week or longer in the UK and Europe in winter. I find that calculating what you need for one week will generally be enough for 2-3 weeks as most hotels offer a laundry service.      

  • 4 x Thermal vests – I recommend wearing layers and these are perfect. If would take 3/4 for a week.     
  • 2 x thermal tights/pantyhose. The wind can be bitterly cold so I would wear these under your jeans to provide additional warmth.    
  • 4 x Turtle necks – layer on top of the thermal vest. I recommend not taking bulky sweaters as they take up valuable packing space. These turtle necks will layer perfectly with the vests and a coat over the top.      
  • Waterproof and windproof coat  
  • 2 x woolly hat, scarf and glove sets  – always take 2 sets so you have a spare set if one gets wet.    
  • Waterproof boots    
  • 4 x pairs Thermal socks    
  • 7 x underwear
  • 3 x bras  

Other items

In addition to my clothes I also always take the following items.

  • Hand warmers – There have been a couple of occasions taking photographs in the cold and my fingers have literally turned blue. Putting my gloves back on with a couple of hand warmers inside is a lifesaver!
  • Lip salve – Pack lip salve that is specifically for the colder winter weather. Chapped lips can be a real issue in the icy winds.
  • Sunglasses – Don’t forget your sunglasses even in winter as the sun can be bright especially during snowy conditions.

I always travel with my iPhone, MacBook Air, my DSLR and lenses and my Kindle.

Inevitably I need additional chargers/batteries/adaptors and the bits and bobs to ensure everything is working when I need it.

Don’t forget your travel insurance

I always take out travel insurance as you just never know when you will need it.

I highly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance from World Nomads. Click the link for a free quote – remember it only takes one slip on a patch of ice to require a visit to the hospital!

Click for my Travel Resources page with links to all the recommended products and services I use when booking my trips

Winter destinations in Europe

  • Denmark – Ultimate guide to Copenhagen