• 28 January 2020

European winters are known for being beautiful. Think snow-capped mountain tops, serene landscapes, fewer crowds and delicious warm drinks everywhere. If you’re looking for a true winter wonderland, Europe won’t disappoint. 

However, when travelling to this magical continent during winter, you need to be prepared for the unpredictable weather. During any moment on a Europe Escape Tour, rain clouds could burst out, snow can fall or icy winds can start up. With this in mind, you need to pack accordingly, whilst also ensuring that your wardrobe keeps a certain level of style. 

With our help, you can pack your bags with peace of mind, knowing you’ll have everything you need right on hand. 

Knowing the luggage restriction makes it easier to pack.
Knowing the luggage restriction makes it easier to pack.
How to pack for Europe winter

Unfortunately, airlines don’t relax their weight limitations just because there’s a little snow falling on the other side of the globe, and you’ll still be limited to 21kg of luggage when you embark on an Expat Explore winter tour of Europe. The trick is to be smart when you pack. Here are the suitcase essentials for cold-weather travel:

Pack lots of layers & one really warm jacket

When you travel in winter, thermals are your friend. Stock up on warm underwear to layer under your day-to-day outfits and choose one really warm, well-made, water-resistant jacket that can stand 14+ days on the road. Choose a neutral colour that goes well with most outfits and pair it with basic leggings, jeans and pants.

Pro tip: Don’t pack the jacket, wear it on the plane. If you get warm you can always stash it in the overhead compartment or use it as a pillow.

Choose quality over quantity when it comes to footwear

When you travel to Europe in winter you essentially need one pair of shoes – warm, comfortable, water-resistant boots that dry quickly and you can comfortably walk in for at least 5km. To make the most of your European holiday you have to take to the streets to drink in the culture and that requires a lot of walking. Make sure you’re comfortable – sore feet can ruin your experience and stop you from seeing all there is to see! 

Pro tip: Bring one extra pair of dress shoes for fancy outings to the theatre, etc.

Add colour and texture with warm wintertime accessories

Just because you’re packing practical basics, it doesn’t mean you have to look drab. Dress up your outfits with colourful scarves, hats, gloves and legwarmers. These items can be rolled and stuffed into small spaces in your suitcase and keep you warm while adding interest to your outfit.

Pro tip: Most of our European destinations have laundry facilities, so you’ll be able to do a load of washing every now and again. Keep this in mind when you pack!

Packing for winter has never been this easy.
Packing for winter has never been this easy.

Packing checklist: 10 items you don’t want to leave behind

Here are 10 essentials for every winter packing list for Europe.

1. Waterproof boots

Of course, when touring Europe, you know you’re in for a great deal of walking. There are many beautiful attractions to see, and very often even the charming streets are worthwhile exploring by foot. This means you need to bring a suitable pair of shoes. And during winter, the best pair of shoes you can bring is a pair of sturdy, comfortable boots. 

A pair of waterproof boots will be an invaluable addition to your Europe packing list! They give a timeless look to any lady or gentleman who wears them and they are easy to pack. Available in neutral colours, they will complement all of your outfits. 

2. Thermal underwear

A key part to any Europe packing list for winter is layers. The more warm shirts and pants you have on, the better. Insulation is the very best way to escape the cold, and so packing a set of thermal underwear is a must. 

Be sure to pack at least 2 pairs of thermal, long sleeve vests and long johns. These thermal undergarments are convenient and comfortable to wear, and they will provide protection from the cold. 

Keep yourself toasty warm add this winter essential onto your travel packing list.

3. Moisturizer 

Cold weather and dry skin seem to be synonymous. And although there are plenty of ways to get rid of dry skin, we know that prevention is better than cure. Add a dermatologist-tested skin care cream to your list of travel essentials for Europe. 

This way you’ll make sure that your skin stays smooth and moisturized during your winter vacation. To avoid cracked lips, a trusted chapstick is another must.  

Packing like a pro for your winter tour.
Packing like a pro for your winter tour.

4. Warm accessories

Packing a few warm accessories is a great way to both do up an outfit, and add extra layers. Some wonderfully cosy and stylish additions onto your travel list are: 

  • Scarf
  • Warm hat
  • Gloves 
  • Earmuffs 

Each item provides warmth to parts of your body that even a full winter outfit sometimes misses. Keeping your ears, hands, hands and neck warm is a very important part of keeping yourself comfortable in the cold. This is especially the case when in destinations that are notorious for cold weather, such as for tours of Russia

5. Warm lightweight socks

Another layer of clothing you absolutely need to have down is a pair of easy-slip, lightweight and warm socks. Woollen socks are the best, as they keep your feet breathing whilst also making sure the heat stays in. You can also get cotton socks, but they’re less warm and you’re going to want your feet to be very well insulated. 

They’re lightweight, making them easy to pack and really cosy to wear. Keep a few pairs with you as these are a very handy item on your packing list for Europe.

6. A thick coat

When it comes to mastering the art of how to pack for Europe in winter, there are few things that will pop into mind as quickly as a coat might. This is one of the fairly obvious things to pack for Europe, but making sure that you have it will go such a long way. 

Ensure that your coat is extremely warm, can go with all of your outfits and doesn’t take up too much room in your bag. You’re going to want a coat that can easily slip on and off as well, so try to avoid coats with multiple straps or buttons. 

Your coat will become your best friend during your travels in Europe, keeping you snug and warm as you venture in the icy weather.

7. Extra sets of batteries

We know how precious memories are, and one of the best ways to keep track of your time in Europe is to keep your camera on hand. But, what if you’ve made your way to someone as glorious as the Rhine River in Germany on our European Taste Tour, and you can’t snap a picture because your camera is dead? 

This could really affect your European travel memory album. Cold weather drains battery life fast, so this could very likely happen to you. To prevent any chances of you losing out on photographing your journey, pack extra sets of batteries with you. 

This is is one of the things to bring to Europe with you that you will kiss yourself for not leaving behind.

Going on an adventure, knowing that you've packed the necessities.
Going on an adventure, knowing that you’ve packed the necessities.
8. Day bag

A conveniently sized day bag is a must for any international travel packing list, and it will serve you a great deal during winter in Europe. You can keep all of your moisturizers and extra layers in a stylish bag that can easily be swung over your shoulder. Be prepared for everything with a day bag that fits all of the necessities for a day of adventure in the cold.

 Valuable items like your phone, camera or iPad will also be much safer and easier to bring along for the ride with a padded bag.

9. Basic medicine

We all know that the change of seasons and the cooler weather often brings about headaches, coughs or sniffles. You don’t want this to stunt your precious time in Europe, so bring some basic medicine with you. This way you can manage your health and easily treat common symptoms brought on by the cold. 

You can also purchase medicines in the country of your choice, but you may not feel up to it, so this cuts the middleman out. Every woman and men’s packing list for Europe should have at least a headache treatment included on it.

10. Pair of black pants

Last, but not least, on our winter Europe trip packing list is a pair of versatile, comfortable and elegant black pants. These will go with everything, giving you the freedom to accessorize with colour whilst keeping your base outfit minimalist. Black pants suit every occasion and easily fit over your underlayers. 

A great go-to for when considering European fashion trends, they’re a classic. A pair of simple black pants will save you a great deal of time when choosing your outfit, whilst also keeping you warm.


Packing for your holiday will be really easy with our list of essentials for travelling to Europe in winter. Taking the time to contemplate what you would need to keep yourself comfortable and warm in the cold is a vital component of having a great time. 

Excited yet? Here is some more pro packing advice to ensure that your winter coach tour of Europe goes off without a hitch. And why not book using our Black Friday Europe tour sales

We wish you a happy winter in Europe, one filled with delicious new foods, exquisite natural scenery and wonderful memories.

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