What to pack for a European Winter

What to pack for a European Winter? That is the question I often asked myself. There are a few things you need to know when packing for a winter European holiday and I wish I had this list before I started travelling around Europe!

Click here for a printable version of the below.

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So, what to pack for a European winter?

Jacket.. a good jacket

A jacket is an obvious choice, but you really do need a good quality jacket, not a cheap one. Not only will it last you several years, but it will keep you warm in the winter. Your jacket also needs to have enough room to be able to layer up underneath with a jumper, scarf etc.

When looking for a jacket, I’d probably recommend buying two depending on your holiday. The first would be a long coat, one that comes past your butt. This is because when you bend over, you don’t want your back showing and getting cold.


The second jacket would have to be a windproof and waterproof jacket. This is an absolute must and we learnt the hard way. We travelled Iceland in April and it was windy and rainy every day. We didn’t have the right jacket so we sat in wet clothes all day every day for 4 days! Not ideal.

thewelltravelledman what to wear in europe in winter

Tip: Look for your jacket at the end of winter so pick up a bargain. It is worth paying good money for a decent jacket, so hit the outlet stores or wait until after winter to pick up a bargain.

Shoes … boots … waterproof shoes…

The next most important thing alongside a jacket is your shoes. In the winter, it is likely to be rainy or even snowing so the right shoes are a must.

I purchased myself some men’s ankle waterproof boots from Geox in London. They are absolutely amazing and worth every penny. They go with most outfits as well so you don’t look ridiculous.

Jenna also picked up a pair of black waterproof boots from Geox. She wore these on our way to the snow, stepped off the bus into snow that came to the top of the boots. They are a suede sort of boot and she was worried about how they would cope with that amount of snow. She got inside and the snow just fell off and shoes 100% dry – they are amazing.

She also has some brown leather just below the knee Clarkes boots. These are also amazing and keep her feet dry.

thewelltravelledman what to wear in europe in winter

Buying the right shoes are important – you really need to keep your feet dry!!

Tip: Wellie’s/Hunters (gumboots) are NOT good for winter. Jenna learnt the hard way out in Zurich one evening, she couldn’t feel her toes!


Gloves, Scarves and Hats/Beanies

Keeping your head warm is another must! You don’t have to wear a beanie, you can also buy lovely winter hats which are not only fashionable but do the job.

Wearing gloves are also pretty important. You can get different styles depending on what you’re doing during the day. You can get nice full leather gloves, or you can get some knit glove and gloves where you can fold over the fingers so you can keep your hands warm while your fingers are exposed to do other things (like take photos, or use your phone!)


Scarves are not only a fashion statement (for both men and women) but do a great job at keeping your chest and neck warm.

Tip: For women, a nice knitted wool snood. They are amazing and do a fantastic job at keeping your warm. Not to mention they look amazing!


Depending on where you’re going, thermals are a great idea. I personally don’t like to layer up too much as a guy, so I would normally wear jeans and a jumper or jacket and that’s about it. To get away with this, I will wear thermal pants and long sleeve thermal underneath to keep me warm. The downside to this is of course when you’re inside a restaurant or shop, you do get warm quickly!

You will obviously need good thermals if you’re off on a ski holiday. We experienced -20 degree days while we were in Val Thorens so we doubled up our thermals under our snow gear. Skiing in St Anton was only around 0 – 2 degrees so one set of thermals did the trick there!

thewelltravelledman what to wear in europe in winter

Tip: The thing about thermals is you want good quality ones. We recommend Merino Wool thermals. I know when you’re looking at the price, you will notice they are a fair bit more expensive, BUT they do not smell.. which means you could wear them for a full week and they don’t pick up odours.

Jeans… tights…. something warm on the bottom

You all probably know jeans don’t really keep you that warm. This is why we often wear some thermals underneath to keep us warm!

For the ladies, Jenna can recommend wearing some tights underneath your long pants. It just gives you that extra layer without being too thick. You can also pick up thermal tights which you can wear as tights under a skirt if you like and then pop some boots over that. What she really liked was fleecy tights – this is where the inside of the tights are fleecy – keeps you super warm!

thewelltravelledman what to wear in europe in winter

Tip: If you’re buying tights, pick some up that have the built in socks. This means your feet will stay warm, you don’t have to add socks and they won’t roll up which then get uncomfortable under boots!

Long sleeved shirts

Buy a heap of these and keep them on stand buy! It is good to layer up, so you can always chuck a vest or jumper over the top of a long sleeved shirt and then a jacket. That way, you can start to peel the layers off and still make sure you’re comfortable.

thewelltravelledman what to pack for a european winter

Tip: Jenna often wore two long sleeve tops over each other and it worked very well.


I know it sounds silly, but having the right socks is important. Your feet will be cold, even wearing good shoes so you need to make sure you keep them as warm as possible. Thermal socks are a good idea, and they aren’t too thick and chunky either so makes wearing them under your boots easy enough.

Tip: you may even like to double up on your socks to keep your feet extra warm!


Umbrella: Not sure if this is an accessory or not, but you will need to carry one with you. We would recommend a small one you can fit in your backpack or handbag.

Waterproof bag: When you’re walking around and it starts drizzling, there is nothing worse than things getting wet (like your camera). For ladies, this is easier! Pick up a Longchamp Nylon Le Pliage bag. These are super light weight so fold up to nothing, and also water repellent so will keep your goods dry if you’re stuck in some rain!

Do you have travel insurance?

Before travelling, make sure you get a travel insurance policy – you never know when you might need it! Click here for information on travel insurance, what company we recommend and a link to get an instant quote.

Alternative accommodation

If you’re looking for alternative accommodation to either save some money or share with friends or family, click here for information on Air B&B ($50 discount on your first booking), hotel price comparison websites etc.

Planning on a white Christmas?

If you’re planning on spending Christmas abroad, click here for our top 5 tips!

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert







2 Comments on “What to pack for a European Winter

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