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Do you want to know what to pack for winter Europe? Well, trust me, not a lot of people know how to dress for winter either, and you’re not the only one!
I was one myself until one damn cold day I decided I’ve had enough of this cold and decided to chuck away my cheap winter jackets and invest in proper winter clothing that will keep me warm even if I spend the whole day outside.
You have to remember that during the winter season anywhere in the world, the problem is often not the weather itself but the person because nothing is too cold unless you’re wearing the proper clothing!
Note that if you’re traveling in winter, you must have a good sturdy backpack to travel in Europe around this time of the year! Winter gears are heavy and bulky so you’ll need a proper one to carry all of your belongings.
Here’s a list of what to pack for winter in Europe – the essentials! You can get the packing list in your email if you sign up below:
Winter in Europe is magical, and every year, tons of tourists from all over the world fly their way to Europe to experience white Christmas in the Nordics, enjoy skiing in the Alps or simply just for the fun of traveling. Europe is popular all year round but visiting during cold seasons will guarantee you fewer crowds and more opportunities to see tons of places at a lower price. Remember, the winter season in Europe means the low season in many expensive big cities.
Also, Christmas Markets in Europe is a big thing too during the holidays months (November and December), and there would be tons of activities that will be held outdoors for everyone to enjoy. So, if you’re keen on visiting major European cities for their Christmas Markets, then you need to be prepared to spend lots of time outdoors in the cold! I can’t stress enough how important it is to dress properly for winter and that’s why I compiled this list that should help you survive Europe during cold seasons.
Besides, what’s the point to be in beautiful Europe in winter if you’re freezing your ass off and can’t enjoy your trip? None. Trust me. You don’t need to layer tons of clothing to stay warm! All you need are a few but essential key clothing that will help you survive winter in Europe (or any other places).
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Table of Contents
- 1 What to Pack for Winter in Europe
- 2 Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
What to Pack for Winter in Europe
LONG JOHNS OR LONG UNDERWEAR
Okay, long johns are not so pretty but I can assure you they’ll keep you warm and that’s what’s important here. Besides, no one will ask you to strip down to see if you’re wearing something not-so-cute underneath your winter jacket. Trust me; you’ll surely need this especially if you’re coming from countries that don’t experience winter.
Plus, some brands sell decent looking ones that are skin tight but will keep you warm. Normally these are sports grade materials, and I’d go for those since they are likely made for athletes who do winter sports. This is one layer of clothing to add on how to dress for winter to stay warm.
Here’re examples of long johns:
WARM PANTS, JEANS OR WOOL LEGGINGS
If you refuse to wear long johns, then you better find something else that will keep you warm. I suggest jeans or wool leggings; these two are what I use on days long johns aren’t exactly too cute to wear.
If you’re feeling extra cold, then you can either put the jeans on top of your long johns or wool leggings for extra warmth.
Here are examples for warm pants:
- Thermal jeans pants
- Wranglers men’s fleece line pants
- Fleece-lined leggings
FLEECE JACKET OR WOOLY JUMPER
Layering is your best friend during winter indeed. However, you don’t need to layer ten things to keep warm. Sometimes all you need is one or two layers! On top of your long johns, you can either top it with a fleece jacket or a wooly jumper, your choice.
That said, I always wear a fleece jacket over my long underwear, and that keeps me warm even if the degrees drop to minus fifteen. Sports fleece jacket isn’t the prettiest, but I find it warmer than wooly jumpers!
Here are some examples of fleece jackets:
- Women’s fleece jacket
- Men’s fleece jacket
THERMAL OR INSULATED WINTER COAT
It is up to you, but I often suggest thermal winter coats to anyone who wants to stay warm during winter. If you can find a winter jacket that is thermal, windproof and waterproof, then that’s perfect! Winter in Europe can get wet sometimes due to snow melting or just because it is snowing, plus some parts can be windy also. Helsinki, for instance, gets windy since it is by the coast.
Typically, you can find these sorts of winter jackets on the sports aisle where you can find skiing clothes. Now, you’re probably wondering why I keep on suggesting winter sports clothing – well, simple, they’re made for cold, harsh winters!
They are not the prettiest, but they’ll keep you extra warm and dry. You don’t want your winter holiday ruined because you’re cold, soaked and freezing, right?
If you want to look cute during this winter holiday, then I suggest looking for at least 80% wool winter coats or sometimes sports brands are selling thermal winter coats made for city people – warm but beautiful. However, they might run a bit expensive but guarantees to keep you warm than cheap winter coats from popular retail brands.
BEANIE OR A HAT
It is crucial to keep your head warm. This is the first thing I learned when I moved to Finland, wear a beanie in winter unless you want to get a massive headache afterward.
A hat should suffice, but if the weather falls under minus degrees, it is better to wear a warmer hat. Personally, I’m wearing a thermal beanie, and I love it! Plus, it is also windproof, so that was a win.
I’ve lost plenty of gloves every winter – yes, every. single. winter. I decided that this year, I’ll wear mismatched gloves because I can’t be bothered buying new ones and, to be honest, having gloves on when it is minus degrees outside is always the best idea ever.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to use gloves when you’re outside. Trust me; it is nice to have warm hands especially if you plan to stay out for a longer period.
I mean, wouldn’t you love to stay outdoors as long as you can when the country turns into a winter wonderland like Finland in these photos?
Related further reading:
WOOLY OR THERMAL SOCKS OR ANY THICK SOCKS
I’m going to say this again, and I think I’ve said it enough, it is important always to stay warm and especially your feet! I’ve learned this the hard way in the beginning, and now I’m never without thick socks when I’m heading out even for a short period.
Feet is, in my opinion, the most important part you have to take care of because trust me, frostbite is real and if you don’t keep your feet warm – they are usually the first things that get cold after a short walk in the snow.
PROPER WINTER SHOES/BOOTS
So, we just tackled the reason why you should keep your feet warm at all costs. But what is a good winter boot anyways? I know some shops sell several sorts of good looking boots that are in fashion and looking so dandy and the price is reasonable! Steal? Maybe. But the real question is, will that pair of boots keep your feet warm?
I’ve bought plenty of cheap but beautiful winter boots in my life and they frequently only last about one winter season, and for its price, I would say it is not even worth it. So, how to find proper winter boots that would last longer and keep you warm? Here’re a few factors you consider when buying winter shoes:
- Material that is used on the shoes: Shoes made out of 100% leather should keep you warm. But not a lot of people find this ethical so boots that say it has “thermal lining” or “insulated” should be good.
- Brand of the shoes: Many companies or brands are known for reasons and that is because they make kickass winter clothing and only that – nothing else. For shoes, it is the same thing; there are specific companies that only produce shoes to keep your feet warm in winter. For instance, I have a Timberland 100% leather boots which I bought for this winter – it is awesome. Plus, Timberland is a well-known brand for producing leather boots with a particular style.
- The price of the shoes: I’ve bought my Timberlands for 200€, and I thought that was expensive, but after using it for a while, I felt its worth because not once I felt cold on my feet this winter. So remember, sometimes it is worth to buy quality products from well-known brands than spending 70€ on shoes that look great but don’t last long.
Here are examples of quality winter boots that are great for winter:
- Timberland for women
- Timberland for men
- Sorel winter boots
- Caterpillar boots
WARM POSITIVE VIBES
Trust me, it will be cold and you’ll need this. But kidding aside, just be reminded that don’t let the cold ever be the reason why you can’t have fun outdoors because trust me, it is fun to be outside!
Also, in countries like the Nordics, they often serve amazing hearty dishes that truly warms up the soul – that is also something to look forward to when you come in winter.
Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
Founder of Pretty Wild World and one of the leading experts in Europe travel, the Nordics, and Scandinavia Destinations.
Evan Kristine has been mentioned in big publications such as The Huffington Post and the Thought Catalog has been sharing her useful travel tips and hacks to the world for more than five years now.
Nowadays, she is a full-time traveler exploring and documenting her journey around the world providing you the next best travel idea for your great next adventure.