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Winter Travel in Europe – A Suggestive Packing List

By vancastore

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Though winters are considered an off season for travelling but a Winter travel in Europe has its own charm. Cheaper flight tickets and accommodation, less number of tourists, lip smacking winter-special cuisines like mulled wines, winter sports like Skiing in Alps or Nordic are some of the joys of spending winters in Europe exploring beautiful Christmas markets. If you are a culture enthusiast, winter is the perfect time of year to head to Europe and explore the rich indoor culture of museums, art galleries, palaces and cathedrals. And if nothing else then watching those snow forests or experiencing snow flakes in front of a backlit Eiffel Tower or watching icicles hanging from the attics of a B&B is pure bliss in itself.

The temperature in Europe during winter varies widely depending on where you are going. Where the southern parts could be sunny and mildly cold, far North could be downright frigid. Hence while packing for a Europe trip will depend a lot on your list of places you are travelling too. The easiest path to follow is to mix and match, layer to warm up, peel off to cool down. Instead of few heavier clothes for extreme winters, it is suggested that one should carry stuff that could be easily layered. Layering not only helps you stay warm and are easier to pack too, but it also helps you in removing an article if the temperature goes up a notch.

some suggestions on layering by the vanca

Base Layer

The base layer is essential while layering. It takes away moisture/sweat from your body. This material pulls the moisture away from the body and transfers it to the next layer of clothing so that it evaporates more quickly. You may choose the material as per your travel plans – if you’re visiting the colder parts of Europe like the Swiss Alps, pack thermals. They can easily roll and stuffed in any corner of a day bag or backpack or suitcase. Wear them under clothing to stay extra cosy on the coldest of days. You can choose the Merino Wool ones as they are one of the best fabric made of wool however they are quite premium. Regular thermals will also work just ensure they are of proper fitting as base layer needs to be worn tight against the skin.

There are few other options also available for the base layers like synthetics or cotton. Synthetics are a good choice as they transfer moisture well. However, they tend to smell quickly so need to be washed pretty often. In cotton, basic undershirts with a full sleeve or tank tops are good picks. For lower pack some leggings in different colours. These can be easily rolled and carried in any corner of your luggage, won’t take much space. Pair them up for colder days. You can layer with a thermal legging too beneath your regular one or any other form of lower.

Middle Layer

The middle layers are the everyday items that you’d normally wear. It can be a t-shirt, light sweater dresses, shirts, cardigans, pullovers, etc. This layer acts as the insulating layer, and the real warmth comes from this layer. Again emphasis here is on layering as it is easier to add or remove insulating layers depending upon the temperature. This layer should be worn a little loose to allow better insulation. The most popular materials here are wool and fleece which are an excellent choice for warmth even in wet conditions. Fleece is lot lighter than wool so a fleece jacket can be worn as a middle layer as well as an outer layer in case the temperature rises. Cotton can be used, but it won’t keep you warm. You can use it as an extra layer in combination with wool or fleece.

Pair them up with some beautiful leggings and throw in some accessories to look like a real fashionista!


Browse The Vanca  for some amazing middle layer options to stay warm yet look absolutely gorgeous


For bottom wear, the leggings are enough to provide variety and comfort but if you still need one choose a pair of denim or a black pant. These can give you a casual look and when teamed up with proper top wear and accessories they can also be changed into an outfit proper for a sit-down dinner. Choose a fit which will allow you to wear a thermal lower or a legging beneath for added warmth.

Do keep one “dressy’’ piece of clothing definitely for any sudden dress up occasion. An LBD or any other evening dress would be a right choice paired up with a cardigan/jacket, leggings for colder days and boots.

Outer Layer

This layer is to keep the natural elements like .wind, snow, rain away. The outer layer is mostly in form if a long coat or a jacket. Ideally, this layer should be waterproof and block the wind. While shopping for this layer look for products that are labelled “breathable”. But there is no need to carry more than one such jacket/coat as these are heavy clothing and require a lot of luggage space. Jacket dresses are also much in vogue these days in case you plan to attend many “dressy” events during your stay.

For casual days a puffy down fill jacket is a good pick too as it provides a lot of warmth and is super light weight, can be rolled up to a smaller size hence a great fit for light travel.

Some handy tips for choosing your outer layer:-

  • Your choice of coat/jacket should be according to the coldest destination of your trip
  • A waterproof outer layer is a better pick as Europe winters also see a lot of rain. That way you can do away with the rain jacket too
  • Go for a longer, somewhat oversized outer layer that will allow you to wear lots of layers underneath
  • If you are going to be in the colder parts of Europe like Swiss Alps, Helsinki, etc. for majority of your trip, wear a long down-filled coat, for that extra cosy and warm feeling

Visit The Vanca for some uber chic options in jackets and other outer layer products


Shoes are another critical item in your packing list. Proper footwear is key to staying warm. Invest in a comfortable but sturdy pair of slip on walking boots instead of shoes or other fancier footwear. It should serve as your one-shoe-for-all. Such boots are easy to take on and off during airport checks hence travel-friendly, practically go with any outfit hence fashion appropriate, perfect for walking a long distance and time hence comfortable and keep your feet warm and dry way better than any other fancy footwear like sneakers, sandals or flats. In case you have to bring a 2nd pair for special activities like hiking or matching with your dressy option choose a smaller footwear like sneakers or ankle-high boots and wear the other slip on boot while travelling. This way you will save some significant space in your luggage. You may carry a flip flop for the super rainy days, but that should be your last priority while arranging your luggage.


Adding accessories is an easy way to change or glam up your travel outfits. They are small and easy to fit in your bag too. They can be used to add some colour to your travel wardrobe which is mostly neutral coloured. Choose warm accessories that will not only keep you snug but also give you a gorgeous and fashionable look. After all looking good in travel pictures is as important as staying warm! You can add the following to your packing list, and you will be sorted:

  • Couple of lovely thick scarves that can be wrapped in multiple ways
  • A pair of colourful glove in thinner material that you don’t have to take off every time you want to click a picture
  • Warm woollen hat that covers your ears and
  • Some pairs of moisture-wicking, quick-drying warm socks
  • Some light chunky jewellery like long chains or wrist pieces to add a dash of oomph
  • Don’t forget comfortable underwears
  • Cosmetics in travel packing especially a good moisturiser or lotion and a chapstick

Winter in Europe is as beautiful and enjoyable as summer; you just have to dress right for the weather. We, at The Vanca, have put together this list to ensure you stay warm but still look good. Enjoy the holidays, play with snow and don’t forget to click lots of pictures.

Bon Voyage, mes amis!


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