WHAT TO PACK FOR EUROPE IN WINTER

What to pack for Europe in winter

PACKING LIST FOR EUROPE IN WINTER

If you are want to find out what to pack for Europe in winter, then this post is for you.

While you might have to think about which places to visit in Europe in winter, you will also need to plan what to pack for the cold winter months in Europe.

While Europe might not be the biggest continent, weather conditions strongly vary. So, it does make a big difference whether you visit North countries like Iceland or Norway, Central Europe like Switzerland or France or Southern Europe with places like Valencia in Spain.

If you head to Southern Spain you will not need all the super warm winter clothes – and you will be happy with some warm pullovers and jeans. In the Nordic countries you will definitely need to pack differently.

In this post, you will find one general part of what to pack in Europe for winter. Then you will find out about what to pack for warmer countries like Spain or Malta, but you will also find out what to pack if you visit countries like Switzerland, Estonia or Iceland in winter.

First ski experience in Verbier, Switzerland what to pack in winter

Winter Weather in Europe

Before talking about what to bring to Europe in winter, we should talk weather in Europe in winter. Because your packing list depends on where you visit.

Southern Europe is much milder and warmer than Eastern Europe or Northern Europe. While you could wear a light jacket in Southern Spain in the winter months, you surely have to dress very warm in countries like Norway or Iceland.

If you come to Europe in winter – come prepared. 

Be advised that the average temperature can reach as low as -10° degree Celsius in countries like Iceland and Norway and while it gets up to 15° degree Celsius in other countries.

Climate change has lead to much warmer climate in many countries – I remember the years – as a little child – where we had many days with freezing temperatures in Germany. And a lot of snow – but nowadays, snow is no longer the rule for many parts in Europe. But it can be.

What to do in Alicante, Costa Blanca

WHAT TO BRING TO EUROPE IN WINTER – GENERAL ITEMS

So, the first part of the post is a general packing ist. Then you will find an additional packing list for winter.

Luggage for Europe

Here is what luggage/bags you might need for your winter Europe trip.

  • Suitcase: Though it depends, where exactly and for how long you travel, I recommend taking a good, light, and quality suitcase with you where all your clothes and most of your toiletries fit in.
  • Carry-On: If you visit for longer and aren’t a minimalist, then you might need an extra carry-on luggage.
  • Laundry bags: They are great if you travel for longer and don’t want your dirty and clean clothes to mix up. I prefer them over plastic bags.
  • Packing Cubes: They are the new must-items when it comes to traveling, they are very handy and they also come in cool colors. I recommend using packing cubes because it makes packing and organizing easier.
  • For my handbag, I choose a cross-body handbag with a zipper (just to be safe) and several extra pockets. My tip: The size of the handbag is important: do you carry a camera with your? A water bottle? Keep that in mind when you decide on one handbag.
  • Passport Holder, since i have become more minimalistic, I prefer not using a passport holder but if you need a passport (and an ID is not enough) you might want to have one.
  • For a day at the hotel pool or for some shopping, I recommend a beach bag or a cotton bag. Plastic bags – fortunately – do costs money in many parts of Europe…and plastic you use only once, sucks anyway, so with a cotton bag you use for years, you do the environment a favour (and it looks much better than to carry your shoppings in a plastic or paper bag).

Toiletries to Pack for Europe in Winter

Lately, I have reduced the care products. Less is better if you ask me. However, in winter our skin is also subject to stress. Here you will find a detailed list – even if I do not use all products below throughout the year, you might use more products.

If I travel for 10 days or shorter I take travel sizes toiletries which I refill with my natural and organic beauty products from home. To pack light, shampoo, conditioner, hair masks, cleaning water and cleansing milk is all in small bottles.

Of course, you could buy toiletries in Europe as well, but if you do not want to waste your time in drug stores or supermarkets, use this checklist for Europe.

  • (TSA Approved Clear) Travel Toiletry Bag (if you fly)
  • Sunscreen (even in winter – depending on where you travel to. If you go for a ski trip, then take it but you most likely will not need it for most other winter trips).
  • Travel bottles to refill – I refill them with my own organic products that I normally use (I do not use shampoo & conditioner provided by hotels)
  • Electric Hair Removal Epilator (only if you stay longer than a week or if you remove your bidy hair with it) – otherwise a razor or whatever you prefer
  • Face cream – (which I also use as a hand cream, so I do not have to take another cream).
  • Refillable Travel Size Perfume Bottle
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste and mouthwash plus Dental floss
  • Tissues
  • Deodorant
  • Magnifying make-up mirror
  • Nail polish and nail polish remover + glass nail file
  • My favorite hairbrush (especially for longer hair) – or if you have less space take a comb
  • Hair ties
  • A small cosmetic bag with the following items: Mascara / Rouge / Eyebrow powder (Taming & Shaping Kit For Brows) / Tweezer / Eyeliner and Eye Shadow / Make-up brushes/ Cotton swabs

Here are a few more items which I personally do hardly use but which might be important to you, so I added them here:

hair spray, hand cream, foundation, powder, lipstick, sanitiser

Tech Stuff to Pack for Europe

  • I have my laptop with me whenever I fly – however, I do work online while traveling and I also watch Netflix on it.
  • My phone is without a doubt one of my most useful and important (travel) items.
  • My camera is a must – because Europe has so many great spots that need to be photographed.
  • I have to admit, that I still don’t have a kindle, so a “real” book is often an essential
  • Power Charger – how long does your phone battery last? Not long? Neither does mine, so this  is an essential
  • Do you need an adapter? It depends on where you travel to in Europe, so please check if you need one for your destination.

Random Things to Pack for Europe

  • Umbrella (in many countries, like Germany, Switzerland, or England is can still rain quite a lot in the winter)
  • Guides
  • Medicine (headache pills etc.)
Cycling in London in winter

What to Pack for Europe in Winter

The key is dressing in layers for Europe in winter. The temperature can reach freezing levels, and yet the sun can be deceptively strong. Dressing in layers allows you to keep warm without compromising on comfort. 

Also, it really depends on where exactly you travel – as I mentioned before, Southern Europe has mild weather in winter where you will not need a super warm jacket and gloves plus a hat.

Depending on where you travel, the wind might make you feel much colder than the temperature actually says.

In worst case scenario, hypothermia and frostbite will be a result if If you’re wet and not appropriately dressed.

Your items should be versatile in function. For example, pack a jacket that is both waterproof and warm. In addition, comfortable walking shoes are essential.

December in Iceland, Golden Circle with Arzo Travels

Everyday Attire Essentials For Europe In Winter

At the top of your packing list should be the following versatile, essential items. Using these items to dress in layers will keep you both stylish and warm. 

  • Coat – Warm And Waterproof: A warm, waterproof jacket should be one of the very first items that you think to pack. Avoid choosing a bulky jacket that takes up a lot of space. This can make you feel uncomfortable when you have layers underneath. Instead, opt for a lightweight, trench raincoat that will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable. 
  • Hat: Science tells us that we lose up to 10% of our body heat through our heads, meaning that it’s essential to keep this area warm. A knitted beanie is a perfect solution for keeping the warmth in while you venture out.  A hat will keep you toasty warm whether you’re on the slopes, sipping coffee, or exploring the sights. 
  • Gloves: Have you ever tried to use your phone with frozen fingers? It’s a nearly impossible task. A pair of gloves can do wonders for your mobility, dexterity, and comfort. This makes it one of the most important items on your Switzerland packing list. When selecting your options, it’s worth investing in a pair that can dry quickly and are touch-screen compatible.
  • Scarf Or Turtleneck: A warm scarf and/or turtleneck sweater are key items for keeping your neck covered. Not only do these items keep you warm, but they also prevent you from getting ill (and thereby ruining the fun). A turtleneck sweater is perfect as a garment to wear underneath your jacket, while the scarf can be removed easily. 
  • Leggings: There’s a reason that almost every woman owns a pair of leggings. They are both comfortable and snug. Leggings are an essential item to pack as you can dress them up or down. You can even wear them underneath your denims as an extra layer of warmth. 
  • Socks: When it comes to packing socks for your Switzerland trip – the thicker the better. Chances are that you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors in the snow, and you’ll want your feet to be warm and cozy. If you plan on hitting the slopes at any stage, then you’ll want your socks to be extra-thick or padded for increased comfort. 
  • Thermals: A quality set of thermals is your key to enjoying the winter weather in Switzerland. They provide the extra layer of heat that will allow you to spend an extra hour on the slopes, or to pack fewer items on your road trip instead of excess clothing.
  • Comfortable Walking Shoes: If you can only pack one pair of shoes, then make sure that they are a trusty pair of waterproof snowshoes. You’ll want your shoes to be as versatile as possible. Snowshoes allow you to enjoy a variety of activities while keeping your feet warm and dry. 
Verbier in Switzerland in the winter

Winter Sportswear

One of the best top reasons to visit Switzerland during the winter months is winter sports opportunities. While most ski resorts will offer rental equipment, there are a few essentials to pack for yourself. 

  • Ski Jacket: When choosing the perfect ski jacket, you need to consider warmth, level of waterproofing, and freedom of movement. A jacket that is adjustable in fit, seals effectively, and dries quickly is the perfect apparel for snowboarding, skiing, and other winter outdoor sports.
  • Ski Pants: A trusty pair of insulated ski pants are the next essential item for all winter sports fans. Make sure that your choice of pants is breathable, warm, and waterproof. These details will keep you dry, warm, and comfortable on the slopes.  
  • Winter Protection: There are a few items that will make your winter vacation all the more comfortable. The last thing that you want is to be soaked on your first day, or get a migraine from snow blindness
  • Umbrella: Regardless of what time of year you visit Switzerland, it’s always a smart move to pack a foldable umbrella. The nifty item doesn’t take up too much space. It can be the difference between a leisurely stroll in the city streets and getting caught in a flu-inspired downpour. 
  • Chapstick: Visiting Switzerland in winter will most likely find you spending hours of fun on the snow-covered slopes. This can quickly dry out your lips and burn your skin. In this instance, you’re going to be grateful that you’ve packed your moisturizing stick of Chapstick. 
  • Sunglasses: The best days on the slopes are the ones accompanied by clear, sunny skies and good conditions. These circumstances also increase the glare of the sun on the white snow, making it close to unbearable on your eyes. A pair of polarized sunglasses or ski goggles can protect your eyes from the wind and bright light.

CONCLUSION: WHAT TO PACK FOR EUROPE IN WINTER

Europe in winter is a fantastic travel destination. Whether you come for a ski trip in Switzerland, explore the Christmas markets in London or want to have a weekend trip to a warmer place like Valencia – Europe is so diverse and has something for every taste.

Just be aware of what to pack for Europe in winter and you can enjoy some fantastic time in Europe.

Stay safe and enjoy!

Safe Travels, Arzo

BEST THINGS TO DO IN SAN MARINO IN ONE DAY (& TRAVEL TIPS)

Best things to do and see in San Marino in 1 day

WHAT TO DO IN ONE DAY IN SAN MARINO

If you’ve been searching for the best things to do in San Marino in one day, this post can help you plan your trip. I’ve put together a list of the top attractions and not-to-be-missed activities in this stunning country.

San Marino, a tiny country completely surrounded by Italy, got on my radar a while ago. So, I just had to visit on my recent Northern Italy trip!

San Marino is one of the smallest (and oldest) countries in the world, and not many have heard of it. Many others assume it is part of Italy. Well, with only 32,000 inhabitants, it surely is not a big player – not in politics, not in tourism, and probably not in many other aspects either (no offence).

With the old town and Mount Titano being listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2008, it has gained influence in the tourism sector, and tourism does play a big role here.

If you’re wondering about what to do in San Marino, here you will find the best things to do in one day in San Marino (you will not need more time than 8-24 hours) and its best attractions. 

Street in San Marino, , strolling the old town is one of the best things to do

TRAVEL TIPS FOR ONE DAY IN SAN MARINO

But before talking about the main San Marino attractions, here are a few other things to know about the country.

How to Get to San Marino

If you’re planning to visit San Marino from Northern Italy, there are two main ways to get to your destination. 

By car:  I got here by car – getting here in the shoulder season is quite easy. There is some paid parking “near the old town“ (about 700 meters away). If you book your hotel, check out my tip about free parking. There are no tolls in San Marino.

By bus:  There is no train connection to San Marino, but you can take a bus from Rimini, which is about 5€ (one way), and it takes about 50 minutes. It will get you to the old town and is quite convenient.

How to Get Around San Marino

If you only have a day or two in San Marino, you will most likely spend your time in the old town, which is uphill, so you will need comfortable shoes to get around easily. From there, you can walk to many tourist attractions and will most likely not need another bus, etc.

Where to Eat – Restaurants in San Marino

There are many restaurants and cafes in the old town of San Marino – I actually had my lunch and dinner in the old town, and both were pretty good. Prices are probably a bit higher than in some parts of Italy though. 

Where to Stay in San Marino for 1 Day

I picked a hotel about 700 meters outside of the old town. You get what you pay for, and while I‘ve gotten much better hotels for a lower rate, this hotel was kind of… not good. 

The location was okay, but again, a 700-meter uphill walk to the old town was not great, and the hotel was not amazing – which was okay as it was not expensive by San Marino standards. But I would not stay there again.

Click here to find hotel accommodation offered in San Marino.

However, it seems all hotels in San Marino are rated quite poorly – maybe it has something to do with the lack of language skills. So, my tip is to NOT stay in San Marino, but make Rimini your base and just go there for a day (you really will not need more time, believe me).

Click here to find hotels in Rimini.

San Marino views from hill

What Language Do They Speak In San Marino

Looking for people who speak English in San Marino is not the easiest thing. Even in the museums, for example, the staff does not speak any English or any other language other than Italian. Not even at my hotel. It was even worse than my experiences in France

I think that this really left a bad taste in my mouth because it was kind of disappointing – after visiting Italy, where many people in the tourism industry do speak (basic) English, I could not ask anyone (except the women at the tourism office).

Many people in San Marino made up for it by being very friendly though – but my tip is to learn some basic Italian and download a translator app beforehand.

Solo Female Travel in San Marino

I was traveling solo in San Marino – well, kind of. My little dog was with me, but in general, San Marino is super safe. The only downside was that people did not speak any English and communication was limited to smiling.

Traveling With a Dog in San Marino

In case you didn’t know: I have the world’s cutest dog. I took him with me on my trip and the reactions to him were similar to the ones we got in Italy: the people in San Marino love dogs and you can take dogs to many places.

Travel in San Marino with a dog

He was allowed to enter the towers, but sometimes, I had to put him in his bag (he is not very big) and then I was allowed to enter museums and the town hall, for example.

With bigger dogs, it might be a bit trickier, but in general, I would say that San Marino is the dog-friendliest place in the world (even more dog-friendly than Italy).

More Things to Know About San Marino

Here are a few more tips for your day trip to San Marino.

San Marino Card: You can buy a San Marino Card, which will give you a discount with some of the restaurants and activities, but you can visit certain places without any extra costs (including some museums and two towers). This is a great way to view all of the top San Marino landmarks. 

The card costs 10.50€, and if you have accommodation in San Marino, you can get it for 7.50€. I bought it at one of the participant museums and I think it was worth it (until I lost the card, but that is a different story).

Currency: Though San Marino is not part of the European Union, it does have the €.

San Marino church

6 Places To Visit In San Marino in One Day

Okay, here are my tips on how to spend a day in San Marino.

TOWERS 1, 2, AND 3: ROCCA GUAITA, TORRE CESTA, AND MONTALE

The best thing to do in San Marino is to head to the two towers (the third tower is not accessible to the public).

Rocca Guaita and Torre Cesta are two fortress towers that you can visit and they are situated on a ridge at the summit of Mount Titano.

View of the second tower in San Marino

San Marino tower

San Marino Guaita Fortress

San Marino fortress

To get to the towers, you have to hike a bit. Getting up to the first tower – Rocca Guaita – takes probably only 15-30 minutes, and though it is uphill, it is not too challenging and does not include many stairs.

Even if you don’t enjoy hiking up, the views are worth it. You can access most (maybe even all) parts of Rocca Guaita, which is also the oldest and biggest of the three fortresses.

Rocca Guaita dates back to the 11th century. From there, you have amazing views of the second tower and also of San Marino´s beautiful scenery.

It was used as a prison as recently as 1975, but I did not even realize that at the time of my visit.

From there, head to the second tower.

Torre Cesta is the second fortress and dates back to the 13th century and it now also has a traditional weaponry museum where you can see weapons from the 13th century.

Cesta Castle (in English) dates from the 13th century and sits atop Monte Titano, at 750 meters above sea level – again, great views from here.

If you want, you could head to the third tower.

Montale was built on Mount Titano around the 13th century as well. The tower is not accessible to visitors, and I stopped my hike after the second tower, but if you are in the mood for a bit more walking and hiking, you might enjoy the walk to the third tower.

Along the way, you will find some stalls and restaurants. For the towers, you will need to buy tickets, but the entrance fee is also included in the San Marino Card.

Depending on how much time you want to spend there, I would suggest planning for 90-240 minutes.

After that, it is time to explore the old town and more San Marino sights and attractions. 

PUBLIC PALACE / PALAZZO PUBBLICO

The town hall of San Marino and its official governmental building, Palazzo Pubblico, is located at Piazza della Liberta and is the eye-catcher of the square with its Gothic style and ornate facade. These are two must-see San Marino points of interest.

Palazzo Pubblico in San Marino

San Marino town hall

It is here where the main government events and ceremonies take place. If there is no event taking place you can visit it (and it is free with your San Marino Card) and learn about San Marino´s history (a short video is shown).

It is probably one of the most remarkable buildings in the country, and when you are looking at it from the outside, pay attention to the square clock tower that tops the building and features battlements that echo Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.

PIAZZA DELLA LIBERTA

As mentioned, the town hall is located in this piazza (which also offers some nice views), but you can also watch the changing of the guard ceremony with the Guardie di Rocca. I’d recommend adding this to your list of things to see in San Marino, if possible.

Piazza della Liberta in San Marino

Piazza della Liberta, main square in San Marini

I did not get to see it during the time of my visit, but the Guardies wear green uniforms and red pom pom hats, and the changing of the guard takes place every hour during the day in the summer months. I’d imagine it’s one of the more popular tourist attractions in San Marino during the season. 

MUSEO DI STATO

For the history fans, I recommend visiting Museo di Stato, which you will find inside the Palazzo Pergami Belluzzi.

San Marino has quite a few museums and one of them is – without any extra costs if you have the San Marino Card – the Museo di Stato.

It is very small, and if you don’t look at each piece for a minute or so, you will finish in 20-90 minutes.

BASILICA DI SAN MARINO 

The Basilica di San Marino is a beautiful religious site, also located in the old town.

Basilica di San Marino is one of the main landmarks

Basilica di San Marino inside

It was built in the 19th century upon the remains of a Roman church that originally stood in the fourth century and it has a beautiful but quite simple interior and houses the bones of the patron saint of San Marino, Saint Marinus.

OLD TOWN

Other than the above-mentioned activities, I just recommend strolling the cute streets of the old town.

Place in San Marino, Cava dei Balestrieri

Square in San Marino

Restaurant in San Marino

Often, I just aimlessly walk around (if I am not in a rush), and with one day in San Marino, you should have enough time to do so yourself. You might stumble upon Cava dei Balestrieri or other cute places, but the highlights of San Marino have already been mentioned above.

Final Opinion of 1 Day in San Marino

So, while I had a nice time in the country, I do believe that one day in San Marino in this small country is enough. 

If the weather had been better, my opinion might have been different (with chances to enjoy more cafes outdoors and enjoy San Marino as a whole in a different way). But regardless of the weather, San Marino in 1 day will allow you to do the best things to do in San Marino.

Safe Travels, Arzo

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