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.

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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.

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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 Places to Go in Scotland

Best places to visit in Scotland

Top Places to Go in Scotland – What to See

Wondering about the best places in Scotland? Then you have found the perfect post as we are discussing the most beautiful places to visit.

Scotland has become one of my favorite travel destinations in Europe. Why?

The people are friendly, the scenery is stunning and I have fallen in love with Edinburgh, a city I can’t wait to head back to. Without question, you have to see more places in the United Kingdom, like England, but do not forget to visit England´s neighbor!

If you enjoy nice people, gorgeous landscapes, beautiful cities and cute towns you will love Scotland as much as I do and so you should put it on your bucket list. Though I did squeeze a lot into my Scotland trip, I didn’t get to see all of Scotland and so I asked a few travel bloggers to share their recommendations for the best places to see in Scotland with us.

So, here are some of the best places to visit in Scotland.

Edinburgh

By Melinda from Traveling Mel

To see some of the best of Scotland you have to visit Edinburgh!

best places to visit in Scotland
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It is one of those cities I knew I would like but had no idea I would fall in love with. It’s cobblestoned, green, old, and new. You can almost see the history of the city while you are walking through it. It’s also a smallish (population: 507,000) city and easily walkable.

There are a wide variety of things to do in Scotland, and Edinburgh is a prime example of this.

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and the center for medicine, engineering, art, law, and literature. J.K. Rowling wrote most of the Harry Potter books here and you can follow the Potter Trail to places that inspired her.

A spooky graveyard tour shows you the old underbelly of Edinburgh when it wasn’t such a lovely place, especially if you were poor.

The Holyrood Palace is the Scottish residence of the Royal Family and when they aren’t there, tourists can poke around their home and see how they live.

While it can’t be argued that it is one of the best cities in Scotland, Edinburgh is also a city of nature. From the hike to Arthur’s Seat, which overlooks the city, to another viewpoint atop Canton Hill, to parks and greenways interspersed throughout the city, to the Royal Botanic Gardens there are plenty of places to soak in a little Vitamin N.

As you will see if you visit, Edinburgh is such a great all-rounder that it’s one of the best holiday destinations in Scotland.

North Coast 500

By Gemma from Two Scots Abroad

Scotland’s Highlands are stunning and that is no secret. What is lesser known is that a trail around the tranquil beaches, rugged mountains, and cute fishing villages is Scotland’s answer to Route 66.

things to do in Scotland
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The North Coast 500 (NC500) is the UK’s hottest road trip and takes you through some of the most beautiful places in Scotland.

The NC500 starts at the Highland’s capital, Inverness, all the way around the coast to John O’Groats and back down to Inverness again, bypassing white sand beaches, golf courses, caves, distilleries and castles!

You can even sleep in one but book fast as the North Coast 500’s accommodation sells out quickly during ‘summer’ with thousands taking on the route by car, campervan and even by bike.

To the west of Inverness is the infamous Bealach na Bà. Signs warn drivers of this crazily hilly yet scenic A (single track) road, a must for any driver who likes to feel the bends with a thrill. Passing places allow cars to get by and some are a tight squeeze. If adventure is your thing, this could be one of the most fun things to do in Scotland!

Another of my must-see places in Scotland is the destination at the end of the Bealach na Bà – Applecross, a beautiful small peninsula in Wester Ross. Further afield is tiny Torridon, and Ullapool; a bustling village packed with musicians and artists.

Heading north to Durness to take a tour of Smoo Cave or a boat ride on Cape Wrath then on to the Stacks of Duncansby to the distilleries of the east.

The NC500 takes two days’ fast-paced drive or two weeks at a leisurely speed. One thing is for sure, the NC500 will show you some of the best sights in Scotland.

Scottish Highlands

By Lindsay from The Never Ending Wanderlust

The Scottish Highlands are among my all-time favorite places in the UK.

Most beautiful places in Scotland
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I’ve been fortunate enough to visit the Highlands on multiple occasions and will never tire of going back.

There are quite a few ways to visit the Highlands, but I personally opted to take two separate day tours to the Highlands, both leaving from Edinburgh and included slightly different routes.

Though I never quite made it up very far, deep into the Highlands, my one-day tours did allow me to scratch the surface. Some of the highlights of my tours included Rosslyn Chapel, Doune Castle, Loch Lomond, Inverary Castle, Kilchurn Castle, and Melrose Abbey.

Some of these locations are quite popular with visitors: Rosslyn Chapel was famously mentioned in the book the DaVinci Code, Doune Castle was used in the filming of Monty Python & The Holy Grail, Outlander, and Game of Thrones, and Inverary Castle was used in one of the Downton Abbey Christmas Specials.

It is really cool to see some of these places in real life! Personally, I really loved visiting Inverary Castle (it’s quite stunning) and Trossachs National Park – as it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

I venture to say that one short trip to Scotland will only wet your appetite and you’ll daydream of going back, just like me.

Isle of Skye

By Claire from ZigZag on Earth

One of the most beautiful places to see in Scotland is the famous Isle of Skye, the second largest island (and one of the most scenic places) in Scotland.

what to see in Scotland and places to go in Scotland
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You can plan an entire vacation exploring its cliffs, beaches, waterfalls, mountains and lochs…

Not only is the Isle of Skye beautiful but if you are looking for something with an ‘other worldly’ feel then this might be one of the top places to see in Scotland. The glaciers, wind, and landslides have shaped the dramatic and enchanting landscapes and you might often wonder if fairies are going to fly around you or trolls stand up from the Earth.

There are indeed many legends surrounding the geological formations of the island.

The most visited spots are the pinnacle of the Old Man or Storr, Kilt Rock and its waterfall plunging into the sea as well as the sparkling Fairy Pools for their crystal-clear waters and the dramatic peninsula of the Nest Point Lighthouse.

My favorite locations are off the beaten track: the magical scenery of Fairy Glen, the wilderness of Loch Coruisk (accessible only by boat or hiking) and the under-appreciated Loch Langaig.

I recommend you stay in Portree, where you can find anything you need. The island is bigger than it seems and Portree is quite central and practical for visiting all areas.

Since there are over five hours of driving from Edinburgh to Portree, you cannot visit it on a day trip. I recommend planning a minimum of three days to soak in the beauty.

Orkney Islands

By Helena by Through an Aussie’s Eyes

Another of the top things to do in Scotland is to take a visit to the Orkney Islands.

Scotland points of interest
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The Orkney Islands are an archipelago that is situated to the northeast of the mainland. The Orkneys are the perfect place for any history buff. The history of these tiny islands dates back to Neolithic times, you can even get right up close and experience these Neolithic structures.

One of my personal favorites is the 5,000-year-old Tomb of the Eagles. Hidden amongst rocks is a covered tomb that involves you pulling yourself in on your stomach to get inside.

The Orkneys have plenty of cairns (tombs) that are spread out all over the archipelago. Another famous chambered cairn is Maeshowe that was estimated in being built around 2800BC. The inside of the cairn is full of Viking ‘graffiti’ from when they were snowed in.

Literally down the road is the famous Ness of Brodger where you will find the remnants of an ancient village or settlement. The Ness of Brodger is tipped to be older than the famous Skara Brae in which you can see the individual rooms of the ancient people. Next door are the Standing Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodger, a stone circle.

To see more modern history, you can scuba dive on the blockships that were strategically sunk to avoid the German submarines during World War I at Scapa Flow. These islands were a hot spot for military action during the World Wars. You can also explore the Ness Battery, a military lookout.

For those who aren’t interested in history, the boutique shops in Stromness and Kirkwall are every shopper’s dream!

Loch Ness

By Arzo from Arzo Travels

Long before I heard of Edinburgh or even really of Scotland, I had heard about Loch Ness and Nessie (the sea monster that lives in Loch Ness), so it doesn’t come as a surprise that Loch Ness (Loch means lake in Scottish) is one of the top tourist attractions in Scotland.

Loch Ness Scotland places to visit
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Loch Ness is located in Inverness which is about 150 miles North West of Edinburgh and while I did a guided tour it is also easily reachable by car.

Not many people have been fortunate enough to spot Nessie but you might be an exception!

The area is also great to hike or walk around or to chill and relax. There’s also the famous Urquhart Castle (which sits next to the lake) which should also be on your list of places to visit in Scotland.

If you want to get out on the water there are boat tours available. You can indulge in a relaxing day or evening cruise where you can enjoy great views, learn about the history of Loch Ness and even do some dolphin spotting!

There are normally options to buy drinks too whether you want a coffee or something stronger to keep you warm in the cold Scottish weather.

Anyhow, of all of the interesting places in Scotland, this is definitely one of the main attractions.

Peterhead Prison Museum

By Susanne from Adventures Around Scotland

For many years, Scotland’s top tourist sites have included castles, whiskey distilleries, and iconic landscapes.  However, in 2016 one of Scotland’s most notorious former prisons opened its doors to the public and is now rated as one of the country’s best new visitor attractions.

Peterhead Prison Museum has been dubbed Scotland’s answer to Alcatraz and visitors can enjoy an excellent audio tour while exploring the inside of what was one of the toughest prisons in the country.

Originally opened in 1888, HMP Peterhead was closed in 2013.  During its history, it was home to some of the most infamous prisoners in the UK including serial killers, child murderers, and gangland figures.

It was also the scene of a famous riot in 1987 when prison guard Jackie Stuart was taken hostage and tortured for five days before being rescued by the SAS when they stormed the building. Jackie Stuart is just one of the former prison officers that now works at the museum and narrates on the audio tour.  It is possible to speak to them about life inside HMP Peterhead as you walk around.

Many areas are open to the public including a cell block, laundry room, shower block, suicide wing and solitary confinement cells. As each visitor has a personal headset, everyone can explore at their own pace. The atmospheric audio tour and museum props really help to capture how dark life could be for both the prisoners and guards in this grim place.

Explore Glasgow

By Sarah The Whole World Or Nothing

Despite being the biggest city in Scotland, Glasgow has often played second fiddle to the capital Edinburgh, which seduces with its charming castle and elegant style.

Glasgow where to go in Scotland
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But this gritty port town that lies little over an hour down the road is fighting back and building a burgeoning reputation as a ballsy, happening, cultural hub.

Even though Glasgow has an enviable collection of quality museums and galleries, art and design lovers will be just as wowed simply walking through the streets.

Old buildings sit seamlessly alongside cutting-edge architecture, typified by the Clyde Waterfront, and outstanding street art covers swathes of brickwork along the popular City Centre Mural Trail which you can follow with a phone app.

Don’t miss the acclaimed food scene in Glasgow. Much of it is centered around the Finnieston district with its abundance of small, independent kitchens showcasing their modern take on Scottish classics like haggis, cullen skink, and shortbread.

For music fans, there’s a long and distinguished tradition in Glasgow, with iconic venues playing host to everything from local folk outfits to some of the world’s biggest bands each week.

You’ll also find live music in many of the city’s trendy bars where you can sample the finest local Scotch Whiskies while listening to the tunes.

Places in Scotland to go
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The center is small enough to explore on foot or by bicycle, but if you want to venture a bit further, head to the outskirts and you’ll soon be amidst breathtaking Scottish landscapes.

Glasgow is the starting point of the world renowned West Highland Way, a 160km hike through some of the most spectacular scenery in the U.K. Rolling green hills stretch out as far as your eyes can see, vast freshwater lochs are lined with trickling waterfalls, and picturesque ancient woodlands hold the secrets of the rich history the route possesses.

Glen Coe Valley

By Soumya from Travel Books Food

Scotland is simply breathtaking and it is difficult to find a place that is not stunning.

Where to go in Scotland - WHERE TO GO IN SCOTLAND? BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN SCOTLAND
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While we were planning our road trip around Scotland, there were some places that came up on the must-see list.

One of them was the Glen Coe valley and to our luck, we found that it was on the road between Edinburgh and Isle of Skye.

Our first view of the ‘The Three sisters of ‘Glen Coe’ was just spectacular and it looked like a place straight out of a magical fairyland. We had an option to go walking around but it was a bit too windy.

Soon we headed out to the nearest big town, Fort William to catch a bite to eat. But not before seeing a magical double rainbow just before we left Glen Coe.

If you do have time, don’t forget to head out to the GlenFinnan Viaduct, the famous railway Viaduct from the Harry Potter movies.

Read more: Best places to visit in England

Read more: Best places to visit in Northern Ireland

Read more: Find out about the best places to see in Wales

Hopefully, you have found inspiration and places to visit in Scotland. 

Safe Travels, Arzo

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