What to pack 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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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.


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

Places to Visit in Vatican City in 1 Day

Vatican City - best places to visit and best attractions

Top Places to See in Vatican City and Fun Things to Do

Are you planning your trip to Vatican City and are wondering about the best places to visit in Vatican City (in 1 day) – the smallest country in the world? Then read on and find out about the best things to do and see and many more travel tips.

Because if you are in Rome you cannot not visit Vatican City. The country, also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the perfect trip from Rome and Vatican City in one day (or even half a day) gives you the option see the best attractions and do all the fun things the country has to offer.

This tiny county, with only 1000 inhabitants, has always fascinated me and I couldn’t wait to finally visit. Whenever I travel, I love to visit religious sites like mosques, churches, and temples – tough I am not a religious person.

When I got to visit I wasn’t disappointed at all – actually, a trip to Vatican City was the highlight of my 3-day trip to Rome.Click here to read about my travel tips for Rome.

It has amazing appeal in terms of history, politics, art, and architecture. While there’s a lot in Vatican City, most of the best places to see in Vatican City for tourists are in the Vatican Museums.

Best attractions in Vatican City with Arzo Travels

While the museums are one of the best attractions in Vatican City, let me start by saying these are incredibly overwhelming: Wear your walking shoes and be prepared to spend hours and hours walking the halls. You could spend an entire day in the museums alone!

You may want to plan two days in Vatican City so you can dedicate the second one to St. Peter’s Basilica and other attractions – we spent about one day at Vatican City and it was great to get a good overview – but it was kind of overwhelming.

When people think that Dubai is all about “bling-bling” and being pompous you need to visit Vatican City to see that this tiny country, home of the  Pope, is the epitome of gaudiness.

One thing I like to mention first: though we visited at the end of January (so off-season) we were totally surprised to see how busy it actually was. We were skeptical if we really needed a “skip the line ticket” as we thought it was just about paying extra.

BUT, luckily we got some as it really helped us to skip lines – even off-season the lines were looong – people wanting to visit the St. Peter’s Basilica (which is free) were as long as the line of those wanting to visit the museum (which you need a ticket for).

So I don’t even want to know how busy it will be at other times.

Lines at Vatican City off-season

So, before talking about the main reasons to visit Vatican City, here are some travel tips for Vatican City.



Looking for some of the best Vatican City travel tips?

  • Get the “skip the line” Vatican City pass so you don’t end up in endlessly long cues. I did this and it saved me a lot of time.
  • I already mentioned this, but wear comfortable shoes. If you have any issues with walking for a sustained period of time, rent a wheelchair (for free). The Vatican Museums have very few benches where you can rest — and you don’t want to lean on ancient art!
  • If you want to go to the dome of St. Peter’s, you’ll need tickets and a reservation. Make this far in advance.
  • Dress appropriately. If you do go in summer, you won’t be allowed to enter the buildings of the city unless you cover your shoulders, and you can’t wear shorts or miniskirts.
  • Leave yourself enough time. While yes, you can make a very long day of it and see the basilica and the Vatican Museums, you’ll miss out on a lot from rushing and won’t have much time to eat!

It’s tempting to cringe at the grandeur and decadence portrayed throughout Vatican City: The amount of money that went into the building and now maintaining the property is astronomical and even sickening. And although that’s unsettling, the vast array of art and history preserved by the Catholic Church is astounding. In a day and age where museums are struggling to keep the doors open, it’s encouraging to see such a diverse collection of artifacts on display.

Click here to book a private Vatican City tour – before the museum officially opens.


Poste Vatican City, best sights

See the Main Attractions in Vatican City in 1 Day

Here they are – the top attractions and best things to do in Vatican City.

Raphael Rooms

An art-lover will enjoy a tour through the four Raphael Rooms.

Some of the rooms were painted by the artist himself, while others were completed by his students in his style. His “School of Athens,” a fresco you’ve probably seen in textbooks, is there to admire in person. The painting is meant to embody “Philosophy” and in the center, you see Plato and Aristotle in the discussion.

Sistine Chapel

While, yes, the Sistine Chapel and the art on the ceiling is all Biblical, it’s also breathtaking and famous.

One of the best places to see in Vatican City has to be this masterpiece by Michelangelo. By the way, I once read a biography of Michelangelo and ever since then I have become fascinated by him. So, reading a biography might not be a bad way to prepare a bit for your Vatican City trip.

I also appreciated that it seems to be one of the only places in Rome, I mean Vatican City, where there is no talking and no picture-taking allowed. And the guards are serious about enforcing that (though some still managed to snap some pics quickly).

It’s a good place for some quiet reflection and appreciation of truly fantastic art that must have been a pain in the neck to create. 😉


It’s true! There are two mummies in the Gregorian Egyptian Museum, along with other artifacts reflecting the art and architecture of the Egyptian peoples and other ancient Near East civilizations.

The best places to visit in Vatican City_

You’ll find ancient Sumerian Cuneiform tablets that are nearly four thousand years old, the Cylinder of Nebuchadnezzar II (more than 2,500 years old), as well as a hemicycle of granite statues from different ages.

If you didn’t read up on the what to see in Vatican City ahead of time, this exhibit will probably surprise (and delight) you.

St. Peter’s Basilica

Come for the architecture and the view. The magnificent dome of St. Peter´ Basilica offers more amazing work by Michelangelo, and the church as a whole features a unique blend of Renaissance and Baroque architecture.  

That view....Places to see in Vatican City

It’s undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Vatican City: It’s free to enter (unless you want to pay for the amazing view from the dome, which is worth it), it’s the focal point of the entire city state, and it’s one of the largest churches in the world, able to hold some 60,000 people. St. Peter’s Square is equally as grand with 284 columns surrounding the elliptical courtyard in front of the basilica.

There is an entry fee to get to the top.

You can either climb all stairs go get up, or, as I did (unlike my two cousins) hop into the lift and get out after a few levels and then climb the stairs to get to the top (you have to pay right at the lift, which cost a bit more than if you climb all the stairs by yourself).

Best view with Arzo Travels

La Pieta

Located inside St. Peter’s, this is undoubtedly religious art crafted by the master Michelangelo.

It depicts the Virgin Mary holding the now-dead body of Christ and is remarkably the only work Michelangelo ever signed. Because of an attack in the 1970s that took off part of Mary’s nose and her arm, the sculpture is now behind bulletproof glass.

Regardless of your religious views, a sculpture depicting a mother holding her dead son is moving, and the fact it was made by the famous Michelangelo makes it worth viewing.

Spiral Staircase

Maybe this is a silly thing to include when mentioning things to do in Vatican City, but walking down this amazing staircase is a fun experience.

Photo by Nicolas Hoizey on Unsplash - Best attractions in Vatican City
Photo by Nicolas Hoizey on Unsplash

It’s designed as a double-helix (like DNA) with one staircase leading up, and the other down, never intersecting. It’s one of the most photographed staircases in the world, so it’s certainly worth a look, although going down it after walking a large portion of the 9 miles of museums can make your legs feel a bit wobbly.

Necropolis of the Via Triumphalis

Where to go in Vatican City? If you haven’t gotten enough of ruins during your stay in Rome yet, taking a special tour of this ancient Roman burial ground may be of interest.

You’ll walk along modern terraces and that gives you a full view of the excavated site, filled with now-open tombs of Roman citizens (be warned, there are real skeletons in there!).

What’s remarkable is you can still see the painted interior of one tomb.


There is so much art within the 9 miles of the Vatican Museums, it’s hard to pick just a few pieces to focus on.

However, the Laocoön, a famous sculpture depicting the death-by-sea-serpent of the Trojan priest who warned his people about the Trojan horse’s deception, is a brilliant marble copy of the bronze original sculpture worth stopping to admire in the Octagonal Court.

The Gallery of Maps

Another top place to visit in Vatican City is the Gallery of Maps. This is also part of the Vatican Museums where you’ll find the two walls of a long hallway frescoed with topographical maps of Italy.

Points of interests Vatican CIty

The hallway is bright and beautiful and the maps are truly gorgeous (if only about 80% accurate). It has a different feel than the rest of the Vatican Museums, and allows one to appreciate a different type of art. This has been one of the most stunning places in Vatican City.

Apollo Belvedere

The marble statue of the young god Apollo has been in the Vatican since at least 1508, and is a 2nd century A.D. copy of a 330 B.C. bronze original.

Why this statue out of all the hundreds of marble creations in the Vatican? According to German art historian, Johann Joachim Winckelmann, “of all the works of antiquity that have escaped destruction, the statue of Apollo represents the highest ideal of art.” Now that’s a compliment! It also stands around Nero’s red porphyry bathtub, something worth seeing on its own merits.

Vatican Gardens

Because I went in January, I didn’t fully appreciate the Vatican Gardens, but if you go when plants and trees are blooming you’ll get to experience a variety of wonderful and ornate fountains and relative quiet.

They only allow a certain number of reservations per day, so unlike the can’t-breathe-claustrophobia of the Sistine Chapel, the rolling shaded walkways of the gardens will be a relief from the crowds.

Cactus gardens, grottos, trees, shrubbery and views of St. Peter’s dome make this possibly one of the most beautiful places in Vatican City.

Last but not least: You have the cutest post office and pretty doors in Vatican City (for those who #haveathingfordoors )

More sights in Vatican City

So religious or not, Vatican City is worth your time. When in Rome make sure to add Vatican City to your itinerary and learn about the history and… And these tips about the best things to do and the best places to visit in Vatican City has helped you to plan your trip!

Vatican City in one day, best tour


Safe Travels, Arzo


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