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.

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 Places to Visit in Wales

Most beautiful places in Wales

Best Places to Visit in Wales

Wales, in Great Britain, isn’t as famous as England or Scotland. However, Wales is beautiful and you should not skip it when visiting its eastern neighbor England and so, this post names the best places to visit in Wales.

I actually lived there for about two months doing an internship at one of the universities so I got to see a little bit of Wales even though it was November/December and very cold and rainy (but after all I was in Great Britain)!

I have gotten a good idea now of the beauty of this country but since I couldn’t see all of it I have asked some other travel bloggers who know the area a little better to give me their top recommendations of where to go in Wales.

You can hear about all of the best places to visit in Wales in this post so that you can find some travel inspiration for things to do in Wales.

Wales is currently still in the European Union as part of Great Britain, however, this might change in a few years. Also, you should be aware that even though it is still part of the EU you pay with pounds and not with euros.

The “country” itself is quite small and with a population of about three million people it is one of the smallest countries in Europe, nonetheless, it still has a lot to offer, so keep reading to find out about the best of Wales…

Find out about the best places to visit in Wales. These places need to be on your Wales itinerary as they are stunning and the top places to go in Wales.

Okay, here they are the best places to see in Wales.

Snowdonia National Park

By David from Delve into Wales

The Snowdonia National Park has some of the most outstanding scenery in the UK, and so many activities to enjoy here, from some incredible walks to the pinnacle of Wales tourist attractions, hurtling down a zip wire above a rocky mountainside!

things to do in Wales
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Snowdonia is named after its highest mountain, Mount Snowdon, which is only a few miles from the north coast of Wales.

The National Park actually extends around 80 km to the south, to the Dovey Estuary halfway up the Mid Wales Coast, and includes several mountain ranges, from Cadair Idris in the south to the remote Carneddau and the Snowdon range in the north.

Snowdon is one of the most popular places to go in Wales and can get quite busy on a sunny summer day. This is partly because you can catch a train on the Snowdon Mountain Railway to the summit and its café, Hafod Eryri, between April and October.

A much more difficult way up is via Crib Goch, the ‘red ridge’, a narrow, knife-edge arête that’s not for the novice.

places to visit in Wales
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The two most touristy villages in Snowdonia, Betws-y-Coed and Beddgelert, are a world away from the rugged mountains, with a chocolate-box charm in their riverside settings. Both make great bases for exploring Snowdonia, with Betws having more accommodation options.

Snowdonia is also renowned for its castles.

Some of these were built by Welsh princes to defend their land, and English king Edward I built some close to the coast to subjugate them. Caernarfon, Conwy and Harlech are hugely impressive, but smaller Welsh fortresses like Dolbadarn and Dolwyddelan are also very evocative sites.

It’s also well worth taking the time to see some of Snowdonia’s coastline.

Harlech beach is one of the most magnificent in the UK, with Snowdon the backdrop in clear weather. Around 20 km to the south, the Mawddach estuary at Barmouth is a sublime spot, with great beaches either side, overlooked by the might of Cadair Idris.

Cardiff

By Brittany from The Sweet Wanderlust

When I planned my visit to Cardiff, Wales, I envisioned exploring the castle grounds, checking out Cardiff Bay and visiting St Fagans, the open-air national history museum.

My plans were foiled when it rained the whole time but visiting Cardiff’s arcades saved my trip.

what to do in Wales
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Known as the City of Arcades due to the high concentration of Edwardian, Victorian and modern arcades, the shopping in Cardiff does not disappoint.

In my opinion, the best arcades in Cardiff are the Castle Arcade, Morgan Arcade and Royal Arcade. The shops in these arcades are unique and diverse and there are treasures waiting to be discovered around every corner.

In Royal Arcade, Barker Gelato Ice Cream Parlour makes an awesome freakshake that looks as good as it tastes.

Morgan Arcade is home to the oldest record store in the world, Spiller Records, which is still selling albums to music enthusiasts from around the world. And in Royal Arcade, the funky vintage shop, Sobeys sells unique and one-of-a-kind vintage and reworked clothing.

So, if you’re wondering what to visit in Wales on an (inevitably) rainy day, try checking out Cardiff’s many shopping arcades.

Although the shops are amazing, it’s the people that made this city one of my favorites. Everywhere I went, I was met with friendly, interesting, and interested people who didn’t hesitate to offer recommendations.

Because of them, my trip through Cardiff’s arcades was the best way I could have spent my Cardiff trip.

Gladstone´s Library

By Carol from Wayfaring Views

Wales has a very strong literary tradition. The landscape and culture there inspired the works of Bruce Chatwin, JRR Tolkien, Roald Dahl and Dylan Thomas, to name just a few.

best places in Wales
@Wayfaring Views

So, if you are a bookish sort and looking for places of interest in Wales, it’s a great place for a literary itinerary. One of the highlights of that itinerary should be booking your own literary slumber party at the Gladstone’s Library.

William Gladstone was a long-time Member of Parliament and Prime Minister of the UK during the mid to late 1800’s. He had a vast and varied appetite for reading, accumulating over 32,000 books in his lifetime.

His library is the UK’s only Prime Ministerial library and one of the world’s very few residential libraries. The building houses Gladstone’s collection along with 250,000 other printed works.

They have a writers-in-residence program, conference facilities, host a book fair and offer regular multi-day courses on literary and language topics. The Victorian building houses the library collection in the west wing, and the east wing is home to 26 rooms which are available for accommodation.

Visiting the library would be nice enough but staying in it is a very unique experience indeed. You get special off-hours access to the library and you are sharing your meals with other book nerds. The library offers a special quietude that is conducive to research, writing, and contemplation. It’s a very peaceful respite from the rat race.

“Books are delightful society. If you go into the room filled with books, even without taking them down from their shelve, they seem to speak, to welcome you” -William Gladstone.

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

By Becky from Becky the Traveller

After recently visiting all the UK National Parks one of my favorite places in Wales was the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. This coast has some of the most stunning scenery I’ve ever seen. And it’s perfect for wildlife lovers too. With seals, porpoises, dolphins and even whales being spotted.

what to see in Wales UK
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It has steep cliffs and gorgeous beaches looking out to the Irish Sea. And it’s the only National Park in the UK that’s completely coastal, making it a unique place to visit.

It’s a wonderful place for bird watchers too. You can take boat trips to nearby Ramsey Island Nature Reserve. And during May to August, you can see the beautiful puffins.

If you’re a big hiker there’s one of the UK National long distance walks along the Pembrokeshire Coastal path.

From start to finish its 186 miles/ 299 km, that’s a lot of beautiful views! Or alternatively, you can take a more leisurely approach and visit sections of the path each day. There really is something for everyone here.

During my trip to Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, I stayed at Caerhafod Lodge. A perfect place to base yourself to explore the area. Including views out to the Irish Sea from the accommodation’s picnic area. 

Abereiddy Blue Lagoon

By Sophie from The Wanderful Me

When in Pembrokeshire make sure to see the beautiful Abereiddy Blue Lagoon. Surrounded by heart-stopping cliffs, jagged rocks, and filled with stunning turquoise blue waters, it’s one of the best places to visit in Wales.

 

UK Wales places to visit
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A reminder of Pembrokeshire’s industrial past, the Blue Lagoon was a created due to it being a former slate quarry. Active until 1910, once the quarry was not needed any longer, it was abandoned and flooded.

Although, nowadays, the Blue Lagoon is a popular place for adrenaline-seeking adventurists who jump into the deep blue waters below. In 2012, the Blue Lagoon was the chosen spot for Red Bull’s Cliff Diving World Series – the first time the event had ever been held in the United Kingdom.

But, not only is there the Blue Lagoon to see on the Pembrokeshire coast, there’s also Abereiddy’s beach, stunning viewpoints, and curious stone ruins.

For those who aren’t wanting to take the plunge into the waters of the Blue Lagoon, rocky trails along the cliffside guarantee visitors gorgeous views. Taking them up to windy grassy hills onlooking the surrounding ocean and Wales countryside, as well as the view of an interesting stone ruin on top of the nearby cliffside.

Boat Trips from Tenby

By David from Delve into Wales

The gorgeous harbor at Tenby is one of the most beautiful places in Wales with its curve of pastel-painted Georgian townhouses looking down onto a harbor full of fishing and pleasure boats. It’s also the departure point for some wonderful boat trips which explore the fascinating coastline nearby.

Where to visit in Wales
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Caldey Island lies four kilometers (two and a half miles) to the south of Tenby, and some boats land there, while others do a circuit of the island. We recommend both. The island is home to a remote Cistercian monastery and churches, as well as some amazing coastal walks.

Parts of the island have recently been opened to the public again – the isolated beach at Sandtop Bay is accessible again, and well worth the short walk across the island. Many visitors just walk up to the lighthouse, which has great views over the dramatic south coast of the island.

Caldey – along with its uninhabited neighbor, St Margaret’s Island – is one of the best places in Wales to see large colonies of nesting seabirds, including cormorants, razorbills and puffins, for a few months each year.

The best time to go bird-watching is in spring and early summer (May to July).

The cliff scenery is spectacular, and the boats go in close to the vast, sheer walls of rock to give you a close-up view of the birds. You also often see Atlantic grey seals basking on tiny inaccessible beaches at the foot of the cliffs.

The crossing from Tenby takes around twenty minutes. The return journey is always a pleasure, taking you past South Beach and the Esplanade above, passing the headland before pulling into that beautiful harbor.

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 Scotland

Llandudno

By Arzo from Arzo Travels

Llandudno is a beautiful coastal town in the northern part of Wales and for me, it was one of my highlights when I stayed in Wales despite the very very windy weather during the weekend that I visited.

I can see it is one of the great Wales places to visit, especially in summer, and for me, it is a typical British coastal town where there is a lot to see and do. So, here are my top recommendations for Llandudno…

Wales points of interest Llandudno
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Of course, one of the first things that you will probably do first, is to hit the beach. The water is probably quite cold throughout the year but it is still a lovely place to visit and (if you are brave enough) it is a great place to swim.

What really sets Llandudno apart from other places to see in Wales is that you get great views of the mountains and some beautiful houses lined up at the beach and not just your usual ocean view.

As with most coastal towns in Great Britain, Llandudno also has a great pier which you can visit as well as plenty of restaurants.

To have the best views I recommend that you take the cable car ride which takes you up to 250 meters where you can enjoy a great panoramic view of the Bay of Llandudno.

Once up at the summit, besides enjoying the view you can see the mountains of Snowdonia. You’ll also see Puffin Island where there are great opportunities for hiking on its beautiful trails. Tickets for the cable car start from about 12 euros for a return If you are looking for places to visit in Wales, Llandudno is not to be missed!

Pen y Fan

By David from Delve into Wales

One of the best places to visit in Wales is a place named: Pen y Fan.

Pen y Fan – which in Welsh means the top of the beacon – is the highest point of the Brecon Beacons range, and indeed the whole of southern Britain.

best places to visit in Wales
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The Brecon Beacons, less than an hour north of Cardiff, the Welsh capital, is a hugely popular National Park, and the summit of Pen y Fan is the destination of choice for many visitors, especially in spring and summer.

Pen y Fan is 886 meters above sea level, or 2,907 feet in British imperial measurement and can seem benign and easy on a cool spring day, with hundreds of others climbing the well-trodden path known as the ‘M4’ (after the nearby motorway that runs through south Wales) up the mountain. But in winter it is bleak and inhospitable, and in snow, you normally need an ice axe and crampons to negotiate your way to the summit.

The ‘M4’ route, from Pont ar Daf on the main A470 road, takes between 45 minutes and an hour, depending on your fitness. You reach another summit first, that of Corn Du (the ‘Black Horn’), before dropping down and climbing up to the top of Pen y Fan itself.

There are several other routes up the mountain, and one of the most rewarding is the long haul up from Upper Neuadd reservoir. This starts with a very gentle climb above the lake before the steep pull up to the peak of Cribyn and the final trudge up to Pen y Fan.

Whichever way you go, if the weather is clear you’ll be rewarded with outstanding views over the Welsh countryside, and sometimes down to the hills of Somerset and Devon.

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 Scotland

I hope you have enjoyed this blog on best places to visit Wales and that you have found lots of inspirations for what to do in Wales for your next adventure.

 

Safe Travels, Arzo

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