‘Tis the season…for Christmas markets! If you’re lucky enough to be spending your holidays in Europe this year, you’ve probably already started thinking about what you’re going to pack. But before you start throwing everything into your suitcase, there are a few things you should keep in mind. After all, you don’t want to leave room for all the goodies you get at the Christmas Markets!
I'm going to share exactly how to pack and what I recommend you wear to stay warm!
- What to Wear for Christmas Markets in Europe
- How to Pack for Christmas in Europe
- Packing Tips
- My Complete Packing List
- Opt for Comfortable Shoes
- Ultimate Packing List
- Jewelry and Toiletry Packing
- Dress in Layers
- Choose festive colors and patterns
- Packing List Must Haves
- What to Pack for Men for Christmas Markets
- Outfit Ideas
- Other items you might want to pack
- Ultimate Packing List
What to Wear for Christmas Markets in Europe
How to Pack for Christmas in Europe
I can't recommend packing in a carry on enough! I usually use this back pack – it's a game changer. It's been to over 56 countries and never fails me. If you prefer a rolling bag, I recommend this one!
But I JUST upgraded to this rolling bag that can ALSO be a backpack! This is my newest purchase! It's a rolling bag that doubles as a backpack and it works SO well. Why a rolling bag AND backpack combo? Because t really is the best to pass as a carry on bag!
Wear your bulky stuff on the plane (coat, chunky sweaters) and pack strategically. You don't need 5 sweaters. Instead, use accessories to change it up! I swear it will look like you packed 25 different outfits just by switching up scarves and accessories.
The key to winter packing in a carry on is layering. I always bring a white and black turtleneck to wear under sweaters, coats, even dresses. One of my favorite things to bring are fleece lined tights and leggings. These can be added under jeans, skirts, or dresses to feel warmer.
If you're not used to the cold, you might be tempted to pack a lot of heavy clothes. But trust me, less is more. You can always buy a cute scarf or hat at the market if you get cold.
Get my downloadable packing list!
My Complete Packing List
Here's everything I'm packing! This will all easily fit in my bag and leave me room for Christmas Market souvenirs.
Opt for Comfortable Shoes
THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART! You're going to be on your feet all day. You’ll be doing a lot of walking when you’re at the Christmas market, so make sure you pack comfortable shoes. Leave your high heels at home and opt for flats or tennis shoes. I pair my white Reeboks with nearly everything. It looks super cute and makes it easy to walk on cobblestone streets. And although it may be tempting to bring your cutest pair of shoes, remember that they might not be practical if it’s cold or snowy outside. So make sure to pack both cute and practical shoes!
Click on an item to shop!
I tend to pack 2- 3:
- White tennis shoes
- Hiking boots (also good for warmth – I wear these on the plane)
- Over the knee boots
Jewelry and Toiletry Packing
Travel size is key when it comes to packing toiletries. I love this case for all my makeup. It makes it easy to open so I can see everything I need. I opt for my go-to kit for everything i need for the entire trip with this Discovery Collection from Colleen Rothschild – I don't leave home without it! If you haven't tried it yet, it's on sale SITE WIDE right now! See my top picks right here.
For jewelry take a case so things don't get tangled!
Dress in Layers
The weather can be unpredictable during the winter months, so it’s always best to dress in layers. That way, if it gets cold, you can easily add a jacket or scarf. And if it gets too hot, you can always take off a layer or two. But avoid packing too many heavy items, as you don’t want to lug around a giant coat all day. A light jacket or sweater should suffice along with your heavy duty coat.
I recommend this coat! It's been amazing for me and withstands the alps to the chilly, windy days. The hood is key!
Also a fan of this “packable” puffer coat as it's nice and warm and not bulky!
Choose festive colors and patterns
When in doubt, go for festive colors and patterns! This is the time of year to break out your red and green clothes (or whatever colors are popular in your country). And don’t be afraid to experiment with different patterns—just make sure they’re appropriate for the occasion. For example, avoiding wearing anything too sexy or revealing since you’ll be around family and friends.
Packing List Must Haves
If I had to pick a few things I wouldn't leave home without, this would be it!
- Crossbody bag (Similar) – This is what I carry in general to travel Europe, it holds everything and the zipper keeps everything safe! Plus it allows me to be hands free
- Sunglasses – These are my go to! Would also make a great Christmas gift
- Backpack – This is my Backpack that I've carried for nearly a decade- this is what I use as my carry on bag and I never check a bag. This rolling bag is also a good option. I JUST upgraded to this rolling bag that can ALSO be a backpack! This is my newest purchase! It's a rolling bag that doubles as a backpack and it works SO well. Why a rolling bag AND backpack combo? Because t really is the best to pass as a carry on bag!
- Layering Turtleneck – I always pack these to ensure I stay warm
- Beanie – I usually pack one or two beanies to keep ultra warm, plus switching it up makes it look like I've packed way more than I have
- Fleece Lined Leggings (another option) – a MUST! Can be worn under jeans, skirts, or with a coat. Keeps me warm!
- Coat – You need a good coat! This one is awesome! I also am a fan of this Packable Puffer Coat.
- Cable Knit Sweater – Opt for a sweater you really love that will keep you warm. I always bring a white one since it goes with all my scarves and beanies
- Fleece lined tights – these are game changers!
- Reebok Tennis Shoes – my tried and trusted shoes! Go with everything
- Scarf – Cute to make any outfit feel more festive
- Socks (Also love these) – Bring a few pairs of thick, warm socks
- Camera – My camera for taking all my photos
- Hiking Boots – These are comfortable enough to wear all day and are cute!
- Travel Face Collection – I don't leave home without my face wash, creams, and night and day time routine. This is a brand I trust my skin with since 2015 and it's put together in the perfect travel (TSA approved!) size!
What to Pack for Men for Christmas Markets
Long Sleeve Shirts – Michael has these in multiple colors. It's pretty much all he wears. It's great for layering too. Lots of color options to choose from too!
Columbia Pants – My husband has these in every available color. LITERALLY. He lives in these. And he puts thermal underwear underneath for the cold.
Thermal Underwear – Michael has this in black and gray and he also wore this when dog sledding in negative 40 degree weather! It works!
Fleece – I wish I could count how many times he's worn this fleece. It's in the hundreds. IT's practical and has pockets and keeps you warm.
Coat – Let me tell you something, this man wears the same coat since middle school. OKAY? If you buy a good coat, it can last. He recommends one with a good. This one is a great price!
Shoes – Michael loves these shoes because he thinks they are fancy enough to wear to dinner but comfortable enough to walk cobblestone streets all day.
Now that you know what to keep in mind when packing for the Christmas markets, here are a few outfit ideas for pairing everything together.
Here are some outfits I've created and worn to the Christmas Markets over the years.
We had a snowy day outside of Monschau. It was so incredibly stunning we got out to take pictures and walk around. Here's what my mom wore to the Christmas markets too!
On me: Extra Warm fair isle sweater (this was so thick! Literally the best! I wore this on the plane to save room in my bag. Similar on Amazon here. ) // Fleece Lined Leggings (another option) // Socks //Hiking Boots// Beanie // Mittens
Touring the Christmas Markets Outfit Idea
Other items you might want to pack
Tripod – This is my husband's most sought after Tripod. He researched it for months and loves it.
Backpack – you don't want to lug all your Christmas market goodies in your hands, so bring a back pack. Bonus points, this also has water. Which is sometimes hard to come by in Europe.
Hand Warmers – if you are really prone to getting cold, try these easy, cheap hand warmers. We brought these while we dog sledding in -40 degree weather in Minnesota and they worked like a charm!
Packing for a European Christmas market doesn’t have to be complicated—just keep these tips in mind and you’ll be good to go! And most importantly, don’t forget to have fun! After all, that’s what the holidays are all about.