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What to pack for Europe in every season

Packing for a European getaway can be challenging, especially when travelling across multiple climates and seasons. With Europe’s everchanging weather, it is essential to bring various clothing options to prepare you for any situation or weather. But where do you start?  

Before you start piling clothing in your suitcase, you’ll want to do some research. Spend time getting to know the climates you’re travelling to and looking at the forecasts for when you will visit. If you’re travelling in transitional seasons or touring across different climates, pack pieces and layers that can take you from exploring the cooler temperatures of northern Europe to wandering the Mediterranean coasts.   

Still not sure what to bring? We’ve taken some guesswork out of what you need in your suitcase for your next European adventure. Here is what you need to pack for each season in Europe.   


couple in Europe
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Marvel at the European tulips in the spring onboard AmaWaterways’ Tulip Time River Cruise.

European springs can be tricky to pack for. The weather can change drastically depending on where you are in Europe and whether it is early spring or almost summer. As a rule of thumb, think in layers. While planning your vacation outfits, it’s a good idea to pick versatile pieces that are easy to match.   

Bring light layers like cardigans or jackets you can put on or take off. You’ll also want a raincoat, waterproof jacket, shoes, or boots. Pack a few long-sleeve shirts, some t-shirts, and some staple layering pieces. For those colder days, you’ll want to pack a scarf or hat for those chilly days. Don’t forget a small umbrella; you never know when you may need it.  


Woman and man looking at scenic view of Gordes village in Provence
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Spend a relaxing week enjoying wine in Europe on AmaWaterways’ Enticing Duoro Wine Cruise.  

Summer in Europe is usually hot and sunny, so pack accordingly. Bring light and breathable clothing like shorts, t-shirts, dresses, and skirts. Of course, don’t forget the sunscreen and hat to protect yourself from the sun. Plus, be sure to bring a reusable water bottle. Most European cities have public water fountains with clean drinking water, so you stay hydrated throughout your trip. Also, bring your bathing suit to cool off at a beach or find a pool on the hotter days.  

Comfortable walking shoes are necessary in Europe. As you head off sightseeing, you want sandals or lightweight sneakers with lots of support that will be comfortable all day. Ditch the heels for flats for most outings, and pack some blister bandages just in case.  

Remember that certain religious landmarks like the Vatican require patrons to dress modestly, and you may be denied entry. Shoulders and knees are to be covered, and ripped jeans or shirts that are too thin may also be not allowed. Pack lightweight, long pants or skirts and a shirt or shawl to cover your shoulders if you plan on visiting churches and cathedrals.   


Tourist exploring Plitvice Lakes National Park
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Step up your golf game in the European autumn onboard AmaWaterways’ Magna on the Danube with Golf Cruise. 

Just like spring, fall temperatures and weather can be unpredictable in Europe. So what to pack really depends on when you’re travelling and where you are going. Be prepared for anything with a mix of short and long-sleeve shirts and light sweaters or cardigans. Bringing lightweight layers means you can build up the warmth when needed, giving you options for the different temperatures you’ll face.   

A good quality down jacket that is packable is a great investment, especially for travellers. These jackets keep you warm without being bulky or taking up too much room in your suitcase. You’ll also want to bring a raincoat to keep you dry. In addition, pack comfortable walking shoes or boots, and consider waterproof footwear since fall in Europe can be rainy. As for accessories, hats and scarves will help keep you warm on chilly days.   


Tourist enjoying Barcelona
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Celebrate your holidays onboard AmaWaterways’ Iconic Christmas Market Cruise

Winter in Europe can be cold, snowy, or rainy, so pack warm and cozy clothing. Think in warm lightweight layers; remember, you can always take layers off.   

A warm winter jacket is a must-have for European winters. You will also want a pair of gloves, a scarf and a hat, as well as some warm, waterproof boots. Pack a mix of sweaters, long-sleeve shirts, and pants to keep yourself comfortable. Remember that you can always layer under outfits on the chillier days.  

Plus, European winters can be dry and harsh on your skin, so bringing some chap sick and moisturizer for your journey is a good idea.   

General tips

person packing suitcase
Adene Sanchez | iStock

No matter what season you’re travelling in, there are a few things you should always pack for a trip to Europe. Remember your passport and any necessary travel documents. Ensure you have an International Driving Permit or your European Travel Information and Authorisation System permit if needed by the countries you visit. You will also want a small daypack to carry your essentials or store your extra layers while sightseeing and sunglasses for sunny days, no matter the season. Be sure to pack any necessary medication and a small first aid kit in case of emergencies. And, of course, don’t forget your CAA Travel Insurance!  


Ready to jet off to Europe? Explore AmaWaterways itineraries to find the perfect route for your next adventure. Book an appointment with a CAA Travel Consultant to start planning today. 

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