family posing for photo on lake bled in slovenia wearing weinter gear; Courtesy of Natalia Deriabina/Shutterstock
All Ages

What to Pack for a Winter Vacation in Europe: 6 Essentials for Families

See recent posts by Wendy Helfenbaum

Taking the family on a bucket-list trip to Europe this winter? If you want to be sure you save your energy for sightseeing, sampling delicious cuisine and experiencing unforgettable moments together instead of rifling through too many suitcases to find the right clothing, you’ll need a savvy winter packing list for Europe. If you want to pack light for your winter trip, include stylish layers for cold weather that will take you from a hike in the French Alps to family-style spaghetti dinners in Italy. Here’s our ultimate packing list for a cold weather European vacation.

Winter Packing List for Europe: Heavy Jackets; Courtesy of Amazon

Winter Packing List for Europe: Heavy Jackets

Even if you don’t plan on skiing, you’ll still need to pack a great jacket or coat for every member of the family, one that not only keeps out the cold but also has lots of pockets to stash snacks, water and other kiddie supplies every parent lugs everywhere. Moms will look great while staying warm in the Eddie Bauer Women’s Astoria Hooded Down Parka, which has a durable water-repellent nylon shell, and an ultralight yet cozy down filling. The jacket’s longer length offers extra coverage on super-cold days, while the two-way front zipper is practical when you want to sit down or power-walk. Dads will be happy they brought along The North Face Men’s Gotham Jacket III, which has sealed seams to keep out wet snow. The goose down filling provides warmth and breathability for active days, and the jacket has ample storage for everyone’s stuff.

To keep boys dry and comfy, the London Fog Boys’ Warm Winter Coat Parka with Cozy Trimmed Hood comes in nine colors and features a Sherpa lining and waterproof exterior. The Columbia Girls’ Katelyn Crest Jacket has an adjustable storm hood to keep out wind, and the fur lining is removable if your daughter doesn’t like it. The water-resistant outer shell works well on drizzly days in London, and the zippered pockets are ideal for stashing ear buds, mittens, a phone or snacks.

Related: Best Winter Coats for Kids


Winter Packing List for Europe: Hats; Courtesy of Amazon

Winter Packing List for Europe: Hats

When the temperature drops, moms will happily pull on the FURTALK Knit Beanie Hat for Women. This fleece-lined cable-knit slouchy winter hat has two layers, making it soft and stylish, with an easy elasticized fit that works for any head size. Dads looking for a lightweight yet warm hat should pack the Under Armour Men’s ColdGear Reactor Elements Beanie, which has a quick-dry outer lining that repels rain and snow, plus comfy fleece inside. Toss the Supstar Kids Knitted Winter Hat and Circle Scarf Setinto in your son’s bag. This stretchy beanie will protect his ears and neck from the cold with its thick wool construction and soft fleece lining. For girls, the roomy North Face Youth Oh-Mega Beanie is adorable with a large pom-pom and toasty-warm inner lining.

Related: Best Winter Hats for Kids


Winter Packing List for Europe: Gloves; Courtesy of Amazon

Winter Packing List for Europe: Gloves

You won’t want to snap pictures in Switzerland if your hands are frozen, so moms should pack a pair of Columbia W Heavenly Gloves, which are available in nine rich colors. Featuring a faux-fur cuff and touch-screen-compatible finger tips, they’re the perfect gloves for travel. Dads will appreciate the rugged construction of Timberland’s Men’s Ribbed Sports Gloves, which have a palm patch for extra grip, along with clips at the wrist so you won’t lose one when you go into a charming café to warm up.

Columbia Boys’ Core Gloves will keep your son’s hands nice and warm, and thanks to the adjustable hook-and-loop closure, you won’t have to keep putting them on when they fall off! Your daughter will love N’Ice Caps Girls Waterproof Thinsulate Fashion Design Winter Snow and Ski Gloves, and they come in many fun patterns and colors. Not only are these gloves warm, they’re also waterproof and feature a knitted cuff that tucks under a jacket sleeve to keep out snow during snowball fights.

Related: Best Winter Mittens for Toddlers (That Will Actually Stay On)


Winter Packing List for Europe: Warm Sweaters; Courtesy of Amazon

Winter Packing List for Europe: Warm Sweaters

When you’re touring a city, you want to wear a top layer that’s warm without being bulky. For moms, the Vetinee Women Long Sleeved Soft Velvet Cable Knit Crewneck Sweater is the perfect choice. Available in gray, black, Army green and coral, this pullover has a relaxed fit and comfy texture, and pairs well with a T-shirt for colder days. The pullover, long sleeve sweater features a cable knit shell with round neck for a casual look to keep you warm on cold winter days. Dads will find the Chaps Men’s Classic Fit Cotton Crewneck Sweater the perfect vacation item, as this 100-percent cotton sweater comes in 16 colors and patterns.

The Nautica Boys’ 1/4 Zip Logo Pullover Sweater is a great layering piece for your son, and it’s available in seven colors. Girls will love the lightweight cotton Kid Nation’s Long Sleeve Pullover Crew Neck with its rainbow and glittery shooting-star design. Reviewers say it runs a bit small, so you may want to size up so your daughter can pull this over a T-shirt.

Winter Packing List for Europe: Pants; Courtesy of Amazon

Winter Packing List for Europe: Pants

No need to worry about your legs going numb in Norway if you were smart enough to pack extra-warm pants for your European winter vacation. For moms, Eddie Bauer Women’s Polar Fleece-Lined Pants are ideal for traveling between fall and spring. Made of stretch woven fabric for days of snowshoeing or hiking, these pants provide warmth without being bulky, so you can layer them under ski or rain gear. Dads will love slipping on Clothin Men’s Softshell Fleece-Lined Cargo Pants, which are warm, breathable, water-repellent and wind-resistant.

Have your son put on Under Armour Fleece Pants, which have a soft inner layer and a stretchy elastic waistband for adjustable comfort. If your fashionista daughter prefers style to comfort, these Camii Mia Big Girls’ Winter Thermal Slim Fit Fleece Jeans are just the ticket. These mid-rise jeans are the perfect choice for ice-skating or sipping hot chocolate at an outdoor fire pit.

Related: Best Travel Pants for Women and Moms


Winter Packing List for Europe: Boots; Courtesy of Amazon

Winter Packing List for Europe: Boots

If anyone’s feet are wet or cold, the day is over. Period. Make sure the whole family’s tootsies stay warm and dry, beginning with a pair of Timberland Women’s Jayne Waterproof Teddy Fleece Fold Down Fashion Boots for mom. These nubuck boots have a rubber sole, a waterproof membrane and plush fleece lining. Dads can’t go wrong with The North Face Men’s Snowfuse Insulated Boot, a lightweight, flexible waterproof boot that’s especially good for icy roads or hiking.

Your daughter will love to rock DREAM PAIRS Girl’s Winter Snow Boots. These waterproof leather mid-calf boots come in seven colors and feature a cozy faux-fur lining and sturdy anti-skid soles. And your son’s feet will stay dry and warm with ditont Kids Waterproof Winter Snow Boots, which are available in six colors. They feature a toasty, furry lining and super-soft insole.

Related: Best Waterproof Winter Boots for Kids

Montreal-based Wendy Helfenbaum is a journalist, content strategist and TV producer who writes for dozens of digital and print magazines, as well as many brands. Wendy loves cruising, adventure travel and venturing off the beaten path with her husband and teenage son, and she can pack a carry-on bag like nobody’s business. Follow her @WendyHelfenbaum.

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