Out of my 27 years of life I’ve spent about a total of 5 months traveling abroad so although I’m no expert, I like to think that I’ve learned a few helpful tips and hints for traveling in Europe in the Winter that I may be able to pass on to other travelers!
The majority of these tips may also be applied to winter travel in general, but a couple do apply specifically to Europe!
1. Invest in a great traveling coat!
Okay this first one may be a bit obvious, but in case you hadn’t thought of this...In my experience, the best traveling coats are:
- Have large/multiple pockets
- Are easily stored
The one I got from Target last year before heading out for a month of Wintery travel in Italy and Spain (similar to this one, but I can’t find the exact one I have - it’s “A New Day” brand), kept me dry and warm the whole trip! It also could easily be rolled up and stuffed into small crannies in my backpack or luggage rack when necessary.
I always kept my touch screen gloves in the giant pockets as well as my phone and tickets in this jacket. (Passport and money on a money belt underneath).
And once you have your coat…
2. Get some comfy, waterproof boots!
Break them in ahead of time and make sure they aren’t too heavy unless you’re willing to lug them around with you! My sister bought some cute rubber rain boots and rather than buying new traveling boots, you can also waterproof your favorite traveling boots with waterproof shoe spray like I did!
Although it may not help you when Venice floods the most it has in ten years and the water is up to your kneecaps, good waterproof boots will make traveling in winter weather so much easier on the whole! They keep your feet warm on long travel days, give you better grip on the ancient stone and marble that covers Europe (which is not safety-proofed) and can be both cute and comfy!
3. Check out the things you want to do ahead of time!
Winter is always an interesting time to travel. On one hand, way less tourists! A great incentive, however, lots of attractions in Europe have “off season” visiting hours and days. Attractions will sometimes close much earlier in the winter or not even be open at all, so be sure to check for your specific dates and times beforehand!
And that being said, a lot of attractions can actually be cheaper because they’re in the off-season! So wohoo for that!!
4. Bring waterproof luggage!
This was something I unfortunately had to learn from experience. The rain in Europe can be both unpredictable and unforgiving! I had a very old fabric suitcase that, despite serving its purpose, did get drenched when wandering around for three hours looking for our hostel in a downpour in Verona…
I suggest a nice rolly (sideways rolling if you have the option!) “shell” style suitcase that will stay dry and keep everything inside dry! There’s nothing worse than trudging around in the rain for hours only to discover that you beloved souvenirs and clean clothes are all soaking wet because the water soaked through your case.
5. Be courteous about umbrellas
In Europe, it’s crowded. And keep in mind that even during Winter, everyone is still out and about on the streets walking or using public transport to their destinations just like everybody else.
So be courteous about using your overly-large umbrella on crowded skinny European streets. Lift your umbrellas up if there’s not enough passing room when you can!
6. Have fun with Winter-specific activities!
It’s not all doom and gloom in the winter - it is a special season to get to do all sorts of fun winter activities you normally couldn’t in the more popular travel season! Husky sledding, ice tunnels, holiday festivals like Venice Carnivale or Christmas or New Year’s celebrations and places like the Plitvice Lakes National Park!
The latter was GORGEOUS! Very different from the view in the summer but so beautiful in all of it’s bright teal waters, snowy scenery and gushing (or frozen!) waterfalls. Since summer is Croatia’s peak tourist season, you’ll want to wait for winter for this one.
And you may only fear for your life once or twice as you navigate through the flooded pathways and cheap wooden planks around the lakes!
Air BnB Experiences is also a great way to find local experiences and I highly recommend it!
Well, there they are everyone! 6 of my top Travel Tips for Navigating Europe in the Winter! If you found these fun or helpful I’d love to direct you to My Top Ten Travel Tips blog where I go a little more in-depth with time and money-saving tips!