Winter city breaks are increasing in popularity as more and more holidaymakers realise that a holiday does not have to mean two full weeks in the sun. One way of beating the British winter blues is to treat yourself to a weekend break, such as a romantic escape, ski trip, or shopping and sightseeing.
While less time out of the office may be the more obvious advantage of a weekend or short break, being able to take a smaller case is also an attractive thought. However, packing light is not just about choosing the right clothing for the destination and the duration of your stay, it’s also about ensuring that the contents of your bag provide the right blend of style and practicality for the local climate and type of activity you are planning.
Here the style experts at GANT give some essential packing tips for top European destinations.
Skiing in Switzerland
Switzerland is home to an impressive variety of ski resorts, a large number of which are considered the most luxurious in Europe. Ski holidays have long been a stylish winter getaway so you’ll need to make sure you pack appropriately for the trip. Prepare not only for long days on the slopes, but also for the lively cosmopolitan après ski entertainment on offer, in many of the restaurants and bars.
What to Pack:
By day: You’ll obviously need your ski essentials (for example ski jacket, pants, socks and boots, goggles, gloves and scarf) that you can either buy before you leave or rent while you’re there. During the winter ski season it is advisable to pack thermal underwear as an under layer.
Apres Ski: Pack stylish but functional pieces. Pack stylish but functional pieces. A statement patterned heavy knit jumper, matched with a pair of tapered winter chinos is a suitable look for dinner and drinks. Invest in a pair of snow boots with rubber soles and thermal lining to improve your grip on the snow and keep your feet warm and dry.
Shopping in Paris
Paris is one of the finest cities in the world for shopping, offering myriads of retail venues from tiny specialist boutiques to large department stores. You may even want to take advantage of the traditional Parisian post-Christmas sales (known locally as the ‘soldes’) where famous designers and specialist boutiques can offer up to 50% off.
What to pack:
Winter in Paris is generally very cold and temperatures approach or descend below zero, so make sure you pack comfortable warm clothes if you’re planning on walking around during the day. Though comfort is key, you will be in the fashion capital of the world so choose a smart, clean and sophisticated look.
By day: Skinny or slim fit jeans are a great staple for the daytime, matched with a cashmere sweater and a warm leather jacket. Remember to take sunglasses for the winter sun and of course your winter accessories (scarf, gloves and hat).
By night: A smart blazer or suit jacket will bring sophistication to any outfit, along with a classic white shirt, loafers and cufflinks. Pack with layers in mind as the weather is quickly changeable, getting a lot colder at night.
Romantic escape to Rome
Winter travel in Rome is appealing as the sun shines throughout the season and although cooler, is nowhere near as cold as other European cities. With a vast history and rich culture, Rome provides the ideal romantic setting for a long weekend away visiting the piazzas, the opera and exploring historic landmarks such as Vatican City and the Coliseum.
What to pack:
By day: Rome can experience sudden rain showers in the winter so take a medium weight waterproof coat and waterproof shoes. Most of the streets are cobbled and uneven, so comfortable footwear is essential for exploring the city. A pair of jeans matched with a V-neck cashmere sweater and polo shirt is a good combination for the daytime.
By night: Italians tend to dress casually smart, so a fitted corduroy blazer teamed with chinos works well along with a simple blue shirt and classic timepiece.
Winter Wonderland in Prague
Prague is a very charismatic city during wintertime with its enchanting castles, horse-drawn carts, winter festivals and monumental buildings. This city is all about embracing the winter and enjoying the fine wine, elegant dining and hearty food. It will be very cold and possibly even snowing in winter, with temperatures reaching below -10°C/14°F, so you’ll need to pack accordingly.
What to pack:
By day: Wrap up with heavy jumpers, fleece accessories and walking boots for walking through the snow. Layer with thermal clothing and thick socks, along with a lined waterproof warm down jacket. Locals dress quite casually during the day so a pair of comfortable jeans will work fine for sightseeing.
By night: Prague is a lively city at night with a wide range of bars, nightclubs and discos. Unless you are going to the opera or an upmarket restaurant, evening attire is fairly casual, but ensure you pack some smart shoes or loafers. Chinos would be a good choice, matched with a warm lambswool jumper and a crisp white shirt underneath.
Trend-Setting in Stockholm
The Swedish capital Stockholm is becoming renowned as being one of Europe’s most dynamic and beautiful cities, with its mix of old world charm and modern sophistication. Stockholm is made up of a number of islands, gardens and woodlands, so you have the perfect mix of cosmopolitan city life and nature.
What to pack:
By day: Dressing in layers is advisable, so keep warm with super soft corduroy chinos, teamed with walking boots, a blazer, a pair of brightly coloured leather gloves, and a heavy knit scarf. Finish the look with a practical but well-fitted jacket like the Gant Boat Coat , which is ideal for layering up.
By night: Pack slim fit jeans and a fitted cardigan that you can layer with a smart dark shirt and make room for smart but practical leather boots that you can wear out to dinner or for drinks.
What to Pack for Europe in the winter – capsule wardrobe check list
If you are away for 3 – 5 days, the following items should be sufficient:
- 3 shirts
- 1 blazer
- 1 polo shirt (for daytime layering)
- 1 heavy knit jumper
- 1 light sweater or cardigan
- 1 pair of jeans
- 2 pairs of chinos (one dark and one bright)
- 1 warm winter coat
- 1 Light and water resistant windbreaker with a hood
- 1 thermal vest and pants
- 5 pairs of underwear and socks (lightweight fabrics will dry quicker)
- 1 pair of smart leather shoes or boots
- 1 pair of walking boots (check the local forecast for snow and ice coverage)