What To Pack for Summer in Europe: Outfits + Light Packing Essentials
As the summer months approach, many of us are daydreaming about our next European getaway. Perhaps Italy, Greece, or Spain — it’s a time to enjoy warm weather while exploring new experiences in old cities. Wondering what to pack for a summer in Europe?
Knowing what to pack for a Summer in Europe can be overwhelming! Especially so if you’re wanting to pack lightly (perhaps you’re a solo female traveler). Here are some tips to help you pack light (with all the perfect outfits to blend in like a local) for an incredible summer in Europe.
This past summer I spent quite a few weeks in southern Europe exploring Greece and Italy (my original plan included Portugal but I didn’t make it there). Something that was very important to me when considering what to pack for Europe, was packing lightly. As a solo female traveler, I wanted to be able to move around quickly and easily as need be. For this reason, I made careful considerations on what I included in my suitcase.
In addition to stylish outfits that would allow me to blend in with the elegant Europeans (and not look like a frumpy tourist), included on my packing list, were some basic travel basics and recommendations that I’ll also list below.
What To Wear in Europe in Summer
Summer in Europe can get quite hot. Especially so if you are in the southern European countries such as Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, and Greece. Unlike the Summers that I’m used to in Miami, it doesn’t rain much at all during the summer in Europe. The Summer heat in Europe is mostly high and dry.
In Southern Europe for example, you will find local women wearing pretty summer dresses, shorts, skirts, camisoles, and tanks tops. Men and women alike wear clothes made of high-quality fabrics that a breathable and comfortable such as cotton, silks, and linens. As opposed to synthetic fabrics like polyester, these natural fabrics will help keep you cool and dry.
In addition to clothes that keep you cool, whether beachside someplace like Ibiza or Mykonos or touring a city such as Rome or Paris, be sure to pack sandals to wear to keep your toes cool and dry as well. But leave your plastic flip-flops at home, opting instead for stylish elegant sandals that can easily wear during the days and evenings. Check out some of my recommendations on clothes to create outfits to pack for Summer in Europe below.
Clothes & Outfits to Pack for Summer in Europe
As I mentioned before, for this particular Summer in Europe, I spent the most time in Italy and in Greece. I wanted to pack light so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the hassle of waiting in line to check a bag, which would also mean arriving earlier to the airport with time I could be doing more sightseeing. At the same time, I wanted to have nice outfits to look nice and be able to mix and match outfits for the day and night. Oh, did I mention I wanted to be comfortable too? Here are all the clothes that I packed for my Summer in Europe (that were perfectly what I needed).
A light and sturdy suitcase.
I reccemend a light and sturday suitcase that you can expand if needed. You’ll also want a suitcase that you can easily recognize if you should decide to chek it at somepoint. Personally I love a suitcase that I can also push as oppsed to drgging. The hard suitcase you see me pictured with I picked up at TJ Maxx for about $40 if I remember correctly. If your budget allows for it I reccomend checking out the ultimate suitcase in my opion — this Tumi aluminum carry-on.
Comfy walking shoes — flats or stylish sneakers.
I’m the kind of solo female traveler who likes to walk and explore. Before I jump in a taxi, which is certainly the easiest route many times, I prefer to get some steps in for the day and travel like a local — taking advantage of public transportation.
The last time I traveled solo to Rome, I took the metro from the airport to my Airbnb. Part of that journey was walking a combined total of about 40 mins or so. It will really make treks like these a lot comfier if you have on a stylish pair of sneakers or walking shoes.
Comfy dressy shoes — low heeled versatile sandal.
I have a pair of skin-toned Manoli Blanck sandals that have served me so well on all of my solo female travel trips.
I travel with these versatile Manoli Blanck sandals everywhere!
I love these shoes especially for Europe because they pair perfectly with anything for the day and night and are super comfy. I can dress them down with a casual summer dress to explore Greece during the day and I can dress them up for my Tinder date ( that storytime in another post) with an Italian stallion in Rome. They’re perfect.
A stylish pair of sandals — leave the flip-flops at home.
For me, packing light while traveling is essential. For this reason, I like to carry things that I can easily mix and match, wear over and over, and I can get lots of wear out of. That’s why I opt to leave the flip-flops (which are only really suitable for the beach or pool) at home. I prefer to bring a pair of flat sandals with a little pizzaz that I can wear comfortably at the beach, but if need be, I can also wear out and about without looking frumpy.
You’ll need a pair of stylish sunglasses to protect your eyes as you’ll likely be spending a lot of time outside in the sun during your travels to Europe for the Summer. But also, sunglasses are just oh so stylish. With a dark pair of shades, you can perch somewhere around the town and people-watch your destination incognito.
A pair of versatile shorts that you can dress up and down is especially essential to pack during a summer in Europe. When the sun is shining and it’s hot outside, shorts are comfy and perfect for solo travel. Opt for a dark color that won’t easily show that you’ve worn them more than a few times between washes. A material that doesn’t wrinkle easily is also a brilliant option in the likey event you won’t always have access to an iron.
I have owned these pleated shorts from Zara for years. And they are absolutely perfect. I dress them up and down with all kinds of different tops. And I don’t often have to wash them while traveling solo and iron them (shh don’t tell anyone).
Different little tops.
Tanks tops and camisoles are perfect for solo female travel. Especially in silk or another cool material. Additionally, they’re easy to wash and wear, mix and math, and are oh so feminine and elegant.
Different little tops in vibrant summer colors that pop such as pinks are a great addition to a versatile capsule wardrobe for Summer in Europe.
I absolutely adore dresses. And for a solo female traveler, dresses are an absolute wardrobe essential for Summer in Europe.
I picked up this versatile Summer dress from Zara.
Because we like to be stylish, but we also want to go spend our time exploring, and not spend any longer than needed picking out clothes.. dresses are a great option. Dresses are an easy option to just grab and go out and about.
Bring a good number of underwear for your summer travels, but there’s no need to overpack. Simply hand wash your underwear each night after wear, and they’ll dry by morning. This way you always have clean underwear and don’t have to tote around dirty ones mixed in with the rest of your clothes.
One bra is usually plenty for me because I hardly ever wear it anyway, especially in Europe (many women often go braless). — free the boobies baby! But if you’re a gal who can’t live without a bra, bring one or two that will look great under everything. You can also wash between wear, though keep in mind your padded bras will take a couple more days than your panties to dry between washes.
This elegant one peice swimsuit I pick up at Forvever 21.
You can not go travel to Europe for the summer and not pack a couple of bathing suits — albeit, in some Southern European countries, you may not need your tops (as many ladies go topless). Nonetheless, if you’re packing light 2 bikinis or one-piece should suit you just fine.
A scarf is great because you can use it in so many different scenarios. Wrap it around your waist and wear it as a sarong or wrap it around your shoulders if you get chilly at night (although most places in Europe don’t get too chilly during the night). A versatile scarf that you can wear in different ways is definitely essential.
Nightdress to sleep in.
Make sure to pack a night dress or PJ’s.
Small crossbody bag.
One small crossbody handbag is usually enough to serve me for the entire trip. I love to carry my small Prada Saffiano mini bag.
Your favorite basic accessories.
When deciding what accessories to pack for a Summer in Europe, keep it elegant and simple. Europeans are generally very conservative when it comes to make-up and accessories. Simple studs earrings and some other small simple jewelry pieces should serve you well for the day and night.
Misc. Essentials Packing List for Summer in Europe
For Summer in Europe, don’t forget to pack your wall converter for all your electronics such as your phone charger, and perhaps laptop. Also, keep in mind countries in the UK such as England will have a totally different wall outlet type than countries in the EU such as The Netherlands or Spain. You can buy a wall converter that’s suitable for the countries that you are visiting, or you can snag one that will easily convert for anywhere in the world including Asia (which has yet another kind of wall outlet).
Not sure if this is a cultural thing, but I grew up bathing with a washrag. Many people know may use a loofa or even exfoliating hand gloves. Yet whenever I travel to European countries they never ever have these in the showers, lol. I guess Europeans don’t use them, IDK, lol. But I always like to bring my own so I don’t have to try to explain in Italian to the maid what the heck is a washrag.
Toiletries To Pack for Summer in Europe
Just because you’re on vacation, doesn’t mean you should allow your skincare routine to go by the wayside. Make sure to bring your fash wash to wash off oil the oil, sweat make-up from the day.
Whether you are staying in a hotel or an Airbnb, many places of accommodations will often not carry toothpaste in the rooms (that is of course unless you’re staying at the four seasons). You can often purchase toothpaste at an extra cost, or of course, bring your own travel-size version.
In destinations with lots of tourists and lots of sun, sunscreen will be easy to find. If you don’t want to pay double for sunscreen or waste a day searching for a bottle of sunscreen you like, thrown this into your suitcase as well.
Pills and potions.
Personally, I’m the type of girl who doesn’t even take aspirin for a headache. Additionally, as uncomfortable as it may be, I don’t usually have any trouble usually falling asleep on the plane.
If you anticipate having trouble falling asleep at night due to the time difference or jet lag, it may be a good idea to back some sleeping pills or melatonin. Pills you also may want to include in your essentials travel pharmacy are Asprin, Ibuprofen, and your vitamins and supplements. If you take birth control pills, make sure to fill your prescription well before your travels and bring those too.
Period stuff .
You will for sure be able to find pads and tampons in Europe. They may however be different from the ones that you’re accustomed to using back home. I was really thrown off at the tampons in Europe for example. Most of them don’t come with plastic applicators that are all we’re used to in America.
Personally, I stopped using tampons altogether about two years ago when I discovered the Lena cup (also known as Diva cup. but this is a different brand). It’s so convenient (especially for travel) a better on the environment. If you’re still using tampons in 2021 and beyond, I’ve got a single question for you — why?
Apps to Pack/Download for Summer in Europe
Kindle e-reader or phone/ipad app.
A total travel essential for me be it for Europe or anywhere else in the world is my Kindle ereader. If you love to read or would like to start reading more, a kindle will help make this so much easier. You can litterally pack thousands of books into your kindle eread or kindle app on your phone and always have them with you. This is the Kindle e-reader that I have and love.
Download a translator app.
In my article on travel tips for women traveling alone, one of the tips I mentioned was learning some language basics of countries you will travel to. But when you are in need of a bit more than the basics or your want o brush up on the go, google translate comes in very handy. I would guess there are some offline options available on the market for when you don’t have wifi. Or you could consider getting a local
Google maps is so essential when traveling Europe during the Summer. What makes Google maps so amazing is that you can download cities offline so that you can get directions even without the internet. While this doesnt work flawlessly all the time, it does the job pretty darn good most of the time.
Takeaway — What to pack for Summer in Europe
There you have it ladies (and gany gentlemen who;’ve read this far). Thes are all of the things I packed for my most recent travel to Europe for the Summer. And I must say, I honestly didnt miss a thing.
What to pack for a month in Europe in summer
I know it shouldn’t, but deciding what to pack for my holiday to Europe takes up a lot of my time. And it seems I’m not alone. Since I published my post “packing list for a summer holiday in Europe” back in 2014, it has become one of the most-read articles on the website.
As I’m about to head to Europe again for another month-long summer holiday, I thought it was timely to review my packing list and give you an update on what I’m packing this time.
This trip is purely for pleasure whereas my 2014 vacation included a conference that my husband and I attended. This means there’s really no need for any formal evening wear and I can stick to a more casual wardrobe.
Our first destination will be Germany where we’ll stay on the Rhine River for a few days. I’ve checked the 14-day weather forecast (we’ll arrive within that time frame) and it looks like the weather will be around the low 20°s Celcius (high 60°s Fahrenheit).
Then we head to the south of France for almost two weeks and, based on previous visits, I’m expecting the temperatures to be in the low to mid 30°s C (85 – 95° F).
To round off our trip, we’ll spend ten nights in Switzerland, seven of which will be in the heart of the Alps where the weather can be quite changeable.
TIP: If your European itinerary also includes a destination with a cooler climate, you might find my Iceland Summer Packing List article helpful. You can read it by CLICKING HERE.
This is a guide to the clothing I pack for my European summer vacations, not necessarily the exact items. For information about the items shown, click on the image.
With all this in mind, here’s what I’ve decided to pack for a month in Europe this summer:
- 1 x pair black stretch pants
- 1 x pair jeans
- 1 x pair shorts
- 2 x white t-shirts
- 3 x blue t-shirts
- 1 x black t-shirt
- 1 x long-sleeved t-shirt
- 1 x long-sleeved blouse
- 1 x cardigan
- 1 x jacket
- 2 x wrap dresses
- 1 x pair black flats
- 1 x pair navy sneakers (see my post-trip report below)
- 1 x pair natural sandals
- 3 x bras
- 7 x knickers
- 4 x pairs socks
- Camisole and long-sleeved undergarment for extra warmth if needed
- 1 x pair pyjamas
- 2 x scarves
- A couple of necklaces
- Toiletries and make up – I don’t go overboard here. Anything I forget or decide not to take I can buy in Europe if I find I need it.
- Laptop/iPad/chargers/European power adapter
All of the above items are packed in my suitcase (I love packing cubes) and I pack some essentials that I’ll need on the flight in my carry-on bag.
These items are similar to what I pack. For details about the products shown, click on the image.
After playing around with the items above, I know that all of the tops can be worn with at least two of the bottoms, giving me more wardrobe variations. Both dresses are suitable to be worn during the day or at night if we’re eating out at a restaurant.
Shoes are a real bug bear and can add a lot of weight to the suitcase so I’ve tried to come up with a good compromise. I’ll wear the black flats on the plane with my black pants but they can also be worn with jeans.
The sneakers aren’t quite as casual as they sound (they’re not running shoes) so they will go with both my jeans and shorts, and when the weather is warm enough, I’ll probably mostly live in sandals.
Looking for a new handbag or purse to take on your travels? This article details the best travel purse for Europe.
Hopefully I’ll add to my wardrobe whilst I’m away but if even I don’t, I’m confident I’ll have a good choice of outfits regardless of the weather.
I’m not going to pack an umbrella, rain jacket or thongs (flip flops) as I can pick these up quite inexpensively in Europe if needed.
Men’s packing list for a month-long summer visit to Europe
After getting my own packing list sorted, I figured it was time to get Mr HtE organized, too. Here’s what we’ve come up with for him:
My husband’s suitcase will contain items similar to those shown above. For info about each product shown, click on the image.
- 1 x pair jeans
- 3 x pair shorts (1 pair are quite casual and can be used for swimming)
- 6 x t-shirts (blue, grey and white)
- 1 x long-sleeved t-shirt
- 2 x long-sleeved shirts (button-up with collar)
- 1 x zip up hoodie
- 1 x puffer jacket
- 1 x Salomon walking shoes
- 1 x pair casual shoes
- 1 x pair thongs (flip flops)
- 2 x white undershirts
- 1 x long-sleeved undershirt
- 7 x underpants
- 7 x pairs socks
- 1 x set sleepwear
Accessories similar to those shown are included in my husband’s Europe packing list. Click the image for details about the items shown.
Most of Mr HtE’s t-shirts will go with the jeans and at least two pairs of shorts.
For cooler evenings, he’ll have the option of wearing a long-sleeved shirt with collar if we are going out for dinner (he will wear one of these on the flight to Europe). One of these shirts can be worn with a dressier pair of shorts, too.
The puffer jacket, which takes up a lot less room in his suitcase than you’d expect, will be a good back up for cooler temperatures.
Shoes are usually the thing my husband treats himself to when we visit Europe, so he’s bound to add a new pair to his suitcase before the trip is over. This is why he’s only packing two pairs plus his thongs (flip flops).
Now that we’ve got our summer packing list for Europe sorted, we are all set to go. I’ll report back after our trip and let you know if we over-packed or under-packed – or got it just right!
UPDATE: I promised that I’d let you know whether our packing was successful or not so here’s my report card.
I did wear every single item that I packed but I did buy a couple of extra things whilst I was away. With quite hot weather for the first half of the trip, I regretted not packing a skirt. I picked up a plain navy skirt and a pair of thongs (flip flops) during the summer sales in France and later in the trip added a couple more white tees to my suitcase.
My husband also took advantage of the French summer sales, purchasing a few items that he wore on our holiday. Surprisingly, he didn’t buy any shoes. He also wore everything the he packed at least once.
Overall, we were very happy with what we had packed.
If you are looking for a comfy pair of ‘sneakers’ for your travels that don’t look like sports shoes, I have the shoes for you! I purchased these Ziera sneakers a couple of weeks before our trip and they were super comfy. We did a lot of walking, on cobblestones, footpaths and mountain trails, and I didn’t get one blister or have sore feet once. I love them.
The Ultimate Packing List for Europe in Summer
Figuring out what to pack for Europe is a something I have had to do a lot. I’ve spent many summers in Europe so I have plenty of experience packing for Europe over the years. For those of you traveling to Europe this summer and not sure what to wear or what to pack, I have put together the ultimate packing list for Europe in summer.
Packing List for Europe in the Summer
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Below is a comprehensive packing list for a trip to Europe this summer.
Europe Packing List Summer – Travel Essentials for Europe
• European Travel Adaptor – European travel adaptor for your electronics
RELATED – Take a look at our International Travel Checklist for essential things to do before traveling abroad.
• External Battery – External battery to recharge your phone, camera or other electronics (this is one of my travel essential items for any trip)
• Comfortable walking shoes – You will be doing a lot of walking in Europe so comfortable walking shoes are a must for sightseeing. You might want to bring either casual sandals or comfortable flats.
• Camera/photography gear – Europe is very photogenic so don’t forget to bring your camera! If you are traveling alone or as a couple, you might want to bring a selfie stick/portable tripod to take photos of yourself. Don’t forget to bring an extra memory card.
• Scarf – A lightweight scarf will keep you warm on chilly summer nights or places with too much air-conditioning. A scarf is also useful when visiting churches or cathedrals which require women to cover their shoulders.
• Lightweight pants and/or long dress/skirt for women – If you are going to be visiting churches, I recommend women bring at least one pair of light pants or a dress that covers the knees.
• Sunglasses – Most countries in Europe (especially Southern Europe) are very sunny in the summer so sunglasses are a must!
• Reusable water bottle – A reuseable water bottle is a good way to save money on bottled water and also eco-friendly. I use this insulated water bottle because it keeps my water cool for hours.
• Hat – If you are going to spend a lot of time outdoors especially in the middle of the day, don’t forget to bring a hat for sun protection. I recommend Coolibar hats because they have excellent sun protection.
What to Wear in Europe – Clothes and Shoes
Europeans dress a bit nicer than most North Americans so I don’t recommend walking around in sweatpants or sneakers and shorts. I recommend dressing fashionable especially in larger cities so you can try to blend in with the locals.
The temperature in Southern Europe during the summer can get very hot so you will need lightweight clothes. The temperature in Northern Europe is more moderate or even cool and rainy so you will need long sleeve shirts, pants, an umbrella and a jacket or rain jacket. I recommend checking weatherbase.com to look up the average temperature and rainfall to get an idea what the weather will be like when you are visiting.
• Dresses and skirts – Bring at least 2-3 dresses/skirts. A basic black dress is a must and can be worn from day to night. Maxi dresses are also cute and comfortable for summer.
• Lightweight pants – Men should bring at least 2 pairs of lightweight pants for sightseeing and to wear at restaurants or bars. Women might want to pack a pair of lightweight or linen pants as well. Avoid wearing jeans in the summer in Southern Europe as they will make you feel too hot!
• Shirts/tops – I recommend men bring at least 4 short sleeve shirts. Women can get away with fewer tops if they pack more dresses.
• Sweater – Pack at least 1 long sleeve sweater for chilly summer nights and air-conditioned places.
• Jacket – Bring a light jacket. Some parts of Europe (especially Northern Europe) might be cool in the summer even in the daytime.
• Comfortable walking shoes – A must for sightseeing. Depending on your outfit you might want either casual sandals or comfortable flats or fashionable sneakers.
• Dressier sandals/cute flats/loafers – Bring a dressier pair of sandals or cute flats that can be worn for dinner or drinks.
• Platform shoes for women – Some places of Europe have cobblestone streets so I recommend women avoid high thin heels. If you need some height, I recommend platform shoes.
• Shorts – Personally I would avoid shorts in Europe unless visiting beach towns or resort areas. If visiting mostly cities, I recommend wearing lightweight pants or skirts instead of shorts.
• Flip-flops – I recommend wearing cute and comfortable sandals when walking around a European city or town but you might want to bring a pair of flip flops to wear at the beach or at hostels and hotels. Havaianas flip flops are my favorite because they have great traction and don’t slip when walking on wet surfaces.
RELATED – Are you going to be staying at hostel while in Europe? Then check out our hostel packing list for essential things to bring to a hostel.
• Underwear, socks and bras – Depending on how long you are visiting Europe and how often you will do laundry, bring at least 5 pairs of underwear, 3 pairs of socks and 2 bras. If you are checking luggage, pack at least 1 of each in your carry on bag in case your checked luggage is lost or delayed. ExOfficio underwear is great for travel because it is breathable, quick-drying fabric and odor-resistant.
Europe Packing List – Other Things to Pack for Europe
• Cash, credit cards, ATM cards (make sure your credit card does not charge a foreign transaction fee)
• Drivers license and international drivers license if planning on driving
• COVID vaccine card and/or negative COVID test (if required)
• Glasses, contacts, contact lens solution
• Medication and prescriptions
• Face Masks – Masks may be required at your destination so pack a few face masks
• Antibacterial wipes or hand sanitizer
• Electronics (smartphone, computer, tablet, kindle, cords, cameras, memory cards)
• Toothbrush, toothpaste and floss
• Toiletries (makeup, lotion, deodorant, tissues, comb/brush, feminine products, q-tips, razor, shampoo/conditioner/soap)
• Noise cancelling headphones or earplugs and eye mask
• Compression socks to prevent DVT on long flights and drives
• Body wipes to wipe off sweat
• First aid kit (band aids, pain reliever, allergy medicine, anti-nausea medicine, antacid tablets, charcoal tablets)
• Lip balm with UV protection – Don’t forget to protect your lips! Most people apply sunscreen but they overlook sun protection for their lips
• Sunscreen – Don’t forget to bring sunscreen to protect you from the sun. Sunscreen is easy to find in Europe so it is not the end of the world if you forget to pack it.
• Insect repellent
• Travel umbrella and/or rain jacket – Some parts of Europe can be rainy even in the summer
• Bandana – A bandana is so versatile, you can use it to wipe off sweat or use as a scarf or mask
• Beach bag – For carrying your beach essentials if planning some time at the beach or pool.
• Bathing suits/sarong/kaftan – If planning to hit the beach or pool.
• Universal waterproof phone case – Keep smartphones dry with this waterproof case when hanging out at the beach.
• A quick drying travel towel for the beach or if you are staying at a hostel that does not provide towels
• Packing cubes
• Day bag, tote or purse for sightseeing
• TSA approved locks
• Notebook and pen
These are my travel essentials for a summer in Europe. Is there anything else I should add to my Europe packing list?
Need some travel inspiration for your trip to Europe? Check these articles about the best European travel destinations:
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