December 15, 2023

What to Wear at the European Christmas Markets

People from all over the world flock to the European Christmas markets. You hear many different languages spoken while you’re walking around with stars in your eyes, wondering how you waited so long to go. When I decided to sign up for the group tour headed to Europe for the Christmas markets, I wondered what I was going to pack. Where I live is very tropical, so I don’t have a bunch of cold-weather clothes (aside from my coat obsession). Despite this fact, and now that I have actually gone on the trip, I’m going to help you prepare and tell you what to wear at the European Christmas markets. You’ll want to take note so you can enjoy them to the fullest. This list is compiled from several of the women who joined me on this adventure.

Spanx Tights - My Favorite!

1. Tights or Fleece Lined Leggings

No matter what you think your tolerance level is for cold, I highly recommend taking tights for underneath your regular pants or fleece-lined leggings. Myself, I brought tights. I’m not a leggings-wearing gal, and my default are typically jeans. Once in a while jeggings. While I failed to take enough tights for each day, I was able to wash some in the sink and dry them. Europe is famous for having towel heaters in the bathrooms at hotels, and I took full advantage of drying items on the rack. The fleece-lined leggings were a recommendation from someone on the trip, so if you like leggings, this pair should do you well, and you won’t need anything over or under them. They are good as is. If you’re wondering what to wear at the European Christmas markets, put these high on the list.

Wool Socks I Purchased at the Christmas Markets

2. Wool Socks

When sitting in my closet before the trip wondering what to wear at the European Christmas markets, wool socks did not cross my mind as being extremely important. I packed my regular Bobmas socks and two pair of Smartwool socks that I've had forever and called it a day. Regret. When I got to Europe and was outside for more than a few minutes, my feet (particularly toes) were freezing and possibly on the verge of frostbite. Luckily, the market is filled with random items, and I purchased two pairs of wool-blend socks. They were a life saver. Go ahead and buy some wool socks for the Christmas markets if you don’t have some. Your toes will thank you.

Blondo Boots

3. Waterproof Boots or Shoes

I live in a wet place, so waterproof shoes are a no-brainer for me. My Blondo boots are exactly the right fit when I decided what to wear at the European Christmas markets because they are waterproof. I purchased two pairs off of Poshmark earlier in the season and I brought them both. They were the right item for me on this particular trip. It snowed nearly the entire time, and they were worth their weight in gold as I trudged through even the black snow. You’d never know how much water was on these shoes. Highly recommend one or several pairs. I'll be buying more sooner than later.

Patagonia Charred Marshmallow Coat

4. Heavy Coat

Luckily I have a minor coat obsession. For someone who lives in a warm climate, I have an entire closet dedicated to my coats. I’m a Patagonia nut, and last year I bought a coat that makes me look like a charred marshmallow. My initial thought was that I’ll likely never use this coat, but when I started to wonder what to wear at the European Christmas markets, I remembered old marshmallow. It made its debut on the trip, and it was absolutely perfect. Whether you want to or not, a serious winter coat is necessary for traipsing around these markets all day. Maximum comfort is a must.

My New Hat from Salzburg

5. Hat - One that Covers Your Ears

It goes without saying that covering up your head is important. When I looked up to see if we really lose most of our heat through our head, it seems like an old wives tale. But it’s much cozier to have our head and ears covered up when you are in below freezing temperatures. A baseball style hat will not suffice, so when deciding what to wear at the European Christmas markets, leave the baseball hat at home. Fleece or wool are your best bet. You’ll be able to shop till you drop at the market with the right warming accessories. I ended up buying a hat there that was wool-blend because mine wasn't drying fast enough. Not mad about my new hat, but could've prepared better.

Smartwool Gloves

6. Gloves

Gloves keep your hands from going numb, right? The temperatures here were so cold and I’m so glad I had even my dinky gloves I bought in Paris on a cold day. I chose to leave my ski mittens at home, as they are too bulky, but a pair of Smartwool gloves (which I also left behind because they didn't "match")or Patagonia gloves would be more appropriate. This was something I overlooked when choosing what to wear at the European Christmas markets, and I won’t make the mistake again. A good pair of gloves aren’t cheap, but you can wear them forever if you get a quality pair.

Spanx Bodysuit - Perfect for an Under Layer

7. Undershirt

A base layer is so dang important. I have several tank tops that I take with me on all cold weather trips. For this trip, it was no different. An undershirt is a must when packing for what to wear at the European Christmas markets so it decreases the wind getting to your core body. It doesn’t have to be long sleeves, so grab what you have. T-shirts, tank tops, wife beaters, anything. Some of mine are the ones that snap underneath (a bodysuit) and some are a tight-fitting tank. They both serve me well on my trips when it’s cold.

Electric Handwarmers Are Clutch

8. Electric Hand Warmers

One thing I wish I had even known about were electric hand warmers. The ladies that had them had nice, warm, toasty hands. And I was jealous. The fact that you can recharge these is also appealing, as I can’t stand the waste of the ones that come in disposable packs. There are tons to choose from on Amazon, but here are some that looked good for a good price. While this isn’t what to wear at the European Christmas markets, it’s certainly something you want to take with you.

Silly Picture - But That Scarf!!!

9. Scarf

A non-negotiable item we all agreed on was a solid scarf. Wool, cashmere, or in my case, fur (which I've had forever and would not buy ever again because...animals). Protecting your neck and being able to wrap yourself up in it when the wind is gusting is key. A few of the ladies had scarves that were not sufficient and commented that it would've made a huge difference in the cold. Rather, the freezing cold. Another option is a neck gaiter, and those are great for pulling over your mouth and nose. I've used one for skiing for years. Take something warm to wrap around your neck for what to wear at the European Christmas markets.

Disney Has Nothing on This Magical Time

By taking these items, you will ensure that your time outside at the European Christmas markets is enjoyable. The worst thing in the world is to get to a place you’ve always wanted to go but can’t enjoy it. Being cold is miserable. The temperatures and conditions can be quite brutal for those of us who are not used to weather that cold and/or snow. You won’t have to guess what to wear at the European Christmas markets because you have expert advice right here. Don’t skip any of these items for a very delightful and magic-filled experience there.
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