Beautiful beaches, fashionable cities, epic national parks, blooming flowers: there’s a lot to love about summer in Europe, but when it comes to planning a packing list for Europe, summer weather can make things a little difficult!
The good news? No bulky coats required.
The bad news? Scorching weather, multiple countries with different standards of dress, and an itinerary that likely combines outdoor highlights (beaches, boat rides, chasing waterfalls) with city lights (cooling off in museums, eating gelato on the streets every afternoon) can mean that a summer packing list for Europe can be a bit tricky to put together.
After years spent traveling through Europe in all seasons, we’ve become quite accustomed to packing our belongings up over and over again.
We’ve pulled together years’ worth of travel knowledge to create this packing list for Europe: summer travel is bound to be even more relaxing with these tips!
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Table of Contents
The Absolute Essentials for Visiting Europe in Summer
Passport — If you’re traveling internationally, your passport is an absolute must: there’s no point in packing for Europe in summer without it!
Travel Insurance — We don’t ever suggest traveling without travel insurance–anything can happen, and an epic summer trip to Europe is definitely a case of better safe than sorry. We use and recommend Safety Wing for trips to Europe.
Visa (If Needed) — Though 26 countries in Europe are part of the Schengen Zone that allows many nationalities (including US citizens, Canadians, and Australians) to enter and travel freely between their countries for 90 days for tourism, that still leaves around half of Europe’s countries that are not part of this agreement.
Regardless of where you are from, always double-check entrance requirements before showing up at the airport to fly to any European country (or any country at all that isn’t your own, for that matter).
Money — We recommend bringing two credit cards (one to use, and one to keep as a backup), and two debit cards. Ideally, bring cards with no foreign transaction fees. We’ve never felt it necessary to obtain currency before arriving (we just withdraw from an ATM when we get there), but you can purchase most currencies in your home country if it makes you feel more comfortable.
Keep in mind that not all countries in Europe are on the Euro, so be sure to double-check what currency you’ll need based on your itinerary!
International Driving Permit — If you are visiting Europe from outside the EU and plan to rent a car, you may need an International Driving Permit to do so! Italy in particular is well-known for enforcing this requirement. Be sure to check the rental requirements in any country that you plan to drive in before you arrive!
Travel Gear You Should Definitely Pack for Summer in Europe
Camera — We recently upgraded to our Sony a7R III and absolutely adore it, but whatever camera you’re comfortable with works–just make sure you have something with you to preserve your memories!
Travel Adaptors for Europe — If you’re coming from outside of Europe, you’ll definitely need adaptors for your electronics. Be sure to check the requirements for any particular countries you visit–the United Kingdom, for example, is well-known for using different plugs than most of the continent.
Portable USB Charger — Don’t stress about your phone dying while you’re sightseeing: add a portable charger to your packing list for Europe this summer.
Pacsafe — We can’t recommend our Pacsafe enough: this travel safe is affordable, sturdy, easy to pack, and will help keep your valuables safe in your hotel room (not that you should need to worry much about theft from your hotel room during your trip to Europe, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!).
Nalgene — You’re definitely going to want to carry water with you as you explore Europe during the summer. Cut down on plastic waste and bring a reusable water bottle instead!
Tote Bag — Incredibly light and easy to pack, a tote bag can serve as a grocery bag, beach bag, laundry bag, or just about anything else. They’re incredibly handy and we recommend adding one to your packing list for Europe this summer. We’ve been carrying ours for years and it never stops coming in handy!
Swiss Army Knife — Want to open wine bottles in your hotel room, slice cheese from the market, or cut up that baguette from the bakery? You’ll be so glad you brought along a Swiss Army Knife!
Comfortable Day Bag — We currently use Pacsafe’s sleek anti-theft backpack and love it, but if you don’t want to shell out the cash for this trip, that’s totally understandable. Just aim for something comfortable to wear, not flashy, and medium-sized–we used a Northface Jester backpack for years and loved it as well.
Umbrella — Option A: Plan on buying an umbrella when it starts pouring down rain. Option B: Plan ahead and buy a (probably much sturdier) umbrella before leaving. Option C: Hope you get lucky with the weather (but fair warning, we’ve never been to Europe, even in the summer, and avoided rain entirely!).
Sunglasses — You’ll be glad you put these on your summer packing list for Europe–though of course, if you forget them (or lose them during your trip like I’ve definitely done more than once), it’s extremely easy to pick up a pair while traveling just about anywhere else in Europe.
Student ID — If you’re a student, you’ll be entitled to lots of discounts on museums and attractions throughout Europe. Be sure to add it to your packing list for Europe.
Sunscreen — Because sunburns are never a good look in vacation photos.
Cell Phone — We spent more than a year traveling without working cell phones, just relying on wifi… and while that’s completely fine, we would never go back.
Consider purchasing an international plan for your cell phone (most carriers offer them), or, if you have an unlocked phone, you can just by a local SIM card once you land in Europe.
Purell Hand Sanitizer — We carry this everywhere, and never been sorry to have it floating around in our day bag.
Packing List for Europe: Summer Wardrobe for Women
While you’ll likely want to structure your wardrobe for your packing list for Europe in summer slightly differently based on where exactly you’re going (for example, you’ll want to dress up a bit more on a city tour through Italy than on a sailing trip through Greece), if you’re looking for an all-purpose summer wardrobe that will sustain you through multiple European destinations, these suggestions are for you!
As full-time travelers for nearly 4 years, we are extremely well accustomed to living out of a backpack as we traipse around Europe, and these suggestions reflect my personal favorite things to wear in Europe during the summer.
I love wearing dresses in Europe in the summer! They’re easy to pack, easy to wear, look great just about anywhere you go, and manage to look pulled together while only requiring one piece of clothing.
Dresses like this and this are generally what you’ll find me in when traveling through Europe in the summer. Be sure to bring at least one or two maxi dresses (I love this one, for example), which fulfill the double purpose of being extremely photogenic and also allowing you to visit religious sites like churches and mosques without issue.
Rompers like this can also be a fun option if you want an all-in-one outfit that isn’t quite a dress, and so can two-piece outfits (I personally love the lemon pattern on this one, it makes me think of the Amalfi Coast!).
Bright, colorful tops are perfect for beach destinations in Europe–I love choices like this and this, and if crop tops are your style, options like this are a popular choice around the beach.
Ever heard that Europeans don’t wear shorts? In Milan or Paris, fair enough. But in Dubrovnik or Mykonos? Go for it! Beach destinations are the perfect place to break out jean shorts like these from my current favorite denim company.
In the city, skirts like this are a great idea, and light midi skirts also look beautiful.
Depending on how many beach destinations you’re planning to visit, I’d pack 2-3 bathing suits for visiting Europe in the summer. I love choices like this and this. If you’re planning on trying out any active water activities like snorkeling or scuba diving, consider packing at least one one-piece suit, too.
The absolute most important rule when determining what shoes to put on your packing list for Europe this summer is making sure that they’re comfortable to walk in! I’ve been wearing these shoes in Europe during the summer lately and love them. Boat shoes are also a great option, and Converse are popular with backpackers and travelers along the tourist trail.
Summer in Europe can be scorching–but the air conditioning blasting inside museums, hotels, trains, and buses, will make you quickly forget it! I recommend putting one light jacket on your summer packing list for Europe for those moments! I normally pack something like this and am very comfortable.
Sunglasses and a sunhat are musts for traveling in Europe during the summer! You can either purchase ahead of time or plan on picking them up as souvenirs–both are sold on just about every corner in Europe during the summer travel season!
Packing List for Europe: Summer Wardrobe for Men
T-shirts are a staple of the men’s traveling wardrobe in Europe, but opt for brightly colored new ones if you can! Shirts like this that have a bit more detail work as well. If they’re your style, light, casual button-up shirts are also an option.
During the scorching summer, you’ll find men wearing shorts similar to these just about everywhere in Europe–especially the tourists. Forgo them in favor of chinos when visiting religious sites that have a strict dress code and in more formal cities like Paris if you can stand it, but on the coast, your shorts certainly won’t stand out.
Jeremy tends to opt for light, casual shoes like these during summer in Europe–whatever you pack, just make sure that they’re well broken in and easy to walk in for hours before adding them onto your summer packing list for Europe!
If you’re planning on hitting the beach in Europe this summer, make sure to bring one or two bathing suits along with you. Suits like this work perfectly.
Summer in Europe can be scorching–but the air conditioning blasting inside museums, hotels, trains, and buses, will make you quickly forget it! I recommend putting one light jacket on your summer packing list for Europe for those moments! Jeremy tends to pack this jacket for Europe in the summer (and most other seasons as well) and loves it.
Sunglasses and a hat are musts for traveling in Europe during the summer! You can either purchase ahead of time or plan on picking them up as souvenirs–both are sold on just about every corner in Europe during the summer travel season!
Other Travel Gear for Your Packing List for Europe in Summer
Dry Bag — Any summer trip to Europe that includes time on the water (so, most of them), whether that’s hitting the beaches in Sicily, road tripping the French Riviera, or sailing the Greek isles, can benefit from a dry bag to keep your camera and cell phone safe (without leaving them behind).
Swim Goggles — If you’re hitting the beach, definitely add swim goggles to your packing list for Europe in summer–they’re cheap, small, easy to pack, and make swimming so much more fun!
Sea Bands & Non-Drowsy Dramamine — If you’re prone to motion sickness like me, I strongly recommend adding Sea Bands to your summer packing list for Europe.
I use them on all boats and the occasional bus, and if things get really bad, take some Non-Drowsy Dramamine as well.
Trust me–you don’t want to miss out on the joys of boating around the Mediterranean due to seasickness!
Tripod & Wireless Remote — If you’re traveling with a group and want to ensure that you get pictures of everyone together, a tripod and a remote will allow you to snap non-selfie photos easily! True, it’s a bit of a pain to carry and not advised in busy areas, but the memories are priceless and the photos you end up with are generally so much better than the ones you get by asking a stranger to snap a photo for you!
Extra Memory Cards — Don’t stress about your camera’s memory card getting full–bring extras along! They’re so tiny you’ll barely notice them, anyway.
Travel Journal — If you want to keep a travel journal during your summer in Europe but can’t commit to a huge amount of writing each night, I can’t recommend the One Line a Day Journal enough–I’ve been using it for more than a year now and adore it!
Money Belt — This is up to you: we no longer use one, but if you’re more comfortable having your passports on your person while exploring Europe this summer, you can consider bringing one. We used to use this one and had no complaints. These days, we prefer just to leave valuables in our Pacsafe during the day.
Basic Medication — Some people prefer to buy medication for basic headaches, fevers, and stomach aches as needed, but who wants to deal with language barriers when they’re sick? We’ve never regretted packing our own basic meds.
2 thoughts on “The Ultimate Packing List for Europe: Summer Edition”
I enjoyed reading your recommendations for traveling to Europe. I’m planning a family trip to Europe for about 7-10 days and I’d like to ask, since you have extensive travel experience across Europe, which would be the best countries/cities to visit as a first time tourists. I would appreciate your help and input. Happy and safe travels.
That’s a very hard question–a bit like “how long is a piece of string?”. Where to go in Europe depends so much on your interests, timeline, budget, where you’re traveling from, etc.
We go over several popular first-time-in-Europe itinerary ideas in this post that might give you an idea what to expect: https://www.ourescapeclause.com/2-week-europe-itinerary-trip/