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Packing for a German or Munich Christmas market holiday can be tough, especially if you’re not used to colder weather climates. German Christmas markets, especially the ones in Munich, are often cold and snowy and at many markets, you’ll be battling rain. You should also expect to be walking outside for long periods of time, so good walking shoes and thermal layers are essential to surviving the markets. As someone who grew up in a cold climate, Alaska, and currently lives in Munich, this is the best packing list for winter essentials you’ll need at Germany’s Christmas markets.

You won’t find amazon affiliates on any of my pages as I believe in supporting ethical and responsible brands and services. I would like to remind you that when you can, shop local and when you can’t, shop ethical. This post supports REI, and ethical outdoor brands such as Patagonia, so you can dress your best for the German Christmas Markets and feel good doing it.

Winter Clothing Essentials for German Christmas Markets

View from Zugspitze, Germany's highest peak in winter.

It is all about layers. Right now, with 2 weeks until Christmas in Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, and Dusseldorf it is near freezing and expecting snow or rain. Germany gets even colder later on in winter so the packing essentials you’ll need for February might be thicker and heavier. That means that north, east, south or west, you can expect colder temperatures, especially at night. Be warned though Germans crank up the heat indoors, so as soon as you go inside you will want to peel off those layers.

Germans dress simple and smart. They wear a lot of basic colors and pieces and you don’t need a lot of fancy clothing.

Tops

  • 2-3 basic T-shirts that go with a variety of bottoms and can easily be layered overtop a thermal or underneath a jacket or hoodie.
  • 2-3  Long sleeve shirts that layer well underneath other things.
  • 1 sweater or cardigan. If you’re prone to cold weather make it wool for extra protection.
  • 1 flannel or button down shirt – great for a more on-the-go layering for active excursions.

For Women

Some of my favorite basic T-shirts that are great for layering are PrAna shirts. They are sustainable, organic and SUPER comfortable, perfect for embracing the cozy Christmas vibes in snowy Munich. My top recommendations and ones that I personally own are the Cozy Up, the Foundation V-neck – which comes in plus size too. There is even a Cozy-Up sweatshirt for wearing around your hotel room, or if you naturally have a lower body temperature.

I always suggest throwing in a flannel button down as one of your long sleeve options, as you can easily take it on or off based on the current temps. You can never go wrong with a classic turtle neck long sleeve. For those who want a little pattern, can go for something a little more trendy.

Sweaters are great for those colder days and extra layering. LLBean has some great sweaters to keep you toasty warm.

For Men

My husband can’t get enough of the PraNa men’s line. His go to shirt is their classic crew shirt that literally goes with any and everything and is perfect for layering. For the guys that get a bit colder, invest in a nice think long sleeve button up so you can wear it out to eat and under your jacket to stay warm. LLBean has a thicker flannel that works as an outder layer. LLBean also has some great sweaters that look super classy and could work for dinner out.

For a classic long sleeve that can be worn with anything the Transverse PraNa shirt is perfect for all weather conditions.

Dresses/Skirts

For Women

Dresses are a great way to have an all in one outfit. You want to choose a dress that can accommodate a thick pair of leggings and a sweater over the top of it.

  • 1 black or plain dress made for layering.
  • 1 skirt made for layering.
  • you can choose either or if you are tight for space.

Icebreaker has the perfect dress for this. They also have a fantastic black skirt. The merino wool is going to keep you warm and still looking classy enough to wear out on the town. Synergy is also a great place to find a sustainable travel dress.

Munich, Germany Graveyard in Winter

Munich’s Graveyard in Winter

Pants/Leggings

You’ll need pants that can keep you warm or will allow for a thin thermal layer underneath. Wind can easily cut through jeans, making it essental to pack those thermal layers.

  • 2 pairs of jeans or your favorite pair of long pants.
  • 1-2 pairs of thick leggings.
  • 1 pair of first layer thermal. These should be able to fit under your jeans

I know we all have our own favorite pair of leggings, but it is crucial you bring some thicker ones. I suggest some outdoor running leggings, like these ones from the North Face or Zella Leggings from Nordstrom.

What to Pack for Winter in Germany Munich Christmas Markets

Read: 15 Vegan and vegetarian foods to eat at Germany’s Christmas markets

Outdoor & Activewear to Pack for German Christmas Markets & Winter

what to pack for German Winter Christmas Market Vacation

Having a great outdoor jacket that is going to keep you dry and warm is an essential thing to pack when in Germany for the winter Christmas markets. You want something waterproof or at least water resistant so those snowflakes and raindrops bead up and don’t soak you through, ruining your Christmas market expereince.

Jackets/Outer Layers


For Women

I would always expect some rain, snow, and colder temperates in Munich, so while layering up to the max without a proper winter jacket might get you through, having a proper outer layer that is going to keep you warm and dry will ensure you can spend hours drinking Glühwein into the night.

For the fashionista: Munich locals tend to dress stylish and in solid darker colors. This stylish, but practical grey Marmot jacket is perfect for Munich and will will blend right in. Or you can try this sleek green jacket with a faux fur hood to really class it up.

For the practical woman: If you’re like me and you care more about function than fashion, go for a 3-1 jacket that will give you a down or fleece for cooler and dry days and gives you a warmer water proof shell to throw on when its snowing. Try out the sustinable Patagonia jacket, the North Face, or this ethical feathreless Marmot 3-1 to find the right jacket for you.

Ladies, I am OBSESSED with my Skhoop skirt (pictured above & below). It goes over leggings or jeans and it keeps your butt and thighs warm and it looks super cute. If you do any amount of winter traveling you NEED one.
What to Pack for Winter in Germany Munich Christmas Markets

For Men

My husband invested in a Patagonia 3-1 jacket and never looked back. It covers him for every weather situation we have here in Munich. His down under layer is great for light weight travel during cool and fry days. The outlater provides expert water proofind. The Patagonia brands are a bit pricy side, but they are high quality and Patagonia will always repair or exchange your older worn out items. Any of these 3-1 jackets should be perfect for Munich’s Christmas markets.
Munich Christmas Market Packing Essentials
For the more budget conscious travelers Columbia has a great line of winter coats that will keep you warn

Merino Wool Layers

These are handy because they don’t take up a lot of room and keep you super warm, especially if you go to the south island and do late night activities at the Dark Sky Reserve. Merino provides heat in the cold and keeps you cool in the heat without the itch of regular wool. I used both layers several times.

  • Merino first layer long sleeve.
  • Merino first layer pants.

IceBreaker is your best bet for comfortable, breathable and warm – but not too hot, base layers. They save you when you didn’t pack warm enough and they don’t take a lot of room if you end up not needing them. I suggest going with the first layer.

For Women

This long sleeve shirt and leggings are the perfect combination. Check out this Ice Breaker skirt that is perfect for layering over leggings.

For Men

Similar options for men with a long sleeve and leggings.

Hats, Scarves, and Gloves 

You will need hats, gloves, and scarves above all else these are going to keep you warm and are packing essentials for Germany and Munich in the winter during the Christmas market season.

  • Hat or headband to keep your ears warm
  • Infinity scarf
  • Lightweight, but wind resistant gloves.

For Women

This cute North Face hat, E-tip gloves and scarf and going to keep you nice and warm!

For Men

Grab this North Face hat, E-Tip gloves, and this stylish scarf. 

Hat gloves and scarves to pack for Germany in winter

READ: 25 things to do in Munich this winter. 

Intimates, Shoes, and Misc Things to Pack for Winter in Germany

You really only need 2 pairs of shoes for this trip, some winter water resistant shoes and some that aren’t so bulky for walking around. Warm merino wool socks are going to be your life saver and essential things to pack for winter in Germany.

  • 1-2 Comfortable bralette.
  • 5-7 pairs quick dry underwear.
  • 5-7 pairs of smart wool or quick dry socks.
  • 1 pair of winter boots.
  • 1 pair walking shoes in black to double as going out shoes.
  • Swimsuit if your hotel has a sauna.

For Women

You’ll want some nice breathable and comfortable bralettes underneath all those layers and undies and socks that are warm and breathable. For shoes, you’ll want a good pair of stylish winter boots and bring your favorite pair of city walking shoes.

For Men

Pack some reliable undies and Smart Wool socks to keep you warm and dry. These shoes have great grip, they’re warm and stylish for winter.

What to wear Munich Christmas Market

Misc. Essentials to Pack to German Christmas Markets in Winter

Along with all your regular things for self-care, toiletries, passport, phone, chargers etc, don’t forget these essentials!

  • Converter for the EU.
  • Lotion and lip balm. Munich and Germany are dry during the winter and you want to stay moisturized.
  • Reusable water bottle. Germans don’t offer free water and it is hard to find. Bring your own bottle and fill it up.
  • Cash, Germany is a chased based economy. Ensure you have the means to access cash.

Before You Go

Let me know if you have any questions about packing or the current weather. I live here and I am always happy to help. Make sure you pin this to your winter inspiration boards!

what to pack for a German Christmas Market holiday winter essentials