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 outside walking 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 essentials you’ll need at Germany’s Christmas markets. This packing list is based on a 5-day trip to experience the best of German Christmas markets around the country.
- 1 Winter Clothing Essentials for German Christmas Markets
- 2 Outdoor & Activewear to Pack for German Christmas Markets & Winter
- 3 Intimates, Shoes, and Misc Things to Pack for Winter in Germany
- 4 Misc. Essentials to Pack to German Christmas Markets in Winter
- 5 Before You Go
Winter Clothing Essentials for German Christmas Markets
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.
- 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.
Some of my favorite basic T-shirts that are great for layering are PrAna shirts. They are sustainable, organic and SUPER comfortable. My top recommendations and ones that I personally own are the Cozy Up, the Foundation V-neck – which comes in plus size too.
For long sleeve shirts, I suggest the Waffel Pullover, it is textured and the perfect style for the Christmas markets in Munich and Germany. I also love to Frosene and the Bacall. The Charley is a great flannel and LLBean has a nice long flannel tunic.
Sweaters are great for those colder days and extra layering. LLBean has some great sweaters to keep you toasty warm.
My husband also has the Pratt and Halgren for long sleeve options. The Lybeck is their middleweight flannel and LLBean has a thicker one for colder days. LLBean also has some great sweaters that look super classy and could work for dinner out.
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.
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.
Read: 15 Vegan and vegetarian foods to eat at Germany’s Christmas markets
Outdoor & Activewear to Pack for German Christmas Markets & Winter
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 and through.
- A solid waterproof/resistant 3-1 winter jacket
- BONUS: Skhoop Winter skirt
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!