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.
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- 1 Winter Clothing Essentials for German Christmas Markets
- 2 Outdoor & Activewear to Pack for German Christmas Markets & Winter
- 3 Intimates, Shoes, and Accessories Pack for Winter in Munich
- 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, 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.
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 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, ruining your Christmas market expereince.
- A solid waterproof/resistant jacket
- BONUS: Skhoop Winter skirt
I would always expect some rain, snow, and colder temperates in Munich. 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 late 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 a nice 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 cool, dry days, but also has 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.
Merino Wool Layers
Merino wool layers are so handy because they don’t take up a lot of room and keep you nice and toasty. I love wearing these leggings under my jeans or pants and they save you from biting wind when out exploring the city. Merino provides heat in the cold and keeps you cool in the heat without the itch of regular wool.
- 1x Merino first layer long sleeve.
- 1x 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.
Pack this warm knit hat in one of two striking colors, or pick one with a cute pom! Do not pass up these North Face E-tip gloves, that I swear by, or if you like mittens, these Patagonia mittens are really cute, and give your fingers the option to breath. To complete the look don’t forget a stylish scarf or warm infinity scarf.
Grab this North Face hat, which my husband wears all the time; or pack something that takes less space, but will keep you just as warm, like the SmartWool winter hat. My techy husband, also recommends these water resistent E-Tip gloves, and this stylish scarf.
Intimates, Shoes, and Accessories Pack for Winter in Munich
You really only need 2 pairs of shoes for this trip, a pair of winter boots that are water resistent and some nice walking shoes that aren’t so bulky. Pair those with warm merino wool socks and you are set for tromping around the snow.
- 1-2 comfortable bralette/bra.
- 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 black winter boots, or some nice natural ones. It is also quite common in Munich to wear stylish winter boots such as knee highs, or lower booties, but make sure they are treated for water. Then pack your favorite pair of walking shoes, I recommend Eccos.
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, plus they come in black and brown. Timberlands are also very popular in Munich, so these winters boots will look great in the snow.
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 that will keep things cold – or hot. 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!