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Traveling to Europe is like a rite of passage: you have to do it at least once in your life! Summer may be the most expensive time of the year to travel to this beautiful continent, but it’s the most desirable season. Mostly because the weather is amazing, all of the major sites are open and you can pack super light.
If you have a multi-stop trip planned, here’s how to pack for two weeks in Europe in the summer.
Heading to Europe on vacation not a backpacking adventure? Read this guide instead.
Two Weeks in Europe in the Summer
Written By: Sebrin Elms
With such a vast continent of styles, cultures and ideas of beauty, it’s hard to generalize the overall style of Europe. Since many cities in Europe are known as fashion meccas, it’s usually the general rule of thumb that less is more. Paris, Milan, London, Copenhagen and Stockholm are cities known for their posh style and upscale minimalism.
But it’s not all seriousness in regards to fashion and apparel. European cities like Berlin, Amsterdam, Madrid, and Barcelona are cities where experimentation is preferred and dressing offbeat is considered normal, if not required!
If you’re traveling to several cities within Europe, just remember to pack pieces that can work with anything! Black and white clothing is always easy to pair with, but if you’re looking to add some color, make it a funky jacket or beautiful floral dress.
The European continent is a very large territory ranging from mountain ranges with high altitudes to coastal cities at sea level. While these landscapes may change, most of Europe’s weather can be anywhere from comfortably warm to unbearably hot.
Start by reading these Europe packing tips for summer:
- Capsule Wardrobe for Summer Travel
- How to Choose the Best Shoes for Europe
- The Ultimate Packing Guide for Europe
- Best Suitcases for Traveling Europe
Countries closer to the Mediterranean Sea, like Spain, Italy and France have a tendency to be quite hot with temperatures as high as the low 100s F. Regions located north, like Germany, the UK and Scandinavia, will be much more comfortable with highs closer to the mid 70s and 80s F.
You will generally find that the further south you go and the hotter it gets, the less you will need to pack (as far as layers and jackets go). This could be optimal if you’re looking to avoid checked baggage fees.
Depending on the month and destination, it’s not surprising to encounter rain and cold weather in some areas. The UK is particularly notorious for showers and grey skies year round. Always check the weather in advance. Dresses and tights (or leggings) are the perfect items for times like these. Learn how!
Read this guide to be prepared for mixed weather without overpacking!
Tips For Dressing in Europe in the Summer
Have At Least One Dressy Option
Maybe you’re heading to the opera or maybe you’re dancing the night away at a fancy club. Whatever the event, you’re going to want to be prepared!
Colorful dresses are always beautiful, but if you’re looking for versatility, an LBD (aka a little black dress) works with just about any occasion.
And while we’re all about the little white dress, it can easily get dirty if you’re wearing it for many different occasions.
These are the best summer dresses for Europe!
Layers Are Your Friend
Lucky for your suitcase, you’re not going to need a heavy jacket for your trip this summer. Depending on where you go in Europe, you may not need any jackets at all but always check the weather first. Europe’s a large continent and countries such as Ireland or England may experience rain any time of year.
Find out why we love these lightweight jackets for summer travel!
The Breezier, The Better
Most of Europe is stifling during the summer, especially July and August. If you’re a dress kinda gal, you might love the comfort dresses give you during the dog days of summer.
Dresses also take up less space (especially when you think one dress is smaller than a top and bottoms combo). But if you prefer to cover up a little bit more and avoid dresses, make sure you’re choosing breathable fabrics or very light layers.
Traveling in cooler weather? Take a look at the merino wool dress that almost made me overpack for Paris!
Stick To Three Pairs of Shoes
When it comes to shoes, the rule of three always applies: “Always pack three pairs of shoes. No more, no less.” Three shoes give you plenty of versatility and it won’t cause you to overpack.
Think cute and comfortable sandals, neutral and versatile athletic shoes, plus a nice pair of shoes such as ballet flats. If you can’t live without heels, try a pair of wedges.
If you can get away with a fancy pair of flats, that’s probably going to be more comfortable than heels as you walk the cobblestone streets.
These are the most cute and comfortable ballet flats for travel!
Dress It Up With Accessories
Hats, cover ups, jewelry and sunglasses are your best friend in the summer. These accessories not only come in handy when trying to escape from the angry sun, but when trying to mix up your wardrobe.
If you’re trying to avoid overpacking on your two week trip to Europe with only a few tops and bottoms, this is where you can get creative! If you have no limits when it comes to your suitcase, then enjoy looking like a major fashionista everyday!
Use these accessories and hats for a fun and stylish way to update your vacation do!
The Packing List
- 5 Tops
- 1 Pant
- 1 Shorts
- 1 Skirt
- 2 Dresses
- 1 Romper
- 1 Multipurpose Scarf
- 1 Cover Up
- 1-2 Bathing Suits
- 3 Shoes
- 3 Socks
- 1 Crossbody Bag
- 1-2 Hats
Read these guides to learn more about how to create the perfect capsule wardrobe!
What to Bring
It’s incredibly easy to overpack in the tops department, so make sure you stick to five pieces only! Given this rule, it’s important these tops are lightweight and go with any outfit. Chiffon, poly, rayon, and 100% cotton tops are the lightest fabrics but avoid synthetics for hot temperatures.
Bring a variety of sleeve lengths including sleeveless or short sleeve tops that are comfortable in the heat. Make sure one of these tops is a tank top that can double as a pajama top. If you absolutely need more tops, buy them abroad!
You’ll find that blue jeans are a timeless piece and go with just about any outfit. You actually couldn’t go wrong with bringing only a single pair of dark colored jeans. If you want to bring more than one, choose a pair of black pants as well.
For pajamas, consider versatile leggings that can also be layered under skirts or dresses if needed. (But don’t wear them as pants.)
For beach side destinations, bring a pair of shorts on your 2-week vacation throughout Europe. Denim will go with any top or a pair of white shorts is just as versatile and appears less casual. Choose a dressier fabric if you want to wear shorts in cities as well.
Be conscientious of the local culture and make sure these shorts aren’t too short! If you don’t like shorts, opt for a pair of cotton capris or smart linen trousers.
These stylish summer shorts will take you from day to night, city to sea, and so much more!
Depending on your personal style and packing space, it’s recommended to bring a couple of dresses with you. Dresses will keep you comfortable in the heat, they take up less space than a top/bottom combo in your bag, and they’re incredibly feminine and fashionable.
For the sake of versatility between regions within Europe, bring a maxi dress and a short or mid-length dress.
For added versatility, these are popular convertible travel dress styles!
Mixing up your style with a romper is a great option for a number of reasons. Rompers can be easily packed in your suitcase, they’re comfortable, cute, and they offer an outfit in one piece.
They can also act as a cover up by the sea. If you choose a dressier fabric or a plain black romper, then you can also dress it up as you would an LBD.
Here’s where you can get super creative! Maxi skirts, midi skirt, skater skirts and denim skirts are all the rage right now and perfect for beating the heat in Europe. Just make sure that whatever skirt you choose to wear is respectable towards the local culture.
Skirts are perfect for summer travel. They’re a dressier alternative to wearing shorts but they offer the same level of comfort from the heat.
Take a look at these skirt outfits to learn how to wear them!
Multipurpose Scarf and/or Cover Up
Multipurpose scarves are a lifesaver when you travel! Whether you want to style up your outfit, turn it into a skirt, use it as a cover up, or need a light towel on the go, a multipurpose scarf is your best friend.
If you’re going to a beachy town, I also recommend a light cover up to throw over your bathing suit.
Take a look at these summer dresses you can wear on and off the sand!
1-2 Bathing Suits
Depending on your type of vacation, bring a cute bathing suit as you could use it by the sea, hotel pool, or at a spa. Two piece bikinis are always a good option as they can double up as an underwear and bra if needed.
If you want to get a little trendy, bring a second suit that’s a bandeau, has cutouts, or has a bohemian print. This can even double up as a top if you choose wisely!
Here are the best one piece swimsuits of the season!
Athletic shoes were once considered a major fashion faux pas in Europe, but are now considered incredibly fashionable. Mesh, sleek and malleable athletic styles are preferable to hiking shoes or clunky athletic shoes.
If you don’t want to bring heels, espadrilles are wonderful flats that you can dress up or dress down. And you can never go wrong with a pair of strappy or gladiator sandals.
Find out exactly how to choose the best walking shoes for Europe!
As mentioned previously, nothing diversifies your style quite like accessories. You could wear all black and white on your vacation and still look like a fashionista with a pair of red sunnies, a straw boater hat and lots of bangles.
If you insist on packing light or in one color with your clothes, then make sure you amp up on those accessories!
Read these tips on how to avoid a boring all-black wardrobe when you travel!
If you forgot something at home or want to amp up your wardrobe, you won’t find shopping to be a problem in most areas of Europe! European staples like Zara, Mango and H&M are frequently located throughout the continent as well as major malls and boutique shops.
Since Europe tends to be ahead of the curve, I love to make sure I don’t overpack so I can bring some goodies home! If you’re really into the shopping scene, you can always buy a suitcase and fill it with clothing while you’re abroad.
Packing isn’t easy. These are a few quick ideas on how to avoid overpacking!
Do you have anything to add to these tips on packing for Europe? Please comment below!
For more ideas on how to pack for Europe, please read below:
- Ten Step Packing Guide for Europe
- Packing for a trip to Italy and Paris
- How to Choose the Best Shoes for Europe
- What to Wear in Europe: Packing Lists for Every Destination
Suggested travel resources:
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Author Bio: Sebrin is a newlywed, flower child and travel-obsessed blogger. When Sebrin isn’t traipsing the globe with her husband, you can find her curled up with a book, snuggling with her kitty babies or binge-watching Netflix. Follow along her travels on Instagram @theclumsytraveler or her blog!