When deciding what to pack for Europe, whether it’s a short break or a longer stay, there are a few things to keep in mind: you want to make sure your travel essentials are versatile, comfortable and destination-appropriate, keeping in mind the cityscape and climate you are heading to. Bonus points if you can make your stylish gear sustainable by wearing clothes and accessories made from recycled fabrics or even leftovers. With those goals in mind, we’ve rounded up some wardrobe essentials and outfit inspiration for a few of our favorite European locations, from Paris and Lisbon to a river cruise. Scroll down to find pieces that match your style or jump straight to an upcoming destination.
England’s bustling capital, London, is more like a cluster of villages than a large metropolis. Whether you’re strolling through central London from Soho to Chelsea or hopping on a double-decker bus to explore more remote neighborhoods, comfort is key, as navigating this huge city can be time consuming. Boots or sneakers are heel-friendly paired with structured looks that will take you from day to night. With frequent gray skies, a stylish trench coat is always a good idea.
A cosmopolitan city dating back to the 11th century, Copenhagen unfolds like a living storybook. Its brightly colored beachfront buildings nestled in bohemian, upscale neighborhoods are packed with bustling cafes, art galleries, and boutiques. Rent a bike or take a leisurely stroll through this easily navigable city, also traversable by a system of metros and bus routes. A generally mild climate where the rain is no stranger, it is good to keep an umbrella in your bag. Pack stylish sneakers with contemporary minimalist pieces and you’ll fit right in.
Join what at times looks like a footbridge as you stroll the cobbled streets leading from Paris’ trendy Marais on the Right Bank to the historic haunts of the Left Bank in Saint-Germain. Whatever the district, the fashion capital harmoniously combines the latest trends with timeless elegance. Mingle with Parisians by following a casual chic dress code in sober tones. While it’s best to explore the city on foot or via the public bicycle system, leave sporty recreation at home and let the dynamic accessories take center stage.
During your visit to Rome, the Mecca of Italian art history, prepare for sunny days captivated by centuries-old sites such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon and the famous gardens of Villa Borghese, for n to name a few. Casual but conservative dress is a safe bet, given that the Vatican and the many basilicas that dot the city do not allow shorts, miniskirts, or sleeveless tops. Comfortable shoes are essential, and a lightweight jacket will prove both fashionable and practical. Romans love color, so don’t be afraid to spice up your wardrobe with a flashy bag or scarf.
Enjoying an idyllic position along the Atlantic coast, Lisbon is an enviable destination for cities and beaches. Whatever the season, be prepared for sunny days with sunglasses and maybe even a sun hat. Whether you’re traveling on foot or by tram, you’ll want to wear your most comfortable shoes to explore the hilly neighborhood of Bairro Alto or the maze of narrow streets of Alfama. A refined pair of jeans with a button-down shirt or a flattering wrap dress blends in with the laid-back, understated local style.
European river cruise
No matter where you stop along your itinerary, a European river cruise will include exhilarating days in centuries-old villages (think Avignon to Lyon along the French Rhône) followed by entertaining evenings under starry skies. To live your most comfortably stylish seafaring life, pack dresses, wetsuits, slip-on shoes and accessories that can work on both land and water. With access to a pool and maybe even a lake, pack swimming gear and a kimono-style duster that doubles as a bathrobe. Don’t forget a scarf to dress up an evening look and keep you warm on windy nights on deck.