I just returned from a VikingChristmas Market River Cruise on the Danube River traveling through Hungary, Austria, and Germany. I thought I’d share my recommendations on what clothing and accessories to pack for visiting the markets in winter while on a river cruise.
For a point of reference, the Christmas markets tend to be on the chilly side with temps ranging from highs of 40 degrees Fahrenheit to lows of 20 degrees Farenheit during the day, in general. You should count on evenings possibly being colder, of course. I packed three different coats, a lightweight puffy jacket, a rain jacket shell, and this long winter coat. I ended up only wearing the long winter coat. The following items are what I recommend packing:
I'll start with the ESSENTIALS(shown above).
1.) A SCARF is the extra layer that blocks the wind that can come in through the top of your coat. Mine is vintage so I can't share a link, but it's long and really lightweight so I can wrap it and it doesn't feel bulky and restrictive. Hereis something similar.
2.) A LONG WARM HOODED*COAT, as long as possible in length to keep you fully covered. It can get really windy and you'll want the extra protection. You can find my coat, as pictured above, here. I like a hooded coat, as I tend to avoid winter hats due to sensitive skin. If you enjoy winter hats, I definitely recommend bringing one!
3.) BOOTS: I like these Uggs because they're low in height and practical for packing, rather than a high pair of winter boots. They're fleece lined and the outer leather has a smooth finish rather then the more porous suede found on most Uggs and they are water resistant. I also sprayed them with Ugg weatherproofing spray before packing. Every kind of ground was covered in my travels from pavement to concrete, cobblestone, pea gravel, dirt, mud, and puddles. No matter what, you'll want a pair of insulated boots to stay warm and keep your feet dry. I also added arched insoles for added comfort.
4.) GLOVES are a must. I recently purchased these lined leather glovesthat have the tech sensors in the fingertips, making it possible for me to snap pics on my phone without having to remove my gloves and freeze my fingers. A few of the markets were so cold that it would have been nice to have had hand warmers. Next time, I'll throw a few of them in my suitcase so I'm prepared for worst-case cold!
*A WARM WINTER HAT if your coat doesn't have a hood, or if you prefer wearing a hat rather than a hood.
The Additional Staples:
I packed light, fitting everything into a small rollerbag suitcase, just to make getting around less burdensome. My packing list reflects that:
- Two pairs of jeans
- One pair of black slacks
- One pair of corduroy pants
- Six sweaters
- One long-sleeved tee
- One long sweater
- These loafers
- Personal bath/beauty essentials
My go-to pants for casual travel are always jeans and it's nice to have a second pair in case of unexpected spills or stains. The slacks were nice to have for changing into for dinner and the cords were a slightly warmer pair of pants to wear on the coldest days. I don't like the feeling of wearing long johns, tights, or leggings under my pants but if you are accustomed to wearing them in the cold, I'd recommend bringing some for layering on the coldest days.
I wore sweaters every day and I felt dressy enough with wearing the same sweater I'd worn in the day to dinner. The long-sleeved tee was nice to have as a lighter top option if needed. I wore my long sweater as a top layer, often indoors on board the boat.
Each day when we'd return to the boat, I'd change out of my boots and into my loafers. They were comfortable and lightweight to wear inside, rather than a pair of boots.
Some evenings, I'd put on my pearl necklace to be a little dressier at dinner.
Note:There are laundry services on board the river boat and the prices are pretty reasonable. I would place my laundry in the bag on my bed in the morning and it'd be waiting on the bed for me the same evening.
- A small compact umbrellain case of rain. Since the temperatures were so cold, wearing a rain jacket or even my small puffy jacket with the rain jacket over the top weren't an option because they just wouldn't provide enough warmth. By having the small umbrella, I could carry it and wear my long warm coat and not get wet. Viking River Cruises also provides loaner umbrellas if you don't want to pack your own, but they are on the large side and could be burdensome to carry around all day. I purchased mine here.
- Small cross-body bag for carrying your money and essentials to the market, keeping your hands free. Mine is similar to this.
- Tiny wallet to keep in my pocket for days I didn't want to wear my crossbody bag. Mine is similar to this.
- Lightweight cinch bag for carrying your purchases and keeping your hands and arms free. I borrowed one from one of my children, similar to this.
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Leading up to this post, I've shared a series of posts covering my visit to Europe and the Christmas markets in cities along the Danube River, all via a Viking River Cruise. You can find all of the posts about my stops along the way by looking back through my recent posts. The first post can be found here, the second post here, the third post here, the fourth post here, the fifth post here, the sixth post here,the seventh post here , the eighth post here, the ninth post here, and the tenth post and final review of the river cruise here.
Stay-at-home mom, Serena Thompson, dreamed of creating a fun and happy little event to sell her vintage and handmade goods. In 2002, she and some friends held the first event in her neighbor’s barn. The sale became wildly popular and began attracting visitors from across the country and recognition in national magazines. Today the event fills the Spokane County Fairgrounds and features hundreds of creatively and carefully curated spaces filled with vintage and handmade goods. Many describe it as a bucket list event, magical, inspirational, and the best vintage & handmade fair in the country. Serena describes it as the happiest on earth.