Wondering what to wear in Austria in winter? I'll tell you, but first, you need to know something.
I'm like an onion.
Not in the sense that I'm a complicated person (although, maybe that too :p), but in the sense that I usually wear a bunch of layers on top of each other to keep warm. Yes, also in summer.
You'd think that would make packing for cold destinations a hassle, but it's actually the opposite. I've learned what works and only bring clothes specifically for cold weather, layering them as needed. And that's exactly how to dress for winter in Austria as well.
When I traveled to Austria for three days to try out all kinds of winter activities, I only took my carry-on suitcase and my Eastpak laptop backpack to hold all my Austria wear. I did a horse carriage ride in the snow, went hiking, visited a husky ranch, got an initiation in biathlon and went off-track cross-country skiing. All of those things with limited luggage and in temperatures of around -3°C/26.6°F.
Here's what I packed to survive.
What to wear in Austria in winter
For winter in Austria, you need warm layers – preferably wool or fleece, an insulated water and windproof coat, sturdy shoes, a hat, gloves, and a scarf or a buff.
In my suitcase
- Icebreaker ski socks
- Icebreaker normal woollen socks
- 1 Icebreaker Lightweight 200 g legging
- 1 Icebreaker lightweight Oasis Henley 200 g base layer + 2 other base layers that I borrowed from Boyfriend's mom
- 1 Icebreaker midlayer
- 2 fleece longsleeves borrowed from Boyfriend's mom
- 1 regular winter hat
- 1 super warm winter hat
- 1 pair of regular gloves
- 1 pair of ski gloves
- 1 pair of Solomon snow boots
- underwear (obviously)
- 1 fleece buff
- 1 Camelbak hydration backpack
- 1 pair of my favorite sneakers
- my new The North Face Fuseform Fuseform Dot Matrix Insulated jacket
- my new The North Face FuseForm Birgandine ski trousers
- 1 skinny jeans
- toiletry bag
In my carry-on backpack
- my HP laptop
- my GoPro and my GoPro head strap
- my Fuji camera with its 18-55 mm lens and my small Lowepro camera bag
- chargers and usb cables
- 1 portable hard disk
- my iPod
- a tiny purse with my money, Samsung Galaxy S6, lip balm, paper tissues…
Did I pack right?
I'm happy to say I did. I always wore two base layers and two top layers, except for when I did the biathlon and cross-country skiing. Then, one base layer and one mid layer were enough. If you plan on doing lots of outdoor activities, you do really need this type of special clothes in Austria. Even when temperatures are just below 0°C during the day, it's easy to get cold when you're out for long.
By layering my clothes, I could easily take something off when we were having lunch inside and it was warm, for example. I stuck with sporty things, but if you're a bit more stylish, you could easily wear a nice cardigan or thick shirt underneath your fleece or woolen pullover. I didn't get the impression that style mattered much in Austria in the mountains, though. It was all about staying warm and being comfortable!
Mind you: it's probably a bit different in the big cities like Vienna :-)
Wearing the Icebreaker ski socks during the day was essential for keeping my feet warm and an additional benefit to them is that they keep your feet relatively dry and unsmelly.
Lastly, I was able to fit everything into my carry-on trolley and backpack and could've gone a few extra days with the stuff I brought.
Good to know: in most places in Austria, like Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis, winter season doesn't end until late April or early May. That doesn't mean it stays super cold until then, but do check the temperatures and pack layers if you go that time of year.
Don't forget travel insurance
Plan for the best, prepare for the worst. Travel insurance has you covered in case (part of) your trip gets cancelled, you get sick or hurt abroad and even when your electronics break or get stolen. I've had ongoing travel insurance ever since I started traveling to make sure I'm covered for every trip I go on.
Rather be safe than sorry too? Check out World Nomads. They cover a wide range of activities for people from 140 countries.
Printable packing list for Austria and other places
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Or check out my favorite travel gear to see what else I frequently pack.
How to get to Austria
How you best travel to Austria, will depend on your final destination there. If you just want to visit a big city like Salzburg, you can fly there directly or take a train from a nearby city, but if you're traveling to the mountains, you'll need to take a shuttle or rent a car.
Check Skyscanner for a good overview of flight options and prices.
If you want to travel by train, you can find timetables and prices here.
Check RentalCars.com for a rental car as they compare more than 900 rental car companies and have a best-price-guarantee.
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I was invited on the #inAustria trip by iambassador in partnership with the Austrian National Tourist Office. As always, anything I write about this trip will be my opinion only. The links in this post are affiliate links. That means that if you buy something through them, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.