What to Pack for Cologne in Winter (& What to Wear)

Updated on May 14, 2023  


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Cologne Weather In Winter

Cologne's winter season offers a unique and festive atmosphere that allows travelers to fully immerse themselves in the city's rich culture.

While temperatures might not be as extreme as other European cities, it is still essential to come prepared for chilly weather.


Expect daytime temperatures hovering around the freezing point during December, with nights often dipping below zero degrees Celsius. [1]

Layering becomes your best friend when facing Cologne's fluctuating winter climate.

Having an arsenal of warm accessories such as gloves, beanies, and scarves can make all the difference in combating cold winds and ensuring you enjoy your time exploring this beautiful city comfortably.

Visiting Cologne during its winter months truly rewards travelers with unforgettable experiences while remaining relatively mild compared to other destinations' harsher winters.

Packing For Cologne In Winter: What Luggage Should You Bring?

Backpack Recommendations For Your Winter Trip To Cologne

Choosing the right backpack for your winter trip to Cologne is essential as it can make a significant difference in your overall travel experience.

Opting for a high-quality, functional bag ensures you have enough space to pack all your necessary belongings while navigating comfortably through the city.

An excellent option is the Tortuga Setout Backpack, designed explicitly with urban traveling in mind. This lightweight bag features a laptop compartment and various pockets that help keep everything organized during your trip.

Additionally, consider investing in a waterproof cover for any backpack you choose, as Cologne's winter weather often includes rain and snow.

Suitcase Recommendations For Your Trip To Cologne

Choosing the right suitcase for your winter trip to Cologne can make a significant difference in both convenience and comfort.

Opting for a carry-on size suitcase is highly recommended as it's easier to navigate through airports, train stations, and cobblestone streets common in European cities.

Some popular brands known for their durability and quality include Samsonite, Delsey, Away, Travelpro, and TUMI. [2]


Keep in mind that some airlines have strict carry-on size restrictions; therefore, choose a suitcase within permissible dimensions while maximizing space for packing all your essentials.

Additionally, consider purchasing luggage organizers or compression bags to maximize space further while keeping your belongings neat inside the suitcase.

Day Packs For Exploring Cologne

Venturing through the picturesque streets of Cologne during winter is a delightful experience, especially with a trusty day pack by your side.

As you explore tourist destinations and admire charming architecture, having a well-packed day bag allows you to carry essential items like extra layers for warmth, snacks to fuel your journey, and even souvenirs picked up along the way.


When selecting the perfect day pack for exploring Cologne's attractions, consider bags specifically designed for urban adventuring - some great options include popular brands like Osprey and Patagonia which offer durability and comfort with features such as adjustable straps that distribute weight evenly across your shoulders.

Stuff Bags

One essential item to consider when packing for a winter trip to Cologne is stuff bags. These handy, lightweight bags are perfect for storing your clothes and keeping them compact and organized in your luggage.

Not only will they help you save space, but they'll also make it much easier to find what you're looking for without having to go through everything in your suitcase. Stuff bags come in many different sizes, so you can choose one that fits your needs.


In addition to making packing more organized, stuff bags can also be used during the trip itself.

If you're staying at a hostel or other budget accommodation with limited storage space, stuff bags can be a great way to keep your dirty laundry separate from clean clothes until you have time to do laundry.

What To Wear In Cologne In Winter

Short Sleeved Shirts

While short-sleeved shirts may not be the first thing that comes to mind when packing for a winter trip to Cologne, they can be a versatile addition to your wardrobe.

They are perfect for layering underneath sweaters or jackets on warmer days or wearing alone indoors.


Consider packing 2-3 short-sleeved shirts in basic colors like white, black, and gray that can easily mix and match with your other clothing items.

Packing 2 short-sleeved shirts in addition to long-sleeved shirts, light sweaters, and warm socks is recommended for staying comfortable during winter travel.

Long Sleeved Shirts

Long-sleeved shirts are a must-have item for your winter trip to Cologne. They are versatile and can be layered with other clothing items to keep you warm in the chilly weather.

You'll want to bring a mix of both lighter and heavier long-sleeved tops, so you have options for different temperature ranges.

long sleeved shirts

Layering is key when it comes to staying warm during colder months, making long-sleeved tops perfect for this purpose.

Pair them under sweaters or jackets as an extra layer of warmth, or wear them alone on milder days.


Sweaters are essential for staying warm in the cold weather of Cologne during winter.

When packing for your trip, opt for wool or cashmere sweaters that will keep you cozy and comfortable as you explore the city's Christmas markets and other winter activities.

Layering is key, so consider packing lightweight options that can be worn under coats or heavier jackets to add extra warmth without creating bulk.

A versatile sweater can be dressed up or down, making it a great choice for exploring the city during the day and going out at night.


When packing for Cologne in winter, it's important to consider pants that will keep you warm and comfortable during your trip. 

Thermal underwear is highly recommended as a base layer underneath your jeans or trousers for added warmth.

Corduroy pants or fleece-lined leggings are also great options to wear over jeans for extra insulation.


For those who prefer skirts or dresses, opaque tights can provide additional warmth while still allowing you to rock your favorite outfits.

To stay stylish while keeping warm, aim for fabrics like wool, flannel, and cashmere which will keep you cozy without sacrificing style.

Additionally, there are many German winter clothing brands worth checking out such as Bogner and Jack Wolfskin known for their high-quality outdoor apparel perfect for staying warm during cold weather activities.


Skirts and dresses may not be the first thing that comes to mind when planning what to wear in Cologne during winter, but they can definitely be incorporated into your outfits for a stylish and practical look.

Pairing them with warm tights or leggings, boots, and a cozy sweater or jacket will ensure you stay warm while exploring the city.


Plaid skirts are especially popular during the holiday season and can give your outfit a festive touch.

Furthermore, packing lightweight skirts or dresses can also come in handy if you plan on visiting indoor attractions like museums or galleries where temperatures are typically warmer than outside.

Winter Coat

A warm and durable winter coat is a must-have when visiting Cologne in the colder months.

With freezing temperatures and sometimes rainy weather, it's important to choose a coat that can withstand both.

Look for coats made of materials like down or wool that are designed specifically for cold weather conditions.

For added versatility, consider investing in a 3-in-1 jacket with removable layers or one with a hood for additional protection from the elements.

Some popular options include insulated jackets, fleecelined jackets, windbreakers, and waterproof coats.

Hat, Gloves, Scarf

When packing for a winter trip to Cologne, Germany, it's important not to forget about essential accessories like hats, gloves, and scarves.

These items are crucial for staying warm in the cold weather and can add a stylish touch to any outfit.


For example, a neutral-colored wool scarf can be paired with just about any coat or sweater, while leather gloves provide both warmth and durability.

 Additionally, investing in a cozy hat made from materials like wool or fleece can make all the difference when exploring the city on foot.


When packing for winter in Cologne, it's important not to overlook what you wear underneath your outer layers. Thermal wear is a must-have item for keeping warm during the colder months in Germany.

Packing thermal leggings or long underwear can be a game-changer when exploring the city on foot or spending time outdoors at Christmas markets.

In addition to thermal underwear, don't forget about comfortable bras and panties made of breathable materials that will wick moisture away from your skin.


When it comes to packing for a winter trip to Cologne, thermals are an essential item for keeping warm in the chilly weather.

Long underwear made of moisture-wicking material like polyester blends can provide extra warmth and also help keep you dry if you plan on being outdoors for extended periods.

Adding a middle layer, such as fleece or down jacket, will enhance your insulation even more and allow you to adjust your body temperature more easily as the day progresses.

To supplement your thermal wear, remember to pack other winter essentials such as thick wool socks and gloves (cashmere is an excellent option), scarves that can be wound around multiple times over your nose and mouth when bracing against cold winds.


Staying warm while sleeping is just as important as staying warm while exploring a new city during the winter. Make sure to pack warm and comfortable sleepwear for your trip to Cologne.


Look for fabrics that are cozy and soft, such as flannel or fleece, and opt for long-sleeved tops and pants rather than shorts or tank tops.

Don't underestimate the power of good sleepwear - it can make all the difference in ensuring you get a restful night's sleep before another day of exploring Cologne's winter wonderland.


When packing for winter in Cologne, one of the most important things to consider is footwear.

You'll need shoes that can handle cold temperatures and possibly even snow or ice, while still being comfortable enough for long days of walking around the city.


Warm boots with good traction are a must-have item for exploring Cologne during the winter months.

Look for boots with thick soles, insulation, and waterproof materials to keep your feet dry and warm.

For those who prefer something more stylish, ankle boots or high-top sneakers can also work well as long as they have a good grip on the bottom.

What Should Be On Your Cologne Packing List All Year Long


One of the most important things to pack for any trip is a toiletry bag. This will help you keep all your hygiene products organized in one place and make them easily accessible when needed.

Some of the essential items that should be included are toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss as they play an important role in maintaining dental hygiene while on vacation.

Deodorant, razor, nail clippers and nail file are other necessary items that should not be left out when packing your toiletry bag for a winter trip to Cologne.

It's also important to include lotion or moisturizer especially if you have dry skin because the cold weather can worsen it.

First Aid Items

When packing for your trip to Cologne during the winter months, it's important to remember first aid items like pain relievers, band-aids, wound cream, and other medications that you might need.

Just in case something goes wrong on your trip, it's always better to be prepared with a complete travel first aid kit.


One item that could be particularly helpful for flu-related symptoms or headaches is Tiger Balm. With 18 different uses ranging from insect bites to muscle soreness, Tiger Balm can provide relief when needed most.

But as with any medication or treatment option, it's important to speak with your doctor before using if you have any medical conditions or are taking other medications.


When packing for a winter trip to Cologne, don't forget to bring your essential electronics. Your smart phone will be crucial for navigating the city and staying in touch with loved ones back home.


Don't forget to bring the necessary chargers and plug adapters, as European outlets are different from those in other parts of the world.

A camera is also a must-have for capturing all of the beautiful sights that Cologne has to offer, while an e-reader or tablet can help pass time during long flights or train rides.

Consider purchasing a European SIM card if you plan on using your phone extensively, as it can save you money on international roaming fees.


When traveling to Cologne, it's important to make sure you have all your necessary documents with you.

This includes your passport, ID or driver’s license, boarding pass, hotel confirmation, and both credit and debit cards.


It's always best practice to keep copies of these documents in separate places from the originals—for example in an online cloud storage or email account.

This can be useful if you lose any items while traveling—having digital copies make replacements easier to obtain because they show proof of ownership and authenticity.

Other Essential Items To Add To Your Cologne Packing List

Aside from the usual travel essentials, there are a few other essential items you should add to your packing list for Cologne.

First and foremost is an umbrella, as Cologne experiences rain even in the winter months.


A compact city map will also come in handy when exploring the city's winding streets and alleys. Additionally, it's important to stay hydrated while on-the-go, so bring along a refillable water bottle.

And finally, to ensure a good night's rest, don't forget to pack a sleep mask and earplugs to block out any unwanted noise.

Helpful Apps For A Trip To Cologne

Make your trip to Cologne a breeze with these helpful apps! Google Maps and Google Translate are must-haves for navigating the city and communicating with locals.

The BVG and Deutsche Bahn apps provide up-to-date public transportation information, while FlixBus offers affordable long-distance travel options. [3,4]

And don't forget about ride-hailing services like Uber and Free Now, as well as airline-specific apps for easy flight check-ins and updates.

Conclusion: Winter Packing List for Cologne

Don't let the cold weather keep you from experiencing the magic of Cologne in winter. With the right packing list, you can stay warm and comfortable while exploring all that this stunning German city has to offer.

Be sure to bring a waterproof jacket or shoes, warm layers like sweaters and thermals, and accessories like gloves, hats, and scarves.

Key Takeaways:

  • When deciding on luggage for your winter trip to Cologne, consider a backpack or suitcase with wheels for easy maneuvering through the city's cobblestone streets, as well as a day pack or stuff bags for exploring and shopping.
  • Stay warm and stylish in Cologne with these winter essentials: long-sleeved shirts, cozy sweaters, pants or skirts, a winter coat, hat, gloves, scarf, thermals, and comfortable shoes.
  • When packing for your trip to Cologne, there are certain items that should always be on your list, regardless of the season. From toiletries and first aid items to electronics and documents, these essentials will ensure a smooth and worry-free journey.


1. What type of clothing should I pack for Cologne in winter?

When visiting Cologne in winter, it is always best to dress warmly with layers. Thermal undergarments, thick sweaters, and a heavy coat are a must-have. You will also need gloves, a scarf, and a hat to protect your extremities from the cold.

2. Should I wear boots or shoes while exploring Cologne in winter?

Boots are highly recommended as they provide more warmth and comfort compared to regular shoes. In addition, they offer better traction on ice or snow covered streets ensuring safety during outdoor explorations.

3. Do I need any special equipment for my camera when packing for Cologne in winter?

In colder temperatures with precipitation such as snow or rain, camera lens can fog up very quickly making photography difficult.

To prevent this issue it is advisable to carry portable heater device specially made by photographers that allows you keep both your hands warm while holding the camera steady.

It's also important to bring fully charged batteries since cold weather can negatively impact battery life .

4. Are there any specific items besides clothing that I should pack when traveling to Cologne in Winter?

Apart from the essentials like clothes and toiletries, it’s recommended that travellers visit pharmacies prior their tripbuy moisturizer creams such as lip balm and body lotion which helps soothe skin damage caused by dry air indoors.

Similarly UV sunblock cream may be needed especially if planning on doing some outdoor activities where sunlight reflection could cause increased exposure risk regardless of cold temperature levels outside.


1: Cologne climate: weather by month, temperature, precipitation, when to go, retrieved from https://www.climatestotravel.com/climate/germany/cologne
2: The best travel luggage brands for vacays, staycays, and work’n’plays, retrieved from https://thehoteljournal.com/best-travel-luggage-brands/
3: Overview of our ticket-buying apps | BVG, retrieved from https://www.bvg.de/en/subscriptions-and-tickets/all-apps
4: Deutsche Bahn: Discover Germany and Europe by train!, retrieved from https://www.bahn.com/

About the Author

Stephan Drescher, founder of germanytravel.blog, is a German travel expert and insider, providing trusted tips and advice for a perfect trip to Germany. Born & bred German.