What To Pack for Summer in Europe: Outfits + Light Packing Essentials

what to pack light for europe

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As the summer months approach, many of us are daydreaming about our next European getaway. Perhaps Italy, Greece, or Spain — it’s a time to enjoy warm weather while exploring new experiences in old cities. Wondering what to pack for a summer in Europe?

Knowing what to pack for a Summer in Europe can be overwhelming! Especially so if you’re wanting to pack lightly (perhaps you’re a solo female traveler). Here are some tips to help you pack light (with all the perfect outfits to blend in like a local) for an incredible summer in Europe.

This past summer I spent quite a few weeks in southern Europe exploring Greece and Italy (my original plan included Portugal but I didn’t make it there). Something that was very important to me when considering what to pack for Europe, was packing lightly. As a solo female traveler, I wanted to be able to move around quickly and easily as need be. For this reason, I made careful considerations on what I included in my suitcase.

In addition to stylish outfits that would allow me to blend in with the elegant Europeans (and not look like a frumpy tourist), included on my packing list, were some basic travel basics and recommendations that I’ll also list below.

What To Wear in Europe in Summer

solo female travel

Summer in Europe can get quite hot. Especially so if you are in the southern European countries such as Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, and Greece. Unlike the Summers that I’m used to in Miami, it doesn’t rain much at all during the summer in Europe. The Summer heat in Europe is mostly high and dry.

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In Southern Europe for example, you will find local women wearing pretty summer dresses, shorts, skirts, camisoles, and tanks tops. Men and women alike wear clothes made of high-quality fabrics that a breathable and comfortable such as cotton, silks, and linens. As opposed to synthetic fabrics like polyester, these natural fabrics will help keep you cool and dry.

In addition to clothes that keep you cool, whether beachside someplace like Ibiza or Mykonos or touring a city such as Rome or Paris, be sure to pack sandals to wear to keep your toes cool and dry as well. But leave your plastic flip-flops at home, opting instead for stylish elegant sandals that can easily wear during the days and evenings. Check out some of my recommendations on clothes to create outfits to pack for Summer in Europe below.

Clothes & Outfits to Pack for Summer in Europe

summer in europe packing list

As I mentioned before, for this particular Summer in Europe, I spent the most time in Italy and in Greece. I wanted to pack light so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the hassle of waiting in line to check a bag, which would also mean arriving earlier to the airport with time I could be doing more sightseeing. At the same time, I wanted to have nice outfits to look nice and be able to mix and match outfits for the day and night. Oh, did I mention I wanted to be comfortable too? Here are all the clothes that I packed for my Summer in Europe (that were perfectly what I needed).

A light and sturdy suitcase.

I reccemend a light and sturday suitcase that you can expand if needed. You’ll also want a suitcase that you can easily recognize if you should decide to chek it at somepoint. Personally I love a suitcase that I can also push as oppsed to drgging. The hard suitcase you see me pictured with I picked up at TJ Maxx for about $40 if I remember correctly. If your budget allows for it I reccomend checking out the ultimate suitcase in my opion — this Tumi aluminum carry-on.

Comfy walking shoes — flats or stylish sneakers.

I’m the kind of solo female traveler who likes to walk and explore. Before I jump in a taxi, which is certainly the easiest route many times, I prefer to get some steps in for the day and travel like a local — taking advantage of public transportation. 

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The last time I traveled solo to Rome, I took the metro from the airport to my Airbnb. Part of that journey was walking a combined total of about 40 mins or so. It will really make treks like these a lot comfier if you have on a stylish pair of sneakers or walking shoes.

Comfy dressy shoes — low heeled versatile sandal.

I have a pair of skin-toned Manoli Blanck sandals that have served me so well on all of my solo female travel trips.

summer in europe essential shoes
I travel with these versatile Manoli Blanck sandals everywhere!

I love these shoes especially for Europe because they pair perfectly with anything for the day and night and are super comfy. I can dress them down with a casual summer dress to explore Greece during the day and I can dress them up for my Tinder date ( that storytime in another post) with an Italian stallion in Rome. They’re perfect.

A stylish pair of sandals — leave the flip-flops at home.

For me, packing light while traveling is essential. For this reason, I like to carry things that I can easily mix and match, wear over and over, and I can get lots of wear out of. That’s why I opt to leave the flip-flops (which are only really suitable for the beach or pool) at home. I prefer to bring a pair of flat sandals with a little pizzaz that I can wear comfortably at the beach, but if need be, I can also wear out and about without looking frumpy. 

Nice sunglasses.

You’ll need a pair of stylish sunglasses to protect your eyes as you’ll likely be spending a lot of time outside in the sun during your travels to Europe for the Summer. But also, sunglasses are just oh so stylish. With a dark pair of shades, you can perch somewhere around the town and people-watch your destination incognito. 

Versatile Shorts.

A pair of versatile shorts that you can dress up and down is especially essential to pack during a summer in Europe. When the sun is shining and it’s hot outside, shorts are comfy and perfect for solo travel. Opt for a dark color that won’t easily show that you’ve worn them more than a few times between washes. A material that doesn’t wrinkle easily is also a brilliant option in the likey event you won’t always have access to an iron.

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I have owned these pleated shorts from Zara for years. And they are absolutely perfect. I dress them up and down with all kinds of different tops. And I don’t often have to wash them while traveling solo and iron them (shh don’t tell anyone).  

Different little tops.

Tanks tops and camisoles are perfect for solo female travel. Especially in silk or another cool material. Additionally, they’re easy to wash and wear, mix and math, and are oh so feminine and elegant. 

Different little tops in vibrant summer colors that pop such as pinks are a great addition to a versatile capsule wardrobe for Summer in Europe.

Versatile dresses.

I absolutely adore dresses. And for a solo female traveler, dresses are an absolute wardrobe essential for Summer in Europe.

traveling alone as black woman
I picked up this versatile Summer dress from Zara.

Because we like to be stylish, but we also want to go spend our time exploring, and not spend any longer than needed picking out clothes.. dresses are a great option. Dresses are an easy option to just grab and go out and about. 

Enough underwear.

Bring a good number of underwear for your summer travels, but there’s no need to overpack. Simply hand wash your underwear each night after wear, and they’ll dry by morning. This way you always have clean underwear and don’t have to tote around dirty ones mixed in with the rest of your clothes.

One bra is usually plenty for me because I hardly ever wear it anyway, especially in Europe (many women often go braless). — free the boobies baby! But if you’re a gal who can’t live without a bra, bring one or two that will look great under everything. You can also wash between wear, though keep in mind your padded bras will take a couple more days than your panties to dry between washes.


female solo travel
This elegant one peice swimsuit I pick up at Forvever 21.

You can not go travel to Europe for the summer and not pack a couple of bathing suits — albeit, in some Southern European countries, you may not need your tops (as many ladies go topless). Nonetheless, if you’re packing light 2 bikinis or one-piece should suit you just fine.

Versatile Scarf.

A scarf is great because you can use it in so many different scenarios. Wrap it around your waist and wear it as a sarong or wrap it around your shoulders if you get chilly at night (although most places in Europe don’t get too chilly during the night). A versatile scarf that you can wear in different ways is definitely essential.

Nightdress to sleep in.

Make sure to pack a night dress or PJ’s.

Small crossbody bag.

One small crossbody handbag is usually enough to serve me for the entire trip. I love to carry my small Prada Saffiano mini bag.

Your favorite basic accessories.

When deciding what accessories to pack for a Summer in Europe, keep it elegant and simple. Europeans are generally very conservative when it comes to make-up and accessories. Simple studs earrings and some other small simple jewelry pieces should serve you well for the day and night.

Misc. Essentials Packing List for Summer in Europe

summer in europe packing list

Wall convertor.

For Summer in Europe, don’t forget to pack your wall converter for all your electronics such as your phone charger, and perhaps laptop. Also, keep in mind countries in the UK such as England will have a totally different wall outlet type than countries in the EU such as The Netherlands or Spain. You can buy a wall converter that’s suitable for the countries that you are visiting, or you can snag one that will easily convert for anywhere in the world including Asia (which has yet another kind of wall outlet).


Not sure if this is a cultural thing, but I grew up bathing with a washrag. Many people know may use a loofa or even exfoliating hand gloves. Yet whenever I travel to European countries they never ever have these in the showers, lol. I guess Europeans don’t use them, IDK, lol. But I always like to bring my own so I don’t have to try to explain in Italian to the maid what the heck is a washrag. 

Toiletries To Pack for Summer in Europe

summer in europe packing list


Just because you’re on vacation, doesn’t mean you should allow your skincare routine to go by the wayside. Make sure to bring your fash wash to wash off oil the oil, sweat make-up from the day.


Whether you are staying in a hotel or an Airbnb, many places of accommodations will often not carry toothpaste in the rooms (that is of course unless you’re staying at the four seasons). You can often purchase toothpaste at an extra cost, or of course, bring your own travel-size version.


In destinations with lots of tourists and lots of sun, sunscreen will be easy to find. If you don’t want to pay double for sunscreen or waste a day searching for a bottle of sunscreen you like, thrown this into your suitcase as well.

Pills and potions.

Personally, I’m the type of girl who doesn’t even take aspirin for a headache. Additionally, as uncomfortable as it may be, I don’t usually have any trouble usually falling asleep on the plane.

If you anticipate having trouble falling asleep at night due to the time difference or jet lag, it may be a good idea to back some sleeping pills or melatonin. Pills you also may want to include in your essentials travel pharmacy are Asprin, Ibuprofen, and your vitamins and supplements. If you take birth control pills, make sure to fill your prescription well before your travels and bring those too.

Period stuff .

You will for sure be able to find pads and tampons in Europe. They may however be different from the ones that you’re accustomed to using back home. I was really thrown off at the tampons in Europe for example. Most of them don’t come with plastic applicators that are all we’re used to in America.

Personally, I stopped using tampons altogether about two years ago when I discovered the Lena cup (also known as Diva cup. but this is a different brand). It’s so convenient (especially for travel) a better on the environment. If you’re still using tampons in 2021 and beyond, I’ve got a single question for you — why?

Apps to Pack/Download for Summer in Europe

summer in europe packing list

Kindle e-reader or phone/ipad app.

A total travel essential for me be it for Europe or anywhere else in the world is my Kindle ereader. If you love to read or would like to start reading more, a kindle will help make this so much easier. You can litterally pack thousands of books into your kindle eread or kindle app on your phone and always have them with you. This is the Kindle e-reader that I have and love.

Download a translator app.

In my article on travel tips for women traveling alone, one of the tips I mentioned was learning some language basics of countries you will travel to. But when you are in need of a bit more than the basics or your want o brush up on the go, google translate comes in very handy. I would guess there are some offline options available on the market for when you don’t have wifi. Or you could consider getting a local

Google Maps.

Google maps is so essential when traveling Europe during the Summer. What makes Google maps so amazing is that you can download cities offline so that you can get directions even without the internet. While this doesnt work flawlessly all the time, it does the job pretty darn good most of the time.

Takeaway — What to pack for Summer in Europe

traveling alone as a woman

There you have it ladies (and gany gentlemen who;’ve read this far). Thes are all of the things I packed for my most recent travel to Europe for the Summer. And I must say, I honestly didnt miss a thing.

  • Great packing tips!

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