The Best Jackets To Pack for Europe in the Spring

By Danielle Cemprola on March 25, 2024
5 min read

There’s no question that Europe is beautiful in the spring. The blossoming tulips and daffodils are seemingly everywhere, while the days get longer, giving you more time to explore your destination. However, spring weather in Europe can be unpredictable. On a late April trip to Germany, Belgium, and Luxembourg, I ended up rotating between three different jackets thanks to the constantly changing weather patterns. Read on for the best jackets to pack for Europe in the spring. Bonus? All of these jackets pack down easily, making fitting them in your carry-on a cinch.

Rain Jacket

The saying “April showers bring May flowers” might just have been coined in Europe if the weather is any indication. Each day of our trip, no matter where we were, there was a chance of rain. While the rain was usually sporadic, part of the joy of visiting Europe is exploring the city on foot. That means it’s important to be prepared for rain no matter how sunny it may seem when you leave your lodging. For rain, I wore my favorite KUHL rain jacket from several seasons ago. While this exact style is no longer in production, the STRETCH VOYAGR™ Jacket is similar in style and offers all of exceptional waterproof performance you expect from KUHL. Even better, the material is soft and flexible, allowing you to stay comfortable while you rack up the miles on foot.

This jacket came in clutch when exploring the streets of Luxembourg during on and off rain showers. The rain this time of year in Europe is rarely a downpour, so a light hooded rain jacket is perfect for exploring. I brought my rain jacket with me everywhere during the trip because you never know when you might get caught in an afternoon shower while wandering the city streets.

Light Insulated Jacket

There is often a slight chill in the air in Europe in the spring, particularly in the mornings and evenings. My go-to jacket on my recent trip was THE ONE™ Jacket, which is a lightweight lined piece that was both versatile and stylish. THE ONE is available in both hooded and non-hooded options and dozens of colors, which means you’re sure to find “one” (see what I did there?) that works with your travel wardrobe. Fun fact: I’ve purchased this jacket for both my mother and my mother-in-law because they loved mine so much, and both of them tell me every time I see them how much they love theirs. You can’t go wrong with THE ONE!

I wore THE ONE the most often throughout the trip, including while exploring the streets of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, one of Germany’s most famous medieval cities. If you’ve never head of Rotherburg ob der Tauber, make sure to add it to your list of must-do day trips when you’re in Germany. The city was founded in the 12th century and is one of only three towns in Germany that still has completely intact city walls. Rothenburg is also home to one of Europe’s most famous Christmas markets, a Medieval Crime and Punishment (read: torture) museum, and even a moat that surrounds the city. It truly feels like stepping back in time and is certainly worth the visit! THE ONE kept me warm on a cool humid day and looked great in every picture I took (the most important element of any wardrobe, of course).

Puffy Insulated Jacket

Remember when I mentioned that the weather in Europe is unpredictable in the spring? That’s where the need for a puffy insulated jacket. While lighter options were often fine during the day, temperatures dropped into the 30s at night on our trip, making something heavier necessary. During a golden hour stroll around Brugges at the end of April, the chill made my SPYFIRE® jacket essential. My husband wore his SPYFIRE® Jacket throughout the trip thanks to its breathable construction and warmth.

Bruges is one of those cities that looks like something out of a fairytale. I consider myself well-traveled and fairly knowledgeable about the must-see places throughout the world, but I somehow completely missed the memo on Bruges. Thankfully, the friend we were visiting in Germany recommended that we make an overnight trip to Bruges, and thank goodness she did! This medieval city will thrill architecture and history buffs alike thanks to the diversity of buildings and storied history of the city, which dates back to about the year 850. If you visit in spring, as we did, you’ll be amazed by the overwhelming sight of tulips and daffodils on every corner, but you may also be overwhelmed by the sheer number of tourists in the city.

Bruges is a popular stop for many cruise ships and is a popular day trip destination for those visiting the tulip fields of the Netherlands in the spring. As such, I’d recommend spending as much time before 9 am and after 4 pm exploring the city as you can. The cruise crowds are usually at their peak between 9 am and 4 pm, and the city becomes much easier to navigate early in the morning and later in the day. We did a free walking tour at 10 am and, to be honest, it was not the best experience. As excellent as our guide was, the tour and city were so packed that it was challenging to hear anything over all of the noise and the size of the group. I’d recommend either paying for a smaller group tour or booking something later in the day.

Another quintessential Belgium experience is making world famous Belgian chocolate. We took a chocolate making class right in the heart of Bruges and spent 2.5 hours learning how the Belgians make such delicious chocolate (hint: it involves a lot of stirring and very precise temperatures). We each took home a box of over 30 handmade chocolates to keep, to say nothing of all of the samples we tried while making our chocolate. This is a must do activity if you happen to find yourself in Bruges or Belgium!

No matter whether you’re visiting Europe in the spring or fall, make sure you pack lots of layers and a few versatile jackets so that you can easily adapt to changing weather conditions. It can also be windy during the spring, so I recommend the hooded versions of each jacket if you’re worried about windy weather. Enjoy your trip!

Danielle Cemprola
Danielle Cemprola

Danielle Cemprola is a freelance writer, marathoner x 52  and world traveler. Danielle and her husband, AJ, love to hike, travel, and eat their way across the planet. She's a self-described carry-on enthusiast who loves challenging herself to pack for any trip, no matter the length or destination, in a carry-on bag. When Danielle's not flying the friendly skies, you're likely to find her working at her day job as an environmental scientist - hey, someone needs to pay for all those plane tickets!


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