What I Pack for a European Summer City Break with Hand Luggage Only!

July 24, 2017

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Updated 2019. City breaks in the European Summer can be hard to pack for, it’s more than likely going to be hot, but depending on where you’re going in Europe and when, it might not be and the weather can change quickly! You’re going to do a lot of walking to see all of the Cities attractions however you don’t want to be wearing some non-stylish sweat proof, hiking outfit, but at the same time, tiny shorts and belly tops are not the right outfit to be exploring Cities in either and you need outfits for European Cities that are good for the day and evening.

After a fair few European Summer City Breaks (and also lots of Winter City Breaks), I’ve finally nailed down what to pack for a City Break in the Summer so here goes:

My Recommended Packing List for a European Summer City Break (2 or 3 nights) using hand luggage only!

First off, for a European City Break I always pack hand luggage only! I have the Red Tobago Revelation cabin case which I loved it and I highly recommend it! Not only is it a great colour and a really stylish cabin suitcase but it’s so practical. It’s light and has 4 wheels so it glides super easy in the airport! Especially when I’m rushing for my flight!

I also take a day pack and usually my Herschel Classic Day Pack to carry my purse, camera’s, water, snack etc in.

pack for summer city break hand luggage only

Now what clothes to pack for a European City Break. I always love wearing dresses when travelling and living out of a bag as they’re an easy option because they’re just one item, this means less items to pack and less deciding what to wear and having to switch between different tops and bottoms.

Dresses are perfect for City Breaks, especially dresses that are knee length and floaty and either have little straps or capped shoulders. Dresses are also the perfect item of clothing to pack with hand luggage only on a Summer trip because they can go from day time to night time attire and be dressed up with minimal effort.

I tend to find that unless you’re going ‘out out’ on your City Break, Women’s evening outfits for Cities in European are usually fairly casual so a day dress can easily be dressed up a bit to be worn in the evening too.

Top Tip: If your legs rub together in the heat when they get sweaty when you’re wearing a dress, for your Summer City Break pack some cycling or gym shorts to put under your dress to stop them rubbing! It’s a game changer!

pack for summer city break hand luggage only

pack for summer city break hand luggage only

pack for summer city break hand luggage only

As well as dresses a pair of demin shorts and some floaty shorts are a good idea too to be teemed with a t-shirt or tank top. Most Cities in Europe are very casual and you will not be out of place in a t-shirt and shorts so they should be on your Europe Summer packing list.

Depending on where you visit in Europe in the Summer it may get chilly, for example if you are visiting the UK and London in the Summer do not expect hot sunny weather all Summer!

I would really recommend packing some layers and warmer clothes too for your European Trip, for example jeans or at least some lightweight trousers, plus a jumper, cardigan or long sleeved top. In some cases for example in the UK you will need a lightweight jacket too incase the weather turns bad!

Some places in Europe get very hot during the day but cool down a lot at night and early in the morning so keep this in mind when packing for Europe!

pack for summer city break hand luggage only


Shoes wise I think 2-3 pairs are needed for a City Break. A good comfortable pair of walking shoes need to go on your Summer packing list whether thats trainers, actual walking shoes or sturdy walking sandals.

As well as these shoes some nicer sandals will come in handy during your Europe City Break if you think you’ll be changing to head out for the evening. I will say again that many Cities in Europe in the Summer are casual and can also have streets that are very uneven or that have cobblestones so heeled shoes in European Cities are really not needed or appropriate.

I also think that Flip Flops like Havaianas are a good pair of shoes to pack for City Breaks because of their versatility.


Packing Swimwear for a European City Break is a good idea incase you have a hotel with a pool or you take a day trip to somewhere that has a beach or waterfalls for example. Cities in Europe can get really hot in the Summer time, especially in July and August so you’ll be wanting to get in water if you can! In London parks you can swim in the ponds for example which you may not have thought about so pack that swimsuit just incase!


A hat will also come in handy whether that’s a cap or stylish hat. Sunglasses are a must too! I’ve been wearing my SunGod Glasses for ages now and I love them and think they are the best sunglasses for travel!

Of course you will need underwear and PJ’s but I’ll let you work that one out.


Travel Umbrella – Depending on where you travel you may need an umbrella!
Water Bottle – I use a Chillys Thermal Bottle which I love!
Bank Card/Money
Etc Etc


Pack all of your usual basic toiletries, make up, hair brush, and remember the suncream!


Camera – I use a Canon G7X Mark II with 2x batteries and charger. GoPro & Charger.
Phone Charger.
2 in 1 Travel Adapter and Power Bank – this is amazing!

pack for summer city break hand luggage only


I hope this insight into my suitcase helps you know what to pack for a Summer City Break in Europe!

You may also like:

What I Pack for a European Winter City Break with Hand Luggage Only!

What To Pack For A One Week Holiday in The Caribbean!

Please note that I have been gifted some of the items linked above however I would never recommend something I didn’t truly love!

Some items linked are affiliate links at no extra cost to you!

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I’m Ellie Quinn!

I’m a travel addict who has been travelling on and off since 2010. In the Summer of 2018 I quit my office job in London, left my flat and I now travel and blog full time! Yes, I’m living that dream!

I created this blog to share my best travel tips with you to help you travel better, save money and visit some hidden gems! Be sure to follow me on Instagram and you can read more about me here!





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