When you travel, you have the opportunity to see and experience another world.

For many, it can be difficult to feel as though they stick out, either subtly or obviously.

If you want to look “local” in Europe so that you aren’t hounded by souvenir sellers or targeted by pickpockets, we’ve got all the best tips.

Let’s get started on how to not look like a tourist in Europe.

Capsule Wardrobe for Europe

A capsule wardrobe can be the first step in looking like you belong.

In general, you’ll want to pack clean-cut conservative clothing.

The more you look out of place or like a tourist, the more you’ll be targeted by pickpockets and scammers.

If you’ve never put together a capsule wardrobe before, it’s just a trendy name for a small collection of useful clothing that you can use regardless of changing seasons.

When traveling with a capsule wardrobe, you’ll need to wear and re-wear these pieces multiple times.

Those high heeled shoes that only go with one outfit?

Sorry … they won’t make the cut.

Often, a capsule wardrobe means packing between 5 to 7 outfits, even if you’re traveling for weeks at a time.

Most people make this work by doing laundry regularly, and when done correctly, it means you can pack a lot lighter (hello carry-on luggage!).


So, how do you create a capsule wardrobe?

Here are a couple of steps to get started:

  • Determine your style and colors. How you create your capsule wardrobe will depend on your style. Do you want to remain neutral? Will everything be a little boho-ish? Is everything in your style a little bit more vintage? How will you make sure everything subtly matches so you can create more outfits? Ask yourself these types of questions as you begin to build your wardrobe.
  • Buy a few new versatile pieces. What? You didn’t think you could go to Europe without a new fabulous wardrobe, did you? As you create your packing list, you may find that just one or two new items could really tie in four or five outfits. Don’t be afraid to splurge on those items if they could make the difference. Just do some research and make sure you purchase items that are truly versatile. Also – our tip – don’t buy fabrics that wrinkle easily. You may love the idea of wearing a top, but after it traverses the Atlantic, you’ll be a little less enthused.

Fashion Faux Pas What You Should Absolutely Avoid Wearing

Once you begin traveling in Europe, you’ll realize that it’s easy to spot groups of tourists and especially tourists from certain countries.

For example, most Americans have a certain way of dressing that indicates that they aren’t from Europe.

Here are some fashion faux pas that you should avoid while in Europe:

  • Ballcaps
  • Sports team shirts or jerseys
  • White tennis shoes and socks
  • Well-worn Levi’s
  • American logos
  • Backpacks (especially those filled with important papers and jewelry)
  • Fanny packs
  • Workout clothes

Bring Comfortable Walking Shoes

Comfortable walking shoes may just be the most important part of your capsule wardrobe.

While you may use public transportation and ride shares while traveling in Europe, your feet are still the primary way that you’ll get around.

Having the right comfortable walking shoes is one of the best ways you can ensure you don’t look like a tourist.

In fact, the white tennis shoes are a known stereotype because they are comfortable walking shoes.

Yet, we encourage you to step up your fashion game and choose something a bit more stylish.

Here are some that you can choose from.


Here’s the thing … when you think about comfortable walking shoes, you probably think about something closed-toed.

However, you also probably want to take sandals with you if you’re going somewhere with warm weather like Spain or Portugal, especially in the summer.

Finding something fashionable and supportive is the key to buying good travel sandals.

The Sofft Mirabelle Sandal is perfect for this reason.

You can even see how comfortable the sole looks in the picture before you buy.

It also comes in a variety of different colors, so you can pick what looks best with your capsule wardrobe.

Shop for them here!


Some people don’t love their toes exposed, or there are even some travel activities that require closed-toed shoes.

Having a trusty pair of casual slip-ons can work wonders for those days you don’t want to think about what you need to wear.

Clarks is a trusted brand for comfortable walking shoes.

Here is a pair you may consider that are both comfortable and versatile.


Okay, so if you can’t wear white sneakers (which, let’s face it, are all the rage right now), what can you wear?

Well, you may consider these Superga sneakers that you’ll see on Europeans themselves.

They’re pretty casual and won’t stand out, which means you’ll blend right in.

They’re also good for cobblestone streets.

And anyone who has spent all day walking around on cobblestone streets knows they can leave your feet unnecessarily sore.

But the best part about these sneakers?

They’re unisex, which means both men and women can feel comfortable rocking these while looking like a local.

Visit here to shop.


Source Superga


Are you more of a flats gal?

You’re not alone.

Ballet flats are a sleek option and often beloved because they go with so many outfits.

You can dress up a pair of jeans or pair them with a sundress.

That said, ballet flats aren’t often the best for cobblestones, because they can be slippery and create blisters.

However, they do pack well, so if you need a solution for a dressy night out (and heels are not an option), then these can be a dressy and chic shoe for a fancy night out.

Are they the best for walking a city?

Probably not.


Do you love your boots?

If you’re heading to Europe in the winter, then boots are a solid option.

Still, you want to make sure you purchase boots with a thick sole and cushioned interior.

Otherwise, those cobblestone roads can wreak havoc on your feet.

These Born Trinculo Boots are a known favorite of travelers.

Shop here.

What else should you keep in mind when it comes to shoes?

Here’s the truth when it comes to packing shoes for travel.

Everyone overpacks.

Regardless of how long your trip is, you should really only pack three pairs (at maximum).

If you’re packing four or five pairs of shoes, then you’re overpacking.

Here’s how you should break down the number three…

  • One pair is for sightseeing/walking
  • One pair is for dressing up
  • One pair is for special activities or weather

So, for example, your first category may be a comfortable pair of closed-toed shoes like the ones shown above.

Casual but fits your needs.

The second may be a pair of sandals that you can go to nice restaurants in.

The third can fit a range of needs.

For instance, if you’re going to be white water rafting, one of your pairs of shoes may need to be water shoes.

If you’re going to be in snow, you may need to bring snow boots.

Those pairs would fall into your third category.

What’s most important is that you keep your feet happy while traveling.

Too many people think about their outfits and not enough about what is on their feet.

Once you take care of this part of your body – thinking about it as the top priority – the rest will fall into place.


There Are Plenty of Reasonable Stores in Europe

If you find that you just don’t have what you need while traveling, don’t hesitate to shop while you’re in Europe!

This can be one of the best ways to not look like a tourist in Europe.

Here are the stores that we recommend you check out:

  • H&M – This is actually a Swedish store, so you’re already getting into the spirit by shopping here. Go pick up a few essentials if you don’t have what you need.
  • Urban Outfitters: Urban Outfitters has expanded across Europe and can be a good stop if you find you don’t have something you need for your trip.
  • Zara: Zara, like H&M, is all over Europe. It’s especially popular in countries like Spain and Italy. If you don’t shop at Zara at home, it’ll give you that European vibe that you’re seeking. No more Googling “how to not look like a tourist in Europe” anymore!
  • Ellos: Ellos is also a Swedish brand. As an online department store, they have collections that reflect the Swedish lifestyle and design aesthetics. Give them a try as well – why not?!

Final Thoughts

There you go!

Creating a capsule wardrobe, finding good shoes, and shopping like a European are all key steps to follow in how to not look like a tourist in Europe.

Learning to pack the right way can help you fit in and feel comfortable – just like a local.

If you need other tips, like The Most Useful Travel Gadgets for Europe, don’t forget to check out other resources on my blog.

I’m here to help.

What are your tips for how to not look like a tourist in Europe? If you have any, leave a comment below! 

If you are looking for a step-by-step guide to help you plan your trip to Europe, check out The Ultimate Guide to Trip Planning.

If you are still feeling overwhelmed, or simply do not have the time to plan your trip to Europe, why not let us help you? We will create the perfect bespoke itinerary just for you!


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