Packing List: What to Take to Spain in Summer
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Lucky you! Taking a trip to Spain this summer!
Will you be traveling all around the country or staying in one region? I’ll help you decide what to pack to prepare for weather in the north and south and figure out what to wear in Spain in summer.
Here are some helpful hints so you’ll know what clothes to pack for Barcelona, what to wear in Madrid at night, and how to dress for the heat in Andalucia.
What Do They Wear in Spain?
Chances are if you have searched the internet looking for tips for what to pack for your trip to Europe you have seen articles about what clothes to wear in Spain saying things like “don’t wear ever shorts or tennis shoes” and even “Spaniards are very conservative and wear neutral colors.” It makes me wonder if the authors have ever visited Spain?
While it is true that Spaniards are typically a bit dressier than most North Americans, they do not dress boring or conservatively and many women definitely embrace bright colors in the spring and summer.
That said, if you are mostly visiting cities like Madrid, you might want to pack more chic clothing than you would wear at the beach. Instead of cut off jean shorts I would wear tailored shorts in a fun fabric or better yet a dress or skirt.
Spain in the late spring and summer can be quite warm or even roasting hot. But sometimes evenings can be chilly. Be sure to bring clothing that can be layered. It is best to check the average temperatures before you go, and then to keep an eye on the forecast to know if you might want to toss an extra sweater in your luggage.
Generally northern Spain is cooler and wetter than the southern parts like Andalucia. If you are visiting several regions you will want to pack accordingly with layers.
What to Wear in Spain in Summer
When packing for summer holiday in Spain, you’ll want to create a capsule wardrobe that can take you from the pool or beach to a museum and a nice restaurant.
Deciding what to wear in Spain will have a lot to do with your age and sense of style. But here are some tips that you can adapt to your own taste.
A Madrid capsule wardrobe and a packing list for 2 weeks in Europe would be very similar, other than perhaps a few extra items of clothing. Here is my travel essentials checklist for what to pack for Spain for 5-14 days.
What to take to Spain in summer?
- light jacket
- 2-3 pairs of jeans, trousers, capris or nice shorts
- 3-5 tops, including one that is dressy
- 2 dresses or skirts
- 1 sweater or sweatshirt
- lightweight scarf
- 3 to 5 pairs of underwear
- 3 to 5 pairs of socks
- 1 or 2 bras
- workout clothing like leggings and sports bra for hikes or hotel gym
- 1-2 swimsuits, and a coverup if desired
- 2-3 pairs of shoes, including one comfy walking pair – check out these summer walking shoes and sandals
- accessories like sunglasses, jewelry
- cross-body purse – check out these 10 anti theft travel purses
This packing list would be perfect for a trip visiting several areas in Spain or be a good summer packing list for Europe. If you will be traveling a lot in the north of Spain or visiting northern European countries in Scandinavia you will probably want to bring a heavier jacket or one more cozy layer just in case.
It’s getting hot in here: If you find yourself in Spain in the height of the summer heat, here are some helpful tips to keep your cool. Try to do your sightseeing and walking in the early morning before the sun is at its peak. If you plan to see the inside of museums and monuments around noon might be a good time as it will be cooler indoors out of the sun. Spaniards are known for their siesta. You might think it sounds lazy to take a long lunch and then nap in the afternoon, but it’s a great way to beat the heat. Plan to return to your lodgings for a few hours in the afternoon to read, nap or relax. It’s a really great way to get acclimated to the Spanish lifestyle of eating dinner late too. After the sun sets people head out to socialize in the cool of the evening. If you get on this schedule you will make the most of your visit!
A hat is nice to protect your head and face from the sun. Don’t forget your sunglasses too! Also when you arrive you might want to purchase a typical Spanish fan to cool yourself down in style. You’ll find them everywhere from €1 and up. They make a fun accessory to flirt with too.
A scarf is always a good idea: Bring a long but thin cotton gauze scarf. These come in handy for so many things. Of course you can keep warm by looping it around your neck several times, and you can also use it to cover your shoulders if you’re a little bit chilly but not cold enough for your jacket. It is also great on a sunny day to cover your torso to give you some shade and prevent sunburn. You can wear it to dress up a boring T-shirt. And you can sit on it in the park when you’re having a picnic. In Spain you will also appreciate having a scarf to cover your shoulders when visiting churches. Here are some light summery scarves that would be great to take with you, or pick one up on your travels.
Best shoes for Spain: I definitely recommend bringing comfortable shoes for a trip to Spain. Many cities and towns in Spain have cobblestones and uneven streets and you will likely be climbing up and down hills or stairs. Even if you will mainly be visiting museums, you’ll probably be doing a lot of walking and standing. In general, for a day of sightseeing you can wear fashionable sneakers in most cities in Europe. (the keyword is fashionable, not your filthy gym shoes haha) Of course it’s also a matter of personal taste and the types of places you like to frequent. I would also definitely pack at least one pair of comfortable sandals for Spain in the summer. Check out these terrific shoes and sandals for traveling to Spain in the summertime.
Spain Summer Fashion
- If you have no idea what Spanish fashion is all about, or want to get an idea of Madrid street style or what clothes to pack for Barcelona – a good place to look is Zara. This fashion brand is now world wide but they are Spanish at heart. Check out their website to get an idea of some of the styles you might see this season. And for a deeper look at Spain summer fashion you can check out @erealouro, @mydailystyle_, @styleinmadrid, @trendy_taste and other local fashionistas on Instagram.
- Do you prefer Michelin star restaurants or street food – or perhaps something in between? That will dictate your packing wardrobe and style. When considering what clothes to wear in Spain, I would definitely not try to wear sneakers or jeans to a fancy restaurant for dinner. Casual restaurants you will be fine in fashionable jeans and sneakers, but Spaniards do tend to dress up in the evenings, especially in the bigger cities.
- Pack an elegant dress, skirt or trousers for fancy places, unless you plan to only eat at casual restaurants. I would recommend bringing at least one dressier outfit just in case you want to go to a nice bar or restaurant or even to go out clubbing. Although what to wear to a club in Madrid or Barcelona would probably be a lot skimpier than what you might wear to dinner, you could always throw on a layer over that slinky top or dress.
- In cities like Barcelona, Cordoba, Valencia and Madrid you will see Spaniards wearing jeans but with colorful and stylish tops. As it gets warmer you will see many women wearing sundresses in bright colors, especially in the south. Madrid street style can be a bit more edgy and elegant than other more casual cities and towns.
- Are you excited for Spanish summer dresses and colorful tops? Good news! The shopping in Spain is quite good and you are sure to find some new Spain summer fashion to add to your wardrobe. So leave a little room in your suitcase if you love shopping. Also be on the lookout for espadrilles, they are so cute and you’ll find them everywhere in Spain in the summertime.
- As the weather heats up you’ll want your feet to breathe. Open shoes or sandals are a must. But beware of bringing flimsy sandals or flip flops. You want something that will be comfortable and stay on your feet as you walk over cobblestones and up and down hills. Take it from me, I tripped on my loose sandal in Granada’s hilly Albaicin. I still have the big ugly scars on my legs. Oopsie! I went out shopping for better sandals the next day. I recommend ones like these that have good strong straps and grippy soles. They may be a tad less adorable but trust me, your feet will thank you. Check out this list of 15 cute and comfy shoes and sandals to pack for Europe this summer.
- Take a look at some of these super cute dresses that would be ideal to wear in Spain this summer:
What to Take to Spain: Toiletries, Cosmetics, Medicines & Accessories
Hairdryers and other electronic tools: Unless you desperately need them I would leave behind electronics like hairdryers and curling irons just because they take up so much room in your luggage. If you will be staying at hotels they should have hairdryers for your use. If you’ll be staying at Airbnbs or apartments then you can email ahead and ask if they have one.
Summer in Spain can also make your hair misbehave due to the heat and humidity so why not just let it go wild and enjoy your trip.
Sunscreen: Bring some sunscreen along with you. Of course you can purchase it in Spain but it may be more expensive and you might get burned before you have a chance to buy it. (yep I did that) Especially if you are from a cooler climate you might not be used to so much sun. Be sure to apply plenty before you go out for the day.
Medications: If you take certain medications you should bring them with you and a few extras just in case. Make sure that they’re in the original bottles with labels if there any questions. I recommend to bring them in your purse or carry-on so that there is no chance you will lose them in your luggage. If you are susceptible to tummy issues you might also want to have antacids, nausea or diarrhea medicines. You don’t need to bring the whole medicine cabinet, maybe just a few pills in case of emergency. Medications like aspirin and acetaminophen are easy to find, but I usually carry these with me at all times.
Sanitary supplies: You will also be able to find feminine sanitary supplies but I always carry them with me just in case I suddenly need them when the stores are closed for a holiday or on a Sunday. Murphy’s Law, amirite?
Jewelry: Costume jewelry can be an excellent way to dress up an outfit. Bring fun earrings to add to a sundress or go shopping for cool new bangles when in Spain. I recommend leaving any expensive jewelry at home. It’s just one more thing to worry about misplacing.
Cosmetics: I recommend bringing your most minimal makeup kit with you. Hot summer temperatures can melt your foundation and mascara right off your face. Perhaps just wear a bit of concealer, some simple eyeliner and a touch of color on your lips. Going out at night to a club you might want to add a bright lipstick or dramatic lashes, but remember that you will probably get sweaty. A minimal makeup routine is always better on holiday. Plus you’ll take a lot less time and effort to get ready and will have more time for sightseeing.
What to Take to Spain: Travel Goodies & Luggage
Here are a few goodies that might make your travel to Spain more convenient and comfortable.
Travel pillow: On overseas flights and long train rides a travel pillow can really help you sleep. This convertible neck pillow from Samsonite can also be used as lower back support or foot rest! Great for shorties like me who never fit properly in seats.
Packing cubes: A packing system can help you travel more efficiently. I like these compression packing cubes as they allow me to fit a bit more in my luggage and keep my items organized.
Foldable bags: Do you love shopping when you’re traveling? The Spain summer fashion and quality handmade goods may have you adding a few pieces to your wardrobe. Bring along foldable tote bags or bags that expand to fit your purchases. Checkout this adorable tote bag from Baggu with a grapefruit pattern.
What to Take to Spain: Electronics
We can’t live without our electronics these days can we? We need our smartphones to get around and stay in touch. Packing for summer holiday in Spain means organizing your electronics so you can fully enjoy your trip.
Depending on your phone plan you may be able to use it in Spain for free or a small charge. Check with your provider. You also might be able to insert a local SIM card. Even if you won’t be using your phone’s cellular data you will find free WIFI at many cafes, restaurants, museums and other locations in Europe. And of course now many people use their phones as their camera. So, you will definitely want to bring an external battery to keep your phone functioning. This one from Yoobao will charge a phone as well as a camera or other device.
Here are a few external batteries I like:
I also recommend bringing earbuds or headphones to listen to music, podcasts or museum audio tours. Here’s a pair of noise canceling headphones that are conveniently small.
I’m sure you’ve already thought of bringing a travel adapter for your electronics. Bear in mind you may need a multi-use one if you’re traveling to let’s say both London and Barcelona, as they each use a different type of plug. Here is a colorful one that has four different plug options or here is another one that includes USB plugs.
If you are a shutterbug of course you will be bringing your camera. It is always at the top of my travel necessities list. Don’t forget extra batteries, the charger and extra data cards. You might also want an external drive like this one to store photos.
Another option is to add a small removable external lens to your smartphone to snap creative and cool images.
Will you be bringing your laptop? Unless you need to work on the road, you might want to leave it behind for a trip to Spain. You will be sightseeing and out and about most of the time anyway. Consider bringing a tablet or iPad instead if you want to play online or watch movies on the plane.
What to Take to Spain: Documents, Money and Credit Cards
Passports: Of course, don’t forget your identification! Make sure your passport is up-to-date and that it’s not going to expire soon. Most countries require that your passport is still valid for at least three to six months. Protect your passport from getting damaged with this snazzy cover!
Credit and debit cards: Don’t forget to call your credit card companies and let them know you’ll be traveling so that they don’t put a block on your credit card. This has happened to me multiple times and it can be a pain! Also it’s becoming quite standard now but if your card has a four digit pin and a chip you’ll be able to use it more places in Europe. If you don’t have this yet, check with your card provider.
Changing money: Depending on the fees from your bank, it is easiest and least expensive to simply access ATM machines at your destination rather than changing money before or during your trip. You may want a few Euros when you arrive at your destination to get a taxi or transit from the airport. But check ahead, Uber is popular in many European countries now. Most airports have ATM machines. Anyway, it is usually smart not to carry too much cash in case of loss or theft.
Always carry a photocopy of your passport in a separate location from your original. And actually more useful in case of an emergency is to have access to scans of your documents. I email them to myself so they are accessible in my inbox. That way if somehow you managed to lose all your possessions you would still be able to access a copy of your credit cards and identification as long as you could find internet.
A final note about theft: Several friends of mine have been pickpocketed or had their possessions stolen in Spain. I don’t think the country is unsafe at all, you just need to keep an eye on your belongings. It’s common sense. Carry your purse across your body with the zipper or opening in the front in crowded areas. Don’t put your wallet, phone or money in your back pocket when traveling on public transport. Don’t sit at an outdoor cafe and leave your expensive phone just sitting on the table. Don’t put your purse down at a nightclub and get up to go dancing. These are all common sense, but many people have a false sense of security and don’t pay attention to their surroundings. My friends were robbed in these scenarios in Spain but I personally have never had any problem at all as a solo female. I try to be aware of my surroundings and keep a hand on my belongings. Tourists can be targets for thieves all over the globe. Just be aware and you’ll be fine.
I hope this list of what to take to Spain in summer helps you with your packing. Have fun on your trip to Spain! It’s one of my favorite places in the world.
Looking for the best place to stay in Spain?
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Are you looking for sightseeing ideas for Spain?
Check out these posts from our friends:
- Visitors Guide to Cordoba
- Visitors Guide to Madrid
- 7 Madrid Walking Tours
- 10 Free Things To Do in Barcelona
- Visitors Guide to Granada
- Beautiful Gardens in Granada
- Tips for visiting the Alhambra
- 8 Free Things to do in Seville
- Visitors Guide to Toledo
- Getting Around in Andalucia
- Best Parador Hotels in Andalucia
- Camping in Andalucia
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