You’ve probably chosen Spain as your next travel adventure because you’re a fan of historical landmarks, delicious meats and cheeses, bustling beaches, famous art, and amazing wine. Or maybe because of the world-class shopping, refreshing sangria, vibrant nightlife, and beautiful people. We’re willing to bet it’s a little bit of all of the above!
But as such a fashion-forward and stylish European destination, with so many different things to see and do, knowing exactly what to pack for Spain can feel a bit challenging. Also, you may have the idea that Spain has sunny, pleasant weather year round – but that’s not actually the case. Different regions of Spain experience different weather, and there are overall seasonal changes that will affect what you pack.
So, how should you pack by season, and what exactly are your Spain packing essentials? That’s what this comprehensive what to pack for Spain guide is for – to answer such important questions!
Keep reading, and in this Spain survival guide, you’ll find a top-21 needs packing list, tips on what to wear and how to dress in Spain, a seasonal overview with weather conditions and how to pack according. You’ll also find specific packing tips for men and women, and what NOT to pack for Spain.
Any doubts or concerns you had will be a thing of the past by the end of this read. Our job is to get your through the packing process as stress-free as possible and let you focus on having the Spanish experience of a lifetime.
Ok then, let’s get to it!
Table of Contents
Top 21 NEEDS for Spain – Spain Packing List
#1 – Nomatic Travel Bag
Before packing – or even think about packing anything – make sure you have an awesome travel backpack. It’s responsible for holding everything that you own to sustain you for the duration of your travels, so make sure you trust and love this bag! We highly recommend the Nomatic Travel Bag because it’s top-quality, durable and so efficient. It’s smartly designed with loads of compartment and pockets to maximize every inch. This is a bag worthy of any backpacker’s love!
#2 – Active Roots Security Belt
Especially when traveling in big-city tourist hot spots, like Madrid and Barcelona, you need to take basic precautions against theft. One of the best things you can do is keep small valuable items hidden on your person. With an accessory like the Active Roots Security Belt, you can stash money in the hidden zipper pocket – it’s brilliant because no one would know simply by looking at it that it’s more than a regular, stylish belt.
#3 -World Nomads Insurance
When going through your final what to take to Spain checklist, make sure you haven’t left off travelers insurance. It’s not fun to think about things going wrong, but you need to be smart and be covered in case they do. World Nomads Insurance is the best because they offer budget-friendly plans that cover every travelers’ concerns – from medical attention and emergency evacuation to lost or stolen luggage and trip cancellations.
#4 – Active Roots Water Bottle
You’ll be doing most of your Spain exploring on foot. Between museum hopping in Madrid and lengthy walks along Las Ramblas in Barcelona, you’ll need to keep yourself hydrated. We suggest packing an insulated stainless steel water bottle like the Active Roots Water Bottle. It holds 25 ounces of water – compared to the 17 ounces in comparable bottles – and keeps it refreshingly cold in hot weather. It’ll also keep your morning coffee hot on chillier days!
#5 – Combination Lock
A simple but important safety measure to take on all your travels is keeping your travel bag locked – especially when using shared accommodations like hostels. You leave your bag unattended most of the time, and you can’t be sure who’s getting unsupervised access to your bag. A small lock like the Active Roots Combination Padlock will do the trick – and since it locks with a resettable combination – there’s no hassle of keeping track of a tiny key.
#6 – Skeletool
If you haven’t traveled with a compact multi-tool before, we suggest getting one for your what to pack for Spain gear. The travel-friendly sizes have useful tools that really come in handy. Just think – if you pick up some fresh bread, serrano ham, manchego cheese and a bottle of red wine along the way – you’re going to want a small knife and corkscrew on hand and ready to go!
#7 – Active Roots Microfiber Travel Towel
As for all your backpacking ventures, a travel towel is one of your key Spain packing essentials. You can’t ever count on the quality – or even availability – of the towels provided by hostels and other budget accommodations; you need to come equipped with your own that’s quick-drying and won’t weigh you down like a regular bulky towel. The Active Roots Microfiber Travel is lightweight, compact, antibacterial and dries in under an hour – it’s exactly what you need!
#8 – Fairywill Electric Toothbrush
Maybe an electric toothbrush hasn’t been one of your travel essentials before, but after you try the Fairywill Electric Toothbrush, it will be! Knowing you’re giving your teeth a superior cleaning with its different available modes – is not only the healthiest thing you can do for your teeth – but also feels amazing. It’s completely travel-friendly, weighing a mere 55 grams and can be used for 30 days after just one 4-hour charge.
#9 – SunGod Sunglasses
Your Spanish look is simply incomplete without an attractive pair of sunglasses – plus you’ll need them for that sunny weather! Our favorites are SunGod Sunglasses because you customize them yourself with the lens and frames color and pattern of your choice to meet your version of the optimum style. But with triple-layer scratch resistant lenses and sturdy frames made from SunGod’s trademarked Adventureproof Frame Material, they’re also built for performance and durability. A total win-win combo.
#10 – Fashionable Day Bag
When out and about for the day, you want an everyday bag to tote around your essentials – like your camera, portable charger, water bottle, phone and whatever else you need that day. Keeping in mind that you’re in fashionable Spain, a sleeker looking option like a leather backpack is a smarter and more appropriate choice than one that instantly flags you as a tourist.
#11 – Small Crossbody Bag
Lugging around a day backpack – no matter how fashionable – isn’t the best look for trendy restaurants, hip bars or dancing locales. When all you need and want is your cell phone, a credit card, a few euros, and your room key – a small crossbody bag will work much better with your killer nightlife outfit. Yes, guys, this goes for you too! Carrying a man’s bag is convenient and fits right into Spain street fashion.
#12 – Digital Camera
There are too much iconic architecture and gorgeous photo-ops that need to be captured in high resolution. It’s true that camera phone technology these days is sophisticated, but you’ll want a digital camera for your what to pack for Spain gear to get the high quality that Spanish landscape deserves. If you haven’t invested in photography equipment, you can find starter cameras that are easy to use and cost efficient. Shop around for a good deal – you’ll won’t regret the investment.
#13 – Cell Phone Camera Accessories
Even when traveling with an awesome digital camera, it doesn’t mean that you won’t rely on your cell phone to capture some memorable party and dance-move moments. Carrying around your digital camera isn’t practical for your going-out bag and for using at popular nighttime hot spots. You can enhance those classic moments with a simple cell phone accessory, like a selfie ring light. Better to make that selfie group-shot of sangrias really pop!
#14 – Portable Charger
Staying on the subject of cell phones – you’ll likely use your phone for a lot more than taking pictures. If you’re relying on it as your map and navigator, you don’t want it running out of juice when you’re out exploring unfamiliar territory. A compact portable charger that’s no bigger than a tube of lipstick easily slips into your day bag for emergency power back up. It will also charge any other USB-enabled electronic devices.
#15 – Hanging Toiletry Bag
Everyday bathroom activities, like showering and brushing your teeth, aren’t quite as simple when you’re traveling – especially with a lack of counter space. If you don’t own a hanging-style toiletry bag, we recommend making this a must for your what to pack for Spain needs. Keeping all of your toiletries tidy and spill-proof in one bag will make things much easier. For a beautiful toiletry bag, consider adding the one offered to match the Nomatic Travel Bag.
#16 – Packing Cube Set
Maximizing space and staying organized are two packing requirements all backpackers need to follow for a more pleasant travel experience. A packing cube set is perfect for both of these things because they compact articles down into cubes that you can compartmentalize by clothing or item type. This type of organization makes it so much easier to pull out what you’re looking for without having to dump the entire contents of your bag each time.
#17 – Universal Plug Adapter
Finding out that you don’t have the plugs or the right power adapter to fit into Spain’s electrical sockets when you need to charge your electronics will be a big bummer. Spain’s sockets are types C and F, so be prepared for that if you’re not from Europe. Or, pack a universal travel adapter that you know will work almost anywhere you travel to without having to worry about plug and socket types!
#18 – Travel Pillow
If your itinerary spans many different areas of Spain – from the coast to the big metro cities – you’ll find yourself on many long bus or train rides. Every backpacker’s staple travel gear and one of your Spain packing essentials is a travel pillow. One that folds down and is easy to pack is well worth taking with you to make journeys more comfortable. Plus, they’re good to have if you don’t want to use the one provided at your hostel!
#19 – Sanitizing Wet Wipes
You want to stay as healthy as possible during your travels, and cleaning your hands is essential for keeping unwanted germs at bay. If you’re grabbing some street food – like a bocadillo or churro – you may not have a bathroom with a sink and soap to use nearby. It’s smart to always have a travel pack of sanitizing wet wipes on hand in your day bag – so be sure to have at least a few packs on your what to pack for Spain list.
#20 – Mosquito Repellent
You may very well encounter mosquitoes in Spain, especially if traveling in the summer months and in coastal areas like Costa del Sol. The best way to protect yourself from itchy and annoying bites is by packing effective mosquito repellent, like Jungle Formula Maximum Range. Containing 50% DEET, it’s the best thing you can use to keep these irritating little guys away.
#21 – Travel First Aid Kit
All backpackers should include a travel first aid kit in their travel arsenal, regardless of destination. You can find first aid essentials in Spain, but it’s much smarter to bypass the trouble of finding the nearest pharmacy if you need something right away. Keep your kit stocked with the basics – like band-aids, a disinfecting ointment, and bandages – along with common over-the-counter medications for headaches and stomach upset – just in case.
What to Wear in Spain
You’ll find that Spain street fashion is much more on the stylish side, so hiking or overly-athletic type clothing can be left at home. You don’t want to pack items that are too casual when planning out what to wear in Spain. And certainly avoid baggy clothing to prevent making the impression of being a sloppy, apathetic tourist.
Our best advice for what to wear in Spain is to focus on classic, versatile items that can be easily mixed and matched and dressed up or down – think about outfits that can be used for sightseeing but can also be dressed up with a simple accessory for what to wear in Spain at night. Neutral colors and well-fitting basics are your best bet to cover all your bases.
For women, there are several smart items to choose from that won’t require packing too much. Short and long-sleeve blouses, solid-colored t-shirts, a maxi dress, wide-leg summer pants, and jeans are all great choices. For colder weather or chillier evenings, a neutral-colored cardigan and a jacket will pair well with everything.
For men, wearing classic items will fit in best with Spain fashion. Stick to solid-colored t-shirts, a long and short-sleeve button-down shirt, a pair of chino shorts and chino pants, and jeans. A lightweight sweater and jacket are great to have for colder conditions.
Of course, the specific type of weather you’ll encounter when you travel will affect what you pack, so keep reading for details by season!
Visiting Spain in Summer
Summer – Spain weather is the hottest in the summer months of June, July and August. The southern part of the country gets the highest temperatures, and big cities like Madrid feel very hot. In northern areas and by the coast, you’re more likely to find milder conditions. Average summer temperatures range between 70°F (21°C) and 85°F (29°C).
Coastal areas are vibrant and lively as people flock to the beaches, looking for a reprieve from the summer heat. Beaches will be full, so expect to pay full price for any accommodations and to book ahead to reserve a spot. If planning city trips, be sure to stay hydrated and find shelter inside air-conditioned venues as much as possible.
When packing for what to wear in Spain in summer, choose versatile clothing items made of lightweight, breathable material – like cotton blends, linen, rayon, and chiffon. For some summer Spain outfit ideas: for guys, a pair of khaki Capri shorts with a navy blue v-neck tee; for women – a swing midi sundresses topped with a summer hat for sun protection and an added touch of flair!
For beaches, pack swimwear and a cover-up. Flip flops are acceptable and expected, but keep beachwear on the beach only.
Visiting Spain in Fall
Fall – this is a lovely season in Spain because the intense heat starts easing up as autumn conditions settle in. The air is crisp and cozy with temperatures significantly lowering in October and November and in the evenings. In November, the early arrival of winter is a possibility, so you’ll need to plan accordingly if it does. Average fall temperatures range between 55°F (13°C) and 70°F (21°C).
Fall is a popular shoulder season for travel, so you may still encounter plenty of fellow tourists enjoying the pleasant Spain weather. But it’s a beautiful time and makes for more comfortable touring of big cities that feel too hot in the summer. For wine enthusiasts, it’s also the perfect time to head out to the Rioja region and enjoy wine tastings of the year’s new harvest.
You should plan on varying conditions for what to wear in Spain in the fall months – from sunny and warm to overcast and chilly. Packing basic, fashionable layers is your best bet. Short and long-sleeve shirts, light sweaters, cardigans, pants, jeans, and long dresses are all smart choices. You’ll want a rain jacket for possible rain in some areas, particularly in October and November. It gets cool at night, so be sure to pack versatile outer garments to layer on as needed.
Visiting Spain in Winter
Winter – as you may expect, the winter months of December through February are Spain’s coldest months. But compared to other parts of Europe, Spain weather is relativity dry and mild. Average winter temperatures range between 45°F (7°C) and 50°F (10°C).
If you prefer traveling during the low tourist season for fewer crowds and better travel deals, then winter may be your season of choice. Those who are used to cold weather may enjoy Spain’s winter temperatures and not need to bundle up with very thick layers. If you’re not used to the cold, but like the idea of layering up in a warm coat, scarf, hat, and gloves, then give it a go!
For what to pack for Spain in winter, you’ll again want to focus on practical and stylish layers. Your best options to fit into winter Spain fashion are dark jeans, sweaters, long-sleeve tops and a warm jacket – down jackets are easy to pack and very popular in Europe. A warm hat and scarf will keep you warm and are fun accessories for spicing up your winter look.
Visiting Spain in Spring
Spring – March, April, and May are Spain’s other prime shoulder months for favorable travel. The peak of the winter cold has passed and warmer temperatures and sunny skies return. Especially in April and May, the outdoors come back to life. Average spring temperatures range between 55°F (13°C) and 65°F (18°C).
There may be fewer tourists in some parts compared to the summer rush, but you’ll still find plenty of travelers at popular tourist spots. Keep in mind that there’s usually a surge of European and overseas travelers during the Easter holidays, so you’ll want to look at a calendar and plan for that.
You’ll find plenty of sunny days and opportunities to be outdoors as beach bars and restaurants reopen for the season. But the bouts of rain are very possible, so you want to be prepared with a rain jacket and umbrella.
For spring, your what to take to Spain checklist should again include classic layers. A combination of summer-type clothing with layering options to keep you warm in fickle weather and cooler conditions is the way to go. Need some springtime Spain outfit ideas? Women will look chic in a pair of capri pants, a boho blouse with a lightweight scarf and open cardigan for what to wear in Spain at night for casual dining al fresco. A classic and stylish look for men is a pair of dark jeans with a slim-fitting casual button-down dress shirt.
What Shoes to Pack for Spain
As a destination where most locals have a fantastic sense of style, you’ll want to give yourself a couple of shoe options to appropriately fit into Spain street fashion. Think about smart casual comfort for some occasions and bit more fashion and flair for others when deciding what shoes to pack for Spain.
For long days of sightseeing and city exploring on foot, both guys and gals will benefit from a comfortable pair of fashion sneakers. We don’t mean the multi-colored gym or running shoe kind, but a sporty leather shoe that works with all outfits.
For what to wear in Spain in summer, women should pack a pair of wedges or fancy sandals for a going-out-on-the-town look. For men, packing a dressier second pair of shoes like loafers or boat shoes will add the right amount of style for any nighttime excursion. And for beach days, you’ll want a pair of flip flops.
For fall and winter travel, boots are the perfect shoes for Spain fashion. For women, stack or low-heeled booties are comfy and stylish for daytime and nighttime outfits. Just as attractive and versatile for men is a pair of lace-up ankle boots in black or brown.
Females – What to Pack for Spain
Ladies, check out these special recommendations just for you as you prepare what to pack for Spain!
All females should pack the two most versatile clothing items when jetting off to Spain: a pair of dark skinny jeans and a black, wide-leg romper. They’re appropriate for all seasons and are a cinch to dress up or down. You can’t go wrong with a knockout pair of skinny jeans – pair them with a chiffon tank and chandelier earrings for what to wear in Spain for some summer sangrias – or with a slim-fit down jacket in colder weather. The best part about jeans? You don’t need to wash them that often!
A wide-leg romper is comfortable to wear for all-day sightseeing and is as versatile as the classic little black dress. Need a classy look for a night out? Add a pair of earrings, bangle bracelets and you’re good to go!
For comfort – a convenient accessory for what to pack for Spain is a scarf/shawl or pashmina. They’re very lightweight and easily fold flat for packing and toting around in your day bag. They’re perfect to layer on when it cools down in the evening or for colder days. Many Catholic churches require covered shoulders, so it’s convenient to have a shawl when visiting religious sites. And scarves are such a classic accessory – throw one on to instantly spice up an otherwise plain-looking outfit.
Males – What to Pack for Spain
Ok, guys, here are your packing tips as you prepare your own what to pack for Spain list:
For Fashion – remember that Spanish men have a great sense of style and always look polished. If you’re used to living in shorts, this is fine in coastal towns and beachy areas. But, overall, you’ll see locals mainly in pants. If you’re going to wear shorts, please make sure they’re not the long, baggy kind. You’ll want a well-fitting pair of chino shorts in a muted color that goes well with any top.
We do recommend that you pack pants for everyday wear in the bigger cities. The perfect pants duo is a pair of properly fitting dark jeans and a pair of muted chino pants. You’ll cover the full spectrum with these two – daytime sightseeing, nighttime outings, warm weather, and colder weather.
For accessorizing – men shouldn’t shy away from adding accessories, especially for fitting into Spain fashion. Scarves are great for chilly evenings and fall and winter travel. Hats are a fashionable option too and help you mix it up for pictures. An attractive and comfortable accessory is a slouch beanie that looks chic with a well-put-together city outfit!
What NOT to Pack for Spain
We’ve covered everything for what to pack for Spain, now let’s go over what NOT to pack for Spain!
- Don’t pack workout clothes…unless you plan on working out. Oversized sweats, baggy t-shirts, and yoga pants are not items you’ll see locals wearing in public, and neither should you. If you do pack anything like this, make sure you’re going to the gym or using them as pajamas.
- Don’t bring a hair dryer or extra appliances. They add extra weight and bulk you don’t need. You’re better off air drying your hair or going for an all-natural look.
- Don’t pack too many clothes or too many shoes. Stick to the essentials and well-planned key items, but be sure to leave room in your bag. Spain has special shopping opportunities you’ll want to take advantage of and bring back with you, so give yourself some spare packing space.
The Best Backpack to Pack for Spain
We’ve searched high and low for the best overall travel backpack – and after trying most of the bags out there – trust us when we say that the Nomatic Travel Bag is the best backpack to pack for Spain.
When it comes to functionality and all-around smart design, the Nomatic Travel Bag meets our expectations and needs in every way. We like everything about this bag, but one of its best features is the variety of built-in pockets and compartments it has to maximize every bit of packing space. If you wish your bag had separate areas to fit your water bottle, shoes, electronics, socks and underwear – wish granted! And for good measure, the Nomatic includes an RFID and security pocket too.
You’ll appreciate that the Nomatic travel bag has an innovative strap design too that gives you both backpack and duffle bag configuration options. Your back will be especially grateful for the chest and sternum straps you can attach for added carrying comfort.
It’s made of sleek, high-quality, waterproof material that makes this backpack every bit as durable as it is attractive! What else can we say? We love this bag!
Final Thoughts on What to Pack for Spain
That’s all of it, folks! Your complete Spain survival guide – a detailed step-by-step of what to pack for Spain manual including a top-21 essential packing list, advice on what to wear in Spain with special packing recommendations for women and men. We also took an in-depth look at seasonal weather conditions with tips on how to pack for each and what NOT to pack for Spain.
Just remember to keep your packing minimal, smart and versatile – with just the right touch of class and style. Go with the flow, and the rest will take care of itself.
Oh yeah, and don’t forget to bring your appetite, warmest smile and zest for life! Be ready to experience it all in lively, beautiful Spain…
Also – don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.
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Need More Inspiration?
- Backpacking Europe Travel Guide
- The Ultimate Budget Travel Guide to Backpacking Spain
- 21 Best Hostels in Spain
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