Spain remain one of the worlds favourite travel destinations (and one of mine). It packs in gothic cities, pristine beaches, fantastic food, abundant wine and friendly locals. What is not to love about Espana?!
If you are headed to Spain and need some help in packing, then you have come to the right place. In this guide we will talk you through packing for Spain by season and run down the packing essentials.
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!
The Ultimate Spain Packing List
From what bag to pack to what shoes to walk in, let’s get packing for Spain.
The Backpack and Luggage: Nomatic Travel Bag
Before you even take on the task of figuring out what to pack for Spain, you’ll need an amazing backpack to pack it all into. For all types of travelers and destinations, our number one recommendation is the Nomatic Travel Bag.
The Nomatic travel bag covers every detail to make backpacking travel the best experience. Because of its smart design, it manages to provide loads of packing space in a convenient, carry-on size package! Its handy built-in pockets make plenty of room for all the necessities on your what to pack for Spain checklist – you’ll find separate compartments for important items like shoes, water bottle, electronics, underwear and socks. As an added bonus, there’s also an RFID-safe and cord management pocket.
You have a choice between backpack or duffel bag carry, and extra carrying comfort for your back thanks to its innovative strap system and detachable sternum strap. And its black, waterproof material is every bit sleek and modern as it is durable and tough. There is a reason why most Broke Backpacker staff swear by this backpack.
Alternative Luggage: AER Travel Pack 2
Our number two selection for an epic travel backpack is the AER Travel Pack 2. Like the Nomatic Travel Bag, this AER backpack is fully featured, big enough to hold all you need for a long weekend in Spain, and tough enough to last years of travel abuse. Depending on what you bring to Spain, this may not be big enough as storage is limited.
I have taken the AER Travel Pack 2 on multiple trips and since then it has risen has in the ranks of my go-to travel backpacks.
Check out our AER Travel Pack 2 review to learn more.
A Suitcase: Nomatic Carry-On Pro
Backpacks not your thing? That’s ok. Our friends at Nomatic are back again with a great alternative to their badass Travel Bag; the Nomatic Carry-On Pro.
This suitcase is ultra-durable, sleek, and comes with a handy tech compartment for transporting your laptop and other electronic bits. Nomatic has been an industry leader when it comes to travel gear and that reputation is reflected in the quality build design and functionality of the Carry-On Pro suitcase. Best of all, if you are happy to take Carry-on only, then there are some absolute bargain flights from all over Europe to Madrid, Malaga and other awesome Spanish destinations.
Check out our Nomatic Carry-On Pro review to learn more about this epic suitcase.
The Camera: Fujifilm X-T3
Granada’s Alhambra, Gaudi’s gothic Barcelona and the rugged Galician coast are as photogenic as it gets. If you are an aspiring photographer who wants to take next-level photos beyond iPhone selfies, I recommend going with a mirrorless camera like the Fujifilm X-T3.
This camera is not a camera for total amateurs per se. It does deliver pro-quality photographs and video if you are an aspiring content creator. Think of a camera purchase like this as a long term investment that will have you taking epic shots well beyond your time exploring Spain.
What To Pack For Spain: Personal Gear
Yes Spain is hot and dry for the most part and you probably won’t need much winter gear. However, the way you pack will still vary depending on precisely where and when you re going and what you are doing.
If you are headed for a week in Benidorm then flip flops and a beach towel are pretty much all you need. On the other hand, if you are city slicking in Madrid then you need smarter attire, and if you are going trekking in the Sierra Nevada then a tent may be useful.
Let’s take a closer look at the do’ and do not’s of packing for Spain.
Good Shoes – Salomon X Ultra 3 Low Aero
No man ever committed any great deed in bad shoes (except maybe those biblical guys and Ghandi) so get your Spain packing of on get right foot with a good pair of shoes. These are great for hiking, for exploring cities and even decent for sitting in tapas bars eating cheese and getting loaded of Summer wine. They are less good for the beach though, that we do concede.
Most shoes that are also good for hiking are not the most attractive pieces of footwear but these ones are ok – like the most attractive of Cinderella’s ugly sisters right? They are some of the most comfortable and deliver good ankle support for a long day of walking about town. I mean, your body is already going to be suffering enough from all that wine, sangria and Estrella Galicia.
Away from the cities, Spain offers excellent day hiking opportunities. Take at least one day to explore the beautiful country side and packing a pair of hiking shoes gives you the option (and eliminates excuses) to go head for the hills when the city becomes too much.
Check out the women’s Salomon X Ultra 3 Low Aero.
A Down Jacket: Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody
Summer in Spain can get VERY hot especially in the South and Andalusia. However, the Northern cities and those near the sea can get cool in the evenings, especially in Autumn and Winter.
This bad boy is ideal for when the nights cool. It weighs just under a pound and provides an excellent weight to warmth ratio. If you don’t go for one of the super bright colors, it is pretty stylish and city-worthy also.
If visiting Spain in the winter, this jacket is an absolute must.
Check out our best travel jackets article for more inspiration.
Spain has some lovely coastlines. Benidorm’s beaches are packed with red British bodies, Ibiza buzzes with biking clad party people and San Sebastian is a surfers delight. Whatever beach you are craving, you will find it in Spain.
Bring your best beachwear for those beachdays.
Travel Insurance From World Nomads
Ok, you can’t pack travel insurance in your backpack, but you can take out a cheap policy to insure yourself against theft, flight cancellations, accidents, etc.
In case you run into bad luck in Spain, it pays to have travel insurance. In fact my very earliest travel memory is that of cutting my foot on a Spanish beach. I was 2 and my parents took me to A & E – I hope they had insurance!
We recommend going with World Nomads or SafetyWing. You’ll be happy you did when the time comes to use it.
Sun God Sunglasses
The sun pretty much never stops shining g in Spain (except at night) hence all guise delicious red tomatoes, orange oranges and Bronzed bodies. A reliable pair of sunglasses is undoubtedly one of your Spain packing essentials. Our favorites are SunGod Sunglasses because they deliver on quality and style.
They’re built tough with triple-layer scratch-resistant lenses and trademarked Adventure-proof Frame Material. You can also customize them with your choice of lense and frame colors to reflect your own style. Plus they’re covered by SunGod’s lifetime guarantee of free repair. Check our in-depth review here.
Suncream: Thinksport Safe SPF 50+
If you visit Benidorm, Costa De Almeria of the beach towns of Andalusia, your eyes will be affronted and assaulted by the sight of a thousand sun burned brits. We never learn and we will never will, but you can learn from our mistakes and bring some good high quality sunscreen before it’s too late!
Thinksport Safe SPF 50+ sunscreen gives folks strong sun protection in a non-oily formula that’s free of gluten, paraben, phthalates and biologically harmful chemicals.
Another backpacker/traveler favorite for staying organized is a hanging toiletry bag. It’s extremely helpful to have all of your accessories neatly gathered in one bag that you can hang for easy accessibility, especially when counter space isn’t plentiful or even available. A well-organized bag is worth having whether you’re tree whilst camping or a hook in the wall – it helps to have quick access to all your stuff.
Historically, I have been the guy who has my stuff all over the bathroom, so getting one of these things really changed the toiletry game for me. Plus they are not too expensive either. A no-brainer essential.
Sandals: OluKai ‘Ohana Flip-Flops
Circling back to the footwear question, now we are going to talk about sandals. If you are headed to Spain during the summer or plan on spending time by the heated pool in winter, having a pair of flip flops is a good idea.
Your feet will be tired and sweaty from those long days wearing shoes so do yourself a favor: pack sandals and give your feet some well-deserved cushion and fresh air. These Olukai flip flops are ultra-comfortable, well-made, and come in a variety of colors.
Check out the women’s OluKai ‘Ohana Flip-Flops.
Money Belt – By Active Roots
Whilst Spain is not particularly dangerous, crime can still happen and tourists are sometimes targeted.
Therefore it is always a good idea to use a money belt to hide your cash just in case something does go wrong.
Your Passport or Other Government ID
Spain is part of the EU and is in the Schengen Zone. Wherever you are coming from, bring a passport and make sure it is is valid. You will also need it to check into hostels and airbnbs although happily, the Spanish are pretty lessaiz- faire about selling alcohol to young looking barely legals. Shine on!
A Good Daypack for Hiking – Osprey Daylite Plus
If you intend on doing any hiking, or day trips, then a good daypack is essential. They are great for carrying water, hat’s and gloves and for packing sandwiches for lunch. They are also great for the beach.
We love Osprey products and this daypack is our personal pick. The Osprey Daylite Plus has a mesh-covered panel to keep your back cool and fresh by minimizing contact with the back of the pack itself and allowing air to get between you and the pack.
Check out our full review of the Osprey Daylite plus for more details.
Additionally, you can attach it to other Osprey packs in case you want to add more capacity and carry just one piece of luggage… but the reviews on this feature are mixed.
When moving from place to place, you shouldn’t store travel documents in a bag, even if it’s under your seat or overhead.
A full-sized money belt that stays tucked under your clothes keeps your documents and cash organized during your travels and assures nothing critical gets left behind or stolen.
Tent – MSR Hubba Hubba 2p
Spain’s weather, bountiful nature, and open spaces make it ideal for a bit of camping. Whether you rock to a campsite, or go wild, a good quality tent will make camping infinitely more pleasurable.
The MSR Hubba Hubba 2p is mega-roomy and has multiple of pockets for keeping your self organized when settling in for the night.As far as budget backpacking tents go, this is one of the best. It’s a happy medium between the ‘prepared for anything’ mode and the ‘I wanted to go for a trek so I bought this for 2000 rupees’ afterthought.
A Hat – Patagonia Fitz Roy Trucker
The heat in Spain can be bloody intense. If you are visiting places like the Alhambra or the Royal Palaces of Seville, then heat stroke is a real possibility. A sun blocking hat like this can therefore be a real godsend. You can also wear it to fit in with the hipsters up in Barcelona too. Win win!
Patagonia makes great hats. I have probably bought three or four of these over the last five years. Simple. Practical. Comfortable. That is what you are after.
Spain implemented a proper hardcore Covid lockdown and took the whole thing very seriously. Therefore, if you rock up to Spain anytime soon you better damn well have a mask to expect to be seriously glared at by angry locals!
It is absolutely essential that you pack the following items for your trip to Spain to ensure you keep yourself and the people you will be coming into contact with safe from spreading COVID around like wildfire.
- Bring a Mask.
- Bring Hand sanitizer and wash your hands often.
- Consider disposable gloves for slot machines or other when touching other stuff that hundreds of other people have also touched that day. From an environmental point of view, these types of gloves are fuc**** awful. Use these only when necessary and keep in mind these things are very polluting and will end up in a landfill after one use.
Waterbottle – Hydroflask Vacuum Bottle 32 oz.
Packing a reusable water bottle is probably the best thing you can personally do to combat single-use plastic bottle use whilst traveling. There is simply zero need to buy plastic water bottles. In some parts of Spain, tap water is safe to drink and in others, you will find fountains to fill up from.
We love the Hydroflask Vacum Bottle for its quality and because it keeps cold water cold for many hours and vice versa for hot beverages. This bottle is the ideal water bottle to get not just for your Spanish trip but for daily use. Please don’t be that person buying plastic water bottles. We are all judging you…especially mother earth.
If you go with the Hydroflask, you’ll probably never need to buy another waterbottle again.
The Basic Stuff To Pack For Spain
On top of the essential items listed above, here is an additional suggested checklist of what to pack for a weekend in Spain:
- 1-2 pairs of comfortable pants/jeans
- 1-2 pairs of shorts (summer/late spring)
- A few pairs of socks
- (Sexy) underwear x 2/3
- Ladies: a few dresses, pants, outfits, or desired lady apparel for a night on the town. Spanish women are glamorous so…
- Dudes: A few collard shirts or something half-way decent for a night on the town. The Spanish dress well so try to fit in.
- Smartphone with a good camera for photos if you are not bringing an actual camera
- Portable power bank for charging your phone on the go
- Phone charger
- Amazon Kindle for reading by the pool
- Basic first-aid kit
- Copy of your passport just in case
- Cash (not too much, there are ATM machines everywhere)
- Packable Towel
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 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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