What To Pack For Spain
What’s better than thousands of miles of coastline, laid-back people and year-round sunny weather? Spain is the perfect vacation getaway in Europe and a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. So the country is basically a must if you’re planning a trip to Europe.
Although it’s exciting to travel to another country or even to another continent, there are some things you need to do before your trip, such as packing. But don’t worry! If you ever wondered what to pack for Spain, you’re in the right place. In this post, I tell you all the details of what clothes and essentials to pack and what you can leave at home. Plus, you get hands-on travel tips for the Spanish country and an exclusive checklist on top! Are you ready for the ultimate Spain packing list?
What luggage do I need?
This question always depends on how much time you want to spend in Spain and what your vacation should look like. Are you a relaxed city explorer or do you want to travel a lot through different cities and regions? Do you plan a short weekend trip or a longer vacation of more than a week? Do you have a clear vision now of what you want to do in Spain? Great, because here are my luggage suggestions:
For short trips, I recommend hand luggage or a weekend bag. If you plan to stay longer and you want to travel a lot as a backpacker, it makes sense to travel around with a backpack – especially if you go hiking in the mountains. If you only stay in one hotel for a longer period, a big suitcase is perfect and enough for you. So, I hope this helps you in your decision on what luggage to take for your Spain trip.
What clothes should I bring?
This is a little more difficult than choosing the right luggage. While you have the base now for your things, you need to look for the right stuff to pack in the next step. And this is not just one thing, but the main essentials for your vacation. Depending on your travel time, here I listed the most important things on what to pack for Spain.
- a light jacket or cardigan (the temperature in Spain can be breezy at the ocean and slightly cool at night in the inland)
- up to 6 plain T-shirts and tops that can be combined with every outfit
- 1 pair of shorts or loose pants with light fabrics (in summer it’s too hot for jeans during day time)
- summer dresses or skirts (if you’re a maxi skirt lover like me)
- definitely some good sneakers (if you explore a city, believe me, you will walk A LOT)
- 1 pair of nice sandals for going out in a chic restaurant
- 1 pair of flip-flops for the beach
- 1 swimsuit/bikini/swim trunks
- some pairs of socks (depending on how many city trips you’re planning)
- 7 pairs of slips or boxer shorts (if you stay longer than a week, you can either take more with you or wash them in the hotel)
I hope, this list helps you to find the right things on what to pack for Spain. If you need more help, read my ultimate packing guide with interesting and super helpful packing tips.
What essentials do I need?
Of course, the list above was not everything you should consider to pack in your luggage. Find here the essentials such as a scarf or sunglasses that are as important as your clothes.
- credit card, passport or ID (very important!)
- sun protection (my number one skin essential!)
- after sun crème (if you travel with just a carry-on, don’t forget the 100 ml limitation in planes)
- a big summer hat or a cap (I’m not a hat person, but if you like it, go for it)
- scarf (which is perfect when it gets colder or for the beach)
- sunglasses (sometimes I take two with me to switch whenever I feel like it)
- Maps.me app (it’s an offline map that works with GPS only and is great for finding and saving locations)
- your camera + charger and SD card (if you wonder what I use, it’s the Sony Alpha 6400)
- international power adapter (if you don’t have type C or F)
- GoPro action cam, if you have one + charger
- a book or an e-reader + charger
- refillable water bottle
- thin hammam towel
- hanging toiletry bag
- 1 toothbrush
- 1 tube of toothpaste
- 1 razor
- 1 package of dental floss
- 1 deodorant
- 1 hairbrush
- 1 small bottle of shampoo and shower gel (also here make sure it’s in a 100 ml bottle)
- feminine hygiene products (it’s what you can buy there, too, like tissues, but I prefer my usual products)
- accessories (like rings, earrings, necklaces and so on…)
Now the packing list is almost done! It looks pretty much now, but lots of things are small and thin, so don’t worry about it. You will get everything in your bag and if not, don’t forget to read my ultimate packing guide.
That’s my last essential that makes the packing list finally complete. Have you ever considered to take out travel insurance? If not, this is the right time to start! You can always break your ankle or fall accidentally. And in this case, you should be prepared.
I made the mistake not to think about travel insurance until I got dengue flu and needed to go to a doctor. It didn’t cost me as much as a broken leg, but it made me realize that travel insurance is important. You never know what will happen in your vacation, so it’s better to be secured to enjoy things a little more.
What can I leave at home?
I think it’s always interesting to see what’s not so important if you think about what to pack for Spain. Here I summed up a little list of things you really don’t need at all. So, better leave them at home and save space in your bag.
- thick jeans (it will be way too hot for jeans and they just take up space)
- expensive valuables (do you really need a 300€ watch or an expensive laptop on your vacation ?)
- immodest clothing (there are religious people and some religious places where you can’t wear shorts or a mini skirt)
- impractical shoes (high-heels, for example, are definitely not shoes to wear when doing city trips or longer walks)
- a hairdryer (most hotels have one and like thick jeans, it will suddenly explode your luggage)
Spain travel tips
Traveling to Spain in summer can be really hot. And with really hot I mean you just dream about jumping in the ocean and drinking fresh and ice-cold lemonades. Especially in the southern regions, temperatures reach far more than 40°C (+100°F) during July and August. So, be prepared if you plan a sightseeing trip in these months. Otherwise, I recommend traveling to Spain in the spring or fall (September and November, and February and April). Then you have comfortable temperatures and fewer tourists in the cities. Also, you should avoid holidays like Holy Week or Christmas. During this time, the cities might explode.
Late dinner & the right tipping
Do you love eating dinner late? Then you will love Spain because one thing to note is that dinner is usually much later than its northern European neighbors. Be prepared that some restaurants open at 7 or 8 pm and it gets really full only around 9 or 10 pm. Usually, the Spaniards really enjoy their dinner and stay there for hours. So, you can make this to your advantage. If you prefer it less crowded, go before 9 pm. If you like to socialize with Spanish people and really want to experience the Spanish flair, eat late with the locals.
Another good thing to know is tipping. Waiters don’t depend on tipping, so it’s not essential and expected. But if you loved the food and the service, go ahead. They will appreciate your tips. Especially in high-end or touristy restaurants, it seems more likely to give a 10% tip.
Watch for pickpockets
In Europe, it’s well known that in big cities such as Madrid or Barcelona pickpocketing is a big thing. Unfortunately for you, thieves mostly target naive tourists. So, make sure that you never ever carry your phone or wallet in your back pocket or in an open bag. It’s a welcome invitation to every thief. Also, be careful at big squares, tourist attractions and in public transportations. These places are the hotspots for pickpockets.
Although I mentioned before that in Spain there are lots of pickpockets, you can feel reassured. The country is very safe for backpacking and even solo traveling because violent attacks are very uncommon. Only be prepared for scammers and thieves, but as you know they exist in every country. So, just trust your gut instinct. For instance, if someone who wants to sell you something seems shady, get away there. Make also sure to have copies of your personal documents (passport or ID), so if someone has successfully stolen your wallet, you can still leave the country.
Siesta means having an excuse for being lazy. Yep, it’s true! Because in Spain many shops and restaurants shut their doors in the afternoon. So, around 1 and 4 pm you can do whatever you like: having a nap, enjoying the pool in the hotel or laying on the beach and getting tanned. It’s the perfect time to chill-out and relaxes, because that’s what vacation should feel like, right? But if you would rather like to go out and see something from a place, then I also have good news for you. In the touristic cities like Madrid and Barcelona, siesta thankfully doesn’t apply.
Plan your visit to Spain
If you need help in planning your vacation, here are some links I personally rely on myself. You can just have a look at these sites to book your flights, accommodation and more.
- Flights: Momondo
- Accommodation: Airbnb or Booking.com
- Car Rental: RentalCars
- Tours: GetYourGuide
- Travel insurance: World Nomads
Download my packing list
Now it’s time to check off from the list what to pack for Spain. The easiest way to do so is by printing my complete packing list here. On the list, you find every detail that I’ve mentioned above on one piece of paper – just short and simple.
If you want to read more about cities in Spain, read for example my Barcelona travel guide and get inspired for your next trip! You will not just learn about the best things to see and do in the cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, but also get exclusive food tips, accommodation recommendations, how much the whole trip will cost me and so much more.
Do you have any questions about this packing guide? Just leave a comment and I’m glad to help you out.