Published June 2, 2020
Planning your very own “vacación grande” in Spain? Read on for tips and tricks on what to pack for your next Spanish holiday.
Every traveler’s nightmare is arriving in a country and realizing you packed the wrong sort of clothes. Situations like this are guaranteed to ruin the entire trip. Not to mention, you probably won’t get any decent photos for your #BestHolidayEver social media post. This is why planning your vacation wardrobe is just as important as figuring out your itinerary.
Each country has a sort of unspoken dress code. In Spain, the fashion scene is as varied as the culture. It’s normal to see women who are dressed like they just came out of a fashion photoshoot. Then turn a street corner and you’ll see people sporting shirts with loud, glittery prints. In general, however, Spanish people tend to dress well no matter the occasion.
As a tourist, there’s really no need to follow the unspoken fashion code. But sometimes, it pays to look more like a local than a tourist. You can get some stuff at local prices and even get local deals on pintxo-pote night.
So before you pack your bags, here’s what to keep in mind when considering what to wear in Spain.
What to Consider When Packing Clothes
If you’re a seasoned traveler, you’ll know the basics of packing clothes for a trip. You have to consider the weather, the activities you’re planning and how much luggage you can carry. For a trip to Spain, here are some things you should consider:
In pop cultures, Spain is almost always portrayed as a hot and humid country. This isn’t strictly true. The country’s weather can vary depending on where you are and what month of the year it is.
In the capital of Madrid, summers can get really hot. Like sticky, sweaty hot. But it usually cools down during winter months. But in the northern part of the country like Galicia and Asturias, the weather can be chilly even in summer.
Winters in the southern part of the country are usually mild. A trench coat and thin wool scarf would suffice in the morning. The same can also be said for island destinations like Ibiza and Mallorca.
But if you’re planning to visit northern Spain in winter, better prepare warmer clothes. Temperatures can drop below -10ºC down to -20ºC and the region receives a fair amount of snow. Blizzards are also pretty common.
As mentioned, Spanish people tend to be fashionable even during ordinary days.
For men, a clothing item that seems to never go out of style is skinny jeans. Yes, those tight jeans that we all thought should never be mentioned again are alive and well in Spain. Why? Only Spanish men know.
But if tight-fitting jeans aren’t really your style (don’t worry, we understand), you can always throw in your regular jeans. Pair it with a casual, lightweight shirt and you’re good to go.
For women, the country’s humid weather also seems to be perfect to show off those cute crop tops. But Spanish females don’t seem to share the world’s enthusiasm on crop tops. You’ll rarely see someone wearing skimpy shorts and equally skimpy tops except when you’re on the beach.
Spain also seems to have an obsession with stripes. So if you can incorporate that into your wardrobe, then much better.
Like every other international holiday, your itinerary usually dictates the clothing items you need to pack.
If you’re planning to do a lot of walking, it’s practical to bring walking shoes. But most of the country tends to be really wet during rainy months. So if you’re visiting between September and November, bring your favorite sneakers at your own risk.
Faux leather boots with sturdy soles are also practical. It can be worn during both daytime excursions and night outs.
The humid weather and the crush of people visiting Madrid during the summer months can also be stifling. So if you’re planning to visit touristy areas in the capital, make sure to bring light, sleeveless clothes.
To complete this guide, we’ve compiled packing tips from people who have either traveled to Spain or lived there for a time. Here are some of them:
- Always have a lightweight scarf ready. It not only protects you from the heat. You can also use it to “cover-up” when you’re visiting churches and religious buildings as a sign of respect.
- If you’re traveling to Galicia or in the country’s northern regions, don’t forget to bring an umbrella. It always seems to be raining in those parts.
- Pack at least one pair of neutral-colored shoes especially if you have limited space in your luggage. Then choose outfits that will go well with that pair.
- Choose flats or chunky-heeled shoes over stilettos for night outs. The latter can be uncomfortable and Spanish women don’t seem to be a fan of them.
- Pack at least a pair of jeans. They’re very flexible and you can wear it for days.
- Don’t forget to bring sunglasses. They make the perfect daytime accessory plus you’d look fabulous in pictures.
- Bring a neck wallet if you’re strolling about the city. Though the country is generally safe, there are lots of pickpockets in touristy areas. Better safe than sorry.
Did you find this post useful? Then you should check out our list of things you need to do before moving to another country.