You’ve booked your flight and made a list of everything you plan to see, do and eat in Spain. The only thing left to do is pack your bags!
So what do you bring? Rather than an item-by-item checklist, we’ve put together this practical guide of advice to help you create your own packing list. Along with the obvious things (your passport, your phone, your money, your medicine, your toiletries) here are the general things you should know to help you figure out what to bring and what to leave behind.
Before we jump into the list, one word of advice: pack light. It’ll be much easier to navigate trains, planes and cobblestone streets. Plus, you want to make sure you leave room for souvenirs (or pack an expandable bag you can check later).
What kind of dress code should I expect?
Pack smart casual attire and plan on saving your beachwear for the beach. Avoid overly casual outfits like athleisure wear, beachwear, or excessively revealing clothing in the city. Make sure to bring comfortable walking shoes. Spain is packed with outdoor adventure so if your itinerary includes heading out into nature, bring suitable footwear, as well as jackets and hats. If you’re visiting religious sites such as churches, cathedrals or mosques, cover your shoulders and knees. It’s not just respectful – in many places they will deny you entry if you are not dressed appropriately.
If you’re attending an event, Spaniards are well-dressed, and outfits for important occasions such as weddings and ferias are usually on the smarter/fancier side.
Seasonal information about what to pack
If you’re traveling anytime before mid-June, make sure to pack a jacket. Your mind might drift to sun-drenched beaches as you pack, but Spain has more colder seasons in the year than warm. Expect cooler weather during early spring (March to May), autumn (September to November) and winter (December to February).
If you’re headed to northern Spain, such as the Basque Country, Asturias and Galicia, expect to experience cooler temperatures compared to the rest of the country and pack some layers. Still here’s what to expect by season:
Summer: Pack light, breezy clothes if you’re traveling during the hot summer months. However, expect regional variations too. For instance, even in summer, northern Spain can see cooler evening temperatures. Pack an extra evening layer just in case it gets a bit chilly at night.
For the beach, pack swimwear, short sleeves, sandals and a beach hat for the sun. (You may see locals with a handheld fan.) Beachwear is reserved for the beach so make sure to plan an appropriate change of clothes if you plan to head back into the city.
Autumn: Spain can get rain in the autumn so pack a raincoat for possible downpours starting around October. Expect cooler weather and pack a jacket for the evenings.
Winter: Spain does get cold during winter (especially in the hills and the north). Many homes are built for warmer months, which means you might be chilly even if you are inside. One cozy hack? Pack some woolly or warm socks to insulate your feet from the tile floors.
As expected, you'll need warm clothes, layers and a coat so make sure to pack for the chillier weather.
Spring: Spring can bring rain showers so bring a folding umbrella and a jacket in March and April. Pack layers to be prepared for the changing season.
What converters should I bring for electrical outlets?
Spain uses the two-pin continental plugs typical throughout mainland Europe. In Gibraltar, both these and the three-square-pin plugs from the UK are used, though the latter is more common. Adapters and charging cables are readily available in all but very small towns.
Pick up cash when you arrive
Most places accept cards now but do carry some cash for the few holdouts. Either bring some cash to exchange or make a stop at the ATM (you’ll likely get a better exchange rate at the ATM). As for tipping, it’s not common in Spain, so a couple of euros should suffice.