This Spain packing list will provide all the knowledge you need to make sure your trip starts off on the right foot!
A trip to Spain is an experience that I cannot recommend enough. Despite the images conjured up when one thinks of Spain, the reality is more nuanced.
The country is diverse along cultural and geographical lines. The climate varies a lot depending on what part of Spain you’re in.
In this regard, what to pack for Spain really depends on where you’re going.
You’re unlikely to need swimwear in Madrid while visiting Northern Spain without a jacket would be lunacy!
Taking a good spread of clothes and items with you is essential when visiting Spain!
If you’re still wondering what things to pack for Spain, then read on and all shall be revealed!
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Table of Contents
Spain Packing List
What to Wear in Spain
Spain is a very fashion-conscious country as I found while I was living there for two years.
I would often go out and about in flip-flops, shorts and t shirts. This would lead to strange looks and my Spanish friends to question whether I was going to the beach or not.
If you want to look like a tourist, then wearing the above is the best way to go about it!
While I had no issue with this, it does signal to everyone that you’re not Spanish. Unfortunately, this can play into the hands of pickpockets, who are rife in big cities such as Barcelona.
When travelling to Spain, it’s best to bear this in mind and not dress too much like a foreigner to avoid bringing attention to yourself.
Another thing to consider is that the weather is variable in Spain. No matter what time you visit Spain and where you go, the weather is not always sunny as depicted.
If you visit Northern Spain and go to Bilbao or San Sebastian for example, you will need to pack a jacket, as the city has high rainfall throughout the year.
Below are all the essentials I recommend packing for Spain that will stand you in good stead on your trip!
You’ll be doing a lot of walking in Spain and it will be essential to pack a good pair of shoes.
Espadrilles are a good choice as they are comfortable, supportive and stylish, making you fit in with the Spanish fashionistas!
Bear in mind that if you plan on driving in Spain, the law is strict about driving in flip-flops.
A good pair of Espadrilles is a good option to have in this regard.
Spain may be a fashion-conscious country, and that’s putting it mildly, but a pair of flip-flops are an essential item on your Spain packing list!
The chances are you’ll be heading to a beach in Spain and you’ll need a pair for this.
Not all flip-flops are made equally and I swear by Havaianas.
They are easily the best flip-flops that I have purchased and last longer than any other pair I’ve bought!
You may think I’m crazy when I say you’ll need a jacket in Spain. Isn’t it the land of sunshine? I heard there was no rain in Spain to fall down the drain!?
Well, here’s the thing:
It does rain in Spain, and it goes down the drain and falls on the plain! It can rain a lot depending on where you travel to in Spain!
Northern Spain has almost as much rain as some parts of the UK! Yep, really, crazy huh!?
If you’re wondering what to wear in Spain in winter, a jacket will be a necessity.
You’ll definitely need a light jacket as a precaution at the least. So if you plan on spending time in the north, you’ll need one when it rains! Because when it rains in Spain, it pours!
If you visit Spain you’ll soon find out that they take fashion seriously. Really seriously! Now, I’m not the most fashionable of people, but I scrub up alright.
A few decent shirts go a long way to making this short and sandal-wearing Englishman look more respectable.
You only need 1 or 2 shirts on your Spain packing list.
I like Ralph Lauren shirts, as they are of good quality and last a long time, which is great news for a frugal traveller such as myself!
I love shorts! Like, really love shorts!
I liked them so much, that when I lived in New Zealand, my friends used to call me the 365 days a year shorts man.
Yes, I was that guy. Come rain or shine, I was rocking my shorts!
A good pair of shorts is essential when considering what to wear in Spain.
If it’s hot, especially in southern Spain, you’re going to need a pair or two. It’s as simple as that! Check out these comfortable and classy shorts!
I have a confession to make, well, two really.
Firstly, I hate socks! I loathe wearing them. This leads to the second part. I also have sweaty feet.
You can only imagine the carnage when these two factors are combined. Let’s just say, it’s not pleasant!
If I’m going to wear socks, I want to wear the funkiest and jazziest ones around.
Why? Because I’m weird like that! I’m a big fan of Happy Socks. They’re made from cotton, which is supposed to allow your feet to breathe.
But, I mainly like them because they are crazy!
Chances are, if you’re wondering what to pack for Spain, swimwear is not one of those items!
A lot of people travel to Spain for one reason. To go to the beach.
If you’re English and you’re reading this, I’m sure you’ll be nodding your head vigorously in agreement with this!
The beaches in Spain are on a different level from the ones in England. With that in mind, make sure you pack 2 or 3 pieces of swimwear to enjoy the Spanish sun!
Ladies, if you’re reading this, I will cut to the chase. I have no idea about bikinis or bathing suits.
Here is a link to Amazon that looks top banana to my highly untrained eye. Go easy on me!
Spain may be a hot country, but there are times when it can get a little chilly, especially in the northern regions.
You’re going to want to pack a pair of trousers, just in case the weather takes a turn for worse.
If you plan on going somewhere fancy, late at night, then you’ll want a decent pair of jeans to, you know, make you look fancy!
Spain is not a difficult country to travel around. It’s certainly not like travelling in the Philippines, where you need a few extra items and to plan ahead to avoid any extra stress.
However, travelling can always be smoother and taking a few of these accessories along with you will go some way to doing that!
One of the items to pack for Spain that goes under most people’s radar is a beach mat.
If you’re heading to Barcelona or another popular beach destination, you will be confronted by hawkers trying to sell these, so why not bring your own beforehand!?
Sitting on the beach without a mat is uncomfortable and will result in sand getting everywhere, including your backpack, shoes and clothes.
This mat has a dual-layer construction with tiny holes which allow sand to pass through and away from your belongings!
Bobby Anti-Theft Backpack
This item is one of the most important things to take on a Spain trip. As someone who nearly got pickpocketed twice while living in Barcelona, I know how important it is to protect your valuables in Spain.
Pickpocketing is rife in major cities and you can have to be vigilant at all times to avoid your wallet and other valuables from being stolen.
This is where the Bobby Anti-Theft Backpack comes in. It’s designed specifically to keep your valuables safe and literally out of the hands of would-be thieves!
There are lots of hidden pockets for you to use and it even looks quite stylish too! plus, it’s good to use as a day bag while walking around!
If you’re serious about keeping your valuables safe while travelling in Spain, you need this backpack!
Eco Water Bottle
Buying bottles of water while travelling is one of my bugbears. I used to buy one every time I went to a new destination, not realising that there was a better option.
I’m trying to reduce the amount of plastic that I consume and make a difference when I travel.
Buying a reusable Eco water bottle is a great way to do that!
Just think about all the plastic you would prevent from ending up in the ocean by getting one of these bad boys!
Hanging Toiletry Bag
I remember seeing backpackers with these when I was in Australia and thinking that they were such a good idea.
This was when I was still keeping my travel toiletries in a big clumsy bag! It was really annoying rifling through the bag trying to find what I wanted.
The value of having a hanging toiletry bag is that it makes it easier to find what you want because of the array of compartments.
The bag keeps your items without the fear of them spilling out as well as being easy to access!
Unless you’re from another European country, then you’ll need a power adapter. This is simply an essential item when considering what to pack for a holiday in Spain.
The power outlets in Spain use 220 V, 50 HZ and Type F prongs.
Purchasing a travel adapter that fits this need will save you from being unable to charge your electrical goods.
If you’re going on a 3 day trip to Barcelona or elsewhere, you need a power adapter.
Otherwise, your phone and laptop will soon run out of battery!
As well as a power adapter, I also recommend including a portable charger on your Spain packing list.
I used to run out of battery on my phone all the time before I got some power packs.
Now I’m able to keep my phone charged on the go and not worry about being unable to use it in an emergency.
You can get them in a variety of sizes. I would say the smaller the better, as it will take up less space in your bag!
Osprey Farpoint 40 L
The Osprey Farpoint 40 L is an ideal pack to take on your trip to Spain.
The bag is the right size and is neither too small nor too big. You will be able to get enough items in without overpacking.
One of the best features of the backpack is that it is front-loading.
This means you can access your clothes from the front of the bag rather than going through the top and rifling through its contents.
There’s also enough space to fit all your packing cubes in if you use them when you travel!
The Osprey Farpoint 40 L is the best backpack for travelling and one you should use as part of your Spain packing checklist!
If you’re staying in shared accommodation, you need to include some padlocks on your Spain packing list.
Most travellers aren’t looking to rob each other, but you can never be too sure.
Using a padlock to keep your valuables and important documents safe in your locker is a smart thing to do, which will give you peace of mind while you explore the country!
If you’re not staying in a hostel, you can still take a padlock and use it to keep your bag safe while you’re travelling around!
A good pair of sunglasses is one of the most important things to take on a Spain trip.
The country is known the world over for its glorious weather. A pair of good sunglasses is a no brainer
I recommend buying polarized sunglasses. They will offer more protection to your eyes than a standard pair of sunglasses.
They block 100% of harmful UV rays and reduce the amount of glare that reaches your eyes!
An umbrella may seem like an odd item to pack for Spain, but there’s a reason it’s included.
Let me explain:
The weather is variable in Spain. If you head to the north of the country and near the Atlantic Ocean, it rains a lot, while it can rain at any time in the remainder of the country.
When it does rain in Spain, it rains hard! If you don’t have an umbrella you will get soaked. It happened to me enough times while I lived there!
Taking an umbrella with you is an easy way to combat this. It’s small and will take up minimal space in your bag while keeping you dry if there is a downpour!
When considering what to pack for a trip to Spain, it can be easy to forget to include toiletries.
They are an essential part of any trip. No one wants to walk around looking and smelling terrible.
Below are a few items that I always pack with me regardless of what country going to, be it for a week or longer!
- After Suncream
- Dental Floss
- Nail Clippers
Lonely Planet Guidebook
The Lonely Planet books are useful for getting an overview of what to do in Spain.
The country is deceptively big and there are lots of places that you will inevitably want to check out!
Getting the guide is a good place to start if you want to research your trip beforehand.
Lonely Planet provides suggestions on what to do and where to stay, making it a valuable resource to have.
Spanish Language Guidebook
No matter where you are going in Spain, it’s handy to have a Spanish language guidebook handy.
After teaching English in the country for two years, I can attest that the level of English in Spain is not great.
You will be okay in most of the big Spanish cities, but once you venture further off into the country, you will need to know a bit of Spanish to get by.
A good guidebook will let you know the key phrases you need to know and some grammar which will help you converse with the locals while you’re in Spain.
I love books. Unfortunately, they take up an awful lot of space. I found this out to my cost when I was travelling in Australia.
I couldn’t bear to part with the books I had bought and ended up carrying several of them around with me until I shipped them back to England.
Investing in a Kindle removes the need to worry about this scenario.
Even if you’re only going for a short trip, I’d recommend getting one as they save space.
Leaving you with more room for things to take on your Spain trip!
Travel insurance is something a lot of travellers forget to purchase, but it is important to have some before you start any trip.
As a wise man once said, if you can’t afford insurance, you can’t afford to travel!
Spain is a safe country on the whole, but there are pickpockets, and things can, and will go wrong. It’s best to be prepared for all eventualities.
Purchasing travel insurance gives you peace of mind, to know someone has got your back if things go wrong. I use SafetyWing, as they are tailored towards backpackers and more active travellers.
Make sure you have insurance before you leave!
What Not to Take to Spain
One of the cardinal sins of travelling is to pack too much. It’s much better to pack light than to pack too much.
The last thing you want to be doing is dragging a heavy backpack or suitcase around with you because of over packing.
Packing light is a good way to avoid this. If you desperately need something, you can always buy it once you are there. Although, this is unlikely to be the case if you’re on a short trip.
Below are a few things you should think twice about putting on your packing list for Spain.
- Flip-flops – While you should include flip-flops as an item to pack for the beach, don’t take them as your primary piece of footwear. This will signal to everyone that you are a tourist and increase the chance of you being targeted by pickpockets. Take a pair of shoes with you for everything other than a day at the beach!
- Valuables – If you’re taking your valuables to Spain, make sure you keep them in your room when you go out. Crime is common at Spain’s most popular destinations and you don’t want the loss of your valuables to put a dampener on your trip!
- Suitcase – The last thing you should be taking to Spain is a big suitcase. You don’t need to pack a lot for Spain, and packing too much will leave you with less space to pack souvenirs back home. I would advise investing in an Osprey Farpoint 40 L backpack. It’s one of the best backpacks for travel, and has more than enough space to include everything you need to pack for Spain!
- Books – As I mentioned above, taking books to Spain will only decrease the space you have for other items. One book is okay, but any more than that will reduce the space you need for other items. Packing a Kindle instead is a better option. They take up minimal space and you can read multiple books at once if you wish!
Hopefully, this Spanish packing list has put your mind at ease about what to take with you to this great country!
You always want to start your travels off on the right foot. Forgetting things can put an early dampener on proceedings!
If there’s any item that you feel I missed or that should be included, let me know in the comments below!
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Tom is a travel addict who first left England to spend a year Down Under. Not satisfied with this, he then went to New Zealand, about as far away from home as he could get. He is now planning his next adventures in Europe and Canada while maintaining this blog. Check out the about me page to learn more!