What to Wear in Spain in Summer
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Planning a vacation in Spain and wondering what to pack? The process can be a bit daunting if you haven’t been to Spain before. What do the locals wear in Spain in summer? What to wear in Spain in August? Can I wear shorts? How much should I pack?
Here are some top tips that will have you packing your luggage with ease and enjoying every minute of your holidays!
Packing List for Spain in Summer
There are three main things to consider when packing your bags for Spain and deciding what to bring.
- Weather: what will the temperatures be like? Scorching hot? Humid? Rainy?
- Comfort: what will you be most comfortable in when walking and standing all day?
- Style: we all want to look good and fit in with the best dressed locals.
And of course the fourth item is the size and weight of your luggage. You want to keep it as small and light as possible. What to pack for a week in Spain is about the same for what to pack for 5 days or 3 weeks. Just find a way to do some laundry.
What to Wear in Spain in Summer: Weather
Summer in most of Spain is sunny and warm to hot. Of course, what to wear in Madrid in June will differ from packing for a beach holiday in Costa del Sol in August even though they are both summer.
Check the weather forecast before your trip and also take a look at averages for temperature and rainfall for the places you plan to go. This will give you an idea of the weather you can expect.
Spain is a large country and the weather in the north is often quite different than the temperature in the south. You’ll also see temperature differences between the northern coastline in Galicia, the inner plains near Madrid and the southern beaches of Andalucia not to mention the many mountain ranges. Again, just check the average weather for the areas you will be visiting.
What to Wear in Spain in Summer: Be Comfortable
When traveling and sightseeing you will probably be on the move, on your feet and walking quite a bit. You might even be hiking, cycling and swimming too.
Thus the majority of your clothing items should be comfortable when packing for a trip to Spain.
In my opinion the most important item for traveling to Europe is a pair of comfortable shoes. Since you will be walking a lot you will be very unhappy if your feet hurt. Invest in a pair of comfortable sneakers or sandals for Spain in summer if you don’t have them already. Click here to see some of our favorite shoes for a summer trip to Spain.
Comfortable quick drying clothing is also a must when traveling. Of course you’ll want your clothing to dry if you get caught in a summer rainstorm but it is more due to sweat and hand washing laundry that I recommend light, quick dry garments.
Choose clothing that isn’t too restrictive and that you won’t have to be constantly pulling up or down to stay comfortable and covered.
Layers are always a good idea. It might be scorching hot in the day and cool and breezy at night. Have a warmer layer available to toss over your shoulders so you won’t be shivering in the evening.
What to Wear in Spain in Summer: Style
Wondering what do Spaniards wear in the summer? Good news! You probably don’t need to worry too much about trying to fit in with a specific style while traveling in Spain. There are a variety of fashion styles and trends but you shouldn’t need to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe before your trip. What you wear at home should be fine. That being said, in general Spanish women do tend to dress a bit more stylish and conservatively than some parts of the USA for example.
As mentioned above, Spain in summer can be quite hot. Even so, in the bigger cities away from the beach you will not see many local women wearing shorts. Sundresses and skirts are much more common. Women of all ages will often wear dresses in the summer. You may see younger people wearing stylish shorts, and the past few years cute rompers and jumpsuits have become very popular too. If you look great in shorts then by all means feel free to wear them. One caveat is if you plan to visit religious sites like churches. It is respectful to cover your knees and shoulders. Perhaps choose a maxi dress on those days. Also, don’t wear shorts in the evening out to dinner unless dining at a super casual place.
Here are some stylish rompers you might like to look at:
Do you like the look of a romper but not love having to disrobe every time you visit the restroom? Take a look at these two piece sets:
If you will be spending your holidays on the beach you don’t have to worry about being conservative, but I’d bring at least a few more covered up items for sightseeing and meals. Check out these cute dresses that would be perfect for summer in Spain.
Jeans are popular all around the world. Although summer can be hot you might want to bring a nice pair of denim for those cooler evenings. I’d recommend darker washes and stretchy fabric. Pair your jeans with a cute comfortable top like one of these.
Western Europe in general is on the conservative side when it comes to clothing. Micro mini skirts and cleavage baring tops might be OK for the clubs but during the day it is not really appropriate. In touristy areas you may see lots of people wearing all kinds of clothing but they are not locals. You will also see many tourists wearing leggings as trousers. Yes, they are extremely comfortable but they are not really seen as appropriate attire in Europe except if you are exercising. Perhaps cover your rear with a longer tunic or top.
Lastly, if you like shopping while on vacation you can look for a few items to add to your wardrobe while traveling in Spain. In summer you will find lots of cute dresses and tops in the shops. Or maybe you want to pick up some new jewelry or a hat in one of the many local crafts markets and shops.
Packing List for Spain
Following is a packing list for one to two weeks in Spain in summer. One way to travel light is to plan to do laundry or hand wash your items regularly. Luckily Spain in summer is warm and your items will dry quickly especially if you hang them in the sun. Here is the list for what to pack for Spain in July, August and June, as well as in May and September if you add another sweater for chilly evenings.
4 short sleeved tops
1 long sleeved top
2-3 dresses or skirts
5 pair underwear
Swimsuit & beach coverup
2-3 pairs shoes or sandals (check out the best shoes for summer travel in Spain)
Daypack or purse
Electronics, chargers and adapters
Things to Take on a Trip to Spain: Toiletries
You’ll want to pack basic toiletries for your trip but remember if you need extra sunscreen or shampoo you can easily find it in Spain. Especially if you plan to pack only a carryon you will not be able to bring a large quantity of liquid products. Of course, many hotels and even apartment rentals provide basics like soap and shampoo.
Women in Europe tend to wear minimal makeup so you can leave your full cosmetics kit at home. I’d recommend paring down to foundation or concealer, mascara, eyeliner and a duo lip/cheek tint. If you want to glam up at night go for a bold lip or some sparkly jewelry.
A few basic toiletries you should always pack include: toothbrush and toothpaste, sunscreen, shampoo, lotion, lip balm, pain killers, bandaids, nail clippers and tweezers.
What to Wear in Spain in Summer: Purses & Daypacks
Another key item on your packing list includes something to carry your stuff around with you while you sightsee. I recommend two options for travel in Europe: a daypack backpack or a cross body purse. You may also want to pack a small clutch or bag for going out at night.
Most cities in Spain are very safe but you should always be aware of your surroundings and keep a good grip on your stuff. Pickpockets and bag snatchers are unfortunately still a factor in cities like Barcelona. You shouldn’t have any trouble if you take a few simple precautions.
- Don’t leave items like purses, wallets or cellphones sitting on a cafe table or dangling off your chair while you eat or drink. It is very easy for a thief to distract you and take your item. Keep your phone in your front pocket, inside your bag or in your hand. Keep your bag on your body even when sitting down. I usually put it in my lap if I am in a place that isn’t very secure like an outdoor cafe in a crowded plaza or on a packed metro. Inside of a restaurant I might wrap a strap around my leg or the chair legs. In a bar or club keep your bag with you at all times.
- While traveling on public transport or standing in a crowd be mindful of your possessions. Hold your backpack or purse in front of you with a hand on it. If someone bumps you or distracts you it might be a trick to get you to forget your bag so they can snatch it. Just be aware. I’ve never had a problem in many years of solo travel but just be mindful and don’t be a target.
- Think twice before casually carrying a big fancy camera. Usually it is totally fine but just watch what others are doing and perhaps put it away when not in use.
- When sightseeing don’t carry all of your cash and credit cards. if possible, leave some behind in a secure location like the hotel safe. Or at least try to split up your hoard by carrying some in a secure pocket and others in your wallet. You could consider garments with secret pockets like these theft preventing underwear and this bra with hidden pockets.
I hope the above tips don’t scare you, they shouldn’t. Just be mindful and aware to hopefully prevent theft and you shouldn’t have any issues.
Anti-theft travel purses are made to help prevent theft by snatching, cutting or otherwise accessing your bag. They have reinforced straps and fabric to prevent cutting or ripping and the zippers lock shut. Plus the bags are sturdy, roomy and great for travel.
Here are a few of the top anti-theft travel purses you might want to consider, click the links to see other colors.
- Travelon Cross Body Bag: locking zippers, cut proof materials, and space for your stuff
- Pacsafe Citysafe Handbag: wire reinforced strap and material, RFID blocking pocket
- Travelon Classic Messenger Bag: roomy size with pocket for a water bottle
Packing for Summer in Spain: Luggage
Think twice before traveling to Spain with your largest luggage. Spanish towns and cities are full of cobblestones, hills and even stairs. Many hotels and apartment buildings do not have elevators. If you imagine carrying your bags up 3 flights of stairs or lifting it on and off trains you might consider traveling light with smaller luggage. Click here for some of our favorite lightweight luggage for your trip to Spain.
Wheeled bags are very popular nowadays and with good reason. They make it easy to tote heavier weights without straining your back. But if you think you will be walking through hilly Spanish towns over cobblestones while happily pulling your wheeled luggage, think again. Cobblestones are rough on wheels, they can break and it can be kind of a pain to go over the lumps and bumps. If possible, think about a backpack. Here are some backpacks that are popular with travelers.
If you think you might be mainly taking taxis from the train station or airport and staying in larger hotels, or if you don’t mind carrying your wheeled bag by hand sometimes, then check out these suitcases.
Another thing to bear in mind when traveling in Europe is whether you will be visiting multiple cities and traveling by train or low-cost airline. These airlines have quite strict rules about size and weight of luggage, so be sure to check in advance for all the airlines you plan to use. If you will be traveling by train or bus you will need to handle your luggage on your own. It pays to bring the smallest and lightest bags you possibly can.
One way to travel light is to plan to do laundry or hand wash items in the sink. Most European rental apartments will not have a dryer, but you can hang items to dry on a line inside or outside and they will probably dry quickly in the summer.
Remember that you don’t need to pack for every contingency. You can probably purchase anything you forgot in Spain.
I hope this packing guide helps you decide what to bring when traveling to Spain. Have fun!
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