Your smart winter Barcelona packing list
The weather in Barcelona is often changing. While some October days might feel almost like it’s still the summer, the next day can be chilly all of a sudden, and eventually wet. January and February tend to be the coldest months in the year. However, it only snows once every couple of years (if it does) and the snow melts within hours, so no need to dress like you are going to a ski resort – but take into account that being by the sea, the air is often humid, it gets in your bones and it feels colder than it really is.
A bit confused on what should you add to your luggage for your upcoming trip? Don’t worry: today we are giving you ideas for travel essentials list for Barcelona this winter: stay warm and dry, but don’t pack in excess!
These are our tips for your packing list for Barcelona:
Dress in layers. In Barcelona it’s usually colder in the early morning, but around noon the sun is shining (or occasionally passing through the clouds) and the warm clothes you put on before leaving your hotel start feeling a bit too warm. It will only start getting colder after the sun sets, which is around 7PM in October, 5.30PM November through January, and after 6PM from February on. Be smart and plan to dress in layers, so you can adjust to the temperature as the day goes on. A shirt or pullover plus jacket might be fine for early November, but as winter goes one you might want to add an underwear shirt or (and) a third layer over your shirt.
Forget the umbrella. Barcelona isn’t a rainy city, and rarely the weather forecast guesses it right: it always rains less (and later) than they predicted. But if it happens to rain while you are in Barcelona, ask your concierge: most 4 and 5 star hotels have umbrellas that their guests can borrow. Plus you’ll immediately notice that as soon as the first drop starts falling, street vendors (mostly Chinese and Pakistani) show up selling cheap foldable umbrellas everywhere. So scratch your umbrella from your Barcelona packing list (even on a rainy day) and use the extra space in your suitcase for something else. You are not likely to need it during your trip, and if you do, you’ll be able to get a cheap or free one easily or just spend some time indoors visiting a museum and by the time you get out the rain is likely to have already stopped.
Jacket or coat? That really depends on the month: as I said before, October can be very different from February. First of all, consider that Barcelona is by the sea and the cold feels often a bit damp. Choose a jacket or coat that would isolate you from the humidity: a thick pullover won’t do it, and wool coats don’t always do the trick either if they are too thin. Choose also a jacket or coat that is light and doesn’t take much space. You’ll be glad you added it to your Barcelona packing list when you have to take it off and carry it every time you enter a museum, building or café. Locals usually start putting on their leather or denim jackets, wool coats and down jackets around November and all the way through Easter or later, but we do not wear fur coats.
Gloves? I’d say no. It’s hardly ever that cold, plus it’s annoying to have to take them off to take pictures with your phone or use your tablet (remember digital screens don’t recognize gloved fingers…). Instead, put your hands in your jacket or coat pockets (make sure you pack one that has large pockets where you hands fit in. However, if you tend to have cold hands and want to use gloves, I’d recommend to get one of those that allow you to use your phone screen without removing them: I got a pair for Christmas and it’s been really helpful for my tours!
Scarf and hats? While scarfs have become a trendy complement that most locals use, hats are still seen as something a bit too colorful. Add a light scarf or shawl to your packing list for Barcelona, but forget about the hat. And if it happened to be so cold you’d rather wear one, for less than 20€ you can treat yourself to a cute handmade woolen beret. The Corte Inglés department store has a very well assorted hat department in the ground floor, or you might want to check out one of the gorgeous 100 year-old hat stores in town: Obach in the Gothic Quarter and Mil on Fontanella street around the corner from Plaza Catalunya.
AND BONUS! What kind of shoes should you add to your packing list for Barcelona:
Winter shoes. When considering what to pack for Barcelona in the winter, shoes are always an important point to take into account. Make sure to chose some that are very comfortable: you’ll spend a lot of time walking, as Barcelona is a very walkable city. Sneakers are OK, but don’t bring white ones: you’ll stand out as a tourist way too much (black or brown sneakers are fine). In October you can still wear flats and Mary Janes, while after November you’ll want to switch to ankle boots (tall boots would take too much space in your suitcase). If they are cute enough, they can even spare you having to pack high heels for dinner, as Barcelona is a quite informal city and heels aren’t required for most restaurants. In January and February I favorite waterproof boots with woolen lining, to keep my feet dry and warm.
Check this other post if you need a packing list for Barcelona in the summer.
So what about you? Head to the comments below and tells us: Do you want to share any other tips for what to pack for Barcelona in the winter?