What to pack for Barcelona? | ForeverBarcelona

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Little girl with her pack for Barcelona

The Ultimate Packing list for Barcelona

HERE IS WHAT TO PACK FOR BARCELONA

You are finally heading to Barcelona! You’ve planned everything: where to stay, where to eat, what to visit, what to do at night. And now you are facing an empty suitcase and thinking “what do I need for this trip”? The weather in Barcelona is mild, but we do have 4 seasons despite our winters being usually snow-free. So you must consider the weather when packing, and not forget to pick the right shoes. Barcelona is a lively city also, where there’s a great offer for of fun activities, and sometimes they require special gear, either sportwear or some smart formals. Also what complements and other gadgets you will need or not? In this post we’ve created detailed packing lists for all 4 seasons, including not just the basics but also other important items. We’ve also created a special packing list for families coming to Barcelona. And you’ll find the most detailed packing list of non-clothing items, including travel essentials, safety gadgets, toiletries, technology and more.

Spring Barcelona packing list

1

Clothes and footwear

Parrot in Barcelona in the spring

Spring is a season of changing weather, and it's a good idea to dress in layers. Barcelona people aren't on holiday: they are working, so if you want to blend with the locals, wear casual urban clothes. There's some rain, but not a lot, so your need for rain gear will depend on what's the forecast for the next days, basically. And unless you are visiting end of June, it'll probably be too cold for the beach, so no swimgear either (unless your hotel has an indoor pool.). By the way, don't forget to check out our blog posts about what to do in Barcelona in March, April and June.

  • Long sleeve tops (warmer in March, lighter in the months closer to Summer). Blouses, light sweaters… Maybe some short-sleeve tops if the temperatures are hot.
  • Long sleeve dress.
  • Long pants: jeans, leggings, slacks…  Maybe crop pants or capris. If you wear chinos you might need tights underneath.
  • Skirt around the knee-length or longer.
  • Belt, if you need it for your trousers or skirts.
  • Denim or leather jacket, trench coat, blazer or other not too warm equivalent. Or at least a cardigan for the evenings (if it’s hot, you’ll still use it on the plane!)
  • Flats such as Mary Janes, comfy walking shoes, moccasins. Ballerinas if it’s starting to get warm. Dark urban trainers (avoid white ones and models that look too much like sportwear).
  • Long sleeve but light pajamas.
  • Underwear: bras, panties, underpants, socks or nylons, opaque tights if wearing skirts or dresses.

2

Other complements

  • Locals rarely wear hats in Spring. But sunglasses can come handy.
  • If you are coming in June (or your hotel has an indoor pool) consider packing for the beach (see “swimgear” below). April and May are usually still too cold for bathing.
Should you bring an umbrella? April and May tend to have a bit more rain than other months… but it doesn’t rain every day! Unfortunately rain is scarce, and when it does rain it’s often only at night. It’s not likely to bother your day activities. So unless the weather forecast is announcing 80% or more chances of rain, leave the umbrella at home. 50% chances means no rain – trust me. Also, many 4 and 5 star hotels will let you borrow an umbrella if it rains. And you can get cheap foldable umbrellas and plastic raincoats from street vendors and souvenir shops.

Summer Barcelona packing list

Summer is hot in Barcelona. And humid, although not "Florida humid". You'll want to dress freshly, but will need a light second layer when you go indoors with air conditioning. Also Barcelona features several miles of city beaches that you may want to visit at some point. Or you may want to dip into your hotel rooftop pool after a long day walking around. Also, check out our recommendations for things to do in July, August and September.

3

Streetwear

  • Short sleeve tops, tank tops, cotton and linen shirts, polos, t-shirts.
  • Light cardigan for the evenings (or the plane!).
  • Crop pants, capris, chino shorts.
  • Sundresses and romper dresses.
  • Skirts around the knee-length or longer – you won’t need tights.
  • Cotton or linen summer jumpsuit.
  • Light shawl for the ladies, if planning to visit the Cathedral or Sagrada Familia, in case that day you aren’t wearing a top that covers your shoulders.
  • Comfortable walking shoes: espadrilles, strappy sandals, vans sneakers.
  • Your usual underwear. Plus ladies may want to include a strapless bra depending on the outfits they are packing.
  • Short sleeved or strap Summer pajamas.

What about Summer hats? Local adults don’t wear them in the city (children do, to prevent heat strokes). But then, you’ll be outdoors more than they do. Baseball caps are an easy gender-neutral solution. Ladies may opt by a raffia fedora or a straw sun hat. Men don’t go for cloth bush hats unless you are going hiking in the mountains.

4

Swimwear

  • Women swimwear: ladies in Barcelona use swimsuits and bikinis, and it’s also legal (and pretty common for all ages) to go topless.
  • Men swimwear: swim shorts and swim boxers are the norm. Briefs and trunks are only used in lap pools by swimmers (well, and you may also see them in beaches frequented by male gays… and in France).
  • Towels: If you are staying at a hotel with a pool, they probably provide complimentary towels. Or if you are planning to go to the beach, quick-dry microfiber beach towels will help you pack light.
  • Cover-ups. Walking around the city on your swim wear or without a top is fined in Barcelona. If you are staying less than a couple of blocks from the beach, it’s OK to put on a cover-up that is closed (not open in front) to go to the beach. But if you are further than that, just put on a dress or shorts and a t-shirt. Cover-ups over a bikini are only OK if you are staying in a beach town, but not in Barcelona city.
  • Flip-flops. Locals don’t walk around on flip-flops: we carry them in our beach bags and only put them on to walk on the sand, so our normal summer shoes don’t get ruined. The only exception is if you are staying at a beach town outside of the city.

5

Additional gear

  • Sunglasses. A must.
  • Protection agains the heat: small fan (normal or electric), cooling towels, cooling spray.
  • Sunscreen and after-sun. Sunscreen every time you get out. After-sun probably only if you the beach is a big part of your plans, or if your skin is very pale.
  • Insect repellent. Only if you are going to the Pyrenees or if you are traveling with kids and will spend time in playgrounds.
  • Water photo gear: Consider a disposable water camera or a waterproof phone pouch if you’ll spend a lot of time in the water.

Autumn Barcelona packing list

With global warming, sometimes Autumn in Barcelona feels like a second Summer... The leaves have fallen from the trees but the temperature is still quite mild, if not still hot. The theory says that it's the rainiest season of the year here, but in practice the rain doesn't bother much our daily activities (plus we've been on a draught for a while...). Also, make sure to check out our recommendations for October, November and December.

6

Streetwear

  • Long sleeve tops (warmer in September), blouses, light sweaters…
  • In September and sometimes even October, probably also some short sleeved tops, polos and t-shirts.
  • Denim or leather jacket, trench coat, blazer or other not too warm equivalent. Bonus if the material blocks the wind.
  • Long pants: jeans, leggings, slacks…  
  • In September, probably also capris and crop pants.
  • Long sleeve dress – remember to pack opaque tights.
  • Skirt around the knee-length or longer – remember to pack opaque tights.
  • Flats such as Mary Janes, comfy walking shoes, moccasins. 
  • Long sleeve but light pajamas.
  • Underwear: bras, panties, underpants, socks or nylons, opaque tights if wearing skirts or dresses. In November you may consider adding some undershirt.

7

Other gear

  • Locals rarely wear hats in Autumn.
  • Sunglasses can come handy in September and early October, but probably not later.
  • If you are coming in September (or your hotel has an indoor pool) consider packing for the beach (see “swimgear” below). Locals don’t get in the water from October on.
Should you bring an umbrella? October is said to be the rainiest month in Barcelona… Check the weather forcast, and if there’s 70% or less chances of rain, you can safely skip the umbrella. And in case of need many 4 and 5 star hotels lend umbrellas to their guests if it rains. Or you can get cheap foldable umbrellas and plastic raincoats from street vendors and souvenir shops.

Winter Barcelona packing list

Snow storms are rare in Barcelona, and temperatures near freezing don't last much. So don't pack for a ski trip (unless you'll go skiing in the Pyrenees, of course). But still, you'll be spending more time outdoors than you do at home, so you need to be prepared for cold weather and the occasional rain or wind. We also have posts about things to do in January, February and March.

8

Streetwear

  • Long sleeve knitted and woven tops, oversized sweaters. Flannel and oxford shirts.
  • Long sleeved knitted dress
  • Long pants: jeans, thermal leggings, slacks, wool-blend, cashmere, corduroy or velveteen trousers…
  • Skirt around the knee-length or longer.
  • Belt, if you need it for pants or skirts.
  • Parka with optional hoodie, wool coat.
  • Chelsea boots or ankle boots (bonus if they are waterproof, just in case). It’s a good idea to get them a plush insole, too.
  • Long sleeve warm pajamas.
  • Underwear: bras, panties, underpants, thermal socks, and thermal tights if wearing skirts or dresses. Undershirts (they only need to be thermal or long-sleeved if you are planning to head to the Pyrenees for skiing).

9

Winter complements

  • Hats: I must say I rarely need a hat to keep my head warm during the winter in Barcelona. When I was young I used wool bonnets for fashion, but now it’s usually too warm for them and I keep losing them.
  • Scarfs: these can be useful, but it’s so easy to lose them when you are out and about. For practicality I prefer infinity scarfs and neck warmers.
  • Gloves. Another complement that I rarely use in town unless we are going under an unusual Siberian wave or I’m heading to the mountains, because keeping my hands in my pockets is enough to keep them warm. But if I use them, I go for knitted and leather gloves, specially those that are touch-screen compatibles so i don’t have to take them off to use my phone.

What to pack for a trip to Barcelona with kids

Barcelona is a very kid-friendly city, and there's lots of things to do with kids. But traveling with young ones requires more planning than an adult-only trip, and you must figure out what items are likely to be needed, that at home you take for granted. You also need to plan for a comfortable and entertaining flight, if you are coming from overseas: keeping the kids happy will mean more peace for you.

10

Babies and toddlers

  • Nappy changes. You can purchase nappies at any supermarket and pharmacy. Pack only what you need for the first couple of days of your trip. Enough for the flight and your first two days in town, so you have some buffer time to find a place near your accommodation to buy a package. you an also find disposable wipes pretty much everywhere, so bring a small package that fits in your nappy bag, and then buy a larger one for the rest of your trip. Bring your own nappy change cream (a size that is airplane allowed, to not have it confiscated at the airport). And bring a travel nappy change mat that fits in your bag: most public places have a changing units, but you’d rather lay something on top before placing your baby there.
  • Carrier or stroller? Both have their pros and cons. Strollers help you carrying bags and other items, but many local sites involve stairs that make it difficult for a stroller. Plus they are bulky and airport staff don’t treat them very well. Carriers are great to avoid stairs and the baby can sleep on them at the plane when you do. But they take a toll on your back if your baby is big. Check out my post about baby strollers and carriers for travel.
  • Child car seat? Taxis do not require a child car seat, but they’ll let you use yours if you bring it. But if you are renting a car you’ll need one – either bring your own or rent with the rental car company.
  • Breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is legal in Spain anywhere, even in public. But not often you find private spaces designed for his end in tourist sites or shopping areas. Nursing covers aren’t common in Spain and they are likely to attract curious looks: if you need to breastfeed in public and don’t want to show much skin, the best way to go is breastfeeding clothes: dresses and tops specially designed for nursing. If you haven’t tried them yet, they allow you to breastfeed showing almost no skin. And if you need pumping, consider a wearable hands-free pump so you can discreetly pump on the go.
  • Eating. Most restaurants are kid-friendly and have high chairs, so you’ll only need one if you are staying at an apartment that can’t provide one. But unless you want to keep washing cloth ones by hands, disposable bibs will be your best friends at meal times. If your child still does baby food, you can easily buy it in supermarkets and pharmacies.

11

General recommendations if you are traveling with kids

  • Multiple passport holder, to make customs less stressful knowing all your family documents are together on the same place.
  • Travel games and toys. To entertain them during the flight or long rides without using screens.
  • Protection from the sun. Hat, sunscreen, after-sun, baby sunglasses and if you are going to the beach, sun-proof swimwear are a must. BTW, if your beach destination is the Costa Brava, get them some water shoes to protect their little feet from the rocks and thick sand there.
  • Protection from the cold. While adults don’t usually wear hats or gloves, babies and preschoolers usually need more protection. Bring wool bonnets, gloves, scarfs and undershirts for them if you come in the winter.
  • Sanitizing gel. Not just because kids hands get dirty. But because they’ll be using lots of public toilets and as a mom nothing reassures me more than knowing I’ve killed all the germs on that toilet seat.
  • Band aids. You know they’ll need them at some point!

What to wear in Barcelona at night (restaurants and clubbing)

12

Restaurants

Barcelona is a quite casual city, and you’ll very rarely required to wear jacket and tie to eat even at most fine dinning restaurants. I can only think of the Michelin Star restaurant Caelis, that indicates on their website that they require long trousers and closed shoes for men, and no sportswear. Although if you want to fit in, the more elegant the restaurant, the more classy you should dress. An smart casual style will work for most places. Dress up a bit more for dinner than for lunch, unless you chose a lunch spot that is frequented by business people. 

TIP: Check out the restaurant website, you can often get an idea of how people dress to eat there from the pictures.

13

Clubbing

Like in most places around the world, the way people dress for clubbing varies a lot depending on the place where you are heading. In Barcelona people doesn’t dress up to go to beer bars, but specially girls and women dress up when they go to the disco. Men are usually fine with trousers or brand jeans and a polo . Women might also wear tight jeans, miniskirts and all sorts of fitting tops. Again, check the club website to get an idea of what people wear there, to fit in (and avoid being bounced at the entrance).

As for shoes, white sneakers for men are a big no-no. Ladies: high heels are optional. If you’ll be dancing most of the night, choose a height that is comfortable. 

Other essentials you need to add to your packing list for Barcelona

14

Documentation

  • Passport with more than 3 months before expiration date (with visa, if required for your country) or ID if you are from another EU country.
  • International driving license, if you’ll be renting a car.
  • Student ID / Teacher ID / ICOM card / Press card (if entitled to one of them, for discount purposes)
  • Credit cards (even if you usually have them on your phone, in case it’s stolen or lost). You can now pay pretty much everywhere (including taxis and tips at restaurants if you ask in advance) by credit card. Cash isn’t really needed much. If any, bring Euros (people will look at you like wtf if you try to pay or tip in dollars). But you can just get some change out of an ATM at a bank (avoid the ATMs at groceries and shops that aren’t a bank because commissions tend to be higher).
  • Travel insurance. After the pandemic, are you really going to travel abroad without one?
  • Copies of all your important documents, on paper and online. I like to keep them on Dropbox, where I can access them from my cellphone. Flight/train tickets and tour/hotel reservation confirmations can also be uploaded to the related event on your Google Calendar, for easy access from your phone, too.

15

Travel essentials

PACKING GADGETS

  • Airtags. To keep track of your luggage (unless your airline bans them)
  • Packing cubes. To keep your luggage organized.
  • Dirty clothes bag. To avoid putting on that smelly top again. Plus when you get back home, putting the washing machine will be a breeze.

RESTING DURING LONG FLIGHTS

  • Earplugs. For a quiet sleep at the airport or if your accommodation is in a noisy area.
  • Sleeping mask. If you need total darness to sleep, on the plane or elsewhere.
  • Travel pillow. The final gadget for a relaxing flight.

DURING YOUR STAY

  • Light foldable reusable shopping bag or tote bag. Now that shops don’t give shopping bags for free anymore, it’s always a good idea to throw one of those in your purse.
  • Refillable water bottle. With or without a filter, Summer or Winter, you need to keep hydrated if you’ll be out and about. Plus in Barcelona there aren’t that many public fountains (and the water taste is terrible) and restaurants won’t give you free jars of water but they’ll rather make you pay for a bottle. So I guarantee you’ll be thirsty.
  • Jacket clip. My must-have when I’m out on tour. The karabiner clips to my bag and I can hang there small shopping bags if needed, and the strap holds my jacket when it’s too warm to wear it on.
  • Tide-to-go pen. To get rid of annoying stains on your travel clothes.
  • Journal. If you prefer the old fashioned way to keep memories of your trip instead of social media.
  • Travel guide book. Yes, you’ve already done your research online and have read all my Barcelona blog, but… how nice it is to have a summary of all this on a book?
  • Other Barcelona books. Either paperbacks or e-books, on whatever catches your interest the most: books about Antoni Gaudi? Fiction set in Barcelona? History books

16

Safety gadgets

Barcelona has a bad reputation for pick-pockets. And while we had some really bad years in the past, nowadays the situation is similar to any other European city: they might be around, but you won't be constantly targeted. Make sure to follow some common sense safety rules to keep them at bay. And consider adding some extra levels of protection for your tranquility.
  • To carry your belongings: my favorite is a cross-body bag. They can’t snatch it and run, and if you keep the zipper opening towards the front, it makes it more difficult for pick-pockets to open the bag and throw their hand in. Theft-proof backpacks, neck wallets and money belts are great if you are staying somewhere that isn’t safe enough to keep your money and important documents there, like a shared room in a hostel, or a shared train cabin, or a ferry seat, but they aren’t very convenient to keep money and credit card for your daily expenses.
  • Luggage locks. If your suitcase doesn’t have its own lock, or if you are traveling with a backpack.
  • Cellphone strap. The pocket of your jacket might seem like a safe place for your phone. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. A strap that attaches your cellphone to your body also ensures that you won’t forget it on top of a restaurant table or inside a taxi.

17

Technology

  • Cellphone and its charger.
  • Laptop, tablet or Kindle… and their chargers.
  • Camera. With its charger, extra batteries, lenses, flex tripod and any other gadgets you have for it.
  • Portable charger or power bank. Have you seen those tiny lipstick-like ones?
  • Power adapter. If your country uses sockets other than F and C. 
  • Voltage converter. Spain’s voltage is 220V – 240V. If in your country uses a 110V to 127V frequency, you’ll need a converter. But first, check your devices really need it. If their instructions say 100-240V, 50/60 Hz, then they are adapted internationally and don’t need one.
  • Noise cancelling earbuds or headphones.
  • SIM Card valid for Spain. If your phone contract doesn’t include a roaming service or it’s too expensive, or if you’ll be staying long enough in Spain that you’d rather have a local number.
  • Electronics organizer. Avoid having all those lose inside your luggage.

18

Toilettries and meds

PERSONAL HYGIENE

  • Hand soap, gel, shampoo and conditioner. Most hotels carry these type of amenities, but if you are staying at an airbnb or hostel you may need to pack some. And if you are picky about the brands you use (as a curly girl, for instance, I only use very specific hair products), then remember to pack your own favorite brands in travel-size containers.
  • Hair brush, comb, hair styling products
  • Hand sanitizer. As I mentioned on the Kids section, it’s a life-saver when you need to use a public toilet and need a clean seat.
  • Cosmetics. Eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara, foundation, blush, lipstick… whatever your basics are. But don’t bother with eyelash extensions and the like: Spanish girls don’t really use them unless it’s a very special day. Do bring some facial cleansing wipes – they are easier when traveling than an entire set of make-up remover, cleanser and cotton disks…
  • Lip balm, moisturizer and facial lotions. Your usual hydration and skincare products.
  • Toothbrush and (travel-size) toothpaste. And if your toothbrush is electric, don’t forget its charger!
  • Deodorant.
  • Feminine hygiene products. Menstrual cups work great, but don’t buy them in purpose for a trip: try them first at home to make sure they are the right solution for you (plus inserting them correctly and removing them without making a mess takes some practice). Period underwear isn’t a great idea unless you’ll have access to a washing machine.
  • TSA approved toiletry bag.

MEDICATION AND OTHER HEALTH-RELATED ITEMS

  • Eyeglasses, contact lenses and contact solution.
  • Hearing aids. And their cleaning set if you’ll be away more than a few days.
  • Your personal medication, including any painkillers and vitamins, organized on a pill box, so you only bring the doses you’ll need for your trip. If your medication needs to be kept on a fridge, consider a specific travel cooler.
  • Jet lag and motion sickness relief pills.

Anything you shouldn't be packing for barcelona?

  • Avoid sweatpants unless you are a teenager or you are planning to go jogging in the morning (but then switch to something a tiny bit less informal).
  • Avoid mini-skirts and mini-shorts unless you are a teenager or are going clubbing.
  • And here are the outfits that immediately single you out as a tourist.
  • Most hotels have hair dryers: you probably won’t need to pack one unless your hair routine is non-negotiable.
  • Selfie-sticks. They are forbidden in many sites nowadays, and you are probably good enough at using your arms to take selfies anyway.
  • Unless you’ll be hiking, you don’t need to pack a first-aid kit. You can get anything you need from a pharmacy (see here some pharmacies that are open 24/7 in Barcelona). You don’t need to pack either things I’ve read in other blogs such as electrolytes or activated charcoal (unless you use them already at home regularly): you are not likely to get dehydrated or poisoned in the city, and you can buy them at pharmacies and supermarkets if needed.
  • Spanish phrase book. Unless you are a language freak, you shouldn’t have much problems communicating in English. And if you do, there’s so many apps that will do the trick without occupying valuable space on your luggage.

Hope to have help you deciding what to pack for Barcelona!

Marta

Author Marta Laurent Veciana

AUTHOR BIO

Marta is the founder of ForeverBarcelona. She is a passionate tour guide that loves Barcelona and loves writing too. She is the main author of our Blog, and is committed to sharing her knowledge about Barcelona and her best tips with our readers.

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