What clothing to pack for a holiday in Barcelona – A seasonal guide

Situated on the coast, the temperate waters of the Mediterranean influence the weather of Barcelona, giving it mild winters and cooler Summers compared to other parts of Spain, like Madrid or Granada. It rains infrequently and usually only in Autumn or Spring when the days can go from sunny to stormy from morning to afternoon. Knowing the weather during the season you plan to visit will help you pack the correct clothes for your holiday to Barcelona.

Barcelona is much more laid back than bigger Madrid, it’s a seaside city and the fashion reflects this. In summer it’s colorful and people are happy to wear patterns and textures, sandals and beach wear. During winter Barcelona follows the European trends of dark colors, boots and coats, although often in a sunny plaza neither are necessary.

Although not as smart as elegant Madrid, Barcelona exhibits a vibrant fashion scene and you shouldn’t be caught in beach gear too far from the sea and sand. In fact it’s illegal to be walking around half dressed or just in a swimsuit a few blocks away from the sea.
If you respect the laws and culture and dress appropriately you will enjoy the city that much more and shouldn’t have any trouble with the locals.

Of course you will still probably stand out as a tourist but with a well placed “Gracias” or “Merci” or “Bon Dia” you will get along fine with the Catalans you meet in the city. But what should you pack for a trip to Barcelona? Take into consideration the weather, time of year and what you plan on doing in the city, follow our simple guide and packing for Spain should be an easy process!

Most people visit the city in summer so they can enjoy the festive holiday vibe, beaches, bars, terraces, open air restaurants, gardens, parks and the amazing summer weather that is typical of the area. Barcelona can be sticky and hot, as it tends to get quite humid in August especially. We recommend packing light. With a few key elements that you can layer, you can dress your look up or down depending on what you plan on doing.

  • Woman
    Loose fitting dresses or skirts
    Loose fitting shirts
    A pair of smart jeans
    Smart sneakers *black
    A light cardigan
    A light scarf
    A plain camisole
  • Man
    Loose fitting slacks and shorts
    T- shirts
    Loose fitting button up shirt
    Summer cardigan
    Light jacket
    Swimming trunks
    Smart trainers or other closed shoe*black

Tips: take note that many restaurants, bars and clubs have a dress code so you will need to be able to be comfortable but also smart enough. Be clever with your colour combinations so that all your clothes can be worn together in different combinations so that you don’t overpack. Accessorize with colour and keep your basics basic. A cardigan will keep you warm in the evening if you happen to visit a mountain or there is a breeze on the beach after your midnight swim. A headscarf can double as a shawl or a makeshift towel. Make sure your sneakers can keep your feet comfortable and looking good whether you are dancing or making the trek up to Park Guell. Barcelona has great shopping, if you forgot anything, you can always find something fun and new in one of the many great boutiques. Spend some money on some handmade leather bags at a flea market or buy some espadrilles.

Winter in Barcelona can be equally enjoyed. Especially if you visit during the period from Christmas to the 6th of January which is Reyes (Kings). The streets are lit up at night with Christmas lights and it’s a shoppers paradise as often the shops stay open later and after Christmas there are epic sales. You can also enjoy traditional festivals and keep warm with Catalan noodle soups, a speciality of the season. Although it can get quite cold, Barcelona tends to be colder in January through February, when you should be thinking of hitting the skiing slopes in the Pyrenees. It can also be a little rainy so bring a small umbrella.

  • Woman
    Long trousers
    Warm skirt or dress
    jersey or jacket
    Warm cardigans
    Warm hat
    Camisole or vest
    Long sleeve shirt
    T shirts
  • Men
    Long warm trousers
    Long sleeve t shirt
    Button up shirt
    Warm cardigan or jersey

Tips: Although it can get cold, especially at night. Barcelona can still warm up during the day, especially if you happen to be sitting in a sunny plaza. It’s helpful to be able to layer your clothes so that you can add or subtract as you need them. Most people wear dark colors during the winter months, and it’s rare to see bright colors like in summer. Don’t let that detract you from wearing what you like, however be prepared for the odd eyebrow being raised. If you find you have underpacked and are cold, then take advantage of the sales to stock up your wardrobe.


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