17 Top Barcelona Packing List Items + What NOT to Bring (2018 Update)

Barcelona, Spain is a lively tourist destination that will have you dancing in the streets, hitting the beaches, and throwing caution to the wind. In Barcelona, you’ll have the opportunity to take in a new culture, see world-class architecture, and eat amazing food. Packing the right items for your Barcelona trip will help your travels run smoothly. Here’s a list of what to pack, and more importantly, what NOT to pack before you head to Spain.

What to bring to Barcelona:

1) Neutral Clothing including T Shirts – In Spain, and Europe in general, casual chic is the style. As a traveler, you will want to stay comfortable and fit in with the locals. Try to bring mainly neutral colored clothing, and don’t forget to throw a few gray or black t shirts in your bag. Y ou can wear them with shorts, jeans, skirts, or even sleep in.
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2) Jeans – Jeans are the uniform of European city folk. You can wear them for night out or for a day of exploring the city. They can be dressed up with fun jewelry or can stay super casual with a t shirt and scarf. Black jeans are best since they don’t show stains, and the less laundry you have to do, the better!
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3) Lightweight Dress – If dancing in the streets is your thing, or if a night of tapas and cocktails sounds appealing to you, don’t leave home without packing a cute lightweight dress. During the summer, you can basically live in sundresses in Barcelona. This dress is perfect for wandering around and exploring, and can also be word as a swimsuit coverup if you’re hitting up the beach.
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4) Rain Jacket – In Barcelona, the weather can be tricky. If you’re going during the fall, you will probably want to pack a light rain jacket. This jacket fits the bill and won’t take up too much room in your luggage.
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5) Swimsuit and Sandals – If you’re set on exploring the Balearic coast by heading to Barcelona’s beaches, you will definitely want to pack a cute swimsuit and sandals. In Europe (and especially Spain), less is more on the beach, meaning that you can get away with wearing a thong-style swimsuit if you wish. Hey, less tan lines, so why not go bold?
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6) Sarong – A lightweight sarong is one of those multipurpose travel items that once you have, you cannot live without. A sarong can be worn as a coverup on the beach, or a shawl when you’re checking out all of the gothic cathedrals. This one is neutral and perfect for any situation.
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7) Universal Adaptor – The outlets in in Spain may be different from the ones where you are from, whether it’s the states or Australia. Invest in a universal adaptor that you can take to literally any country – it’ll save space and you will be prepared for anything. This one has four USB ports and super quick charging capabilities.
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8) Helpful Apps – Before you leave, download some apps that will ease your transition into a new country. Maps.me will let you download maps of areas and countries for free, so that you can use them offline. You’ll be able to find your way around Barcelona like a pro. A messaging app like Whatsapp will let you text and call home for free, so that your family won’t think you’ve gotten yourself locked up in a Spanish prison.
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9) Pads and Tampons – It can be difficult to track down the type or brand of tampons or pads that you’re used to in your home country. Bring a supply with you, so that you have one less thing to worry about while you’re in Spain.
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10) Toiletries in a Waterproof Bag – It’s almost impossible to find the brands you’re loyal to in foreign countries. If you have a specific SPF moisturizer that you can’t live without (like me!), or a particular makeup brand that you’re partial to, pack it before leaving. Make sure you put all liquids in a waterproof plastic bag so that you can breeze through TSA.
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11) Walking Shoes – There is so much exploring to be done in Barcelona, whether you’re checking out Gaudi’s famous architecture or strolling down Las Ramblas. Go easy on your feet and fit in with the locals by bringing some comfortable sneakers with you.
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12) Important Documents – Don’t forget the most important items: your passport, visa (if necessary), printed out itinerary and plane tickets. Make copies of all of these, and take pictures of the backs of your credit and debit cards, in case they get stolen or lost. Also have copies of your health and travel insurance information on hand. Keep all of this organized in a travel wallet like this one.
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13) Packing Cubes – I can’t travel without my packing cubes. They come in handy when you’re trying to pack a suitcase or backpack. I use two of them in my big North Face backpack for multiple-day trips for clothing (one for clean clothes, one for dirty). These cubes will make it easy to stay organized during your Barcelona trip.
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14) Medicines – Navigating a Spanish pharmacy when you don’t speak Spanish is absolutely no fun when you’re sick or in desperate need of a bandaid. Pack dayquil, nyquil, advil, anti-diarrheals, cough drops, bandages, gauze, and anti-nausea meds in case of emergency. Include an anti-diarrhea medication in your bag in case you have trouble adjusting to the area’s rich food!
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15) DSLR Camera – Capture all the amazing architecture and city views with a DSLR camera. This one is easy to get the hang of, and easily packable.
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16) Backpack – For day trips, a backpack is much easier to get around with than a purse or clutch. A solid backpack like this can hold your wallet, water bottle, city maps, and anything else you want to throw in there.
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17) Headphones – For your travel time to and from Barcelona, you may want to bring a good pair of headphones. That way you can listen to your podcasts while waiting in airport lines, zone out in bus rides, and stay entertained on airplanes. These ones are noise-cancelling and not too expensive.
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Other packing list items for Barcelona:

What to wear in Barcelona:

Barcelona is a fairly casual city, so pack comfortable walking sneakers and lightweight clothing that can be worn all day. Bring t-shirts and shorts for the warm spring, summer and fall months and make sure to pack a swimsuit because the water is usually warm enough to swim in until October. If you’re going in the fall, bring a light jacket for cooler evenings. Definitely bring a warm coat if you are heading to Barcelona between October and February! If you’re planning a night out to bars or clubs, bring a nice outfit or two.

What NOT to bring to Barcelona:

1) 🚫 A full suitcase – Remember to leave space so that you can bring home souvenirs!
2) 🚫 Heavy liquids in bottles – Even though you can pack liquids of almost any size into your checked baggage, weight rules still apply. Don’t weigh yourself down (and pay extra) unless it’s absolutely necessary. Instead, bring travel sizes of your toiletries!
3) 🚫 Too many clothes/ shoes – You’ll probably want to buy things while you’re there. Bring dual-purpose, neutral-colored clothing that you can mix and match, and shoes that can go from day to night.
4) 🚫 Books – They’re just too heavy to lug around Spain. Get a Kindle to save weight.
5) 🚫 Non-compatible electronic items – The voltage system in your new country might fry your hair straighteners, blow dryers, etc. It’s better just to buy those things in-country or bring extra adaptors.

FAQs about packing for Barcelona:

1) When is the best time to visit Barcelona?

The weather is pretty mild and nice for most of the year. You’ll experience the absolute best weather from May to the end of July, so these months particularly attractive for a visit to the city.

2) Where should I stay in Barcelona?

One of the best central places to stay is the Barri Gòtic or around the Cathedral area, so that you will be right in the center of the city. Think lots of history, cobbled streets, cute cafes, and cathedrals. Also, anywhere off the Ramblas is a good area to stay in. You’ll be in the heart of the city and close to metro stops.

3) Where should I exchange currency?

There are currency exchange offices at Barcelona’s airport. The airport also has ATMs where you can withdraw cash directly with your debit card. Alternatively, Las Ramblas has loads of banks and hotels that will change your currency for you,
and they may have better exchange rates.

4) How can I better deal with culture shock before I leave?

It helps to do a ton of research about Spain, and look at plenty of travel blogs. Learn a few phrases in Spanish, and maybe try some tapas restaurants in your home country before leaving.

5) What documentation will I need to visit Barcelona?

You must have a passport to enter the country. Make a copy of your passport to take with you when exploring the city because
pickpocketing is somewhat common. Apply for a visa through the Spanish Embassy if you are planning on staying in the country for more than 90 days. Lastly, bring your local driver’s license if you are planning to rent a car and drive around the city!