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

Updated on May 23, 2018 by Asher Fergusson

What to bring on your Barcelona trip

Barcelona is a stunning seaside city located next to the Balearic Sea. It boasts a unique vibe, quirky and imaginative architecture, a lively art scene, and delicious Catalan dishes and tapas.

When it comes to what to wear in Barcelona, packing can be tricky due to the stylish and fairly conservative culture. I’ve put together a list of top items to pack for this city, plus what NOT to bring and answers to Barcelona FAQs.

As long as you bring your easy-going demeanor, a willingness to try new things, your spirit of adventure, and a few stylish outfits, you’ll be sure to enjoy this fun city!


1) Passport Pouch – Unfortunately, Barcelona is known for it’s clever pickpockets who operate mostly in busy areas. This passport pouch holds my ID docs, cash and credit cards, and my passport. I just tuck it under my shirt so that it’s kept discreet (and impossible to steal) but still accessible for when I need it.
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2) Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger – Since you’ll likely be using at least a couple of electronic devices while you’re out and about each day (like your camera and phone), you’ll want to have an easy way to recharge them without having to go back and sit in your accommodations while they power back up. This portable charger is the size of a tube of lipstick, holds multiple charges, and uses normal USB charger cables. It’s so compact that it can fully recharge your device while tucked safely away in your daybag if needed!
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3) International Adapter – Because Spain’s power outlets are different from those of many other countries – including the US – you’ll need to bring a power adapter in order to plug in your devices while you’re in Barcelona. It’s a good idea to bring 2-3 International adapters so that you’re prepared for any kind of outlet, and so that you can charge multiple items at once. International adapters will also come in handy on many other trips so you don’t have to buy an adapter for every place you visit. This adapter has two USB ports for dual-charging, and comes with numerous safety features (like built-in fuse protection) to keep your electronics safe.
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4) Fantastic Outfit: Women’s and Men’s – Fashion is big in Barcelona – you’ll feel underdressed if you go out in normal daywear, and there’s a lot of nightlife to enjoy in the city so you won’t want to miss out! Bring an awesome outfit or two that makes you feel great so you can really get the most out of your nights out on the town.
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5) Jet Lag Relief – Jet lag can really ruin the first few days of your trip if you’re not careful! Drowsiness, headaches, and even stomach upset can stop you in your tracks when you should be out enjoying Barcelona. This natural jet lag preventative/remedy is hugely helpful, and if taken correctly can prevent jet lag altogether. It’s a must-have for me when traveling overseas.
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6) Virtual Private Network (VPN) – I’ve recently learned the hard (and expensive) way that VPNs are essential for any travel and, really, any use of unfamiliar internet, foreign or domestic. A hacker stole my credit card information while my family and I were in Paris, and that’s not something I’ll risk happening ever again!

A good VPN (like NordVPN) gives you an added layer of security encryption so that you can keep all your passwords, credit card information, and even your identity from being stolen by a hacker. Whenever you connect to unfamiliar wifi at a cafe, your hotel, an Airbnb, or an airport, you’re exposing your data to hackers who may be waiting to prey on unsuspecting users. With a VPN, you can protect any device with the push of a button, and at an incredibly reasonable cost.
View options at NordVPN.com ➜


7) Shawl or Scarf – A nice scarf or shawl is good to have on-hand in Barcelona. You’ll find that a bit more modesty is expected in many areas, and is required in others. This means that if you decide to stop in to see a cool church or other conservative attraction, you’ll need to cover your shoulders and chest. A scarf like this is easy to carry with you or wear, and it fits right in to the more fashionable culture! Plus it’ll help immensely if you stay out late for dinner and want to ward off the evening chill.
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8) Hanging Toiletry Bag – This gorgeous toiletry bag by Vetelli is my absolute favorite. For me, even though it’s marketed toward men, it was love at first sight. The look and feel of the bag are sumptuous and beautiful, and it does a great job of providing plenty of space and organization for messy toiletries. I’ve never found such an affordable and nice toiletry bag! It makes packing, traveling, and unpacking a breeze.
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9) Deodorant Wipes: Women’s and Men’s – That sticky, dirty feeling I get when traveling drives me nuts, but I can’t always take a shower right away. These deodorant wipes are a life-saver, and help me feel a lot fresher. They’re lightly scented, they don’t leave any sticky residue, they’re good for sensitive skin, and they are easy to pack so you can bring them along in your daybag or purse.
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10) Travel Insurance for Barcelona – Travel insurance should be at the top of everyone’s list. You can’t control every aspect of your trip, and sometimes bad things happen that can leave you out of luck. Things like medical troubles, cancelled reservations, and emergency trips home will all be your own financial burden to bear if you’re not backed by a good travel insurance plan! World Nomads is a wonderful insurance provider with great customer service and affordable travel plans. I highly recommend them to any traveler, especially those going abroad!
View plans at WorldNomads.com ➜

11) Packing Cubes – I’m obsessed with my packing cubes – they’ve made my life and travels significantly easier. We tested so many kinds of packing cubes and determined that these Shacke Pak “cubes” are the best combination of effective utility and affordable price. They come in multiple sizes, are washable, and make packing, traveling, and unpacking a much simpler and more organized process by keeping your items compact and separated – no more digging around in a stuffed suitcase!
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12) Stylish Cover-Up – Barcelona follows the general Spanish trend of modest but fashionable attire, so you’ll want to pack a few items that can do double-duty with those guidelines in mind. This airy and comfortable cardigan will keep your shoulders covered when there’s a chill in the air or you’re visiting a conservative attraction (like one of the city’s many gorgeous religious sites). It’s also very pretty, so you’ll feel glamorous at the same time!
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13) Comfortable Flats – Flat shoes or shoes with a very wide, gentle heel are crucial in Barcelona. The streets and walking surfaces are frequently very uneven, and the attractions typically have rules about wearing heels on monuments or fragile surfaces. I wear these flats everywhere and get so many compliments on them! I’ve never owned a more comfortable pair of walking shoes. They’re the right combination of soft materials and supportive design, plus they’re adorable and affordable.
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14) Stylish Backpack – This little bag is the perfect combination of style and utility, and can easily fit everything you need with you each day, plus any goodies you pick up while you’re out. I find that a backpack is a good idea since it distributes weight evenly and keeps me from having sore shoulders at the end of the day.
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15) Activated Charcoal – It’s doubtful that you’ll run into unsafe foods in Barcelona, but it doesn’t pay to take chances. Sometimes traveler’s diarrhea alone can really cause people trouble. Activated charcoal can help with a whole host of stomach troubles, and absorbs any toxins in your system to help get you back to feeling 100%.
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16) Water Bottle with Built-In Filter – You’ll find fountains with safe drinking water, but there are also some places where it’s not quite as clean. Take the guesswork out by bringing your own filtered water bottle that you can fill and carry with you. This will also save you tons of money since it’ll prevent you from having to buy bottle after bottle of water from vendors.
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17) Solid Shampoo – I like solid shampoo because it helps me cut back on the number of liquids I have to cram into my quart-sized bag when I’m carrying it onto the plane. This particular brand works as well as liquid shampoo, and leaves the hair feeling smooth, clean, and healthy.
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Other packing list items for Barcelona



 

What to wear in Barcelona


Barcelona is a stylish, somewhat modest, but still fairly comfortable city, and its residents tend to be welcoming and full of charm and fun.

It’s a good idea to pack comfortable and attractive clothing that can be worn all day, and shoes that will stay comfortable no matter how much walking you end up doing.

Take this opportunity to try out some fashions you’ve had your eye on – Barcelona is a stylish and artsy place and trends tend to be fun and full of character.

What should WOMEN wear in Barcelona? – (Click to expand)

Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).














Catalan women have a great sense of fashion and style. Choose a smart casual look that’s more on the conservative side. When exploring in the day, wear comfortable street shoes or ankle boots and throw on a pair of chunky heels at night (no stilettos or thin heels – the streets can be bumpy and uneven). Stretchy skinny pants look great any season and can be worn with dresses, loose tank tops, kimonos and oversized sweaters from fall to spring. Maxi dresses and jumpsuits look great in the summer. You may need a lightweight jacket in spring or fall and a warm coat in winter. A leather jacket always looks good along with a scarf. A fedora hat adds some style and a cross body purse, vintage sunglasses, and some jewelry help complete any outfit.

What should MEN wear in Barcelona? – (Click to expand)

Below is a sample men’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).














Men of Barcelona are also stylish, always with well-fitted clothes and great footwear. Choose a pair of low-top street shoes or slip-ons for exploring in the day, and wear oxford leather shoes for evenings out. Shorts are reserved just for the beach so pack a good amount of pants that can be worn with button-down, long, or short-sleeved shirts. For the colder months, pack a cardigan or sweater, along with a waterproof jacket. A leather belt always looks good along with retro sunglasses. A minimalist wallet is handy, but if you have more things to bring with you each day opt for a vintage rucksack.

Seasons in Barcelona are similar to those in the rest of Europe, but with a more coastal temperature range and moisture level. Temps stay fairly mild throughout most of the year, though the winter does cool off significantly, and late fall can bring a chill as well.

WINTER – December, January, and February: The winters are quite mild here – the temperature rarely dips below freezing and it seldom snows. Women should pack opaque tights and leggings to wear with sweater dresses and oversized sweaters. Men can opt for fitted jeans or trousers to wear with button-down shirts or polos with sweaters. Make sure to pack a jacket, and if you think you’ll need them you can bring gloves, a hat, and a scarf. Temperatures range between a low of 50 °F and a high of 61 °F (10°C to 16°C).

SPRING – March, April, and May: This is a great time to incorporate some vibrant colors, pastels, and florals into your outfits.

The weather can vary quite a lot during the day so dress in layers. Leather jackets are popular for both men and women – one of our staffers bought this one a few years ago and it’s still her all-time favorite jacket. Also make sure to pack some sunscreen, a sun hat, and shades for those sunny days. Temperatures range between a low of 45°F and a high of 70°F (7°C to 21°C).

SUMMER – May, June, July, August and September: Summer in Barcelona lasts for an extended period compared to other places – July and August are the hottest months. Even in hot weather, locals rarely wear shorts out unless they are going to the beach. Pack light-colored clothing made of breathable materials like cotton, linen, silk, and rayon. Women can bring skirts, dresses, jumpsuits, loose-fit tanks, and cardigans. Men should pack chino shorts for the beach and pants to wear with slim fit button-down shirts and polos. Make sure to pack some sunscreen, a sun hat, and sunglasses. Temperatures range between a low of 57°F and a high of 84°F (14°C to 29°C).

FALL – October and November: In this season it cools down to the point where swimming is no longer pleasant. Expect regular scattered showers and cold weather at night.

Choose rich clothing colors like purple, emerald green, and maroon. Both women and men should pack similar to the way the winter season, but also bring a waterproof jacket, umbrella, and boots for the rain. Temperatures range between a low of 48°F and a high of 63°F (9°C to 17°C).

How to dress correctly for the activity – (Click to expand)

Exploring Gaudí on Foot – Antoni Gaudí was a world-famous architect known for his very creative and eclectic work. He designed seven properties in Barcelona including Parque Güell, Palacio Güell, Casa Mila, Casa Vicens, the Nativity and Crypt of La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, and Crypt in Colonia Güell. One of the best things to do in Barcelona is to go on a walking tour to see the city and some of Gaudi’s work. Running Bean Tours offers free walking tours of the city where you can choose between seeing Gaudi’s work or the Gothic Quarter. When it comes to what to wear for a day of city exploring, make sure to pack comfortable shoes as the tour involves walking around the city for 2.5 hours. Also, bring a jacket if it’s any season other than summer, and in the fall and spring, you will need an umbrella.

A Night of Tapas – Tapas are small plates of food which are a great way to sample a variety of local dishes in Barcelona. Some of the best spots to go for tapas include Quimet y Quimet, La Esquinica, L’Òstia, and La Xula Taperia. Locals enjoy dressing up in the evening so for a night of tapas and sangria, men should bring some stylish and well-tailored clothes. Women should pack some nice dresses along with some makeup, jewelry, and nice shoes. It’s also a good idea to bring a shawl in case it gets cooler in the evening.

Beaches – There are a number of great beaches in Barcelona with easy access to ones further away thanks to the metro system. Barcelona Beach, Nova Icaria, Bogatella, and the nudist beach Mar Bella are just a few popular choices. This is the only place where you will see locals wearing shorts. Bikinis are the most popular choice for swimwear. Many restaurants are located on the beach or nearby, so pack a cover-up for when you want to pop into a restaurant for a quick lunch without having to change. The weather is very hot in the summer so make sure to bring some sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.

La Sagrada Família – La Sagrada Família may be one of the most famous temples in the world and is an internationally recognized symbol of Barcelona. This medieval cathedral started being built in 1882 and still is yet to be finished! If you visit this sacred space, make sure to wear tops that cover the shoulders. Avoid tank tops, crop tops, and anything with a plunging neckline. It’s recommended to wear pants but skirts can be worn as long as they come down to the mid-thigh.

 

What NOT to bring to Barcelona


1) 🚫 DON’T TAKE An already-full suitcase – Baggage fees increase significantly for overweight bags, plus it’s a drag to have to carry heavy luggage all over Barcelona. Plus, packing lighter means you’ll save space for souvenirs!
2) 🚫 DON’T BRING Non-compatible electronic items – The voltage system in Spain might fry your hair straighteners, blow dryers, etc. It’s better just to buy those things in-country or bring extra adaptors.
3) 🚫 DON’T PACK Too many clothes/ shoes – The capsule wardrobe is an ideal way to pack. Each item you bring should be wearable more than once and should be able to be paired with several other items. This cuts down on laundry, it saves space and weight in your luggage, and it leaves space for souvenirs. The exception to this rule is one or two nice outfits.
4) 🚫 DON’T BRING Anything that screams “I’m a hapless tourist!” – Gawdy items, sparkling white tennis shoes, American Flag paraphernalia, and fanny packs are like beacons that set you apart from the locals, and make you stand out to potential thieves. Dress respectfully and with class whenever possible!
5) 🚫 DON’T TAKE Books – They’re just too heavy to lug around Barcelona, and you won’t often need more than one good read on your trip anyway. Look into book-swaps if you’re staying in a community area like a hostel, or load your books onto a Kindle to save weight and space.
6) 🚫 DON’T PACK Camouflage clothing Camo and other military-specific clothing is reserved for members of the armed forces and police in Europe, including Spain. It’s NOT a good idea to wear camo clothing or to be mistaken as a member of one of those groups.

What NOT to wear in Barcelona – (Click to expand)

To help you not stand out as a tourist, avoid wearing shorts and sandals unless you are at the beach. Even if it is summer, trousers are still worn in the city. Women should avoid wearing miniskirts and anything too revealing, as Catalan women tend to dress more conservatively. Only the younger generation dresses in bright colors so if you are older, opt for black, grey, dark green and burgundy. Lastly, as with most of Europe, avoid loose, baggy clothing and sports sneakers.

 

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, but keep in mind that this is when other tourists flock to Barcelona as well. Tourist high-season means higher prices, longer lines, fuller hotels, and bigger crowds. If you can handle those things, great! If you’d rather avoid the denser crowds, opt for a shoulder season either around March and April or September and October. These are times when the weather is still quite comfortable, but the tourist crowds are thinner.

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 cafés, 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 avoid culture shock when traveling to Barcelona?

It helps to do a ton of research about Spain. It will also benefit you to learn a few phrases in Spanish, and maybe try some tapas restaurants in your home country before leaving.

5) Do I need a passport and Visa 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 in case of pickpocketting. 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!

6) What is a typical daily budget for a trip to Barcelona?

This depends heavily on what you’ll be doing. If you’re traveling on a tight backpacker-style budget, $40-$60 per day is realistic and will get you lodging in an inexpensive hotel or hostel along with a meal or two out. Bringing in groceries from a local market or store and cooking your own meals can cut down significantly on costs. You can also take part in a lot of free tours and self-guided meandering, which is easy to do in Barcelona.

If you’re able to afford a bit more, $100 a day can get you nice accommodations, more meals out, and souvenirs without being too extravagant. This also allows room for more paid attractions.

7) What is the crime rate in Barcelona? What precautions should I take?

Crime in Barcelona is pretty standard when compared to similarly-sized cities. There are areas to be cautious of, and some areas that are just plain touristy and attract pickpockets. Other areas, especially those off the beaten tourist path but still close to tourist areas, are fun to explore because tourists don’t often prioritize them.

“Las Ramblas” is the most touristy part of Barcelona, as it’s the main strip that divides the neighborhoods Gòtic (the Gothic quarter or Barri Gòtic) and Raval. Las Ramblas has some great tourist attractions, but locals say it’s not an accurate impression of what Barcelona is really like. Raval is a little dingier (you may see less-than-savory sights), but it’s not known to be especially dangerous. Gòtic is known to be the nicer side of Barcelona.

Take basic precautions like wearing a hidden money/passport pouch, not carrying excess cash, and avoiding sticking out as a tourist when possible. Using basic manners and being respectful of locals will also go a long way toward encouraging that respect in return.

8) What’s the best way to get to Barcelona’s many attractions?

Barcelona is a sprawling city in and of itself, and the attractions are also spread fairly far apart in some cases. Some travelers rent a car and that’s certainly an option, but it will cut into your daily budget.

If you’re looking for cheaper options, Barcelona has excellent bus and underground rail (metro) systems as well as taxis. You can also find rental bicycles if that suits your style and activity level!

 

You may also like these other packing lists…






Author: Elizabeth Feroze

Elizabeth Feroze is a freelance writer, travel blogger and teacher, currently based in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand.

Originally from Texas, she calls many places home, including New Orleans, LA, Florence, Italy, Snowmass Village, CO, and Sonoma Valley, CA. She is passionate about traveling, writing, hiking, camping, teaching and creating.

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