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25 Top Madrid Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

What to pack for Madrid
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Madrid is the fashion capital of the world and the full-fledged capital of Spain. As one of the best places in Europe, this stunning city offers a little something for everyone.

From the complex architecture, to the endless nightlife, to the world’s biggest museums – you will be overwhelmed by beautiful sights, tastes, and smells.

Since you’ll need to pack for historical and religious sites, city sightseeing, and dancing the flamenco all night – we created this guide to make the cultural immersion process a little easier. We’ll cover what to pack, what to wear in Madrid, what NOT to bring, and answers to common FAQs.

See our product selection criteria and guidelines here.

What to Pack for Madrid – 25 Essentials

  • 1. Neck Wallet

    Madrid, like many European cities, is prone to petty theft like pickpocketing. When visiting popular attractions and moving through busy public transit stations – it will be most important to use this theft-proof neck wallet. It will organize your ID, travel docs, cash, credit cards, and passports in one place. I wear mine under my shirt so it is impossible to steal and very discreet (compared to flashing your wallet repeatedly). You also will have a lot to keep up with for international travel days, and this makes it a lot easier to consolidate the essentials safely.

    neck wallet

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  • 2. Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

    As you run around hotspots like The Royal Palace, the Museo Reina Sofia, and the peaceful Retiro Park – you’ll want to ensure you have a fully charged battery. Going back to your hotel for the adapter would be a pain in the derriere, so we carry this universal portable charger in case we need to look something up, navigate with GPS, or call for a ride in an emergency.

    Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

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  • 3. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    Catalonia is one of the most attacked regions in the country and Spain has repeatedly been ranked in the top 5 most cyberattacked nations in the world! You don’t want to risk your private data like passwords to your email, PayPal, and credit card accounts. Secure your internet connections at sketchy locations with public Wi-Fi by using a virtual private network (VPN).

    We use NordVPN because they are very affordable and will protect you at coffee shops, airports, hotels, and more. It also allows you to watch Netflix abroad and have more freedom than you would if you were blocked by country-wide censorship. You’ll have unlimited bandwidth, which means no delays in your streaming speed. Overall, it’s super easy to use and way too affordable to forgo!


    View options at NordVPN ➜

  • 4. Power Adapter for Madrid

    In order to charge your devices without risking their safety, you’ll need a power adapter. This one is our go-to since it works in 100+ popular countries and will serve you well for European travel if you’re hopping around a bit. It has the ability for dual charging and a built-in fuse protector. Ours has never broken down, but it comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee if we have any issues down the line.

    Power Adapter for Madrid

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  • 5. Jet Lag Relief

    Madrid is a fast-paced city and you’ll want to enjoy it almost immediately after you arrive. Instead of suffering through days of jet lag and exhaustion from the daunting journey, pack some jet lag relief to ease the transition. It will make the new timezone and ongoing layovers feel a lot less heavy. It’s very gentle on the system and a must-have for international travel!

    jet lag relief

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  • 6. Travel Insurance for Madrid

    Travel Insurance is strongly recommended by the Spanish government to ensure peace of mind in case of unexpected trip issues or medical costs. It’s one of the cheapest aspects of your overall trip expense and by far the most important. Since your domestic provider will not protect you in case of an emergency (including Medicaid and Medicare), you will need travel insurance to avoid paying out-of-pocket for costly mishaps.

    Faye is our preferred provider because they’ve impressed us more than any other company we’ve worked with. They handle claims and reimbursements through their mobile app, which means you’re not bogged down with ongoing paperwork and lengthy interview processes. Cover yourself for things like baggage loss, theft, flight delays, medical transport, and international hospital bills. Spain is not a cheap country, so you definitely want to protect your travel investment before leaving. They even have unique plan add-ons like the ability to “cancel for any reason!”

    Travel Insurance for Madrid

    Get a quote in less than 60 seconds with Faye ➜

  • 7. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    One of the most versatile items in your packing necessities will be this microfiber towel. Sometimes, your hotel or Airbnb doesn’t provide a towel (and sometimes, it’s just not as clean as you would like). Regardless, it’s nice to have a smaller spare for daytime excursions. This one dries 10x faster than cotton, which makes it super helpful for minimizing odors and staying on the move!

    Quick-Dry Travel Towel

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  • 8. Gorgeous Outfit

    Madrid is one of the fashion epicenters of the world! You do not want to look like a tacky tourist or stick out like a sore thumb here. Not only does it place a target on your back for petty crime, but it could also make you a victim of the fashion police! Bring some gorgeous looks to match the chic dress code of this historic city. I love this jumpsuit because it’s a power look that easily moves from day to night.

    Women's Summer Dressy One Shoulder Sleeveless

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  • 9. Cooling Towel

    Madrid reaches incredibly high temps that can almost feel unbearable (40°C/104°F at its peak!) To stay ahead of the heat, bring these magical cooling towels. They’re chemical-free yet just by adding a little water, it drops to nearly 30-degrees lower than the outside temp. We bring it with us for every tropical and warm destination we visit – there literally is no better feeling than an ice-cold cloth when you’re burning up! If you’re visiting in the summer, don’t travel to Madrid without it.

    Cooling Towel

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  • 10. Deodorant Wipes

    Any traveler knows that there are plenty of times when you wish you could have a shower… but can’t. We bring these deodorant wipes for a refreshing swipe whenever it’s needed and they’re a real lifesaver. Instead of feeling sticky, stinky, or icky, you can use these on your arms and legs to reduce odors and gently clean the skin. These are travel-sized and come in individual packets, so you can put a few in your pocket or purse.

    Deodorant Wipes

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  • 11. Discounted Tickets on Madrid Tours & Attractions

    Wander through the epic architecture of Segovia and Toledo, visit the Royal Palace and end the night with a Flamenco show. Whether you’re exploring the City Highlights or eating your way through a tapas crawl – there is endless excitement in Madrid.

    Get Your Guide is our preferred booking platform because they are cheaper than the main websites in most cases, and offer authentic experiences. We recommend walking tours to see the city up-close and personally, foodie experiences for cultural immersion, and venturing out on day trips to the Spanish coast.

    Discounted Tickets on Madrid Tours & Attractions

    See all Madrid attractions at ➜

  • 12. Comfortable Flats

    Since the streets are uneven and often lined with cobblestone, you’ll need a comfortable shoe. Tennis shoes can make you look very touristy, and heels (no matter how wide) are a bit of a risk on the ankles. These flats are with me on every international trip because they’re super comfy and practical. They don’t cause blisters, and I’ve put a ton of miles on them. They’re the right combination of supportive and stylish!

    Comfortable Flats

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  • 13. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    The Autumn and Winter months will face the most rainfall in Madrid, but it’s common to rain anytime around the year. To prepare for a cloudy day, bring your own travel umbrella. It will be way higher quality than the crap you can buy from a tourist shop (and honestly, a lot cheaper). This one weighs only 1-pound so it’s perfect for travel and can cover 2 people.

    Windproof Travel Umbrella

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  • 14. Shawl or Scarf

    For any religious sites you’ll visit, like La Almudena Cathedral – you want to avoid bare arms and legs. Since many holy sites will require a strict dress code for entry, bring a conservative shawl or scarf to wrap around you, just in case. It’s nice for looking more fashionable, upping the modesty of any look, or even just warming up on a chilly night!

    Shawl or Scarf

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  • 15. Water Bottle with Built-In Filter

    The tap water in Madrid is reasonably safe, but I always bring a filtered water bottle with me so I have control over our drinking water (even when clean water is not available). It also helps us not spend a fortune on plastic waste, which can really add up on a trip overseas. This one will noticeably improve the taste of your water and is very affordable.

    Water Bottle with Built-In Filter

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  • 16. Packing Cubes

    Prepare to be absolutely OBSESSED with these packing cubes! They’ve completely changed the game on our packing situation and ensure we’re never looking around for a lost item. If you’ve ever had your belongings sprawled all over the hotel or Airbnb, you know the feeling of trying to wrangle everything back together. These make it easy to separate similar items (pants, shirts, pajamas, essentials, etc.) so you can find everything with grace and ease! We’re equally obsessed with the bonus laundry bags that help us to separate dirty items from clean ones. Get the 3-pack as a starter if you’re commitment-phobic.

    Packing Cubes

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  • 17. Activated Charcoal

    Traveler’s diarrhea (is sadly) a common thing. Since it can strike at a moment’s notice – caused by anything from fine dining cuisine to street food to dirty ice in a soda – you will want to take precautions. We carry these charcoal supplements in our carry-on bag, so we have them on hand if any stomach issues arise. They detox any harmful pathogens so you can get to feeling better more quickly! Save yourself the distress and just bring them, you won’t regret it.

    Activated Charcoal

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  • 18. Stylish Backpack

    As you become a real Spanish woman, travel with a backpack that matches your energy! This leather option is gorgeous and very spacious, made to hold laptops and heavy electronics. We use it for our water bottles, neck wallets, umbrellas, etc., to carry all essentials in one compact place. It even has a USB port for any on-the-go charging and can be strapped to your luggage during travel days.

    Stylish Backpack

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  • 19. TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

    Speaking of airport security, you should always attach luggage locks to any checked bags. Even if you’re cruising through Europe, your bags will also be out of sight for long durations and it’s wise to lock up your valuables. These are TSA-approved so they won’t delay you through any random security checks, but you’ll find plenty of uses for them (suitcases, backpacks in crowded areas, lockers in the city or your hotel, etc.)

    TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

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  • 20. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    European bathrooms can be laughably small! Bring a hanging toiletry bag to create storage out of thin air. This baby hangs on any shower, door, or pole to unfold with 4 giant pockets. It holds a ton of liquid items (in TSA-aproved 3.4-ounce sizes of course), and it consolidates all of my makeup, skincare, haircare, and hygienic items. This one is very classic and makes packing and unpacking WAY easier than chasing after a bunch of loose bottles!

    Hanging Toiletry Bag

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  • 21. European Phone SIM Card

    This is one of my favorite hacks that we discovered years ago! Your mobile provider secretly loves charging you a fortune for outrageous international fees and roaming rates. Instead, get a European SIM card that gives you a local phone number. It easily activates when you arrive in Spain and will provide you with hours of call time + 1,000 text messages (which should be more than enough for a week or two of travel).

    European Phone SIM Card

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  • 22. Packable “Just in Case” Bag

    Madrid is famous for its flavors, colors, spices, and textured lifestyle. You’ll want to bring back some amazing souvenirs for yourself and your loved ones – like wine, coffee, chocolate, oils, fans, shawls, handmade artistic goods, and more. That’s why we pack a “just in case” bag for any unexpected purchases we make along the way. It’s the perfect size to count as your personal item for the flight home (and skip those pesky carry-on fees!)

    Packable “Just in Case” Bag

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  • 23. Linen Pants

    You’ll want to look chic and effortless in Madrid. The local style ranges from hippie to fashionista, and overall has a bit of a laid-back vibe. Since it can also get really hot, these lightweight linen pants will be the perfect solution. They are breathable, flattering, and have giant pockets (a girl’s dream!)

    Linen Pants

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  • 24. Blister Balm

    With the right shoes, you shouldn’t suffer from any blisters. But it can happen during long afternoons of walking for miles and miles. Europe transit can mean hopping between a bus, and a metro, walking a mile, then taking another bus to your destination (then walking some more!) For all of the in-between – use this blister balm to reduce any friction or chaffing in your shoes.

    Blister Balm

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  • 25. Wine Wings Packing Cushions

    As you drink Cava and tempranillo, you may want to bring home some of your favorite varietals. These packing cushions are perfect for ensuring their safety on the flight back. We all know that airport staff are not the most gentle with suitcases (throwing them 6+ feet sometimes), and you don’t want shattered bottles or wine staining all of your clothes. These bags have triple-seal protection and work for anything delicate you want to pack, like cooking oils, perfumes, glass items, ceramics, and more.

    Wine Wings Packing Cushions

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What to Wear in Madrid

Madrid is a stylish but still sort of lazy-casual city. There is a 70s influence, so you’ll notice lots of lightweight linen materials that feel Spanish and retro. Since it’s warm most of the year, most looks are not super heavy or layered.

It’s smart to consider the season you’re visiting and what the weather will be like that time of year. You’ll absolutely need comfy shoes and a modest shawl, regardless of what time you’re visiting, but you can use this chance to dress a bit more elegantly than you may at home. It’s an artsy and cultured place where you can have a bit of fun expressing yourself!

What should WOMEN wear in Madrid? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample of what WOMEN should wear in Madrid with links to Amazon for your convenience.

Women will want to dress based on the season. Even on a slightly warm day, you will see cardigans and shawls or scarves on the locals around the city, which adds a beautiful pop of color to any look! During warm months, stick with feminine dresses, breathable shirts, and comfortable shoes (but flip-flops are only worn to the pool or beach), and lightweight pants. In the autumn, go for a long-sleeved bell top and a fitted jean with stylish boots. One thing that is sure to complete any look is a pair of sunglasses!

What should MEN wear in Madrid? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample of what MEN should wear in Madrid with links to Amazon for your convenience.

Men can dress a little classier here than they may at home. Go for a sleek button-down shirt and subtle shorts with leather shoes or suede shoes. You can get away with tennis shoes during the day, but make sure they’re a bit chic and not too loud! A polo shirt is great for city exploring with a pair of nice pants, and you may need a warmer pullover by evening. The best accessories will be a leather belt, men’s sunglasses, and a knit sweater for a chillier night.

Packing for the Seasons in Madrid

Madrid has a semi-arid climate, which means it’s similar to a Mediterranean climate but a bit more dry. The beautiful thing about Madrid is that the weather is quite wonderful year-round and you can visit any time of the year. This doesn’t mean temperatures won’t reach freezing, or there won’t be snow from time to time, but it is quite rare and most days will be perfectly enjoyable.

With that being said, you’ll need to plan around the two extremes – the peak heat of Summer where the days feel scorching, and the peak of Winter where things can feel a bit more quiet and uneventful. I love visiting during off-season because it’s a great way to avoid the crowds. But you’ll have more activities and events to take part in during peak season, so you’ll have to weigh the priorities for your trip.

WINTER – December, January, and February

Compared to a lot of Europe, the winters are decently mild in Madrid. It will only snow a handful of times per year, and January is generally the coldest month of the year. Women can wear warm sweater dresses with opaque tights and long boots. Something oversized and cozy is always wise! Make sure to pack a sexy and sultry leather jacket, too. Men can think along these lines with a knit sweater and pants. Bring the trinity of winter accessories – a pair of gloves, a scarf, and a hat. Temperatures range between a low of 37 °F and a high of 53 °F (3°C to 12°C).

SPRING – March, April, and May

Spring is the best time to embrace some colorful prints, pastels, and florals into your wardrobe.

The weather can really vary all over the board during these months, and it can range from chilly to pleasant. Bring some layers, but still go with lightweight pieces like a maxi dress, flowy tops, and a thin jacket. You can bring a thicker leather jacket for especially chilly weather, which is popular for both men and women. I like bringing a sun hat, and no one will argue that sunglasses are in style year-round! Temperatures range between a low of 37°F and a high of 53°F (3°C to 12°C).

SUMMER – May, June, July, August and September

Madrid Summers are beautiful and this time is when the country comes to life! You won’t struggle to find an event or exciting activity. Whether you’re a foodie, party-goer, historian, adventure-nut, or artist – you’ll find a unique nook for every person in your travel party.

July and August are the hottest months and the days get longer, so you’ll want to dress in a way that helps you beat the heat. If you really can’t stand the crowds or warmth, aim to visit closer to May or June. Even by September, it starts to cool off a bit, but the crowds will linger into shoulder season until about October and November.

Bring lightweight fabrics like linen and rayon. Women can go for skirts and loose-fitting tank tops. Remember that flip-flops are best reserved for beach day-trips since most Spanish people don’t wear these out and about, but if they’re really stylish, you can make them work in the city. Men should opt for chino shorts and a button-down shirt that is super breathable (linen is very European). This is the best time to bring a sun hat, sunglasses, and some natural sunscreen. Temperatures range between a low of 60°F and a high of 89°F (15°C to 31°C).

FALL – October and November

This is my favorite time to visit Europe. It’s much cooler but not freezing, the crowds have thinned out but it’s not sleepy or quiet – the locals are emerging which makes the city feel less touristic – it’s really the best of both worlds!

Expect scattered rain and some chillier nights. You’ll definitely need a nice coat, a waterproof jacket, a scarf, and boots. An umbrella is a wise accessory and you may bring a pair of gloves or a hat. Temperatures range between a low of 43°F and a high of 79°F (6°C to 26°C).

What NOT to Bring to Madrid

  • 1.DON’T BRING an Already Full Suitcase

    Baggage fees are the worst and with all the cobblestone and uphill slopes, Europe is not a place that you want to drag around heavy luggage. You’ll also want to leave room for the impeccable souvenirs that Spain has to offer! Bring a capsule wardrobe to cut down on laundry and offer multiple looks per piece.

  • 2.DON’T BRING Non-Compatable Electronics

    Spain’s voltage system is not always compatible with certain electronics (even with a universal adapter). This includes things like hair straighteners, blow dryers, etc. Leave them at home since most hotels will provide them anyway.

  • 3.DON’T BRING Items That Scream “TOURIST!”

    Camo, sparkly tank tops, American-flag-adorned outfits, and fanny packs are only reserved for tacky tourists. Spain is a fashion-forward place, so dress the part.

  • 4.DON’T BRING Heavy Books

    Books are not practical since you’ll be on the move! Bring a Kindle which can hold infinite stories or leave your books at a local book-swap if staying in an accommodation like a Hostel.

  • 5.DON’T BRING Valuables

    Vacation is not a time to bring your most cherished items. Leave the shiny diamond bracelets at home to avoid being a victim of pickpocketing or in-your-face theft. You won’t need them anyway, and money/passports can be carried in a neck wallet for top-tier discretion.

  • 6.DON’T BRING Immodest Clothing

    While Spainairds have style, they also have a religious and modest culture. Show your respect by covering up in more conservative neighborhoods and not wearing flip-flops or short-shorts anywhere but the beach, where it’s more appropriate.

FAQs About Packing for Madrid

  • 1. When is the best time to visit Madrid?

    When is the best time to visit Madrid?

    Madrid is wonderful at all times of the year! But you’ll need to consider your goals for your trip. If you want to enjoy the warm and active side of Madrid with countless events to choose from – Summer will be your best bet.

    If you prefer a calmer trip with fewer crowds and a more authentic “local” experience – Fall and Spring are ideal. There will be more rain from March to May.

    If you don’t mind a little chilly weather, Winter has its own charm with holiday markets and lower prices (outside of Christmas and New Year’s weeks when rates can spike a bit).

  • 2. What is the best way to get around Madrid?

    Walking is the best way to get the “scenic route” in Madrid, but if you have further to go, the metro will be your best bet (which runs from the Madrid Airport [MAD] to the city), and there are over 300 metro stations in town. You may consider purchasing a 30-day public transport card, which is probably the cheapest way to get around if you’re going to be here for more than a week or two.

    Buses are another affordable method of transportation and taxis can be hailed on the main streets. You can also get the touristy (but charming) Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Tour, which will give you a double-decker view of the city! It’s a great way to get a lay of the land for an affordable price.

  • 3. What are the best things to do in Madrid?

    What are the best things to do in Madrid?

    The most popular attractions in Madrid would likely be The Royal Palace and the Prado Museum. But be sure to enjoy the more authentic experiences like a tapas tour and flamenco dance show! You can also go to a soccer game or find a peaceful retreat in Retiro Park.

    We loved exploring the Mercado de San Miguel for tasty treats and you could take day-trip to nearby cities like Toledo & Segovia.

  • 4. Do I need a passport and Visa to visit Madrid?

    If you are coming from America or an outside country, you will need a passport that is valid for at least three months after your visiting date. COVID-19 entry restrictions are no longer enacted and Spain is a member of the Schengen Agreement, which means American citizens can enter Spain for 90 days without a visa. Beyond this duration, a visa will be required. You can read more about travel requirements and restrictions on the Spain Travel Advisory.

  • 5. Is Madrid Safe?

    Is Madrid Safe?

    Yes, Madrid is a reasonably safe destination, but it is still a large city where you should take normal precautions. It ranks 68 in the Travel Safe Abroad organization and the crime rate is comparably low to the rest of Europe.

    The most common crime is petty theft, so be sure to conceal your valuable credit cards, cash, and passports with an anti-theft neck wallet.