Home to one of Europe’s most popular cities (Barcelona), the continent’s long-standing party capital (Ibiza), and one of the world’s most famous long-distance hikes (the Camino de Santiago), Spain has more than enough attractions to warrant a visit.
But don’t risk the safety of your electronics like your phone, laptops, tablets, or any other device you bring to Spain. By understanding the basics on Spain’s outlets and what requirements there are for your plugs, you can protect your devices from damage.
See our product selection criteria and guidelines here.
Power Outlets in Spain
Spain uses Type C and Type F outlets, both of which have two round holes. The difference between them is that Type F also has two grounding clips. You’ll find both outlet types throughout Spain, from Barcelona to the countryside. Both can take any plug type with two round prongs, as long as there’s not a third grounding prong. However, sockets in Spain usually sit inside a round indentation in the wall; plugs with a head that isn’t round will need an adapter to fit the outlet, even if they’re otherwise compatible.
Like the rest of Europe, Spain’s electrical grid uses a frequency of 50 Hz and a voltage of 230V. Appliances rated between 220V and 240V are safe to plug into Spanish sockets.
Spain Power Adapter
If you haven’t been there before, you’ll probably be wondering, “What plug do I need for Spain?” Since electrical sockets in Spain require two round pins, you’ll definitely need an adapter if you’re American and have American devices.
A US-to-Spain power adapter will allow you to plug in devices with the North American-style flat prongs (Type A and B plugs). Fortunately, the difference between American and Spanish sockets is obvious, so you most likely won’t make the mistake of trying to plug in your device with no adapter.
We recommend this Universal Adapter for charging your personal electronics because of its quality and compact build. It’s the best adapter we’ve found for a variety of reasons!
In addition to being compatible with outlets in dozens of countries around the world including Australia, China, France, Greece, Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, UK & US – it also comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee and built-in fuse protector to ensure the safety of your devices.
In addition to your US-to-Spain power adapter, these items will help you pack with intention and expand the possibilities of your getaway. Also, check out our Spain packing list for more inspiration and ideas.
1. Neck Wallet
Barcelona has been called the pickpocketing capital of the world, and touristy areas of all other Spanish cities also have problems with pickpocketing, so it’s crucial to have a way to keep your valuables safe. Savvy pickpockets can reach into your bag or the pocket of your jacket or pants without you even noticing. Instead, keep your cash, credit cards, passports, and even phone in a neck wallet, where they’ll be practically impossible to steal. This one has RFID-blocking material, which will stop e-thieves from scanning your financial data at the airport or in crowded areas.
Whether you’re using a mapping app on your phone to navigate Madrid or reading on your Kindle at the beach in Mallorca, you’ll want to make sure your devices stay charged. A portable charger that’s only the size of a tube of lipstick will keep your devices juiced and take up almost no space in your bag. You never know when you’ll need a charge in an emergency. We have been saved so many times by this nifty little device!
VPNs aren’t only for accessing Facebook in China (although they work for that, too). Using a VPN is also a way to keep your data secure and prevent hackers from accessing your private information. Since there is prevalent cybercrime in Spain and hackers are finding new ways to steal your data like passwords, credit card numbers, and social security numbers – you will 100% need a VPN. I discovered this personally when my credit card number was stolen in Europe at an Airbnb that I thought was safe.
A VPN is an especially good idea during trips when you’re frequently using Wi-Fi networks in public places (like cafes, coffee shops, airports, hotels, etc.) where cyber thieves like to target tourists. Again, it will also limit online censorship so you can access sites like Facebook, Netflix, PayPal, and other apps that may be censored in a given country and use the internet like normal without streaming interruptions or blocked pages.
Gone are the days of inefficient packing! If you pack by putting every item into your bag individually, you’ll have to remove every item to find what you’re looking for. Fortunately, there’s a better way. Pack your clothes and other items into packing cubes, and you’ll just have to pull out the cube that contains what you need. Pro tip: use one cube for pants, one for tops, one for essentials, and so on. Plus this set pictured also comes with laundry bags, so you’ll never mix dirty and clean clothes again!
As you shop for an adapter, consider extra charging cords that could come in handy. Whether you’re using your little portable charger or plugging into a regular outlet, you’ll need a charging cable for your phone. But it’s a pretty easy thing to leave behind, plugged in at your hotel or on the train, so bring extras, just in case.
Spain does not offer free healthcare to tourists. Keep in mind that most health insurance providers do not cover you while abroad, including Medicare and Medicaid. So if you fall sick or get into an accident during your trip, you don’t want to be stuck paying out-of-pocket for international hospital bills!
Our friend experienced this when they were in a hiking incident (thankfully, they had travel insurance and didn’t have to pay the nearly $50K in medical bills!) Travel insurance will cover not only medical expenses, but also lost or stolen items, interrupted travel plans, flight delays, and even emergency evacuations.
We like to use Faye because they make travel insurance way easier than any of the competitors (and we’ve tried a lot!) They are the first 100% digital provider with claims and reimbursements handled through the app. It is a seamless experience and they truly care, with customer representatives available to support you 24/7. It is a small cost in your overall trip and you will regret not having it if something does come up. Remember that no one plans to get sick and accidents happen every day.
If you’re really prone to it, jet lag can feel like a reason to avoid trans-oceanic flights. Instead of skipping your trip, bring some jet lag relief pills to help you adjust to the time difference quickly. These use gentle ingredients like chamomile to fight exhaustion and make the transition to a new timezone way smoother.
We never fly without luggage locks. Sadly, we’ve had items stolen out of our checked suitcases, and now we don’t risk it anymore. These are our favorite locks because they’re 10x more effective than 3-digit locks and super easy to set up with your birth year or an easy-to-remember 4-digit code. They’re TSA-approved, so they won’t cause you any travel delays with security. We use them for city and hotel lockers, backpacks in crowded areas prone to pickpockets, and definitely all suitcases.
The bathrooms in Europe are quite small, often lacking storage space or room to handle anything besides… business. Even so, no one likes to throw their toiletries all over the countertop or clutter their hotel room. This hanging toiletry bag is an elegant solution, creating a shelving system that vertically optimizes your life!
We love this one by Eco Sun because it’s ethically sourced in Hawaii by a company that gives back to women’s education in underserved communities. It is well-designed for an avid traveler with 4 giant pockets for all skincare, haircare, makeup, and hygiene items – plus 3 smaller pockets on the outside for medication, face towels, jewelry, and tinier items. It’s a total game-changer and we never travel without it!
You’ll probably want to bring back some Spanish Cava and we love these packing cushions with a triple-layer seal. They’re called Wine Wings, intended to protect bottles of vino in transit during international flights (where airport staff tend to throw your luggage pretty roughly!) But we use them for lots of things outside of alcohol – olive oil, perfumes, glass figurines, ceramics, basically anything delicate that could use a little TLC in your luggage. They’re great and can be inflated once you arrive in Spain!
Summers in Spain can reach high temperatures regularly exceeding 35 °C (95 °F). For hikes, standing in long lines outside, beach days, and more outdoor activities – we use these cooling towels to beat the heat! They’re kind of magical – dropping to nearly 30-degrees colder than the outside temp when you add water – and we never travel to warm destinations without them. Wrap ‘em around your neck and shoulders for sweet relief!
For churches and holy sites, bring a shawl to wrap around your shoulders. You could be denied entry to certain locations with strict dress codes since they often do not permit access to those with bare shoulders or legs. Spain is a stylish place, but it’s also a religious country, and you will want to pay your respects by dressing culturally appropriate. This shawl is beautiful and is great for a chilly night too!
In the Northern parts of Spain, December through April are the rainiest months, while in the Southern parts of Spain, the rainy season is typically November to February. No matter the time of year, don’t let a rainy day hinder your ability to explore this beautiful place. This windproof umbrella is made for travel, only weighs one pound, and is able to cover two people!
I’d argue that almost everyone who travels has been a victim of traveler’s diarrhea. Activated charcoal supplements are essential for those in a new place (especially since anything from a Michelin gourmet meal, to street food, to tap water and ice can give you food poisoning!) These tablets will detoxify any pathogens from your system and get you back on your feet faster. Spare yourself the distress and keep them on hand.
This bag is brilliant for those who plan to shop a bit on their travels! We love this one in particular because it’s a lightweight duffel material, which means it’s virtually weightless when empty. But you can fill it with your authentic Spanish goods and souvenirs like cava (wine), spices, olive oil, saffron, art, espadrilles, jewelry, and more! It counts as your personal item to avoid carry-on fees for the flight home, and it fits perfectly under your plane seat.
A travel towel is one of the most versatile items you can bring. It’s great for beach days, hikes, as a seat cover on public transit, to cushion delicate items in your suitcase, and more. This one is light as a feather and dries 10x faster than cotton. It’s our go-to for drying things off and staying on-the-go without heavy, soggy, fluffy towels that are not practical for travel.
To use devices that are rated below 220V, you’ll need a US-to-Spain voltage converter in addition to your power adapter.
The main items that fall into this category are American-made appliances that create heat – like hair dryers, hair straighteners, and irons – which are usually rated at 110V. Trying to use these devices in Spain without a voltage converter will most likely destroy them and can also shock you or start a fire. So, definitely leave these at home.
If you’re going to be in Spain long-term, you may just want to purchase European-made appliances once you arrive. Or if you plan to travel frequently, it might make sense to buy dual-voltage versions, which you can switch between 110/120V and 220/240V depending on where you are.
Electricity in Spain
The electrical infrastructure in Spain is not as well developed as in most of Western Europe, and power surges and outages do happen. Blackouts sometimes occur during major storms, but they can also be caused by poor maintenance or insufficient capacity of the electrical grid.
In general, there are more issues with electricity in rural areas of Spain than in cities like Barcelona and Madrid.
Other FAQs about traveling in Spain
1. When to travel to Spain?
Spring and fall are generally the best times of year to visit Spain. During the summer, the interior of the country is extremely hot, and the coasts are packed with tourists. In August, many businesses close to give their employees a vacation, which can put a damper on your own trip. The winter in Spain isn’t unbearably cold, but most of the country is too chilly to enjoy spending a lot of time outside. No matter what time of year you visit, make sure you’re aware of any events going on. If your trip coincides with a big festival, your trip could be marred by huge crowds and sky-high prices. Be sure to check current Spain travel advisories before you go.
2. What is the weather like in Spain?
Compared to most of Europe, Spain is relatively warm overall. Even in the winter, lows stay in the 40s in most of the country, and the snowfall is mainly in the mountains. The north of Spain is the wettest region, and is rainiest during the winter and spring months. In the summer, the coastal areas have nice beach weather, but the interior is incredibly hot. Temperatures can soar above 100 degrees, especially in Andalusia, which is the hottest region.
3. What to do in Barcelona?
Once you start researching the top things to do in Barcelona, this city’s status as a tourist favorite will make sense. The home of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, Barcelona has some incredible buildings you can’t help but gawk at: the Sagrada Família, La Pedrera, and Casa Batlló, to name a few. Museum enthusiasts will also stay occupied for days there, with the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, the Barcelona City History Museum, the National Art Museum of Catalonia, and the Museum of Chocolate, among others. Or, you can take in the city on foot with a stroll through Las Ramblas, the neighborhood of Gràcia, or the Barri Gòtic. Barcelona also has several parks worth visiting, including Montjuïc, Parc de la Ciutadella, and Park Güell.
Barcelona may be Spain’s most popular city, but there are interesting things to do all throughout the country. You’ll find mesmerizing architecture in most of the major cities, from the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See in Seville to the famed Alhambra in Granada. There are also more museums than you could ever visit in one trip, starting with the “golden triangle” of museums of Madrid. To stay active during your trip, walk along one of the pilgrimage trails that make up the Camino, tackle the dizzying El Caminito del Rey, or take a Flamenco class in Andalusia. For a uniquely Spanish experience, time your visit to attend one of the dozens of festivals that take place throughout the year.
Most of Spain’s major cities have ample public transportation, and Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia all have extensive metro systems. Uber is very controversial in Spain, but it’s widely available, as is a Spanish competitor called Cabify.
For travel between cities, a high-speed rail system connects much of the country; the train from Madrid to Barcelona takes just two and a half hours. The popular train routes book up, so make sure to buy your tickets in advance. Most of Spain is also connected by long-distance buses, which are slower and less comfortable than the train, but usually much cheaper. Unless you have your own car, a bus is the only way to reach many of Spain’s rural and off-the-beaten-path destinations.
Asher has been traveling the world since he left Australia to study in the USA in 2004. He received a Master’s in Business Administration degree in 2013. He has lived all over the globe including India, Europe, Hawaii, and mainland US. He enjoys researching the travel industry, loves being a dad, cooking & eating delicious food, photography (took many of our photos), surfing big waves on Maui, camping trips and walking barefoot on the earth.