Wondering what to pack for Barcelona? Read on for all my recommendations in this essential Barcelona packing list! I’ve suggested what to wear in Barcelona according to the seasons, with some cute Barcelona outfits you might like to try.
This is a Barcelona packing list for women, sorry guys, I’m not an expert in men’s clothing, but you can at least check the other items off your list.
Barcelona Packing Tips
One of my top travel tips wherever you go is to pack light, and if you can squeeze everything into a carry-on bag you’ll save money and time at the airport as you won’t have to wait for the luggage carousel.
While I don’t think you’ll want to spend your whole trip shopping in Barcelona, don’t worry if you forget something as you can always buy it here. Some brands might be different in Spain than they are at home, but you can buy everything you might possibly need.
That said, I’ve tried to make this Barcelona packing list as comprehensive as possible so you can pick and choose what you think you will need, according to your travel and clothing style.
What to Pack for Barcelona – The Ultimate Barcelona Packing List
OK so let’s crack on with my recommended packing list for Barcelona. I’ve split it into sections to make it easier to manage:
Barcelona Travel Essentials
Passport, Tickets & Insurance
Whatever you do, don’t forget these!! Make sure you check carefully what is required for your entry into Spain from your country in terms of passport and ID, travel insurance and COVID regulations.
If you are not a citizen of the European Union, to enter Spain you must follow the Schengen area passport requirements.
Your passport must be:
- issued less than 10 years before the date you enter the country (check the ‘date of issue’)
- valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’)
Even if you have an e-ticket for your flight on your phone I also like to have a paper copy just in case! I also have a photocopy of my passport, as well as a scanned electronic version stored on my phone in case it gets stolen. It’s also useful to have a paper copy of your insurance details, and the policy number and claim phone number somewhere handy in case you need it.
Have you got Travel Insurance?
- Unfortunately, things can and do go wrong when you travel. I never leave home without travel insurance, so consider getting insurance for your trip to cover things like adventure sports and activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, stolen items, trip cancellation and more.
- Get a quote for your trip from World Nomads or SafetyWing which both offer travel insurance for backpackers and long-term travellers, or use a comparison site like Travel Insurance Master to find the best cover for you.
Other Paperwork You Might Need
- COVID regulations are also changing all the time, so follow instructions from your airline and the Spanish government to make sure you have the most up-to-date information.
- If you plan to hire a car in Barcelona you’ll also need your driver’s license and an international driver’s permit for Spain and any other countries you plan to drive to.
- If you’re a student, bring your student ID as you may be able to get a discount and some of the museums in Barcelona.
Travel Credit Card & Euros
The currency in Spain is the Euro. It’s useful to have some Euros in cash, although the vast majority of places accept credit cards these days, some cash for tips and other expenses can come in handy.
Having access to money while travelling is essential, but it can be expensive with excessive fees and charges.
I have a travel bank account with Wise (formally TransferWise) which allows me to receive money in various currencies and easily convert it into euros and other currencies without the hefty fees you expect at most bureau de change facilities.
The exchange rates and fees for taking money out of the account abroad are much better than using regular bank accounts or credit cards too. There are other options worth looking into depending on where you are usually based; Monzo is another popular option in the UK for example.
If you take any medication on a regular basis then make sure you have enough to last the length of your trip, plus at least a couple of days spare just in case. Bring your prescription and the original packaging for your medication where you can as this will make it easier to explain what it is if border control agents want to take a look.
Unfortunately, while Barcelona is a safe city, it is well-known for being a pickpocket hotspot, so I highly recommend bringing an anti-theft backpack with slash-proof material and securable zippers will help keep everything safe while you’re out and about sightseeing.
There are various styles of anti-theft backpacks to choose from. Muted colours are more common in Barcelona, so you’ll blend in with the locals instead of sticking out like a blatant tourist. These are a few of my favourites:
Travel Scarf with Hidden Pocket
Travel scarves are great as they can keep you warm in cold weather, a damp scarf will keep you cool when it’s hot, and these travel scarves from Waypoint Goods have a hidden pocket for storing phones, wallets and passports to keep your belongings nice and safe.
I love my Waypoint travel scarf and wear it everywhere, it comes in a variety of colourful patterns and you can wear it in various styles including as a headscarf and a shawl, but most importantly it helps me to feel safe in the knowledge my passport and cash are safe too – even in pickpocket hotspots like Barcelona!
Money Belt / Other Hidden Pocket Clothing
A money belt is the classic hiding trick for cash and credit cards, but they can be uncomfortably sweaty, and every pickpocket and thief knows to look for them.
Other ways to hide money while travelling include actual belts with hidden compartments to fit cash in, hidden bra pockets, hidden pocket wrist wallets and more. Anything that helps keep your money safe in Barcelona is worth the investment!
Phone Case with a Long Strap
Keep your phone attached to you to reduce the risk of it being snatched. I have a similar phone case to this one, with a long strap and a built-in wallet to fit a couple of cards – I never leave home without it!
If you go to the beach, I’d also recommend a waterproof phone pouch so you can keep your phone with you at all times. Don’t leave anything valuable unattended at the beach.
Canvas or Cotton Tote Bag
I always carry at least two cotton totes with me on my travels, as they come in handy for so many different things I inevitably need more than one! Use them as laundry bags, shopping bags, beach bags and anything else you can think of to avoid using a plastic bag or single-use paper bag.
Cotton bags can be rolled up and stuffed into the smallest of spaces when you’re not using them, whereas canvas totes are usually larger and bulkier to pack. There are hundreds of different designs and colours to choose from, Etsy has some cute designs like this Wanderlust tote bag.
Water Bottle with a Filter
While you can drink the water in Barcelona it is definitely better to filter it first. Bringing a filter water bottle with you will save money and cut down on waste plastic as it negates the need for buying bottled water every day.
Water-to-Go is the bottle I use everywhere which filters 99.9999% of illness-causing contaminants, including those as small as a virus. You can drink water from taps, water fountains or any freshwater source wherever you are, without fear of a dodgy stomach or waterborne disease.
All Why Visit Barcelona readers can get 15% discount on a Water-to-Go filter bottle with the code BYORB
What to Wear in Barcelona
In Barcelona, locals dress smartly and relatively conservatively, and seem to have a competition to wear as many clothes as possible even in the sweltering heat!
For women, dresses and skirts are usually more common than shorts in hot weather, and for men light and loose troursers/pants and short sleeve shirt or polo are more common than shorts and t-shirt, at least among the locals. Then there is the alternative style, which is more hippy or hipster, with dreadlocks, tattoos and harem pants.
As there is a large international population you’ll see lots of styles and I’d say you can wear whatever you like in Barcelona and no one will really care, as long as you’re respectful and don’t show too much skin.
Remember that Barcelona is a big city, and while you might want to walk around in a bikini all day, that’s not really appropriate when people are going to work. Make sure you cover up a bit when you come off the beach, or if you plan to visit the Cathedral in particular as religious sites do have a stricter dress code.
One thing you absolutely cannot do without in Barcelona is a comfortable pair of shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking around and sightseeing, so keeping your feet comfy and blister-free is a must. Sports shoes or walking sandals are good options in the summer, and flat ankle boots in winter are ideal when the weather is a bit cooler.
Flip flops, thongs, beach sandals, whatever you call them, are a must for your Barcelona packing list. Whether you wear them for heading down to the beach or mooching around the hotel, having something to slip on your feet is essential.
Dresses are a good choice for what to wear in Barcelona at any time of year, and they can be dressed up or down with shoes, sandals or boots and some funky accessories. Avoid anything too skimpy as you’ll stand out as a tourist, but don’t be afraid of patterns and colours.
Even if you visit Barcelona in the winter when it’s too cold for sunbathing there might be a pool in your hotel, or you might fancy a trip to the spa, so it doesn’t do any harm to pack a swimsuit or two! Anything goes on the beach, topless sunbathing is quite common and there are a couple of nudist beaches in Barcelona, but as soon as you come off the beach, put something on over the top.
If you plan to do some watersports like kayaking or SUP when you’ll be out in the sun a lot, a long-sleeved rash guard will protect your skin.
Coverup / Kimono
Perfect to keep the sun off your shoulders when worn with shorts and a strappy top during the day, as an extra layer in the evening or for wearing over a swimsuit, a lightweight kimono is a very useful travel accessory for a trip to Barcelona.
Underwear – Bras, Pants & Socks
A Light Jacket (for Summer)
If you’re visiting Barcelona in summer you probably won’t need a jacket, but I always like to bring one just in case – even if I only use it on the journey or in places where the air-con is in overdrive! In the evenings it can feel cooler, so a light jacket or sweater can come in very handy.
Barcelona Packing List – Sun Protection & Toiletries
Sunglasses & Sunhat
Whether you’re sightseeing or lying on the beach, sunglasses and a sunhat are essential for any Barcelona outfit. I like this fedora-style hat which can be packed flat or rolled to fit in a suitcase and has an adjustable band to make it fit perfectly.
Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays is essential while you are in Barcelona, but lots of sunscreen contains chemicals which can damage fragile reef systems and pollute the ocean. SUN BUM sunscreen is Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Gluten, Cruelty and Paraben Free to ensure a fun day in the sun in the most eco-friendly way possible!
If you do get burned, soothe your skin with aloe vera or cocoa butter. There are plenty of liquid aloe vera lotions you can try, but if you’re in the UK I highly recommend Kin Kind after sun lotion bar. I love how compact it is, and effective at cooling and calming my pale skin after too much sun! Badger also makes an organic after-sun bar which gets great reviews too.
Having travel-sized containers to decant your own toiletries into is a fabulous space-saving trick, as well as reducing pointless plastic use when buying mini-sized toiletries at the airport.
If you’re flying and plan to put any liquids in your carry-on you will need a clear bag to put them in – I usually use a ziplock freezer bag but once was forced to switch to a smaller bag by the security guy. A TSA approved toiletry bag can set your mind at ease, and this one has a handle for hanging in the shower too.
I recommend bringing the following toiletries, plus your make-up and nail varnish (and remover pads) if you choose.
- Bar of soap in a container
- Solid shampoo and conditioner bars (more detail below)
- Solid facial cleanser (more detail below)
- Folding toothbrush
- Toothpaste tabs
- Perfume or aftershave in a refillable mini bottle or free samples
- Moisturizer & lip balm (both with SPF)
- Travel hairbrush with mirror
- Mini Razor
Solid Shampoo & Conditioner Bars
Solid shampoo and conditioner bars are much smaller and lighter than bottles, don’t contribute to your liquid allocation for hand luggage if you’re only taking a carry-on for your Barcelona trip. They’re better for the environment too!
There are lots of brands making solid shampoos and conditioners with eco-friendly ingredients that are vegan and cruelty free, and without nasty chemicals and parabens. My personal favourites are the Kin Kind NOURISH me! shampoo bars and Ethique shampoo and conditioner which are the only brands I’ve found that lather like a normal shampoo and leaves my thick hair clean and soft.
Facial Cleanser Bar
I have quite oily skin that is prone to breakouts, so I am very fussy about how I cleanse my skin. I’ve used various liquid cleansers but I now use a solid facial cleanser from Ethique and I LOVE IT!
It leaves my skin feeling smooth and soft, but without any dryness and more importantly without spots! The only downside for travel is the shape of the bars doesn’t fit into any of my travel containers, so I have to cut them in half to fit inside the travel tins I already have. For short trips to Barcelona, check out their mini trial packs.
Electronics to Pack for Barcelona
Phone and Charging Cable
I assume you’ll have this with you anyway – I don’t go anywhere without my phone but I wanted to put it on the list just in case!
Travel Plug Adapter (with USB Sockets)
Just like the rest of Europe, the voltage in Spain is 230 volts, and you’ll need to make sure you have the correct adapter if you don’t have a rounded 2 pin European plug, also known as Type F or Type C plugs.
Something like this universal charger socket is bulkier than individual adapters, but the USB ports are very useful for charging multiple devices like your phone, portable charger, kindle and more, and you can use it in every country you travel too.
Portable Power Bank
In Barcelona, there are lots of photo opportunities so a portable power bank can be a life-saver to stop your phone from running out of battery. Don’t forget to bring the charging lead with you, and charge up the power bank at your accommodation in the evening ready for the next day.
Anker is one of the best brands for portable chargers and after testing out several brands I always choose Anker. I have a small version which is great for overnight or weekend trips and a larger one which can charge a phone several times for long periods without electricity.
If you can’t find the one you want on Amazon, try eBay – there is a shortage of new electronics at the moment so you might get lucky with a second-hand one.
While it isn’t a backpacking essential, having a camera to be able to take photos of your travels is a very nice extra. You can of course use your camera phone quite happily in most cases, but for those special photos of Barcelona then a lightweight camera for travel is very useful.
Kindle or a Book
Bits and Bobs You Might Not Think Of
Barcelona streets can be noisy at night so if you’re a light sleeper, earplugs will help you to sleep soundly – I can’t sleep without them! You can buy earplugs from pharmacists in packs of two or three, or bulk buy online before you travel, safe in the knowledge you can get a good night’s sleep.
Having a little case to put them in is also really useful to keep them clean and dry while you’re on the move. I like to use simple foam earplugs like these, which I trim down to size (they’re often too long and make sleeping on my side uncomfortable, but snipping a bit off the end solves that!), although there are lots of different designs and materials to choose from.
Eye Mask / Sleep Mask
An eye mask can also make a huge difference to how well you sleep, especially if you’re visiting Barcelona in the summer when it gets light early. They’re also useful if you have a long flight or bus journey to snooze through!
I love this eye mask which is soft and comfortable, and you can adjust it around the nose so it fits closer to your face and blocks out more light. It also has a handy little carry bag too.
Microfibre Beach Towel
More compact and quicker drying than normal towels, these microfibre towels don’t take up much space and can be very useful for taking to the beach.
Microfibre travel towels are quick-drying, easy to wash and come in a variety of colours and sizes. If you’re visiting Barcelona in the summer and want to pack ultra-light you might get away with a sarong instead of a quick-dry travel towel, but personally, I can’t do without a towel!
If you like to lock your luggage while it’s on the plane or if you’re staying in a hostel in Barcelona you will need a lock for the hostel lockers. These padlocks are TSA approved and come in packs of two and I also like flexible loops as you’re never quite sure how big the lock mechanism will be in a hostel!
What, bring an umbrella to Barcelona? While I would love to say it never rains in Barcelona, you will occasionally have some rain. Of course, you can buy an umbrella in Barcelona if you need one, but I like to be prepared, and a colourful umbrella can double as a parasol in sunny weather too.
Optional Extras to Pack for Your Journey to Barcelona
While you won’t need these in Barcelona, if you’ve got a long flight then these little beauties will help you have a comfortable journey! You can also check out more tips for long-haul flights here.
Inflatable Travel Pillow
Hostel beds with rubbish pillows, long journeys on uncomfortable buses or trying to sleep on a plane – all these mean a neck pillow comes in mighty handy when you’re travelling to Barcelona! I prefer an inflatable travel pillow over the cushion type, to save a bit of extra space in my rucksack when I’m not using it.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
Do not under any circumstances watch a movie or listen to music without headphones while you’re travelling – either out and about or on a plane. Having noise-cancelling earphones will also help to drown out background noises and is much better for everyone around you!
There is a wide range of headphones and earbuds available so you can choose whichever works best for you. I have Anker Soundcore headphones which are good value and get great reviews too.
Airfly Bluetooth Transmitter
If you have Bluetooth headphones, this handy travel gadget plugs into the plane headphone socket to allow you to connect to the inflight entertainment with your own headphones to give you a much-improved listening experience. It works for Airpods and any Bluetooth headphones or earbuds.
What Luggage to Bring to Barcelona?
Now you know what to pack for Barcelona, you actually have to pack it! Whether your team backpack or suitcase check out these luggage options that are perfect for a trip to Barcelona for check-in luggage and carry-on.
I am a recent convert to packing cubes, and I love how organised they make me feel – however, you can of course travel quite happily without them so I class them as very useful instead of essential for a trip to Barcelona. If you’re desperate for more space and don’t mind more weight then you could also get some compression cubes to stuff in some extra clothes!
Check-in Luggage for Barcelona
When travelling with check-in luggage, a good quality suitcase that can withstand being banged around is essential. Samsonite is a good brand and reasonably priced.
Check-in Backpacks for Barcelona
Osprey Backpacks are THE name travel backpacks. They make excellent quality backpacks for travel, hiking and a whole range of other activities so you can choose the right backpack for you.
The Osprey Fairview 70 Women’s Travel Backpack is a firm favourite for backpackers and it comes with a detachable daypack with a built-in laptop and tablet sleeve. Carry them separately when you’re flying so you can check in the larger section and take the day pack on the flight as carry-on, or attach them so you can keep your hands completely free when you’re on the move.
The Fairview 55 is basically the same design but with a smaller capacity, so better for carrying around if you can pack that bit lighter. The Farpoint 55 and Farpoint 70 are men’s travel backpack equivalents.
If you don’t want to carry everything on your back but want the flexibility to do it if needed, then a wheeled backpack is a combination of the two. I am currently using an Osprey Sojourn 60 for my backpacking trip around Australia and New Zealand and I love it!
They don’t seem to have new models of these on sale (I got mine second-hand) but there are Osprey Sojourn 45l packs on sale which apparently fit into most overhead luggage compartments. It has wheels like a regular suitcase, but also has a backpack harness, hipbelt and backpanel that can transform it into a backpack.
I haven’t actually used mine as a backpack at all (so far!), but it is nice to know I can do if needed, without having to carry it around all the time.
Smaller backpacks with a maximum of 40-litres capacity are great for taking as carry-on only if you can fit in everything you need. They are perfect for short trips or ultra-lite backpacking adventures and can be combined with a day pack as a personal carry-on item if you need some extra space.
I have the 40 litre Osprey Fairview pack for women which I have used as my main luggage for weekends away, and I often use as it a carry-on when checking in a larger suitcase for longer trips. The Fairview is designed for women, and the men’s equivalent is the 40 litre Farpoint which is just as good.
These travel backpacks meet carry-on restrictions for most airlines and are flexible if you don’t overfill them, so they will squeeze into luggage racks. They have a separate laptop sleeve, supporting hip-belt and open fully so you can easily access anything you’ve packed.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: The Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks
If you’re looking for a cheap travel backpack for carry-on, the Asenlin 40 litre travel backpack is a unisex design, and gets excellent reviews. It opens fully like the Osprey backpacks, has a 17-inch laptop compartment, is water-resistant and comes with a set of 3 packing cubes included.
Final Thoughts on What to Pack for Barcelona
I hope this Barcelona packing list has got everything you might need for a trip to Barcelona – if there is anything I’ve missed please let me know in the comments and I’ll add it to the article! Although, if there is something you do forget to pack you can always buy it in Barcelona.