Q&A: What to Wear in Spain during the Summer

June 12th, 2009

Pictured: Short Sleeve Twist Detail Top | $34.30 (sale, originally $49) at Banana Republic, Cotton Smocked Skirt | $55.20 (sale, originally $69) at Banana Republic, and Cotton Bonbon Dress | $78 at J Crew.

Seems that Spain is a hot summer destination, based on the number of questions we’ve been getting about what to wear on Spanish summer getaways.  For all of you Omiru readers who will be vacationing there this summer, here’s our guide for what to wear in Spain this summer:

Our reader questions center on three Spanish destinations: Madrid, Barcelona, and Costa Brava.  Madrid is going to be the hottest of the three, with temperatures in the 90s during the day, and 60s at night.  June is slightly more mild, but July and August are stiflingly hot - so make sure to get a hotel with good air conditioning. 

Barcelona and Costa Brava are going to be more comfortable than Madrid.  Barcelona in June is going to be in the mid 70s, dipping into the low 60s at night.  In July, the weather heats up to the high 70s or 80s during the day.  As for Costa Brava, look for temperatures in the high 70s during the day and mid 60s at night.

To stay comfortable in this toasty weather, here’s what you need to pack for your trip to Spain:

Tops: Breathable knits and woven shirts are going to be your best bet.  Pack an assortment of layering tees (roll them up to be most space-efficient when packing), plus a few short sleeved cotton or linen shirts.  Extra style points for bright colors–perfect for such a festive vacation spot.

Sweaters: A lightweight sweater (or two, max) will do the trick.

Pack a nice bright dress for evenings out on the town.  Extra style points for trying out exotic prints.

Outerwear: Pack a single lightweight jacket for nighttime.

Bottoms: Shorts and cropped pants are going to be the most weather-appropriate.  If you’re a skirt kind of gal, feel free to pack a skirt or two as well.  We’re loving the breezy chic look of a layered cotton smocked skirt–very flirty and extremely versatile.

Accessories: Sunglasses (oversized for drama), a hat to protect your face from the sun, and a scarf (optional) for layering.  Check the weather forecast before you leave to see if you need a travel umbrella; rain is rare but not unheard of.

Shoes:  Sandals are going to be a must–but choose ones that you’re comfortable walking in.  Also pack a pair of flip flops for the beach.

Have a great tip about what to wear to Spain this summer? Share it with us in the comments!

Entry Filed under: Q&A,Women's

17 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Beatriz  |  June 12th, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Leave room in your bags to buy shoes or sandals. Spanish shoes are beautiful and have very good quality.
    In Andalucia, in the south of Spain it is even hotter!!

  • 2. Samantha  |  June 12th, 2009 at 8:56 am

    Granted, it’s been a few years since I was there, but I did spend a summer in Spain and the one thing that I distinctly remember about clothes was that hardly anyone wore shorts – except for the tourists. Skirts and dresses are the way to go! (Shorts were OK near the beach, but not so much in places like Madrid.)

  • 3. Mia  |  June 12th, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Spain is a very dressy place so keep your outfits sophisticated. Also Spaniards wear a lot of black, festive colors are always great in the summer but don’t overdo it. I agree with Samantha, nobody wears shorts.

  • 4. Tracey  |  June 12th, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Nothing for the rain in the plains?

  • 5. Lee  |  June 12th, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Spaniards dress more formally that Americans do, and in general wear clothing of high quality. Less well-off people may have fewer clothes, but the fabric are decent. Sneakers on women are a dead give-away that you are American, and I agree about the shorts. Nice restaurants require neat, well-ironed clothing for men and women.

  • 6. Doshi  |  June 14th, 2009 at 9:30 am

    I just came back from a trip to Barcelona, San Sebastian and Madrid yesterday and most of the “advice” I got was so off. The statement that “Spaniards dress more formally” is not true and vague as the styles differ so much by region. Also, no one was in black.

    I saw a LOT of capri-length and long harem type pants (there were even shorts with harem type hems), skinny jeans, and shirts and summer dresses in very light and breezy fabrics. Most everyone wore flat thong or gladiator type sandals. Did I say skinny jeans? Most men and women under 40 were in them. People were casually chic.

    People wore fashion sneakers too, but not running shoes.. mostly sandals and also sky high heels even on the cobblestone pavements…

    Barcelona – very moderm and clean, very fashion forward, the subway was like a fashion runway
    San Sebastian – more sophisticated and also very style conscious, even the elderly were window shopping at Zara’s
    Madrid – more street or urban (multti-ethnic) but also chic, harem pants, shorts, light shift dresses

  • 7. Doshi  |  June 14th, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Also, there were a lot of maxi length sun dresses and skirts.

    Most of the girls had on tissue weight tanks with long skirts and gladiator sandals (think Woodstock). I saw knee length and shorter skirts but with bubble type hem

  • 8. Nuria  |  June 16th, 2009 at 10:36 am

    It´s such fun to read this as I´m spanish!
    I´ve recently traveled and been to Fuerteventura, Madrid and Zaragoza, and definitely you´ll see lots of short dresses, gladiators and many other sandals, leggings, flats…
    I susbscribe the advice of leaving room in the suitcase to buy lovely clothes and shoes.
    Have a nice holiday in Spain!

  • 9. bebelastrange  |  June 19th, 2009 at 10:49 am

    TOTALLY glad you wrote this… to clear the air b/c i’m not sure how old some of these peps are but i’m 25 and have travel Europe… going to Madrid next…
    This world is so global and i would imagine the fashion is the same as any other city in europe ie: Athens – Paris – Rome
    Everyone trys to tell you how different other city peps dress… in reality its pretty much the same…
    Some peps dress fashionable… like i try to do w/ comfort…
    Others feel the need to be 100% tourist.
    REMEMBER you are gonna tak elots of pics so dress cute & not like a tourist!

  • 10. bebelastrange  |  June 19th, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Moral of the story:
    The most important thing is dressing your age & body type w/comfort in mind of your daily activities.


  • 11. ann  |  June 28th, 2009 at 1:09 am

    Do people wear short shorts often? Or should I leave that to the beach?

  • 12. marta leonard  |  July 2nd, 2009 at 12:34 am

    Help. My husband and I are leaving for San Sebastian and Barcelona this Sat. 4th of July. It’ll be raining in S.S. Anybody been there in July. Men’s fashion trends now? Would I need warme clothes, raincoat for evening? Is it true that peope in SS dress in a more fashionable way?
    Thanks Marta

  • 13. mtngil  |  July 26th, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Much of what is written is for women. What do men mostly wear? Jeans [what color blue/blk], khakis, sandals, knit shirts, evening [slacks, khakis, black], sneakers/shoes?

  • 14. Deepa  |  July 17th, 2010 at 7:37 am

    I have recently been to Barcelona.( 1 week ago)It was very hot and most of them were wearing shorts.I do not know whether they were tourists or Spanish.I did not take any shorts after reading about the dress code in Barcelona but decided to buy one to blend with the crowd.It was summer sale time and I could find mostly shorts and short skirts only .( no medium or long skirts).Very surprising considering the reviews I had seen before.

  • 15. CHRISTIAN  |  July 26th, 2010 at 6:39 am

    Do not wear short shorts in cities like Madrid or Barcelona. It is inappropriate. My girlfriend was “cat called” constantly, and mistaken for a hooker. She was called a “Jinetera”, which is not a compliment, and was even refused service at a bank.

  • 16. Me  |  May 13th, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    I’m leaving to Spain at the end of June until July 12 what do I wear in case of tops,bottoms,shoes and accessories !?

  • 17. Sara  |  July 2nd, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    I would be travelling to Spain(Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Majorka) in July.

    Any suggestions on what to wear? Shoes? etc.

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