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Like a lot of places, Spain’s weather can be variable in the spring. I always think of Spain as a hot country, which it is in the height of summer, but then I forget that it does cool off around the edges.
I recently spent a bit over a week in the little known town of Úbeda in Andalucia and another week or so in Madrid, Toledo, and Salamanca, and it was late March/early April. The weather ranged from warm and sunny (think short sleeve shirts and cocktails on the terrace) to cold, windy, rainy, and OMG I think it’s actually snowing.
Here’s my packing list for Spain in spring.
After two years, my REI Trail 40 backpack is still holding strong. I love that bag. I also brought a purse and my REI Stuff bag, which really came in handy for days when I needed more than what fits in my purse. I had two packing cubes to help organize small things and get my clothes to take up a little less space. As always, I was happy to be traveling carry-on only.
>>Read about why we think solo female travelers should go carry-on only.
I normally pack for one week no matter how long the trip is because I know I can do laundry along the way.
However, on this trip I knew I wouldn’t have time for laundry until about 11 days in, so I packed a little extra. In the end, I couldn’t find an open laundromat, so I washed some socks and underwear in the sink and wore my shirts twice each.
So you most definitely do not need quite as much as I packed, but I wanted to show you just how much can fit into a 40L backpack if you really want it to.
- 10 short sleeved shirts – Depending on your trip, you can probably bring half as many shirts.
- 2 long sleeved shirts – On cooler days I was layering a long sleeved shirt over my short sleeved shirt, and on cold days, it was one of several layers.
- 1 hoodie or lightweight jacket – I actually had both of these because I was coming from Berlin (where I live) and it was still quite cold there. Turns out, I wore the jacket over the hoodie about 50% of my time in Spain.
- 2 pairs of jeans – Again, 2 pairs might be a bit overkill for you, but I wore one pair on the plane and packed another because I knew it would be a while until I got to a laundromat. You could pack a different kind of travel-friendly pants instead to change things up.
- 12 pairs of underwear – I was hoping to avoid hand-washing clothes on my trip to Spain so I packed a few more than normal. And then I had to wash them in the sink anyway since I was traveling for 19 days.
- 2 bras
- 6 pairs of socks – I washed these in the sink many times.
- Something to sleep in – About half the time I was there, it was cold enough to want to wear pants to bed, so I was glad to have my gym pants. Leggings or yoga pants would work, too.
If you like to wear dresses when you travel pack one or two that can transition from warm to cold weather. I never once felt under-dressed in jeans though.
- Comfortable walking shoes – Spain has lots of great sights to see and lots of cobblestone roads, so make sure you wear shoes that won’t hurt your feet.
- Flip flops – Only necessary if you’re staying in a hostel or going to a beach area that’s actually warm enough in the spring.
- Flats – Pack a pair of fold-up flats if you’re bringing any dresses.
>>Read the female packing list for Barcelona in fall/winter.
I didn’t pack anything out of the ordinary here, but if you forget anything, there are plenty of shops in Spain where you can buy toiletries or other items you might need.
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Shower gel or soap
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Solid perfume
- Lip balm
- Brush and hair ties
- Prescription medication
- Solid sunscreen and solid bug repellent
>>Read why solid toiletries are perfect for carry-on only.
For the first time in a long time, I did not pack a sarong. With no beach time in my Spain schedule, I didn’t see much need for it.
- Sunglasses – Helpful on the days when it was sunny.
- Scarf – For the other days when it was windy and cold.
- Umbrella – I know lots of people advise against packing an umbrella, but it rained enough in every city I visited that I was glad to have mine with me. Sometimes the hood on a rain jacket just isn’t enough to keep your head from getting wet.
- Non-liquid laundry detergent sheets – I travel with Travelon non-liquid laundry detergent sheets for almost every trip as a back-up. I hate washing clothes in the sink, but sometimes it’s necessary. They aren’t great for bigger items like shirts or jeans, but these work really well for socks and underwear.
- Granola bars – This might not be necessary for you, but I have several dietary restrictions, and having some of my own snacks with me really helps. I had two boxes of granola bars jammed into my backpack along with everything else I’ve listed here.
>>Check out the female packing list for southern Spain in winter.
- Laptop – I worked a little while I was in Spain, and I Skyped with my husband during the first 10 days while I was traveling solo. Consider whether you really need to travel with a laptop.
- Kindle – I read a lot while in transit and during a few really nice days while sitting on a terrace or in a plaza.
- Camera – I took lots of pictures throughout my trip to Spain.
- Plug adapter – Spain uses European style plugs, so if you’re coming from a different part of the world, pack a plug adapter.
- Batteries, chargers, cords
>>Read our tips for packing and protecting electronics.
Visiting Spain in spring
Do some research about where you’re going before you hop on the plane. The northern half of the country and any areas that are mountainous are likely to have fluctuating weather in the spring, especially early spring. Southern Spain along the coast is more likely to be warm.
Toledo makes a good day trip from Madrid, but we enjoyed being there for a few days. Late morning and early afternoon was crowded, even in late March, so it was nice to explore outside of the day-tripping hours.
Not many tourists visit Salamanca, but it’s a big university town and worth going for a couple of days. The main plaza is gorgeous, the cathedral is unique in that it combines the old one with the new one, and it’s just a lively city with a great atmosphere.
Spain is a wonderful country for a food tour. I’ve taken a tapas tour in two different cities now, and I enjoyed them both. I definitely recommend searching for a food tour no matter where your trip takes you so you can learn about the cuisine.
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