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Ultimate Female Packing List for Southern Spain in Winter

packing list for southern Spain in winter

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Last winter I decided to get out of cold Germany and spend some time in warm, sunny Spain. My husband and I rented an apartment in Sevilla and spent about 6 weeks living there, with side trips to Granada and Cordoba. What we found was that, although it was definitely sunnier and warmer than Germany, it was not as balmy as we would’ve liked.

You don’t need heavy winter gear, but you can probably leave your shorts at home. Here’s my packing list for southern Spain in winter.

Clothing

Temperatures varied from 32F/0C to 65F/18C while we were there, which was late November through early January. In the shade, especially on a cooler day, it felt colder than it was. This means layers were important.

Another thing to keep in mind is where you’re staying. In general the apartments seem to be built for summer, which means they aren’t great in the winter. The windows in our apartment weren’t sealed well and didn’t let in any sun, and the heaters weren’t very good. Most of the hotels we stayed at weren’t much different. I often felt colder inside than outside.

  • 2-3 short-sleeve shirts for layering
  • 3-5 long sleeve shirts
  • 1 sweatshirt or cardigan
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • comfy pants you can sleep in
  • 2 bras
  • 7 pairs of underwear
  • 5 pairs of socks
  • 1 dress or skirt and top if your plans involve going somewhere that requires dressing up
packing list for southern Spain in winter
view of Granada and the snowy mountains from the Alhambra

Outerwear

The only place it truly felt like winter was in Granada. The city is at a higher altitude up in the mountains, so if you plan on spending a lot of time there, pack accordingly.

  • 1 jacket – I had my fall/spring jacket which is a rain shell with a zip-out fleece liner, and it worked well in Sevilla and Cordoba. I wished I had something heavier in Granada.
  • 1 scarf – Something fun that’s more for fashion should be fine. Again, Granada is the only place I wished I had a real winter scarf, so for just a couple days, you might not want to pack it.
  • Winter hat and gloves – Only if you’re spending a lot of time in Granada. You’ll survive a couple of days there without them, but if you’re basing yourself there for a few weeks in December, they’re worth bringing.

Shoes

packing list for southern Spain in winter
Mezquita de Cordoba

Accessories

  • Sunglasses – Even on cold days, the sun was usually bright and I was glad to have mine.
  • Jewelry – A few simple pieces if you’re bringing dressier clothing.
  • Purse or daypack

Toiletries

Your normal toiletries should be fine, and if you forget something, there are plenty of drug stores, convenience stores, and grocery stores around.

Electronics

packing list for southern Spain in winter
Alcazar in Cordoba

Tips for visiting southern Spain

Winter is not a super popular time to visit, which means fewer crowds. If you’re not a fan of extreme heat, this might be a good time to go south.

The public transport system in Sevilla is adequate but not great. There is one metro line, one tram line, and a network of buses. Unfortunately the different systems don’t really overlap and they all require separate tickets. We found that there weren’t even any bus tickets that allowed you to transfer from one bus to another. My suggestion is to stay near the center so you can walk or find a place to stay that is located near a bus route that goes through the center of the city so you don’t have to switch buses.

Be aware of holiday hours around Christmas, New Year’s, and January 6th. The 6th is actually a bigger holiday than Christmas and is celebrated with a huge parade. Plan well in advance if you want to get a spot to see the parade. In December we did see some Christmas markets, but they were kind of sad compared to the Christmas markets in Germany, so don’t go out of your way.

Granada is THE place to go for tapas. Go to any restaurant that serves them and order a drink, but don’t open your menu at the beginning. They’ll bring you something to eat (for free!) with each drink. But if you’re looking at your menu when you first sit down, they will think you don’t know the drill, and you’ll miss out on the tasty freebies. Most places will keep giving you free tapas with each round of drinks, so in theory you could have an entire dinner that way.

When traveling from city to city, compare trains and buses. The buses we took were comfortable and reliable, but it depends on the route and the timing as to whether or not they will be cheaper or fit your schedule.


Book a Viator Tour for Your Trip to Southern Spain in Winter

Granada Tapas and wine tour!

Take this local-led tour to avoid the so-so touristy spots and visit bars hand-picked by your guide instead. 

Gibraltar Day Trip from Seville with Hotel Pick-up ↗

Accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, immerse yourself in the intricate cultural tapestry of the city; gaze at the dramatic landmark of the Rock of Gibraltar; explore the subterranean depths of St. Michael’s Cave; then frolic with the famous monkeys who inhabit the island.


How to Pack for southern spain in winter

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Written by Ali

Ali Garland is a freelance writer, blogger, and travel addict who made it to all 7 continents before her 30th birthday. She enjoys travel planning, encouraging others to see the world, and packing carry-on only. She and her husband are expats living in Berlin. You can find Ali at Ali's Adventures and Travel Made Simple.

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Travel Resources

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Mariana says

    “I often felt colder inside than outside.”

    This will be true almost everywhere in Southern Europe. I know that – lack of sunshine aside – I preferred the winters in Germany than in Portugal. Same for the Christmas markets everywhere, they’re a recent thing, probably inspired by the German ones.

    For me the best times to visit this part of Europe are late Summer (September/October) and Spring. Not scorching hot, not feeling colder than the temperature it is, not crowded with tourists 🙂

  2. Kate says

    Great tips! I’m planning a few day/weekend trips to the south of Spain over the next couple of months, so this guide has come at the perfect time. Thanks 🙂

  3. ClicketySnap says

    I was in Barcelona in January, and ended up taking one pair of lightly lined leather walking boots with a wide flat heel and a pair of leather Oxford-style lace up shoes with a bit of heel. I found this was sufficient for warmth and comfort and style. I took a Under Armour long-sleeved running shirt that was a little fuzzy on the inside, and used that as my base layer for keeping warm. It has those long cuffs that come over the knuckles, and I would always have a little pair of those cheap knit gloves in my coat pocket. I always had a bamboo Buff in my bag, this doubled as a scarf or a toque if necessary.

  4. Shama Singh says

    Hi Ali!

    Your tips are really helpful as me and my hubby have planned for spain trip this year end. We are on a two weeks trip covering quite a number of places. I seek your help in deciding whether we should plan for madrid or andorra? as we have 2 days spare with us….Waiting for your response…
    thanks 🙂

    • Mikki Barker says

      My husband and I lived in Spain for three years with the USAF. We visited both Andorra and Madrid more than once. If I had to choose I would go to Andorra hands down! It is one of the most unique countries we visited. Be careful what you buy, we had to sacrifice our Toledo sword to the border guard Gods.

  5. Samantha says

    I lived in Almeria (couple hours East of Granada, still South) and boy did it get cold there! Cold & windy ALL THE TIME. I remember visiting Granada in February and all I had was a jean jacket. I had to go into Zara to buy a scarf I was sooo cold! I definitely learned my lesson. For some strange reason I didn’t think it’d be cold when I went…Also, while I loved the tapas situation in Granada, Almeria has their own version: buy a drink AND choose your tapa. You can get a nice buzz and feel full only spending 5 euros!!

  6. eva says

    hey, great blog, I didn’t read any other comments but just wanted to let everyone know the bus pass does overlap, you just have to get the next bus within the hour I believe.
    If you stay close to the centre or Triana, as long as you are close to the river, either Triana or Sevilla, you will be within walking distances to the centre. There really isn’t a lot to see outside the old Sevilla, you have Barrio de Santa Cruz, The Cathedral, Torre del Oro, Plaza de Espana, those are the major areas to visit, then you can walk along the river by the Torre del Oro.
    The trains to nearby towns are affordable and often.
    Anyway, just wanted to add that to your post. Of course there are other places to visit like Las Ruinas Italicas, near by towns, but to see the main areas, those above are great

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