What should I wear in Spain?

Last updated on July 17th, 2021

Spaniards don’t wear shorts or sneakers for anything other than sports, so if you aren’t planning on working out, leave these at home. Light fabric pants, capris, skirts, dresses are all fine for summer. Daytime and nighttime temperatures can vary by 20 degrees or more, so have a lightweight sweater or jacket on hand for evening (unless you’re in Andalucia in July or August). Browns are preferable to black. For walking the many cobblestoned streets, get a comfortable pair of flat sandals or shoes, this is what Spanish women favor. Espadrilles are great, but take a look around and you’ll notice that Spanish espadrilles (“alpargatas”) have a much lower platform than ones you can buy at home. And for those hot summer days, get a lovely Spanish fan and use it, not only is it a wonderful fashion accessory, but it’ll also actually work at keeping you cool!

Gira, New York, USA (2007)

It’s hot, hot, hot in Barcelona in the summer. Unless you want to shout, “I’m a tourist”, leave the shorts and athletic shoes at home. The women dress up more here. A good choice is a simple linen dress in a conservative color and something to cover your arms if your dress is sleeveless. You will not be allowed in some cathedrals in sleeveless clothing. Stick to comfortable sandals for your feet. I had a sleeveless long dark blue linen dress that I wore from Spain, through the south of France and up to Switzerland that worked well everywhere! However, if you plan to purchase your outfit in Spain be aware that the women are tiny. If you are a larger size, you may have difficulty finding a dress that will fit. Try the Territory Ahead catalog before you leave!

Mari, San Francisco, USA

In Spain, women seem to favor dresses (long or short OK). Pants are also ok. but shorts mark you as a tourist.

Dodi, De Funiak Springs, USA

Spaniards are very fashion-conscious people so always leave your house looking well-groomed. Fitted clothing is preferred as baggy clothes are considered sloppy, and black is a favorite color. No shorts. You don’t have to worry about dressing too skimpy or revealing, however, it will bring you extra attention (if that’s what you want).

Rose, Madrid, Spain

Many, if not most, of the tourists walking around Barcelona were scantily clad and looked plain ugly compared with the conservatively and elegantly clad Spaniards. No one a day over 20 or a gram overweight can successfully wear short shorts and midriff-baring tops. While on holiday it is difficult to look as stylish as the locals but one can look decent and smart. Minimally clad tourists give travel a bad name.

Margaret, Canmore, Australia

Wear loose dresses (with sleeves are better) and comfortable dress shoes or sandals. Some areas are still old-fashioned and locals will look disapprovingly at shorts and t-shirts. They will even keep you from going into churches if you are not attired appropriately. Loose dresses meet any entrance requirements, will not earn you stares, and will keep you cool under a hot sun.

Jennifer, Duluth, USA

In Spain, wear a skirt or long pants when touring cathedrals and other religious sites. Definitely no shorts! I was refused admission to a church because I was wearing shorts.

Ling, New Jersey, USA

I travelled in Spain during the summer months. July and August are dreadfully hot (I left near the end of June to avoid the heat) yet I still found myself in need of the skimpiest clothes possible. It is very common and accepted for women, if you have the body, to wear short, revealing slip-like dresses, or sheer tank tops (it is so commonplace there you won’t get ogled). Always look neat and polished (not necessarily too cosmopolitan), no ripped jeans or wrinkled t-shirts. Go light on jewelry, forget about needing even a light jacket at night, there is hardly enough chill unless you will be next to the sea. Wear comfortable shoes if you will do a lot of walking, but if you want to blend in, most Spanish women prefer trendy footwear, like platform sandals. Actually, they prefer almost everything trendy (big hint — don’t look dowdy or frumpish. At least some style is suggested).

Brenda Sanabria, Paterson, USA

Regardless of how wonderful and lightweight your top windbreaker is, if it’s hot pink, leave it at home! I felt that I was sticking out like a sore thumb in Spain where most of the women wear conservative, dark clothes, furs, and heels! Same in Italy. Black is boring but tasteful in most situations.

Kathy, Portland OR

Follow JourneyWoman for curated articles, tips, news and content from our community and our partners.

Previous

Next

We always strive to use real photos from our own adventures, provided by the guest writer or from our personal travels. However, in some cases, due to photo quality, we must use stock photography. If you have any questions about the photography please let us know.

Disclaimer: We are so happy that you are checking out this page right now! We only recommend things that are suggested by our community, or through our own experience, that we believe will be helpful and practical for you. Some of our pages contain links, which means we’re part of an affiliate program for the product being mentioned. Should you decide to purchase a product using a link from on our site, JourneyWoman may earn a small commission from the retailer, which helps us maintain our beautiful website. Thank you!

We want to hear what you think about this article, and we welcome any updates or changes to improve it. You can comment below, or send an email to us at editor@journeywoman.com.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You cannot copy content from this page.

Are You Ready to Take the First Step?

Join 55,000 other women who love travel on our mailing list for travel tips, advice and solo travel wisdom.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Send this to a friend