As I prepared to travel to the spectacular IBEROSTAR Paseo de Gracia for an epic trip to Barcelona, I scoured the Interwebs looking for clues about how to pack for the warmer weather there. “What to wear for summer in Barcelona” netted me too many results to count, but I ultimately found that not one post gave me the specific kind of info I craved.
There were many posts that suggested Catalans are more modest compared to other European cities. Other posts suggested Barelona locals prefer muted colours.
Now that I’ve been, I can assure you that no one is going to bat an eyelash over Daisy Duke short shorts or a hot pink tank. NO ONE.
In the end, here’s the only accurate advice in all of the posts I read about how to dress in Barcelona:
- Bring a summer scarf if you plan to go inside any of the churches or cathedrals (and, not to worry — if you forget, you can buy one outside of the places of worship for less than five Euros thanks to eager entrepreneurs)
- Leave the high heels at home; most of the streets here are cobblestone or otherwise simply old and uneven, making flats the best choice. Honestly, I wouldn’t even recommend wedges. I wore running shoes by day and Tieks or Antolina sandals (the Adelita) every night
Since I pack using carry-on baggage only, I have to plan well and be sure that every piece of clothing and each pair of shoes really counts. In the end, I took 11 outfits for day and 11 for night because I was heading to London for four days following my week in Barcelona. It all fit in the Lug Propeller Wheelie 2 carry-on and I used a Pacsafe Citysafe convertible backpack for my personal item.
Here’s a look at what I wore from day to night during my summer visit to Barcelona:
WHAT TO WEAR FOR WALKING TOURS IN BARCELONA
We lucked out with beautiful weather with temps in the 25-28°C range each day and no rain. This is pretty typical of summer in Barcelona, making it a great time to visit. Depending on your walking tour, you can go with shorts, a comfy dress or a skort. If there’s any light hiking involved, the sporty skort in a quick-dry fabric is the way to go for sure.
You’re probably going to sweat in these so pack one full outfit for each walking tour or day trip you’ve got planned — and one extra just in case you get all spontaneous.
Left to right: (1) Superdry tank with One Teaspoon jean shorts; (2) random brand dress from WINNERS; (3) Billabong T-shirt with lululemon skort; and (4) Free People tank with Superdry shorts.
OUTFITS FOR BARCELONA THAT CAN GO FROM DAY TO NIGHT
Getting ready to go out in Barcelona can be tricky because people generally eat dinner very late and then go out to a bar or club from there, making it difficult to dress for dinner and then change for the après event. If you’re not sure where your night is going to lead you, wear something that can transition from dinner to clubbing with relative ease.
Versatility with clothes that can convert can be real winners for the day-to-night game. And again, I can’t emphasize flat shoes enough.
Left to right: (1) Sandro linen blouse and J Brand cropped jeans; (2) Velvet Heart bamboo chambray shirtdress; and (3) convertible Aritzia dress (it can also be strapless).
WHAT TO WEAR CLUBBING IN BARCELONA
Clubbing is a dressier affair in Barcelona than in, say, Toronto or London. No one is wearing sneakers (trainers) and I don’t recommend you try, because we found the footwear police on patrol at several of the city’s hottest clubs. Don’t go with flip flops either, because — I promise you — you WILL NOT get in. No matter how cute you are.
So think “smart” when it comes to clubbing in Barcelona. You don’t want to be in formal-wear by any stretch but you should be aiming to turn a head or two.
Didn’t bring anything sassy enough to make it through security? Never fear: shopping in Barcelona is plentiful. Start on Passeig de Gracia up near Casa Mila and work your way down toward Plaça de Catalunya — you’ll find everything from Mango, Maje and Desigual to Burberry, Gucci and MiuMiu. I found a complete look at Zara (see No. 2 below) during a 20-minute power-shopping session when we found out we were going clubbing unexpectedly one night. It was less than 55 Euros and totally did the trick.
Left to right: (1) lululemon bodycon dress; (2) the Zara outfit — right down to the earrings!; and (3) GAP hankerchief dress.
WHAT TO WEAR TO THE BEACH IN BARCELONA
I saved this for last because (a) I can’t believe I wore a bikini in public and (b) I really can’t believe I’m putting the evidence of such here — especially without Photoshopping the you-know-what out of it. (GULP.)
But here’s the thing: everyone wears bikinis in Barcelona. I mean…every age, every size, every shape, everyone. So I did it. And survived to tell the tale. The key is having a couple of fabulous coverups that you can easily get on and off without showing too much belly roll as you strategically slide in and out of the pool or onto a lounger.
Left to right: (1) Muche et Muchette linen babydoll coverup; (2) Splendid bikini top and some random brand ruched and ruffled bikini bottoms from Nordstrom Rack; and (3) elan bias-cut coverup — with pockets!
Wondering where your Barcelona days and nights might take you? I have more posts coming soon about what to do and where to eat.
In the meantime, be sure to check out where to stay by reading my IBEROSTAR Barcelona hotel review!
Disclosure: IBEROSTAR generously gifted my stay at the hotel.