When packing for a trip to the Spanish capital, organizing your suitcase is important. You don’t want to pack too much, too little or forget any of the key items listed below. Packing right will help you blend in seamlessly with the locals and not look like a tourist. Here’s a list of things you shouldn’t forget to put in your suitcase when visiting Madrid.
Sunglasses (and an Umbrella)
Madrid sees 300 days of sunshine a year, and the blue skies are usually bright and cheerful. The sun is strong, even in winter, so bring along a pair of shades to protect your eyes. While it doesn’t rain often in Madrid , having an umbrella in case the weather changes is key – walking in the rain in Madrid without one is no fun.
Cash is king in Madrid. While most hotels, restaurants and shops do take credit cards, if you’re sitting at an outdoor terrace sipping a 2 euro glass of wine, using your card for such a low amount may not always be an option. Most restaurants and bars have minimums (usually hovering around 12 euro). While this may not be a problem in other cities or countries, drinks and tapas are often so reasonably priced in Madrid that you may not always meet the minimum. Not all taxi drivers have their card terminals working and occasionally visitors complain that the metro machines reject foreign cards. Waiters at some of the older restaurants may huff and puff when it comes to splitting the bill on several cards. So pack some euros, or simply take them out of the ATM upon arrival.
Madrid is a walking city. Flip flops and stiletto heels are not ideal, especially when walking on cobblestone streets or rushing down the stairwell to catch the metro. Instead, you’ll find locals wearing trendy gym shoes, wedged espadrilles and cute, flat sandals or oxfords. Cooler temps bring ankle and knee high boots, usually flat, with a solid sole. Once you’ve lapped the city, you’ll thank us for this expert packing tip.
Besides being a fashion statement, a scarf is the perfect accessory – and one that the locals use too. It can double as a shawl or beach cover up or keep your neck and shoulders toasty. Weather in Madrid can drop and rise dramatically when the sun comes or goes, so having an extra layer in the city is essential. A scarf can even double as a picnic blanket if you want to lounge on the green grass at the Retiro Park and partake in a quick afternoon siesta.
Remember, Spain uses EU plugs, so bring an adaptor if you’re coming from countries the UK or USA. While larger hotels will have them for loan, smaller spots or Airbnb rentals won’t, and with the number of electronics we travel with these days, you’ll be glad you remembered to stow this item in your suitcase
Cute Day-to-Night Outfits
Madrileños don’t wear sweats and leggings outside of their home or the gym. You’ll notice that locals put a good amount of effort into their appearance, so leave your old jogging pants at home and instead bring along jeans, trousers, dresses and tops that can be worn to wander the city by day and look elegant at night.
If you happen to forget any of the above key items, consider taking an Insider’s Madrid shopping tour to pick up these missing items — and more!