15 Things Not to Wear in Barcelona (Dress Like a Local)

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Packing for Barcelona might have you wondering what to wear to blend in with the locals and not stick out as a tourist. After all, Barcelona isn’t just any city – it’s a place with a distinct sense of style, and knowing a bit about the local fashion do’s and don’ts can really enhance your visit.

Having lived in Spain and hung out a lot in Barcelona, I’ve picked up on a few style choices (including, ahem, having my own clothing picks pointed out to me by some local friends…) that might scream ‘tourist’ more than you’d like.

But what exactly should you avoid wearing in Barcelona, and why does it matter? Well, from avoiding the cliché tourist look to choosing outfits that are both stylish and practical, I’ll take you through what not to wear in Barcelona, to see how you can pack smart for your trip.

Planning a trip to Barcelona last minute?


If you’re booking your trip to Barcelona last minute, I’ve got you covered. Below are some of the top tours, hotels, and more!

⭐ Most popular sights in Barcelona

  1. Sagrada Familia – tickets often sell out weeks in advance so get your entry ticket here (or entry tickets AND a guided tour here)
  2. Park Güell – grab your skip-the-line entry
  3. Casa Batlló – click here for tickets and audio guide

🌍 Top tours in Barcelona

  1. Montserrat Tour, Monastery and Winery (great day trip!)
  2. Flamenco Show at Tablao Flamenco Cordobes (incredible night out)
  3. Tapas Walking Tour with Food, Wine, and History (all the highlights at once)

🛏️ Top hotels in Barcelona

  1. Ohla Barcelona (5-star luxury with an amazing rooftop pool)
  2. Seventy Barcelona (boutique hotel with beautiful décor)
  3. Àmfores Boutique Guest House (great budget option with superb location)

🚌 Want free public transport while you’re in Barcelona? Check out the Hola Barcelona travel card!

woman working out what you should not wear in Barcelona to not look like a tourist in Spain

What should you not wear in Barcelona?

Beachwear in the city

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Barcelona equals beaches, right? So, it should be cool to wear beachwear all the time? 

Well, not quite, my friend. While the city’s famous for our sun-soaked sands, here’s a fun fact: wearing your beach attire in the city isn’t the way to go. 

In fact, it’s actually illegal to wear beachwear beyond the beach in Barcelona. You can be fined anywhere between EUR 120 and EUR 300 for doing so. 

beachwear arranged on a yoga mat

No worries, though. Barcelona fashion is laid-back and comfortable. Think light summer dresses, shorts, and breathable tops. 

You’ll be perfectly equipped to explore and still feel like you’re on a coastal vacation. 

Flip flops

Now, I love a good pair of flip flops as much as the next person. They’re easy, breezy, and oh-so-comfortable. 

But something I wish I knew before visiting Barcelona is to maybe think twice about doing this. The streets here can be uneven and sometimes a bit dirty – not the ideal situation for flip flops, trust me. 

Plus, locals consider flip flops as beachwear, so rocking them downtown might get you some odd looks.

a flip flops is a big no whenin barcelona

Don’t worry, though! Barcelona is all about casual and comfortable fashion. 

Think walking shoes, light sneakers, or cute sandals. You’re going to do a lot of walking here to get all those great shots for the ‘Gram – so might as well do it in style and comfort, right?

But if you’re hitting the beach or chilling by the pool, by all means, bring out those flip flops! Just remember to swap them out for something a bit more city-appropriate when you’re ready to dive into the local scene.

Church-appropriate clothing when sightseeing (including for the Sagrada Familia)

Ahh, the magnificent Sagrada Familia! It’s a must-see when you’re here in Barcelona, along with plenty of other spectacular churches. 

But, here’s a little insider tip: it’s a religious place and has a pretty specific dress code. The rules are straightforward – respect and modesty are the key. And you don’t want to come all this way to get turned away at the door, do you?

For the guys, t-shirts and jeans are A-OK, as long as they aren’t too flashy or have inappropriate designs. And sorry guys, but your favorite tank tops, vests, and hats will have to sit this one out. 

As for the ladies, think blouses and tops that cover your shoulders and trousers or skirts that go below mid-thigh. Deep necklines and backless dresses might be chic, but they won’t fly here.

And don’t forget about the kiddos! They have to follow the same rules as the adults. 

Keep those shoulders covered and trousers below the thigh. No swimwear or hats for them either. 

When in doubt, dress like you’re going to a casual, family-friendly event. That’s the safest bet.

Backpack in the metro

Riding the metro in Barcelona is easily one of the best ways to get around the city! It’s efficient, convenient, and connects you to pretty much anywhere you want to go. 

But here’s a quick tip: try to avoid wearing your backpack when you’re on the metro.

You might be wondering why? Well, it’s not just a Barcelona thing. Wearing backpacks on metros worldwide is often seen as a little inconvenient. 

a young traveler with backpack

They take up space and, without realizing it, you might bump into fellow passengers. Not the best way to make friends, trust me.

But more importantly when it comes to Barcelona and its renowned pickpocketing problem is that wearing a backpack on your back in the metro is like a beacon for thieves.

Instead, try carrying it in front of you or put it between your feet. This way, you’re being considerate of the people around you while knowing exactly where it is at all times. 

Athleisure gear

All right, fitness lovers, let’s chat. You know how back home, rocking your favorite yoga pants or joggers around town is as common as tapas in Barcelona? 

Well, around here, athleisure isn’t the go-to style like it is in some other cities. Sure, we love our workouts and staying active, but you won’t find us running errands in our gym clothes.

an attractive young woman in workout gear

Instead, locals opt for casual, comfortable, and fashionable attire. Think jeans paired with a stylish top or a laid-back dress. The vibe here is relaxed yet chic. 

I’m not saying toss out your workout gear – after all, the beachfront is a dream for runners. Just keep the sportswear for when you’re actually doing sports, ya know?

So, for that all-important stroll down Las Ramblas, leave the sports bra at home and bring out your inner fashionista instead. You’ll blend in better, and hey, you might even get mistaken for a local!

Huge sports shoes

Speaking of sportswear, let’s talk about shoes. Those bulky sports shoes that you love? You might want to leave them at home. 

Sorry to say but they scream “tourist”. As Barcelona is a city that prides itself on its fashion sense, massive sports shoes don’t exactly scream stylish around here.

The trend here leans more towards the subtle and sleek. Low-profile sneakers are your friends – and with current trends, if they’re white, even better! 

There’s something about a clean, all-white sneaker that just works in this city. They’re comfortable for all that walking you’ll be doing and still give you that cool, casual look.

Remember, it’s all about blending comfort with style. So trade in those heavy-duty sports shoes for something lighter and more fashionable. You won’t regret it, promise!

Handbag that can’t be closed

As touched upon before, Barcelona has its fair share of pickpockets. So a handbag that can’t be properly closed or one that can be easily pulled off your shoulder isn’t the best idea.

Instead, go for a cross-body bag that buttons or zips shut. Not only does this add a layer of security, but it also allows you to have your hands free for taking photos, sampling street food, or whatever else you plan to do!

And remember, always keep your belongings in sight and maintain awareness of your surroundings. It’s not about being paranoid, just practical. 

 open brown men's shoulder leather bag

Expensive jewelry

Onto the sparkle! We all love a bit of bling, don’t we? But in Barcelona, you might want to keep your flashy, expensive jewelry at home. 

It’s not that the locals don’t appreciate a bit of glamor, but wearing high-end jewelry can make you a target for pickpockets.

Instead, opt for more understated pieces, or go for costume jewelry. It’s all about balancing style and practicality here. 

Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Keep your precious items tucked away, and you’ll be able to fully enjoy your Barcelona adventure without any worries.

a women wearinng expensive jewelry

High heels

Let’s talk about footwear again! If you’re planning to strut around Barcelona in your favorite pair of stilettos, you might want to reconsider. 

The streets here are known for their character – yes, I’m talking about those charming cobblestones and uneven paths.

Trust me, navigating these streets in high heels can quickly turn into a balancing act. Comfortable shoes are the way to go. And with the endless walking you’ll do here, your feet will thank you!

a women wearing high heels

Don’t fret about style, though. You can still look chic in flats, trust me. Stylish sandals, cute loafers, or those white sneakers I mentioned earlier? They’re all perfect choices for a day out in Barcelona. 

If you do plan to go clubbing, then sure, heels may be more appropriate depending on where you plan to go. But try to limit your walking as these streets can get rough as you’re balancing in your stilettos – ask me how I know…

Non-breathable fabrics

Barcelona is absolutely beautiful in the summer, but it can also get seriously hot. If you’re packing those polyester tops or that nylon dress, you might want to think again. 

Non-breathable fabrics and Barcelona summers don’t exactly mix well. Instead, fill your suitcase with light, breathable fabrics like cotton or linen. 

They’ll keep you cool while you explore this sunny city. Think airy dresses (Spaniards are seriously good at summer dresses), loose shirts, and comfortable shorts. The idea is to stay comfy and look fabulous while you’re soaking in the Barcelona magic.

And here’s a bonus: breathable fabrics often mean less suitcase space and easier laundry. That’s a win-win, right? 

Warm weather clothing

And what about those of you planning a winter visit? Here’s the thing: Barcelona might be a beach city, but winters can still be pretty chilly. 

So those shorts and tank tops? They might not cut it.

Instead, pack layers. Think sweaters, light jackets, and warm scarves. And don’t forget a good pair of shoes – rain isn’t uncommon here in the colder months. 

You want to stay warm and dry while you’re exploring the city’s winter charms. And remember, being prepared means you can focus on enjoying the city instead of worrying about the cold. 

a woman in winter fashion

Casual, baggy clothing

Barcelona might be relaxed, but that doesn’t mean they’re all about the baggy clothes life. I’ve noticed visitors strolling around in oversized, casual clothes, and it’s an immediate signal that they’re tourists. 

Of course, if you’re cool with that, no problem! But if you want to blend in with the locals, you might want to reconsider.

The trend here leans towards more fitted clothing. It’s not about being formal, but rather appearing put-together. 

Guy Wearing Baggy Clothes

Casual, yes, but with a touch of chic. You’ll see a lot of well-fitted jeans, stylish tops, and tailored shorts around town.

So leave the pajamas for bedtime and pack clothes that make you feel good and look great. 

Flamenco dresses

Okay, let’s address the flamenco dress in the room! It’s easy to associate Spain with flamenco dancers swirling around in their beautiful, colorful dresses, especially when you can see them for sale in all the touristy areas.

But, here’s a reality check: those flamenco dresses? They’re not everyday wear.

Instead, these dresses are traditionally worn for specific events and festivals, not for casual strolls around town. So, unless you’re planning to actually perform flamenco somewhere, leave the dress at home.

a displayofFlamenco dresses

Instead, embrace Barcelona’s signature blend of casual and chic. Light, breezy dresses, comfortable pants, and stylish tops are the way to go. 

The one possible exception: bachelor parties. I’ve seen some gentlemen rocking their flamenco dresses alongside their friends, so if that’s why you’re coming here, you do you!

Baseball caps with huge sports logos

Now, there’s nothing wrong with a good cap, especially when the sun’s out. But those big, flashy caps with sports logos? They’re like a neon sign pointing you out as a tourist.

If you’re aiming to blend in with the locals, opt for subtler designs. Plain caps, or ones with minimal branding, are a better fit for the Barcelona scene. They’ll keep you cool and won’t make you stand out as a visitor.

many Different Caps

Tons of makeup

Last but not least, let’s talk makeup. Spanish people definitely know how to glam up, especially for those fun-filled evenings out. But here’s a little insider tip: when it comes to makeup, less is more.

You might be surprised to find that locals don’t usually wear tons of makeup. The look here is more natural, complementing rather than covering. 

So if you’re piling on the foundation and going heavy on the eyeliner, you might stand out. Instead, think light, think fresh. 

A touch of mascara, a sweep of blush, and a pop of lip color can be all you need. Embrace your natural beauty and let it shine!

FAQs

What should tourists wear in Barcelona?

In Barcelona, think casual chic. Light, breathable fabrics are your best friends, and comfortable shoes are a must, especially for long days walking around the city. And, when in doubt, a pair of well-fitting jeans and a stylish top won’t lead you astray.

Remember, Barcelona is a city that loves fashion but values comfort just as much. You’ll see locals wearing anything from trendy dresses to smart shorts, all paired with a laid-back attitude. 

The trick is to balance style with comfort. Pack clothes that you feel good in and that can take you from day to night seamlessly. 

And, of course, always have a jacket or scarf handy for those cooler evenings or air-conditioned venues (or religious sites, if you’re not already dressed for visiting those).

Also, remember to consider the season. Summers can get hot, so light fabrics and sun protection are key. Winters, on the other hand, can be a bit chilly, so don’t forget a warm sweater and a good pair of shoes.

Can you wear jeans in Barcelona?

Absolutely, jeans are a staple in Barcelona! Much like other international cities, you’ll see locals wearing jeans at all times of the year. They’re versatile, comfortable, and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion, making them perfect for tourists too.

Barcelona is quite a walkable city, so comfort is key. A pair of well-fitting jeans can serve you well whether you’re exploring the city’s landmarks, perusing local markets, or dining out in the evening. 

Just pair them with a stylish top or a smart shirt, and you’re good to go!

However, in the heat of the summer, you might want to switch your jeans for something lighter and airier. Shorts or lightweight cotton pants are great alternatives when the temperature rises. 

But for most of the year, jeans are an excellent choice for navigating the city streets in style.

Can you wear sneakers to clubs in Barcelona?

When it comes to Barcelona’s nightlife, the dress code can vary. While some clubs might allow sneakers, others might require a more dressy look. As a general rule, clean, stylish sneakers can often pass, but it’s always better to check the club’s dress code beforehand.

The nightlife scene in Barcelona ranges from laid-back bars and beach clubs to upscale venues. If you’re planning a night of dancing, comfort is key, and a pair of sleek, clean sneakers can be a great option. 

That said, remember that these aren’t your running shoes – think more along the lines of fashion sneakers.

If you’re hitting up one of the city’s more upscale venues, you might want to step up your footwear game. A pair of dress shoes or chic flats can be a safer choice. 

Remember, when in doubt, it’s better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed. 

What to wear at night in Barcelona?

Nighttime in Barcelona calls for a blend of comfort and style. Think casual elegance – a chic dress, well-fitted jeans paired with a stylish top, or trendy trousers with a fashionable blouse. And remember, comfortable but chic footwear is key, especially if you’re planning to explore the city’s vibrant nightlife.

Barcelona after dark is a world of its own, filled with bustling tapas bars, energetic clubs, and sophisticated restaurants. Whether you’re planning to hit the dance floor or enjoy a laid-back evening by the beach, you’ll want to dress to impress.

Just note that Barcelona nights can be a bit cooler, especially outside the summer months, so it’s always a good idea to bring a light jacket or wrap. Dressing in layers is always a good strategy to make sure you’ll be comfortable no matter where the night takes you!

Is it safe to wear a backpack in Barcelona?

Yes, it’s safe to wear a backpack in Barcelona, but you’ll want to stay aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas. The city, like any other major tourist destination, can have issues with pickpocketing. Always make sure your backpack is securely closed, and try to keep it in your sight as much as possible.

If you’re on the metro or in a crowded tourist area, it might be a good idea to wear your backpack on your front. It might not be the most fashion-forward look, but it will give you peace of mind and make it much harder for any potential pickpockets.

Also, consider swapping your large backpack for a smaller, crossbody bag when you’re exploring the city. They’re easier to keep an eye on and less likely to mark you as a tourist. 

And remember, the key is to be alert but not paranoid – Barcelona is a safe city, and a little bit of common sense goes a long way!

What do people wear to go out in Barcelona?

When going out in Barcelona, people tend to dress casually chic. You’ll see everything from trendy dresses and stylish tops to well-fitted jeans and fashionable shirts. Footwear ranges from comfortable flats and sandals to chic heels and sleek sneakers.

The key to Barcelona’s going-out style is flexibility. Many locals go straight from a day at work or sightseeing to dinner or drinks, so outfits need to transition well from day to night.

Think versatile pieces that can be dressed up or down. A simple dress can be paired with flats for a day of exploring and then dressed up with heels and jewelry for the evening. 

A stylish pair of jeans can be worn with a casual top during the day and a more formal shirt or blouse at night.

Remember, comfort is crucial. Barcelona’s nightlife is vibrant and can last till the early hours of the morning. So choose an outfit that not only looks great but allows you to dance the night away comfortably!

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