Keep cool: What to wear in Spain in summer to beat the heat

Image - Lucky Business/shutterstock

Spain is renowned for its gorgeous sunny weather for most of the year, but it can be especially scorching in the summer months. While you may have your favourite frock laid out to waltz away the golden evenings or have your hat at the ready to tip off other tourists you encounter during walks along the beach, it’s important to consider that some items of clothing will keep you much cooler than others. This means that they are ideal to wear in Spanish summer. 

One thing to note before stepping out in style is that Spain is quite a religious country. Unless you’re in one of the more cosmopolitan cities like Madrid or Barcelona, it’s safest to assume that a slightly more conservative dress sense will probably be most appreciated by the locals, especially if you’re visiting a church, but even if you’re just running to the supermarket! So, we have put together this guide on what to wear during the summer in Spain to beat the heat!

Image - Rawpixel.com/shutterstock
Image – Rawpixel.com/shutterstock

First stop: footwear! 

There are a few things to be aware of in Spain before you go slipping on your sandals and striding out this summer. One of the most important is that it is illegal to drive whilst flip-flops or any sandal that doesn’t have a strap around your ankle.  Yep, that means that driving barefoot is out too! 

However, as long as you pack a spare pair of sensible shoes to drive in, sandals and flip-flops are a great way to keep your feet cool in summer. Remember, your body heat escapes through your extremities like your hands, feet and head. Obviously, you’ll have a sun hat on to protect your scalp and face from the sun’s harsh rays, but there’s nothing wrong with having your toes out in the toasty weather. 

Image - feet in sandals: Mariia Boiko/shutterstock
Image – Mariia Boiko/shutterstock

Although Spain can be quite a conservative country, in more recent years activewear and athleisure have become more common. Now, it’s not unusual to see an elderly gentleman walking around in a smart shirt, some Bermuda-style shorts and some sneakers to top off the look!

As usual, the locals know best, so if you’re planning on doing a lot of walking over summer, you’ll want a more comfortable and durable pair of footwear that won’t give you blisters or cripple you after a few miles! For urban rambles, a good pair of breathable sneakers is a good idea. Get a lightweight pair so that you don’t feel weighed down by your own footfall! 

Image - man in shorts: Shopping King Louie/shutterstock
Image – Shopping King Louie/shutterstock

If you’re planning a more strenuous hike across the various cliffs and mountains of Spain’s gorgeous countryside, make sure you wear a sturdy pair of walking boots and a good pair of socks so that they don’t rub. There’s nothing worse than being able to walk any further because your feet are rubbed raw! Make sure to find a pair that has good grip, for those treacherous terrains, and that lace up properly to give your ankles enough support. 

Image - hiking boots on pilgrimage: joserpizarro/shutterstock
Image – joserpizarro/shutterstock

Flowy fabrics: summery skirts and delightful dresses 

The most important thing to remember when you’re dressing for a day out in Spain during the summer months is that it’ll be hot, so you’ll want to wear something that allows your skin to breathe rather than something tight and constricting. This is why things like flowy, lightweight summer dresses or floaty skirts will be your best friend during the hot summer months. 

If you’re not comfortable having your legs on show or planning on visiting a religious monument where they appreciate it if you cover your legs and shoulders, a loose, cotton maxi dress or skirt is a great option to keep you cool. Midi dresses and skirts are also fabulous for showing off your tan a little bit without baring all!

Image - woman in summer dress: farec/shutterstock
Image – farec/shutterstock

If you love the idea of a dress but alas, whoever designed dresses and skirts forgot that the people who wear them might need pockets to put useful things in like their phone or their keys, or even just somewhere to put their hands, a jumpsuit or playsuit might be a better option for you! It will also give you a bit more wriggle room and you won’t have to worry about flashing if you go on any particularly vigorous summer ventures! 

Image - woman in playsuit: the stock company/shutterstock
Image – the stock company/shutterstock

Of course, if you don’t have pockets you can always carry your things in a bum bag, which are generally quite a good and secure option to keep all of your things on you and strapped round your waist at all times. Just make sure that you don’t forget about it, especially in crowded places, as some pickpockets actually cut the straps on the backs of bum bags and will be away with your belongings before you know it! 

The same goes for a tote bag or backpack. A tote is a great, lightweight option to throw your things in and head down to the beach or out to a picnic, but make sure you have a way of keeping your possessions safe inside. For backpacks, make sure your zips are fastened and tucked away out of sight, and carry backpacks on your front in busy areas. 

Image - fanny pack: Kuznetsov Dmitriy/shutterstock
Image – Kuznetsov Dmitriy/shutterstock

Save your swimsuit for the sand! 

Almost certainly you’ll want to spend at least part of your summer on one of Spain’s many glorious beaches. However, be wary that, as we’ve said, because Spain is very much a religious country still, parading round in a bikini or topless in trunks will probably not be appreciated in most cities or towns. 

Aside from offending the locals, by showing a little more skin off in a skimpy outfit around Spanish towns, you may attract unwanted attention. If you’re just nipping into the city town from the beach and don’t want to have to get changed completely, you could always throw on a loose-fitting cotton shirt or a cute summery dress over swimwear. 

Image - woman in shirt on beach: morrowlight/shutterstock
Image – morrowlight/shutterstock

Layering lightweight clothes over each other is also a great way to see the day into the night without having to go home and get changed! Pack a lightweight shirt when you leave your home in the morning and as the evening draws in, you can throw it on and you’ll be ready to stay out and enjoy socialising on one of Spain’s terraces without having to worry about catching a chill. 

But that’s not to say you can’t whip out that one piece for a dip in the sea, or sunbathe in your sarong in designated areas along the Mediterranean coastline. On certain beaches throughout Spain, it’s so hot that bathers have no qualms sunbathing topless to avoid those pesky tan lines and to let their skin breathe. That goes for all genders, so don’t be surprised if you see beach-goers chilling out and baring all from the waist up. If you feel comfortable, you could even try it yourself! 

Image - sunbather on beach: Nikita Burdenkov/shutterstock
Image – Nikita Burdenkov/shutterstock

A linen love story in Spain! 

When temperatures reach their hottest in Spain, which on average can regularly be around 36C, probably one of the last things you want to do is pull on a pair of trousers. However, if you’re visiting any religious monuments or churches, they usually like you to have your shoulders covered, and sometimes your legs too. 

Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you have to sweat in denim or swelter in a formal pant suit. Linen is a breathable and incredibly lightweight fabric which is loosely woven, which means you can remain decent while the heat from your body is able to escape through the fabric. This material is also a great option for shirts and dresses and comes in an array of patterns and styles. White is a particularly cool option for the hot summer months because it reflects the light, meaning you’ll be less hot in the scorching sunshine! 

Image - white linen trousers: Jenny Sturm/shutterstock
Image – Jenny Sturm/shutterstock

Sunglasses spotlight! 

It’s always a good idea to have a pair of sunglasses, or two, on you when in Spain so that you don’t find yourself constantly squinting at the sights! Not only can they be the final accessory to really bring your summer outfit together, but a good pair of sunglasses with UV coating on the lenses will protect your precious pupils from the sun’s harsh rays.

Often, a good pair of sunglasses will also have a mirror coating on the front of the lenses to reflect the sunlight away from your eyes, preventing squinting, eyestrain and the resulting painful headaches – so they’re an essential piece to wear in summer in Spain.

Image - woman in sunglasses: Victoria Chudinova/shutterstock
Image – Victoria Chudinova/shutterstock

Save space for a sunhat! 

In Spain, it’s not unusual to see people wearing hats to keep cool in a variety of sizes, shapes and styles. In the rural regions of Cordoba, they also wear a type of hat called a cañero, or campero. It is a black hat with a flat cap and a wide brim and a big ribbon, worn by traditional wine pourers (venenciadores) and is fundamental to the traditional Andalusian costume. 

If this seems a little bit outlandish to you, it’s not uncommon to see people wearing bucket hats or baseball caps in Spain to offer a little relief from the sun’s rays, and they are particularly important to wear in Spain in the summer to protect your scalp from burning and reduce the risk of heat stroke.

Image - campero andalucian hat: photopoems/shutterstock
Image – photopoems/shutterstock

Thank you for taking the time to read this article on what to wear in Spain in the summer, do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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Image - Annie Dabb
Written by

Annie Dabb

From Newcastle originally, Annie is based in Manchester and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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