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Which Jacket for Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona and Nice in May?

We are leaving next week, starting our trip in Lisbon and ending in Nice. I realize the weather is likely to vary from place to place and get warmer and drier as the month goes on. (Arriving May 7 and departing May 27--3 weeks.)

I'm looking at this jacket: or this one (in navy):

I like them both, and they are similar in weight. The Tommy Hilfiger one is a little more casual looking. The hood is removable on the first one.

My husband thinks both will be too warm. Both are lined and somewhat water resistant, but not rubbery like a raincoat.

I think that there could be some cool days and evenings and rainy weather.

What do you think? Would these be impractical and just take up precious luggage space?


Posted by
3696 posts

I would just bring a few lighter weight layers and forget the bulky jacket. When I was there in May it was hot... but if there were cooler evenings you could bring a pretty pashmina to wrap around your shoulders, or two or them. If all else fails and you are absolutely freezing, buy something there.

Posted by
16894 posts

I wouldn't buy a new jacket now for May in these southern destinations. Other layers are easier to vary as the day goes on. A small travel umbrella is lighter to pack if you expect showers. The 10-day forecast at for Lisbon and Madrid does show some rain expected before you leave, on the 4th and 5th, but none in Barcelona and Nice.

Posted by
2768 posts

I like the look of the first one but the cream color strikes me as impractical. Dirt and coats are hard to wash on the road.

I always travel with a light, hooded rain jacket so I would definitely advise one. Plus you might have cool nights. If the lining is thick it might be too warm, but a light lining is good. Imagine 60 and rain. That's what you may run into.

Posted by
14067 posts

I would say if you are going to buy something new, get one that is waterproof. The new waterproof fabrics are not rubbery but you may not find them in something dressier like what you have pictured. Other than that, I agree with the others that I would not buy either of these just for a trip to your destinations in May.

Also if you take a jacket, I would wear it on the plane instead of packing it.

Posted by
1994 posts

I agree with your husband – I wouldn't bring either coat. When I expect really variable weather, I do well with layers – a silk camisol, a long sleeve shirt, a lightweight fleece zip-up, and a rain shell (for example, the type sold by REI). I am real wimp about cold weather, but I find this combination works, even with significant rain and wind at the end of October.

Posted by
3211 posts

Hi BB, I'll be contrary. I like the cream one. You can always spot wash it if it does get dirty. I prefer light jackets as my outer layer so I don't look too casual. I also love that it has a zippered pocket, great for passport in the airport, etc. I recently shopped with a friend who bought a similar jacket and she has taken it on two trips already and loves it. It has a sophisticated look. But there are so many possibilities… Wray

Posted by
66 posts

Those jackets are too bulky. I have been to Nice in March and April. It was already 60 in March. May will be warmer. I would take a silk camisole and long sleeved shirt, and maybe a really lightweight rain jacket that can store in its own pocket. I hate umbrellas. Here's a sample jacket...

You don't need a lot of stuff. Rick's packing list is too much stuff. The less you take the happier you will be. Just make sure it all washes in sink.

Posted by
1661 posts

Lots of food for thought, here. I was leaning towards the lighter coloured one. I guess my main concern is that the jacket would be too warm and therefore not useful. I do travel with just a carryon (and wear my jacket on the plane), so I don't want to bring anything that wouldn't be useful. My big concern is the lining. I find polyester linings can feel hot, as they tend not to be all that breathable.

Both jackets are water repellent and washable, and we'll be staying in apartments, except in Madrid, so washing, if I have to, isn't a concern, and the lighter coloured jacket is more of a light grey/mushroom colour and not as white as it looks in the pic.

I did bring a similar type of jacket last July to East Central Europe, and there were two days--one in Vienna and one in Munich--that were cold and rainy, so I was very glad to have it. The reason I don't want to use that one again is it is a little too short. I tend to wear longer, tunic-style tops that come down to the tops of my thighs, and I thought it looked funny to wear a jacket that let my shirts hang out the bottom. I do have a lighter weight Eddie Bauer jacket with a hood that zips into the collar, but, to me, it's more of a hiking-in-the-mountains jacket than a touring-around-a-city jacket, if you KWIM. It is brightly coloured and very casual-looking, so not as versatile.

I do bring a large chiffon scarf or two that can double as a wrap, but those wouldn't do on a rainy or blustery day. Pashminas aren't really my style, so I don't think I'd use them after the trip. I'd rather spend my money on something I'd use at home, also, and not just on the trip. (Both jackets are on sale, so I don't mind the purchase. The light one would cost me $78 with a discount card and the remainder on a gift card I have, and the navy one is on sale for $55.)

I'm just not clear on May in that part of the world. Where I live, it can be like summer in May, or it can snow, sometimes both on the same day. I understand that Lisbon and Madrid, at least, can also be variable in May (although probably without the snow. LOL).

I know that I do want to bring a jacket. I'm just not sure about which jacket.

Posted by
66 posts

Well, Nice is the northern-most city you listed and, as I said previously, it will be warm in May. I'm not sure what you are asking since it seems you are determined to have one of those two jackets. You could also consider a very lightweight rain poncho in a pouch, but I don't think you want to consider other options. You apparently are convinced about the lighter jacket you posted and are just looking for validation?

Posted by
10245 posts

In Nice and Barcelona you'll need sunscreen and a hat to protect you from the sun, not a jacket. You'll need a sweater after dark. Sherry hit the nail on the head describing her layers that will work for the other destinations earlier in the month.

Posted by
1661 posts

Thanks again for the feedback. There have been some great suggestions here, and I don't mean to dismiss them, but camisoles, fleece, and shawls are not part of my wardrobe, and most clothing, such as fleece jackets, from outdoor equipment stores aren't cut right for my short, plump build. They are too fitted for me, and aren't flattering or comfortable on me.

I was looking specifically for a light jacket, but one that has a little bit of city polish--that would not look like I just came from camping to go out for dinner, for example--but could also be worn with jeans.

My concern was that the jackets I was looking at it, which would work brilliantly for me at home, would be too hot where I'm going. The replies here have pretty much confirmed that. I thought maybe since that weight of jacket did work for me in late July in more northerly countries, that it might work in spring for the more southerly climes. But if they will be too hot, they are out.

So, on Friday, I happened upon this while grocery shopping, of all things:

It's a very lightweight, silky-feeling, windbreaker, and it folds up into its own pocket, like the one gingermcintosh suggested. It's not very waterproof, but I do pack one of those foldup rain ponchos (and was very glad to have that, too, during a drenching day in Munich, while I was touring the palaces at Nymphenburg). I think the colours and pattern make it look a bit dressier than some in that style look, so it wouldn't be completely out of place worn out for dinner in the city, and it shouldn't show dirt very easily. And, since I'm far shorter than the model, it hits me lower on the hips, which should work with most of my tops.


Thanks again for the replies. They definitely were helpful in guiding my purchase.

Posted by
66 posts

I think you made a smart choice. Very cute windbreaker. Do bring at least one or two long sleeved shirts or even a very light pullover sweater that you can wear under this on a cool evening. And by the way, the silk camisole I mentioned is looking underwear, meant to go under your shirt to add warmth. And they do add a lot of warmth.

Posted by
1 posts

I would definitely pick up the second one, because it has more pockets and is brighter. What are the benefits: you can’t get lost wearing red (and believe me, I’ve been to Lisbon, Madrid and Barcelona, among other tourists, well, stay bright and keep your husband closer). Another point, you don’t want to be over packed, for sure, because you would like to do some shopping as well. So try to choose the one you will wear back at home with pleasure (because buying things for 3 weeks aren’t very reasonable). I’ve been in all the cities in August, but I must say, you never know what the weather can show in May, so a coat is a good idea (especially being close to Teju in Lisbon or near the sea in Barcelona). Actually, if you do want to make travel packing efficient and not to overpay, you should take all the “looks” you are caring with you (you know, so that not to carry another pair of shoes just for this coat) and try to make the most matches with the least clothes. It’ll help you keep your suitcase light, and also choose other essentials, such as bags or belts.