For many people, packing for a trip far away from home can be a challenge. Our “what to pack for Greece” article is based on our own experience living and travelling here for several years.
What to pack for Greece
When it comes to packing for Greece in summer, things are fairly straightforward. Hat, sunglasses, swimsuit, a few light clothes, walking shoes, and you’re done! These are your absolute essentials when packing for a summer holiday in Greece.
Chania, Crete, in June
Obviously, most people will want to bring a little more than these items, in order to have an unforgettable and hassle-free holiday in Greece.
Whether you are coming to Greece for a long weekend, or you are spending a few weeks here, our guide for what to pack for Greece will definitely help. We have included sections on clothes according to the season, and anything extra you might need.
Milos in June
Disclaimer: we are both fairly light packers ourselves. We’ve both travelled through Asia and Latin America for several months with hand luggage only, and we feel that it’s liberating. That said, everyone is different, so we are offering options for any type of trip.
Weather in Greece
This is Vanessa! I’ve lived in Greece for most of my life, and I consider the Mediterranean climate pretty great overall.
Ithaca in July
Our summers are hot, and temperatures here in Athens can easily go over 35C / 95F. In summer 2017 we had a few days of around 43C / 110F though, and it was quite unbearable. If you don’t tolerate heat very well, avoid July and August and visit in spring or autumn instead.
Luckily, our summers are not humid like in tropical countries, so you generally don’t have to worry about sudden thunderstorms. That said, we’re sure you’ve heard of climate change.
Athens only had 9 days of rain between April and October 2019, which was great. Guess what? We had 26 days of rain during the same period in 2018 – it was an unusually rainy summer.
Voidomatis River in February
Our winters are generally mild, though North Greece can get surprisingly chilly. Temperatures can drop to -20C / -4F! We also get snow on many of our mountains. Most people don’t even realize that there are several ski centres around the country!
We get most of our rain in winter, and occasionally there are floods. In Athens, January and February are typically the rainiest months.
With all that in mind, let’s see what to pack for Greece!
Greece packing list – Bring a hat and sunglasses
Summer is the most popular time for people to visit our country. Some travellers choose to see Greece on a cruise or a tour, while others prefer to explore independently. All visitors will need to bring certain clothing items!
Close to Kalamata, the Peloponnese, in September
The first thing you will need in Greece in summer is a hat and sunglasses. We can’t stress this enough. A good pair of sunglasses is essential to protect your eyes from the strong sun reflecting on the white marbles! Even if you come in winter, don’t leave your sunglasses behind, as you may get some incredibly sunny days.
If you have a favourite hat by all means bring it with you, but if you forget it don’t worry. You can easily get a hat everywhere in Greece for just a few euro. Ladies might prefer large straw hats or otherwise wide-brimmed hats, which look great on photos. That said, be mindful when the strong north Meltemi winds appear, as they can easily be blown off.
Don’t worry too much about whether wearing a hat will make you stand out as a tourist. It’s more important to avoid a potential sunstroke and your face going pink. Plus, you will notice that Greeks wear hats too, though few of us living in cities would actually wear them. Dave does though – for obvious reasons!
What to pack for Greece – Bring light clothes for summer
If you are visiting Greece in summer, you can easily get away with hand luggage. You will need light clothes for the daytime. Summer dresses, light tops and shorts or skirts are the best choices for ladies. You can always jazz them up with accessories and jewellery. Men will be fine with some t-shirts and a few pairs of shorts or trousers.
Hidden Peloponnese beach in September
When it comes to swimsuits, pretty much anything goes in Greece. Some ladies, especially from the US, have commented that our bikinis are on the skimpy side. While they are not nearly as tiny as Brazilian bikinis, they tend to be smaller than swimsuits you can get in other countries. So you might prefer to bring your favourite swimsuit from home.
Summer in Greece
Guys’ swimwear comes in many shapes and forms, but you will never see any really long ones. Speedos are fairly popular, especially with the older generations, which many people find amusing. We suggest that you bring something over the knee, and you’ll be fine.
In terms of style, you will see that it varies a lot from place to place. You can easily get by in casual clothes, especially if you are visiting places off the beaten track, like we do.
Outside Athens in September
What to wear in Greece also depending on where you are visiting and what you are planning to do. You will definitely need an appropriate outfit if you have booked a dinner at a fancy restaurant. Likewise, if you are visiting upscale bars and clubs, you should be aware of the dress code.
To summarize, if you are visiting islands like Mykonos or Santorini, definitely bring a few stylish clothes.
Do I need any warm clothes for summer in Greece?
Even though our summers are warm, we suggest that you bring a couple of warmer clothes. A long-sleeved jacket and a pair of long trousers or leggings may come in handy.
We have many air-conditioned spaces, including museums, airports and, most importantly, ferries. I always need a jacket when we are taking a ferry, though Dave doesn’t seem to care.
Tinos in September
Another occasion where some people will be happy to have a jacket is on the islands. In July and August, the Meltemi winds bring the temperature down. So while it will generally be hot during the day, it’s not a bad idea to have something to wrap your shoulders with. Similarly, if you are going to any of the mountain villages on the mainland, definitely bring some warmer clothes.
You should also think in terms of our religious culture. Our country is hot, but we also have thousands of churches. If you are visiting any of them, please be respectful, avoid short and skimpy clothes and definitely do not enter if you are only wearing a bikini.
Meteora Monasteries in April
Visitors should also be prepared if they want to visit any monasteries, such as the Meteora monasteries. Men should wear trousers that cover the knee, or otherwise they won’t be allowed to enter. As for ladies, there are wrap skirts that you can borrow. That said, you may prefer to wear your own long skirt, or maybe a wrap-around sarong. Also, make sure you cover your shoulders.
How much to pack for two weeks in Greece in summer
This is really up to each person, and how you prefer to travel. Some people like travelling light, and do some washing now and then. Others prefer to pack a lot more than they are likely to need, just in case. This way, they will always have a choice of what to wear in Greece.
Kalamata, the Peloponnese in late September
Before you start packing for Greece, it’s best to think about what you are likely to do. Are you most interested in beaches and nature? If that’s the case, you won’t really need that much. Plus, you may find yourself spending your whole day with the same clothes! Who knows, you may be bored to go all the way back to your hotel in order to change and go out again… just saying.
Secret place in Laconia in June
On the other hand, some people visit Greece to go partying and clubbing every night. In this case, you will want to bring a selection of clothes to choose from. Still, it’s possible to pack light, especially if you plan your outfits in advance.
We understand that not everyone wants to wash clothes during their holidays – they are holidays after all! That said, heavy luggage can sometimes be impractical, especially if you have to carry it yourself. It’s best to pack light enough so that you are comfortable with your luggage, particularly on the islands.
How much to pack for two weeks in Greece in summer – Travelling with handluggage
For our summer holidays, we can comfortably travel for two weeks in Greece with just a carry-on each. We tend to wash a few clothes now and then, as they won’t take long to dry. We find this a lot easier than having to lug around a large case full of dirty clothes.
The Cyclades in September
If you like lists, here are the clothes that we normally take with us for two weeks in Greece in summer. For context, our days tend to be a mix of sightseeing, relaxing on the beach, and having lovely Greek meals. We also prefer quiet places over touristy destinations, and are not all that interested in nightlife.
Maybe these clothes sound too few for two weeks in Greece. But this works for us, and it will also work for you if you are not here for the nightlife. In fact, we often don’t use all of these clothes!
Dave’s clothes for two weeks in Greece
Dave is a really light traveler, especially on his bike tours. So he travels with the following items, at the most:
- 5 t-shirts
- 1 dressy shirt
- 2 pairs cargo shorts
- 1 pair jeans (rarely used)
- 1 swimwear
- 5 pairs underwear
- 5 pairs socks
- 1 pair all-purpose walking shoes
- 1 pair flip-flops
- 1 hat
As long as he handwashes his socks himself, I don’t mind how many pairs he brings!
Vanessa’s clothes for two weeks in Greece
As we normally bring our own car, I prefer to bring a couple of extra clothes so that I don’t have to wash very often.
A very windy spot in Ithaca in July
So this is what my normal list looks like:
- 3-4 tank tops
- 3-4 t-shirts
- 1 pair shorts
- 2 short skirts
- 3 long dresses
- 1 light jacket
- 2 bikinis
- 5 pairs of underwear
- 2 bras
- 1 fleece jacket (for ferries)
- 1 pair leggings (for ferries)
- 1 pair Teva sandals (more on shoes below)
- 1 pair of flip-flops
- 1 pair of dressier sandals (rarely used)
- 1 large straw hat (which I end up forgetting in our room most of the time)
I very rarely bring sarongs or pashminas, but many women like them. It’s true, they can be quite versatile.
Every Greek beach I ever go to!
Note – I always squeeze my mask, snorkel and fins in my hand luggage! Ok, maybe the fins are a bit of an exaggeration, but I love snorkeling in Greece. We may not have the most colourful fish on the planet, but the water is crystal clear!
How much to pack for two weeks in Greece in summer if you can’t be bothered to wash clothes
We get it – when on holiday, you really don’t want to have to do any chores. It’s totally understandable. In this case, you need to calculate how many days you have, and add a few extra clothes “just in case”.
Milos in June
Let’s say that you are visiting Greece for 2 weeks and are not planning to wash any clothes. You should then bring the following items:
- 14 t-shirts, one for each day
- 5-6 t-shirts to wear in the evenings, which you can use more than once
- 4 pairs of shorts or skirts to wear during daytime
- 2-3 evening items, such as trousers or skirts, which you can wear more than once
- 16 pairs of underwear (a couple extras… who knows what might happen??!)
- 2 jackets
- 2 pairs of swimwear
- 2 pairs of shoes
If, on top of that, you are planning to indulge in our famous nightlife, you should also allow for some dressier items. While a suit would be too warm for summer nights, a few buttoned shirts and stylish pairs of trousers would be good. Women could choose pretty dresses, or tops and capri trousers, and use accessories to give character.
You can probably see that this list is getting quite long. This is why we strongly encourage you not to overpack, and to do some hand-washing now and then.
Cape Tainaron, South Peloponnese, in September
Seriously, you won’t use as many clothes as you thought. And if you need a certain item, you can always buy it here. We have thousands of cool shops and boutiques all over the country, and you’ll have a nice souvenir!
Sarong vs beach towel
If you visit Greece in summer, you will need a beach towel. If you don’t want to bring one from home, you can easily buy one here.
Some women prefer sarongs, while some visitors bring travel towels. I’ve found that neither of those work great with salty water, so I always prefer to have a proper towel.
Oh, and for any US readers out there. Washcloths? We don’t use them in Europe – in fact I never knew they even existed until I saw it in a travel forum. Bring your own, or just don’t worry about them!
What to wear in Greece in March – What to wear in Greece in October
So that’s it for summer! Just a few light clothes and a couple of warmer items, and you’ll be fine. How about the shoulder season though?
Athens in October
This is a good question, as March, April, October and November can be a little tricky. As an example, let’s talk about Athens. In March, our highest temperatures can exceed 25C / 77F, but it can get as low as 6C / 43F. October is slightly warmer, with the lowest temperatures dropping to around 10C / 50F.
For these months, make sure you bring some warmer clothes that can be worn in layers. Some long-sleeved t-shirts and a cardigan or other jacket would generally be enough. At the same time, definitely throw in your swimsuit, as it won’t occupy much space in your luggage. You never know what the weather will be like!
Athens in February
While the spring months are not ideal for swimming, October can actually be really pleasant. November will generally be colder, and possibly rainier, but there will still be plenty of sunny days. You might even be able to comfortably go around in a tank top and sandals!
What to wear in Greece in winter
While winters in Greece are fairly mild, compared to most other European countries, they are not exactly warm. The coldest months in Athens are January and February, when we often get sub-zero temperatures and maybe snow.
Close to Metsovo, Northern Greece in February
If you are visiting Greece in winter, bring with you warm clothes. It’s best to bring layers, starting with basic long-sleeved or thermal t-shirts, and then adding on to that. In Athens, I normally wear a light thermal t-shirt, a light cardigan, and an overcoat on top. Northern Greece can get a lot colder though!
Unless you are going skiing or hiking, technical clothing isn’t really necessary. That said, if you own a warm, waterproof Northface jacket, by all means bring it. Alternatively, a waterproof shell coat might come in handy. Finally, bring a scarf or neck warmer – you’ll find it useful for those chilly nights.
Athens in January
In terms of shoes, we would recommend waterproof, anti-slip hiking shoes. Some of our pedestrianized areas can get very slippery in winter. Pay extra attention if you are going to the Acropolis on a rainy day!
If you prefer to bring leather boots, make sure the soles are thick. Otherwise, your feet will hurt at the end of a long day. More on shoes right below!
Best shoes for Greece
What shoes to pack for Greece really depends on your personal preferences and your style of travelling. One thing is certain though – you will walk a fair amount when you visit Greece.
With this in mind, make sure that you bring comfortable shoes that are suitable for long walks on cobbled streets. Also, take into account that most of our islands have steep paths with lots of steps!
Here is our best tip. In terms of practicality and comfort vs style, it’s best to allow for as much comfort as you can. After all, you can’t do much if your feet are hurting due to ill-fitting shoes!
Best shoes for Greece for women – Vanessa
My favourite summer walking shoes since I first discovered them in 2004 are Teva sandals. They may not be as hard-wear as proper hiking shoes, but they are much easier to wear for most uses. Who wants to wear hiking shoes in summer anyway?
For spring or autumn, I prefer my comfortable Sketchers trainers. I would avoid wearing them for hikes though, as they would probably be destroyed in no time. Obviously I’ve got dressier shoes, but I tend to wear trainers much of the time. They are also great for walking tours!
For colder months, hiking shoes like Merrells or Salomons are great, as they are both anti-slip and waterproof. Sure, they are not very stylish, but you can’t have everything. I’m all up for leather boots in winter, but I find hiking shoes are a lot better for sightseeing.
Many women ask about high heels. Just remember that most of Greece is full of cobbled streets, stairs and uneven pavements. I would never bring high heels on a Greek holiday. And guess what, it gets even worse if you’ve had a cocktail or an ouzo too many!
Consider bringing a pair of wedges, platform shoes, or something similarly stylish. Just make sure that they have a sturdy sole.
Finally, avoid ballet flats, or any shoes with very thin and flimsy soles. As they offer no support, your feet will end up hurting on our cobbled streets. I’m not sure who thought of the Greek sandals, but they are not all that great!
Athens in November
These are just my own preferences, based on walking an average of at least 12-15 kms on a sightseeing day. I’m sure other ladies will have different favourite brands – please share them in the comments!
Best shoes for Greece for men – Dave
I don’t have a favourite brand of walking shoes. I will generally bring just one pair of comfortable season-appropriate shoes and a pair of flip-flops.
This was a super short section. It might just be that men are less fussy overall?!
What else should I pack for Greece apart from clothes?
So now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s check out what else you need to pack for Greece. These can roughly be divided in four categories – toiletries, medication, electronics and personal items.
What toiletries should I bring to Greece?
You can easily get most types of toiletries pretty much everywhere in Greece. Most hotel rooms, even budget ones, will offer some form of shower gel and shampoo. That said, if you prefer to use specific toiletry brands, just bring them.
Many people ask whether they should bring sunscreen to Greece. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but sunscreen is widely available here, at any time of year. You can get it either at supermarkets or at cosmetics stores and pharmacies.
Sunscreen tends to be more expensive on the islands and touristy places, so you would be better off buying it in Athens. I would normally get a 50 SPF pharmaceutical brand for under 10 euro (250 ml bottle). Understandably, it’s hard to find such prices when you are visiting for a few days. If you don’t care about the brand, your best bet is a supermarket.
Mosquito spray is another item that people get worried about. Yes, you can find mosquito spray in any pharmacy and most supermarkets, minimarkets, and corner shops in Greece. Also, don’t worry too much. Unlike Asia and South America, mosquitoes in Greece are very rarely dangerous. For the most part, they are just a nuisance.
In terms of makeup, it’s really up to you. I am not a huge fan of makeup myself, so I might not be the best person to ask! All in all, keep in mind that our climate is very warm. If your makeup is designed for colder weather it might not keep very well. Many women will find that a mascara and lipstick are more than enough.
Can I bring medication to Greece?
Overall, Greece is fairly relaxed with medication laws. You can buy most pills, even antibiotics, without a prescription. Pharmacists are very knowledgeable overall, and they should be your first contact point if you develop any health issues.
You can safely bring with you over-the-counter medication such as common painkillers. If your medication doesn’t need a prescription but is uncommon, you might want to check if the substance is allowed. As an example, codeine isn’t allowed in Greece, unless accompanied by a prescription.
If you need to bring your prescription medication from home, just get a note from your doctor. It’s also best to keep it in its original packaging. It’s very unlikely that you will be checked, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. I’ve never, ever heard of someone whose medication was confiscated or even questioned at the airport.
In terms of sea-sickness pills, yes, they are widely available here. There are even herbal pills that won’t make you drowsy. You might look into those instead of the traditional ones.
Finally, if you have any allergies to gluten, nuts etc, make sure you bring your EpiPen! Our article on ordering food in Greece might help.
Should I bring electronics to Greece?
Let’s face it – no one travels without electronics anymore. Most people will have at least a phone and / or a camera, while others may have several different gadgets. This choice is personal and it depends on what you are planning to do in Greece.
If you are serious about photography, you will probably want to bring your camera and lenses. Make sure, however, that you can store them safely when you go on a sailing trip / the beach.
Assuming you are a casual photographer and use your smartphone as a camera, you will definitely bring it along. You can then easily get a Greek SIM card and use your unlocked phone. Or you can just unplug and enjoy your Greek holiday without distractions.
Whatever you are bringing to take photos, get a waterproof case for it. It will offer extra protection and peace of mind, plus you will even be able to take underwater photos.
Do you want to bring a Kindle, tablet, or laptop? This is entirely up to you. While some people prefer reading on a Kindle, others like paperback books. One of the advantages of paper books is that you can always exchange them or leave them behind. Plus, if they get wet, they will just dry up! Even better? They never run out of power!
If you have many electronics, you could bring a power bank / portable charger. The most compact ones will be good to charge your phone once or twice, and they are a good backup in between charges.
Finally, don’t forget your travel adapter! If you do, you can get one at the airport, or at bigger electronic stores. Try asking at your hotel too, as someone may have left one behind.
Personal items to bring to Greece
And this brings us to the last section – your personal items. This also includes your luggage, backpack and handbag.
Many articles suggest getting an expensive daypack, specially designed for travellers, with hidden compartments and anti-theft properties. While I’m sure many people find those useful, I’m not a fan myself.
Everyone is different, but I’ve never bought a special daypack or handbag just for travelling. I use the same, no-name, modestly priced items everywhere, whether it is Greece, or abroad.
In my opinion, a cheap, light backpack where you can keep your hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and bottle of water is great. If you are keeping your camera in the backpack, keep it on your front at all times. You can also use it when you go to the beach.
Other people might prefer a postman bag, which comes diagonally across your body.
What I would suggest though, especially if you are visiting Athens, is to get a moneybelt. This is not to say that Athens is a particularly dangerous city in terms of petty theft. However, quite a few incidents have been reported in the last few years, especially in tourist areas.
Pickpockets are generally very skilled, so you may not realize that you’ve been robbed until much later. It’s best to keep your passport, credit cards and larger amounts of cash close to your body. Keep a small amount of readily available cash in your day bag, and you’ll be fine.
What type of luggage should I bring to Greece?
This is the million dollar question. Should I bring a backpack, or a wheelie? Should I travel with carry-on, or allow for a bigger-sized luggage?
Again, there is no right or wrong answer here. You should use the style and size of luggage that you feel most comfortable with. Keep in mind, however, that many of our islands have lots of stairs. Carrying a heavy suitcase with wheels won’t work for everyone.
That said, backpacks are not for everyone either. If you have back problems, of if you cannot carry a backpack for any other reason, then obviously avoid them.
As for us, we generally prefer smaller-sized backpacks, and they are rarely over 8-9 kilos each. We mostly travel with our own car, so we have no weight or carrying issues. It’s just that we simply find it easier to travel with less. If we can do it, you can do it too!
What to pack for Greece – Conclusion
Packing for a trip is one of my favourite activities, as it sets the mood for our upcoming travels. At the same time, many people find packing for a trip abroad quite stressful. It’s understandable, as you never know what the weather will be like. But also, and perhaps most importantly, most people don’t want to stand out as tourists.
After several years of frequent and long-term travelling, I’ve come to a couple of conclusions.
First – in most countries, you will stand out as a tourist, no matter what you wear. It will either be your facial features, your height, the way you look / speak / walk, or something else. So, don’t worry too much about what you are wearing.
Just wear something that is weather appropriate and you feel comfortable in. There is no point in buying hiking trousers if you’ve never used them before and always hike in leggings!
Second – if you have forgotten to bring something, chances are that you can buy something to replace it with. Sure, a few things like your smartphone are irreplaceable. It’s unlikely, however, that forgetting to bring your bottle of new perfume will spoil your holiday.
And with this in mind – ladies, leave your hair straighteners and hair driers behind. Yes, Greece is one of the best places to let your hair down!
What to pack for Greece – Have we forgotten anything?
We hope our extensive guide on what to pack for Greece was helpful! Plus, you’ve now seen our travel wardrobe. Are there any more items that you would pack for Greece? Let us know in the comments!