A complete “what to pack for Greece” article, covering all four seasons. Based on our personal experience of living and traveling in Greece for several decades.
Packing for a Greek vacation
Often thought of as a tropical destination, Greece is a country with 4 seasons. What you need to pack for Greece will depend on the time of year you travel and exactly where in Greece you are going.
Most people take a Greek vacation in summer. However, the numbers of travelers who visit in the shoulder season are on the rise. Plus, thousands of world nomads choose Greece as their base.
In this article, I will break down the items you need to pack for Greece. I have included sections on clothes and shoes for each season, personal items, and anything extra you might need.
Just to introduce ourselves quickly! I am Vanessa from Greece, and my partner Dave is from the UK. We live in Athens and travel extensively around Greece. This article is based on our own experiences.
Let’s start with a quick overview of the weather in Greece.
What is the weather like in Greece?
Greece has a so-called Mediterranean climate. This means that our summers are hot and dry, while our winters are relatively mild and wet.
I’ll say this again: Greek summers are HOT. We get the warmest weather from mid-June to mid-September, and temperatures peak in the summer months, July and August.
Chania, Crete, in June
Daytime temperatures here in Athens can easily go over 35C / 95F. In recent years, we’ve seen highs of around 43C / 110F, and it was quite unbearable. The islands and countryside tend to be a little cooler, but are still very warm.
Greek summers are not humid like in tropical countries, so you generally won’t have to worry about sudden thunderstorms. You will actually find that locals welcome summer rain, after long periods of drought.
During spring and autumn, the weather in Greece can be a little hit and miss. There may be warm days and cool nights, plus some rainy / windy days here and there.
Voidomatis River in February
Finally, winter weather in Greece is generally mild by most people’s standards. That said, we do get lots of rain and snow. It CAN get quite chilly, especially up north, where temperatures can drop to -20C / -4F!
Let’s start with what to wear in Greece during the most popular time – summer.
Packing for a summer trip in Greece and the Greek islands
When it comes to packing for Greece in summer, things are fairly straightforward. Hat, sunglasses, swimsuit, a few lightweight clothes, walking shoes, beach bag, and you’re done!
My best advice for packing is this phrase: pack light.
Ithaca in July
Also, think about what you are likely to do. As an example, if you are most interested in our gorgeous beaches and nature, you will need loose, light-colored clothes.
If your main aim is to go partying and clubbing every night, 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.
Let’s break things down.
Bring lightweight clothes for summer
Given that daytime is warm, your Greece packing list for summer should mostly include light clothing.
Men will be fine with some t-shirts and a few pairs of shorts or lightweight pants / trousers.
Milos in June
Summer dresses, light tops, and shorts or skirts are the best choice for ladies. You can always jazz them up with some accessories and jewelry.
As a rule, you can easily get by in casual clothes. If you are visiting places off the beaten track, like we do, you won’t even need any proper evening outfits.
With that said, what to wear in Greece also depends on your type of vacation. If you are going to upscale restaurants, bars and clubs on islands like Mykonos or Santorini, definitely bring a few stylish clothes.
A wedding in September
Smart trousers and a nice buttoned shirt will work for men. Ladies will be fine in short or maxi dresses, or tops and capri trousers, and use accessories to give character.
Do I need any warm clothes for summer in Greece?
Even though our summers are warm, I suggest that you bring a couple of warmer clothes. A long-sleeved jacket and a pair of long trousers or leggings for ladies 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 travelling on a Greek ferry, as the air-conditioning can be ridiculously cold. Some people don’t seem to care, but it doesn’t hurt to bring one.
Tinos in September
The islands can be a bit breezy as well, so bring something to throw around your shoulders. And if you are going to any of our mountain villages, definitely bring a few warmer clothes.
Don’t forget your swimsuit
Swimsuits are the absolute beach essentials for Greece. If you are a beach enthusiast like me, you may end up wearing a swimsuit for most of your time.
When it comes to women’s swimsuits, pretty much anything goes in Greece. Some ladies, especially from the US, have commented that our bikinis are on the skimpy side.
Summer in Greece
While they are not nearly as tiny as Brazilian bikinis, they tend to be smaller than swimsuits you can get in other European countries. So you might prefer to bring your favorite swimsuit from home.
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 some people find amusing. Just bring something over the knee, and you’ll be fine.
Note: If you are taking a volcano and hot spring cruise in Santorini, avoid bringing your favorite white or light-colored bikini. Bring a darker or older swimsuit which you won’t mind getting stained.
The Cyclades in September
It’s also important to know that we have many beaches and coves where a swimsuit is optional. Usually (but not always), they are a bit out of the way.
What to wear in monasteries in Greece
Another thing to consider as you are packing is our religious culture and our thousands of churches and monasteries.
When you visit any of them, please be respectful. Avoid short and skimpy clothes, and definitely do not try to enter in your bikini.
Meteora Monasteries in April
Visitors should be prepared in advance for any religious sites, such as the Meteora monasteries. While there are usually wrap skirts that you can borrow at the monasteries, you can’t always bank on it.
Men should wear trousers that cover the knee, or otherwise they might not be allowed to enter.
As for ladies, just bring a long skirt, or maybe a wrap-around sarong. Also, you can bring a shawl to cover up your shoulders.
Best shoes for summer in Greece for women
What shoes to pack for Greece depends on your personal preferences, activities, and style of travel. One thing is certain though – you will walk a fair amount when you visit Greece.
My favorite 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.
If you prefer to wear closed shoes, lightweight trainers or summer running shoes are ideal. I was happy to have proper hiking shoes while hiking to Kleftiko Bay in Milos Greece.
These suggestions are based on walking an average of at least 12-15 kms on a sightseeing day. I’m sure other ladies will have different preferences – please share them in the comments!
Should I bring high heels to Greece?
Even though I’ve tried it in the past, I would never bring high heels on a Greek holiday. Remember that most of Greece is full of cobbled streets, uneven pavements and tons of stairs.
Seriously, I’ve never been to a Greek island without many, many stairs! And guess what, it gets 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.
Hidden Peloponnese beach in September
I suggest that you avoid flat sandals with very thin and flimsy soles. As they offer no support, your feet will end up hurting on our cobblestone streets.
I’m not sure if Ancient Greeks found Greek sandals comfortable, but in my experience they are not all that great!
Best shoes for Greece for men
Let’s face it, men are usually less fussy when it comes to choosing shoes for a Greek trip.
Just bring your favourite pair of comfortable, season-appropriate walking shoes. Also, bring a pair of flip-flops or other shoes that you can wear on the beach.
I should point out here that many visitors swear by water shoes. These are ideal for our pebbly beaches, as you won’t hurt your feet while trying to go into the sea. They don’t look great, but they could come in handy.
Bring a hat and sunglasses
The first things you will need in Greece in summer are a hat and sunglasses – and not just for your beach days.
A good pair of sunglasses is essential to protect your eyes from the strong sun reflecting on the white marbles in the archaeological sites, or our white sand beaches.
Kalamata, the Peloponnese in late September
If you have a favourite hat, bring it with you. Or you can easily get a hat everywhere in Greece for just a few euro.
Some people might prefer large straw hats or otherwise wide-brimmed hats. Just be mindful when the strong Meltemi winds appear, as they can easily be blown off.
Tip: 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.
How much to pack for two weeks in Greece in summer
How much to pack is really up to you and how you prefer to travel. Some people like to travel light and do some washing now and then, as clothes won’t take long to dry.
This is what we do. We find this a lot easier than having to lug around a large case full of dirty clothes. Plus, we’ve found that most hotels / rooms to let will do a proper wash for us.
Milos in June
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.
I understand that not everyone wants to wash clothes during their holidays. However, heavy luggage can be very impractical, especially if your hotel has lots of stairs.
It’s best to pack light enough so that you are comfortable with your luggage, particularly on the islands.
Two weeks in Greece with handluggage
If you are visiting Greece in summer, you can easily get away with hand luggage like we do. That said, everyone is different, so we are offering options for any type of trip.
Secret place in Laconia in June
Here are the clothes that we normally take with us for two weeks in Greece in summer, or longer. In fact, we often don’t use all of these clothes!
For context, our days tend to be a mix of sightseeing, relaxing on the beach, hiking, and having lovely Greek meals. We also prefer quiet places over touristy destinations, and are not super interested in wild nightlife.
Women’s Greek packing list for two weeks
This is what my summer packing list for 2 weeks looks like:
- 4-5 tank tops
- 4-5 t-shirts
- 2 pairs of shorts
- 2 short skirts
- 1 long skirt
- 4 evening dresses
- 1 light jacket
- 4 bikinis
- 5 pairs of underwear
- 2 bras
- 1 fleece jacket (for the ferries)
- At least one pair of leggings (for the 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)
- 1 sarong, rarely used
As we usually travel with our own car, I might bring a couple of extra clothes so that I don’t have to wash them too often. But they always fit in a carry on 🙂
Close to Kalamata, the Peloponnese, in September
My personal travel gear always includes my mask, snorkel and fins. Ok, I know the fins sound like a bit of an exaggeration, but I love swimming and snorkeling in Greece. We may not have the most colourful fish on the planet, but the water is crystal clear!
Men’s packing list for two weeks in Greece
Dave is a really light traveler, especially on his cycling tours of Greece. So he travels with this list of items, at the most:
- 5 t-shirts
- 1 dressy shirt
- 2 pairs of cargo shorts
- 1 pair of jeans (rarely used)
- 1 swimwear
- 5 pairs of underwear
- 5 pairs of socks
- 1 fleece jacket (for the ferries)
- 1 pair all-purpose walking shoes
- 1 pair flip-flops
- 1 hat
As long as he washes his socks himself, I don’t mind how many pairs he brings!
What if I don’t want to wash clothes?
I get it – when on holiday, you really don’t want to have to do any chores. In this case, you need to calculate how many days you have, and allow for a couple of extra outfits.
A very windy spot in Ithaca in July
In this case, you should bring at least one t-shirt and pair of underwear per day, a few pairs of shorts or other lightweight clothing, plus a few evening outfits.
As you realize, this packing list could get quite long. This is why I strongly encourage you to wash some clothes now and then.
Remember that 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!
Cape Tainaron, South Peloponnese, in September
Here are some more ideas for souvenirs from Greece.
Sarong vs beach towels
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 visitors prefer sarongs, while others bring travel towels. I’ve found that neither of those work great with salty water, so I always prefer to have a proper towel.
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?
What to pack for Greece in the shoulder season
The shoulder season in Greece are the months of March, April, October and November. The weather can be hit and miss, and packing can get a little tricky.
What to wear in Greece in March – What to wear in Greece in October
People visiting Greece in the shoulder season usually pass by Athens. Here is what Athens weather looks like then.
In March, our highest temperatures can exceed 25C / 77F, but it can get as low as 6C / 43F, and even lower some years. October is slightly warmer, with the lowest temperatures dropping to around 10C / 50F.
Athens in October
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 light jacket are essential, and I would suggest bringing a heavier overcoat as well.
March and April are too cold for most people to swim comfortably. On the other hand, if you are visiting in October, definitely throw in your swimsuit. You might get some lovely, sunny days, and the sea is still warm after a long summer.
November will generally be colder, and possibly rainier, but there will still be plenty of sunny days. Bring a mix of clothes that you can layer, including a warmer overcoat.
Athens in November
In terms of shoes, I personally suggest comfortable trainers like Sketchers or any other similar brand. I would avoid wearing them for hikes though, as they would probably be destroyed in very little time.
What to wear in Greece in April or May
April and May are two of the best months to visit Greece. People who like outdoor activities like hiking or cycling will appreciate the mild temperatures and blooming nature.
While some people will be happy to swim, others will find it too cold – however, it doesn’t hurt to bring a swimsuit. That said, you will need a warmer jacket for most evenings.
If you are planning your trip to Greece during those months, check out my article on Greek Easter.
What to pack for Greece in winter
Winters in Greece are fairly mild, compared to most other countries in Western Europe. Still, they are not exactly warm.
The coldest months in Athens are January and February, when we often get sub-zero temperatures and maybe snow.
Athens, 16 February 2021!
If you are visiting Greece in winter, bring with you some warm clothes. Again, 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 cardigan, and an overcoat on top. Northern Greece can get a lot colder though.
Athens in February
Unless you are going skiing or hiking, technical clothing isn’t really necessary. That said, if you own a warm, waterproof jacket, by all means bring it. Alternatively, a waterproof shell coat might come in handy.
Athens in January
Finally, bring a scarf or neck warmer – you’ll find it useful for those chilly nights. And don’t leave your sunglasses behind, as you may get some incredibly sunny days.
Best shoes for Greece in winter
In terms of winter shoes, I’m all up for leather boots. However, I find that hiking footwear is a lot better for sightseeing around the ancient ruins. So I recommend waterproof, anti-slip hiking boots like Merrells or Salomons.
Close to Metsovo, Northern Greece in February
With this in mind, make sure that you bring comfortable shoes with thick soles that are suitable for long walks on our cobbled streets. Otherwise, your feet will hurt at the end of a long day.
Personal items to pack for Greece
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 into five categories – toiletries, medication, electronics, luggage, and other personal items.
What toiletries should I bring to Greece?
You can easily get most types of toiletries everywhere in Greece. This includes supermarkets, mini markets, cosmetics stores, pharmacies and many souvenir shops.
Any hotel room will typically offer some form of shower gel and shampoo. More upscale establishments will also offer other products such as body lotions and dental hygiene kits.
Sunscreen with UV protection is a necessary item for Greece. It is widely available all around the country, at any time of year.
It tends to be more expensive on the islands and touristy places, so you would be better off buying it in Athens. As an indication, a 50 SPF pharmaceutical brand would cost around 10-15 euro (250 ml bottle).
Mosquito spray is also easily available everywhere in Greece. Don’t worry though – 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. But remember 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 mascara and lipstick are more than enough.
Finally, if you are traveling from the US, washcloths are not a thing in Grece. In fact, I never knew they existed until I read about them in a travel forum. If it’s something that you need, just bring your own.
Can I bring medication to Greece?
Overall, Greece is fairly relaxed with medication laws. You can buy many pills over the counter, though antibiotics need a prescription.
Pharmacists are very knowledgeable overall, and they should be your first contact point if you develop any health issues. They will usually be able to provide you with some medication, though they might sometimes refer you to a health center.
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 in Greece.
As an example, codeine isn’t allowed here, 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.
Sea-sickness pills are widely available here. There are even herbal pills containing ginger that won’t make you drowsy. You could look into those instead of the traditional dramamines.
Finally, if you have any allergies to gluten, nuts etc, make sure you bring your EpiPen! My article on ordering food in Greece might help.
Should I bring electronics to Greece?
No one travels without electronics anymore. Most people will have at least their phone and 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 your only camera is your smartphone, all you need to bring is your phone charger. Consider bringing a couple of extra memory cards, especially if you are here for long.
If taking photos is one of your passions, 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 or the beach.
A waterproof case is often recommended for your electronics, though I’ve never found it necessary myself. However, I like using an underwater camera sometimes.
If you have many electronics, consider bringing 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.
If you are coming from outside the EU, check if you need a travel adapter. If you haven’t got one, you can get one at the airports in Greece, or at bigger electronic stores. Try asking at your hotel too, as someone may have left one behind.
Finally, if you are planning to read a few books during your holiday, don’t forget your Kindle. With that said, do not dismiss paper books, which you can always exchange or leave behind. Plus, if they get wet, they will just dry up! Even better? They never run out of power!
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 a carry-on, or allow for a bigger-sized suitcase?
Again, there is no right or wrong answer. Just use the style and size of luggage that you feel most comfortable with. Remember, however, that carrying a heavy suitcase with wheels can be rather impractical.
That said, backpacks are not for everyone either. If you have back problems, of cannot carry a backpack for any other reason, it’s best to avoid them.
As for us, we generally prefer smaller-sized backpacks which are rarely over 8-9 kilos each. It’s just that we simply find it easier to travel with less. If we can do it, you can do it too!
To save space, you can use packing cubes. I’ve been using these lightweight containers for a couple of decades now. They are super useful to separate clothes and keep them tidy and organized!
Daypack for Greece
And now, let’s have a look at your daypack or handbag.
Many articles advertise expensive travel daypacks, with hidden compartments and anti-theft properties. While I’m sure many people find those useful, I use the same, no-name, modestly priced items everywhere, whether in Greece or abroad.
In my opinion, a cheap, light backpack is great. This is where you can keep your water bottle, paper books, case for sunglasses, sun protection, and other items like toilet paper, band-aids etc. It can also double as a beach bag.
Other people prefer a postman bag, which comes diagonally across your body.
What I would suggest, especially if you are visiting Athens, is to get a money belt or neck wallet.
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 and the airport metro.
Pickpockets are generally very skilled, so you may not realize that you’ve been robbed until much later. Even if you have travel insurance, it’s much better to avoid getting robbed.
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.
Frequently asked questions about packing for Greece
Here are a few more questions people ask when preparing for a Greek vacation:
What should I pack for 2 weeks in Greece?
Assuming you are visiting in summer, the ultimate Greece packing list should include a few t-shirts, shorts and skirts / dresses for the ladies, 5-6 pairs of underwear, a warmer jacket and a couple of pairs of shoes.
How much money do you need for 2 weeks in Greece?
Being budget travelers ourselves, we usually travel outside the peak season. Our budget has never been more than 50 euro per person per day, including all our accommodation, transportation, food and sightseeing costs. Most people should allow for more, especially if they are interested in any tours.
How much cash should I take to Greece?
These days, you can pay for almost everything by debit or credit card. However, I recommend that you take with you a couple of hundred euros. They can be useful for tips, taxis, and buying souvenirs from street vendors.
Can I use my debit card in Greece?
You should be able to use your debit card in Greece, but it’s best to check with your bank before your trip.
Can I use dollars in Greece?
Greece is a European country, and our currency is the Euro. Though some Greek people might accept dollars, they are not preferred, and you may be offered a very bad exchange rate if you insist on using them. Please have some euros with you.
Can I drink the tap water in Greece?
This depends on where you go. For example, you can drink tap water in Athens, but you can’t drink it in Santorini. If you want to avoid plastic waste, consider bringing a portable water filter.
Our final tips for your Greek holiday
Packing for a trip is one of my favorite 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 traveling, 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, just wear something that is weather appropriate and you feel comfortable in.
(If that makes you feel better, I am always mistaken for a tourist in my own country. I used to hate it, but I find it amusing these days).
Second – if you have forgotten to bring something, you can usually 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!
More Greece travel tips
I hope this extensive guide on what to pack for Greece was helpful! Plus, you’ve now seen our travel wardrobe. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below.
Here are some more Greek travel guides:
- What to do in Santorini in 4 days
- Best time to visit Greece
- 30 best things to do in Athens
- Is Greece expensive? Our budget for a month
- Tips for staying cool in Athens and Greece
- Best things to do in Greece in January
Hello! I am Vanessa, a travel writer from Athens, Greece. I love sharing my local knowledge and personal views about Greece, on my travel blog and several online forums. You can get in touch through the Real Greek Experiences FB page and FB group.