Athens is a city that makes it onto just about everyone’s bucket list and for good reason. It’s rich in history with Ancient ruins around every turn and seemingly on every hilltop. In modern-day Athens, the city is nothing short of vibrant. With a deep connection to traditional Greek culture, the food is bursting with flavor and impressive street life. With the warm Mediterranean climate, you might be wondering what locals wear and what you should pack for your trip to Athens. That’s why I’ve put together a full packing list for Athens, Greece:
What to Pack for Athens – 17 Essentials
1. Neck Wallet
While Athens is overall a safe city, there are a few areas at night that have higher crime rates. Keeping your valuables in your neck wallet that fits nicely under your shirt or jacket will ensure that no sticky fingers can get to them. Gives you peace of mind that your wallet, phone, and passport are safe while you’re enjoying Athens.
2. Hanging Toiletry Bag
Like most of Europe, the hotel rooms in Athens aren’t exactly overly spacious. The bathrooms can be tight. Using a hanging toiletry bag will clear up the limited counter space in the bathroom. Not to mention, it’ll keep you organized so you can get ready in a flash— rather than digging around in your suitcase looking for your hair brush or your shampoo.
3. Virtual Private Network (VPN)
When people ask me what’s something that I never travel without, they’re normally pretty surprised to hear my response is a VPN. Since having my data hacked and my credit cards compromised on a trip, I always use a VPN to keep my information safe when I am connected to the public WiFi at my hotel.
4. Quick-Dry Travel Towel
When you think of Athens, images of the ancient city probably come to mind. The Acropolis, Parthenon, and all the temples. What people tend to forget is that Athens is a coastal city and has some pretty amazing beaches. Pack a quick-dry travel towel, so that if you go from the beach to museums, you’re not stuck carrying a soggy towel.
5. Lip-Stick Sized Portable Charger
Athens is huge. It can be a little intimidating to navigate at times, even remembering the street name that you’re staying on is difficult considering the greek alphabet. Trust me when I say, you don’t ever want to be in a position where you don’t have your phone to help you navigate. Bring a portable charger along so that you’re never lost with a dead phone.
6. Packing Cubes
On day one of your trip, your suitcase is normally packed nicely and neatly— but it just takes one moment looking for a specific item to turn your suitcase into a chaotic pile of clothing. Using packing cubes keeps everything nice and tidy, which is extremely important in a hotel room that is tight on space.
7. Life Straw Water Bottle
The locals will tell you that it’s ok to drink tap water in Athens, however considering that it’s the oldest capital city in Europe— some of the pipes have to be pretty old as well. To be on the safe side bring a self-filtering water bottle that you can fill anywhere and not have to worry about the water being clean.
8. Universal Travel Adapter
In the hustle and bustle of getting ready for a trip, it is easy to forget the small details such as the fact that European outlets are different. Make sure to pack a few high-quality travel adaptors, so that you’re not spending your first day in Athens running around looking for a store selling adapters.
9. Universal Waterproof Phone Case
Imagine all the incredible photos you’ve snapped on your trip gone in a flash. I’ve been there before when I accidentally dropped my phone into the water on a trip. Make sure to use a universal waterproof phone case whenever you’re near the water because accidents can and do happen.
10. Cooling Towel
The heat in Athens can be relentless. I for one have been suckered into things like “fish pedicures” solely to escape into air-conditioning. Bringing a cooling towel along will keep you relaxed even in the mid-day sun, so you can keep exploring and not make a detour in the name of air conditioning.
When you set out for a day of adventures in Athens, chances are you’re not going to be going back to the hotel till late in the evening. Packing a daypack with everything you need for the day will save you from having to purchase things that you already have with you like a sweater or sunscreen.
12. Windproof Travel Umbrella
Something that should be in your daypack every day is a travel umbrella. Being caught somewhere like on the Acropolis when it starts to rain means either huddling under an ancient ruin until the rain stops or getting soaked climbing back down towards the city since there’s no coverage from the rain.
13. Deodorant Wipes
With the mix of heat and humidity, you’ll get pretty sweaty while you’re exploring Athens. Throw a couple of deodorant wipes into your day pack so you can quickly freshen up. It’ll come in handy, especially on the days when there’s no time to shower between the long day of sightseeing and going out for dinner and drinks.
14. Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is one of those things that most people only think about after something happens. By then it’s too late, so make sure to get yourself covered before heading out on your trip. You never know when a flight will be canceled or your luggage never turns up at the baggage claim. We recommend TravelInsurance.com because you can compare policies from top companies to find the best option for you and your travel plans.
15. Mosquito Repellant
The mosquitos in Athens are fierce. Right around dusk, they’ll seemingly come out of nowhere. If you’re not prepared with mosquito repellant, you’ll find yourself covered in spots pretty quickly. Since being covered in itchy bites isn’t ideal, keep a bottle of mosquito repellant in your daypack to fend them off.
16. Activated Charcoal
In the moment when you’re eating a fresh gyro from a street vendor, it’s pure bliss— sometime your stomach won’t feel that way in a couple of hours. If you’re prone to travelers’ sickness, it’s essential to bring a pack of activated charcoal with you, so you can eat all the street food without the fear of spending the rest of the trip near a toilet.
17. Go-Pro Action Camera
The adventures in Athens never stop. From the ruins to the street life, to the beaches. You’ll want to capture everything. Having a go-pro with you makes it easy to document your trip without having to worry about using all your storage space on your phone. Plus, you can get underwater shots that a phone just simply can’t get.
What to Wear in Athens
Greek women seem to always look put together. They know exactly how to dress so that they’ll be comfortable regardless of how far they have to walk or what the weather is— yet still look super stylish. The key? Keep it simple. To obtain this you should pack a light maxi dress with comfortable sandals.
You’ll want to have cute sneakers for the days you’ll be trekking up the ancient ruins. For the hot days a pair of linen shorts with a breathable top. If you plan on hitting the beach don’t forget a fashion-forward swimsuit and a hat to protect you from the strong sun.
Men in Greece live by the casual dress code. Rarely you’ll see a man in a suit— rather dressing up consists of a nice pair of chinos and a button-down. On a normal day, you can wear a pair of shorts with a breathable top or swap the shorts for a loose pair of linen trousers to embrace the Mediterranean vibe. Make sure to pack a nice pair of sneakers, the marble steps in the ruins can be pretty slick.
Dressing for the Seasons
SPRING – March, April, May
Temperatures in the spring range on average between 57°F to 81°F (13°C-27°C)
SUMMER – June, July, August
There is only one word for summer in Athens: HOT. With the temp ranging from just below 80 to upwards of 100, you’ll want to be in breathable materials, like linen pants or shorts, and cotton tops. Make sure to pack your swimsuit to escape the heat by cooling off in the sea.
Temperatures in the summer range on average between 78°F to 100°F (25°C-38°C)
FALL – September, October, November
Temperatures in the fall range on average between 53°F to 82°F (12°C-28°C)
Winter – December, January, February
Winters in Athens are mild. The temp rarely drops below the mid-40s. Long sleeve shirts, trousers, and a light jacket should keep you warm— the locals will go as far to wear a light puffer jacket and a scarf, but remember they’re used to living in a climate that’s warm for 9 months of the year, so any dip below 55° feels freezing to them.
Temperatures in the winter range on average between 42°F to 62°F (5°C-16°C)
Museums: The museums in Greece are air-conditioned, going from the heat to a cool building can give anyone the chills, so pack a long sleeve to throw on or a light jacket to help you adjust to the temperature change.
Exploring Plaka: Plaka is one of the most picturesque neighborhoods in Athens. The winding streets, cute cafes, and stores are all perfect places to explore while getting amazing photos for your Instagram. You’ll want to wear something cute yet comfortable, a midi-skirt and cute top is perfect. For guys a nice pair of shorts with a breathable top.
Mount Lycabettus: Don’t worry you won’t have to climb to the top of Mount Lycabettus in order to take in the incredible views overlooking Athens. You can take the gondola straight to the top. While you can wear whatever you’re comfortable in, the wind can get pretty chilly up there. A light pair of trousers with a top will keep you warm— but if you tend to run on the colder side, maybe throw a long sleeve shirt into your daypack just in case.
A night out in Psiri: Psiri is where the night comes alive in Athens. You’ll want to get dolled up for a night out in this neighborhood. A skirt and crop top or a maxi dress will work, just make sure whatever shoes you wear you can dance in. For guys, you can wear a pair of linen trousers with a button-down and boat shoes or sandals.
Going to the beach: If you’re going to head to the beach in Athens, you’ll want to make sure you have beach sandals — some of the beaches are pebbles and others are sand, but they all are hot on the toes. A fashion-forward swimsuit will help you fit in with the locals, but don’t forget your hat because the sun in Greece is not forgiving.
What NOT to Bring to Athens
1.DON’T Bring Heavy Winter Clothes
You won’t need heavy winter clothes for your trip to Athens regardless of the season. It very rarely drops below freezing, so leave your parka and winter boots at home.
2.DON’T Bring Valuables
Greece has been going through economic turmoil over the last half a decade. While the city is pretty safe, you wouldn’t want to draw any unnecessary attention to yourself with blingy jewelry and other valuables. Leave all of that at home so you don’t have to worry about them being stolen.
3.DON’T Bring a Hairdryer
Most hotel rooms have a hair dryer in them, so you can leave yours at home and save some space in your luggage.
4.DON’T Bring a Full suitcase
The shopping in Athens is great. There are super cute fashion-forward clothes for affordable prices. You’ll definitely want to leave some room in your luggage for all your purchases while you’re in Athens.
5.DON’T Bring Hiking Gear
While Athens does have Mount Lycabettus you won’t need hiking gear since you can take the gondola up. Unless you’re going on a specific trekking-focused holiday, leave your outdoorsy things back home.
6.DON’T Bring Books
The last thing you need is an extra 5 pounds in your luggage. Books are heavy and take up a lot of space. Opt for a reading tablet, like a Kindle so you can have unlimited books taking up a fraction of your luggage real estate.
FAQs about Visiting Athens
1. How many days do I need in Athens?
Athens is huge and rich in history. If you’re a huge history buff, you’ll want 4-5 days in Athens, if you just want to see some of the highlights and move on to the Greek Islands, 2-3 days should suffice.
2. What are the most popular attractions?
- National Archeological Museum
- Temple of Zeus
- Ancient Agora of Athens
- Panathenaic Stadium
- Mount Lycabettus
- Odeon of Herodes Atticus
- Temple of Athena Nike
- National Garden
3. Is Athens safe?
For the most part, Athens is safe. However, it’s important to remember that this is a metropolitan city, and like cities anywhere in the world you should be aware of your surroundings— especially at night.
4. What is the best Greek food to try?
5. How can I get around Athens?
Athens has a pretty good public transport system that covers most of the city and the suburbs. It’s extremely affordable with a ticket costing €1.20. Athens has uber if you prefer to have a direct ride. There are also city taxis, but be careful they are notorious for scamming tourists.
6. What are the best beaches in Athens?
- Astir Beach
- Giyfada Beach