Greece is every bit as wonderful as you’d imagine and then some – you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a trip of lifetime.
I’ve created a list of 18 must-have packing list items for your Greek travels, along with what to wear in Greece so that your packing choices will be a little easier. I’ve also included a section on what NOT to bring and other FAQs.
Enjoy Greece’s magical abundance, lively atmosphere, and its true natural beauty!
What to pack for Greece - 19 Essentials
1. Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger
This nifty little USB charger has saved us so many times. Trust me, there is nothing worse than your phone running out of juice, losing GPS, and then not knowing how to get back to your hotel, or to the next activity. It’s also great for charging camera’s or iPads when you’re on the beach and in a pinch. I never travel overseas without it.
Packing cubes help you keep your items organized and compact so that you can fit more into a smaller bag. They’ll also allow you much easier access to your belongings so that you don’t have to dig around in your bag to find what you’re looking for – TOTAL LIFE CHANGER!
Greece is full of some of the world’s most majestically beautiful beaches. Many of them are rocky and others you may have to clamber down cliffs to get to. Rather than bringing heavy hiking shoes we suggest these super lightweight mesh water shoes from Aleader. They are also breathable, dry quickly and the “water grain” soles have great traction in wet or slippery conditions.
This is something worth investing in for any world traveler, and of course you’ll need one if you plan to charge any electronics at all in Greece. The most common outlets in Greece are Type C, E, and F which are the same as most of continental Europe. This international adapter also has 2 USB ports and a built-in fuse to protect your devices in case of power surges.
Some accommodations don’t provide towels, or if they do the towels may not be ones you actually want to use. Having your own compact, quick-dry travel towel is always a good idea. After trying several different brands, we’ve found this one by Sunland to be the best.
Greece is magical but unfortunately it can also be quite dodgy depending on where you go. I wouldn’t go without travel insurance and TravelInsurance.com is our top pick for comparing and finding the right plan. Not only will travel insurance cover the cost of stolen, lost, or damaged luggage and delayed flights but they will front the bill if you have to see a doctor or are in an emergency situation. For example, a friend of mine who was visiting an island had to get airlifted to the hospital because she tripped on a step in front of her hotel and busted open her forehead. Luckily she had bought travel insurance. For the minimal cost, it is really worth the peace-of-mind.
Greek pickpockets are world renowned and target tourists in all major metropolises including (but not limited to) train stations, museums and all major attractions. The secret to avoid becoming the next victim is to have a wearable neck wallet like the one pictured so that you can easily conceal your passport, cash, credit cards, iPhone and important travel documents. If you wear it under your clothing, it’s practically impossible to steal from – we know from experience!
You’re definitely going to be taking photos, you’ll see some incredible sights and you’ll want to capture them. Since many activities you’ll be doing will involve water it only makes sense to bring a waterproof camera. We’ve learned it’s best not to risk the safety of your DSLR camera by getting it wet or sandy. This camera by Campark takes great photos and videos both in and out of the water, is pretty indestructible, and works just like a GoPro but without the high price tag.
This amazing towel is a must for my trip to Greece. I hate feeling over-heated so whichever location I’m enjoying, whether it’s one of Greece’s magnificent coastal destinations or an ancient site, I can simply wet this towel, ring it out and wrap it around my neck or shoulders for instant relief. It is chemical free, offers UPF protection and kind to my sensitive skin. The comforting effect last for 30-60 minutes and can be prolonged by simply wetting the cooling towel again. The compact reusable storage tube makes it very potable. I even use it regularly at home after a gym workout or on a hiking day trip.
Especially in the summer, Greece is hot and these cover-ups are great because they make going to and from the beach a breeze. This one by Jeasona I personally own and love. I wear it to the beach, go for a swim, then throw it over my suit and head to lunch without much thought. It’s breathable, super easy to pack, comes in many colors, looks pretty amazing on all body types — and it’s really affordable.
When traveling, there are certian valuables that we can’t leave behind. Things like smartphones, cash, credit cards, and passports are usually the bare minimum we need to travel. And often, we also bring additional valuables like laptops, cameras, tablets, and jewelry. You don’t want to leave it up to chance whether or not those things get stolen out of your bags. A set of TSA-approved luggage locks will keep your luggage secure during transit, when left unattended in your hotel room, and when traveling within cities.
Water in Greece is generally drinkable, but in some areas near the sea it can be a bit salty. It’s typically not a good idea to take unsafe risks with the things you eat and drink overseas anyway, so I recommend bringing a water bottle with a built-in filter. This allows you to stay hydrated – crucial in the Mediterranean sun – while not having to worry about the quality of the water you’re drinking.
Sounds funny, I know, but take my word for it: Greece has an interesting toilet situation. You will find some western-style toilets, of course, but throughout the country you’ll see that you’re not allowed to flush toilet paper because Greece’s pipes are so narrow. You may also find that you don’t want to sit on some toilets that aren’t quite to your standards so a Female Urination Device is actually quite a handy thing to pack. It’s easy to bring, easy to clean, and nice to have in many of the world’s countries.
Grecian monuments are protected by many rules and requirements, and one of those is that no heels may be worn due to the potential for damage to the stone. Even on days that you don’t visit monuments, though, you’ll be doing a lot of walking, and you may as well be comfortable and look cute while you do it! These shoes will get you where you need to go in style and comfort.
Summertime is also mosquito season in Greece and occasionally we hear reports of Dengue Fever coming from the mosquitoes. Certain parts of the country can have a lot so it’s good to be prepared. We’ve found these little wristbands to be a very effective way to prevent being bitten by the little bloodsuckers and they last over 300 hours of use.
There will inevitably be places in Greece where the dress code will require a bit more modesty. I find a scarf is a great way to cover your shoulders without adding too much weight to your suitcase. On the other hand, those breezes can easily make the evenings chilly, and a scarf is a fabulous and fashionable way to ward of the chill.
A good VPN is essential for any overseas travel. In fact, if we’d had one on our recent Euro trip we wouldn’t have had our debit card number stolen while using a WiFi at our vacation rental! :(
We recommend NordVPN which enables you to protect all your online activity (on all devices) with a single click. It works by adding encryption to your internet connection so that hackers can’t gain access. It’s very inexpensive too which makes it a no-brainer in our experience.
These capsules are an integral part of my travel kit. Almost every traveler has experienced the dreaded traveler’s diarrhea due to exposure to new foods and climate, and these capsules are the key to fixing that problem. The activated charcoal absorbs toxins in your digestive system and helps you return to normal so that you can move on to enjoying your trip! They’re also vital to have in case of accidental food poisoning.
Flights to Greece are typically long and jet lag is no fun for anyone. Flights, layovers, and lots of moving around will definitely mess with your sleep patterns. I have been using these homeopathic Jet Lag Pills for over a decade. They really help me recover quickly from my initial travels so I’m back on my feet ready to explore. They are 100% natural and have no side effects.
In any European country it’s important to dress a little more nicely than you’re used to in the more casual United States, and Greece is no exception to this rule. People typically look comfortable but classy. You most likely won’t find short shorts or risqué clothing anywhere other than the beach, and religious sites typically require an even more conservative approach to clothing. Scarves or shawls are handy in those cases.
Cute, comfortable flats are also important, as there are many places where narrow-heeled shoes (like stilettos and similar heels) are not allowed due to the risk of damage to the monuments and soft stone paths.
What should WOMEN wear in Greece? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).
For the warm months of spring and summer pack plenty of light clothing like summer dresses, jumpsuits, shorts, and tanks. On the beach, it’s perfectly fine to opt for either a one-piece or a bikini swimsuit. As in other countries in Europe, don’t be surprised if you also see women topless on the beaches. Many beaches will have restaurants and cafes, so it is good to bring a swimsuit cover-up to wear should you decide to visit one. Also, it’s very hot in the summer so pack a hat and sunglasses. In the cooler months of fall and winter, pack leggings and skinny jeans to wear with tee shirts and cardigans. Bring a lightweight jacket to stay warm as well. Any time of the year pack a few pieces of jewelry to add some glam for dinners in the evening. Leave your heels at home as you will have difficulty walking on the many cobblestone streets so opt for stylish but comfortable footwear like gladiator sandals or flats.
What should MEN wear in Greece? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample men’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).
In Greece, you’ll often see men in loafers or sandals. Just make sure they are comfy for lots of walking. It is super useful in the warm months to pack dry-fit chino shorts, which are great for many activities like hiking, swimming, and exploring archeological sites. Pair with tees, polos, or button-down shirts, and make sure to bring a hat and sunglasses. In the cooler months pack fitted trousers and jeans, along with sweaters or a casual blazer. It is also good to bring a packable lightweight rain jacket for cooler weather and to protect you from any downpours.
Packing for the Seasons in Greece
Seasons in Greece fall in line with much of Europe, except that Greece also enjoys a considerable amount of coastline, plus all of the breezes, warmth, and weather that go along with it.
SPRING – March, April:
Spring arrives late and leaves early in Greece – the winter tends to last a while and the summer typically ramps up right as May hits. Spring weather can vary but doesn’t get too extreme apart from rainstorms.
The weather is the most stable during Greece’s summer. You may see some rains here and there but they don’t often last long. Breezes near the coasts will offer some respite from the inevitable heat that also comes in the summer months. This is the tourist high-season, so remember that crowds, lines, and prices will all be more than usual! It’s also good to be aware that in the inner parts of the country, summer heat (usually in July and August) can be very oppressive and even dangerous to certain individuals with health problems.
Make sure you bring all of your best sun gear! You won’t want to forget your sunhat, sunglasses, mosquito repellent, and light fabrics like linen. This is a good time of year to flaunt your favorite sundress, as well! Cute, comfortable sandals are ideal, as you’ll be doing a lot of walking and maybe even some hiking. Greece is also very dry in the summer, so you will likely want lip balm, sunscreen, electrolytes, and your own filtered water bottle to be sure you stay hydrated. Temperatures average between 80°F to 90°F (27°C to 32°C) but can be over 100°F (38°C) in certain areas.
FALL – September, October, part of November:
Fall is well-known to be one of the most beautiful times to visit Greece. Summer tourist crowds will be a little lighter (though not all the way gone), but the weather stays nice for long enough that travelers can enjoy the foliage, the cooler temps, and the gorgeous mountains longer than in other parts of Europe.
A light jacket should be all you need this time of year, but be sure to dress in layers and bring a scarf or shawl for when it gets chilly or you are visiting a more modest tourist attraction. Good walking flats are also a necessity! Temperatures average between 60°F to 70°F (16°C to 21°C).
WINTER – part of November, December, January, February:
Winter is very mild but still chilly near the Aegean and Ionian seas. In the mountains, it can actually get fairly cold. If you’re traveling North in Greece, you’ll want to pack fairly warmly, and with layers that are easy to add and remove. If you’re staying further south or coastally, you can count on a chill but nothing too cold.
No matter where you are in Greece you’ll see some winter rains, so pack accordingly. You’ll definitely need a good rain jacket and a windproof travel umbrella, but you should also consider bringing comfortable walking boots to keep your feet dry.
Nice but comfortable pants are ideal, and cute long-sleeved tops will keep you feeling the Mediterranean vibe even when it’s not as warm. A light jacket will add greatly to your comfort in the colder areas. Temperatures average between 50°F to 55°F (10°C to 13°C).
How to dress for the activity in Greece – (Click to expand)
Exploring Archeological Sights – There are so many fantastic, well-preserved ancient sites all around Greece. In Athens alone, there’s the Acropolis, Temple of Olympian Zeus, and the Ancient Agora. Further away there is Ancient Delphi where leaders turned to an Oracle for important decisions and Ancient Olympia where the Olympic games were held in the classical times. There isn’t a clothing dress code for the sites so dress according to the season and make sure to wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. There is a rule at many sites prohibiting any heels, so wear flats or walking shoes. In the summer it’s so hot that you should try to go as early as possible before the heat becomes too much.
Beach Bumming – There are so many great beaches in Greece, all surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea. Bikinis are the most popular choice on the beach, though some people will wear a one-piece and others who go topless. Men wear speedos and fitted swim trunks. You will easily be recognized as a tourist if you have baggy and long swim shorts that go to the knee. Fedoras are popular for both men and women. Make sure to bring a beach coverup as many restaurants and cafes on the beach require you to cover up. You can also spot some fantastic sea life, so if you plan on spending a lot of time on beaches, bring a snorkel and a mask.
Open-Air Cinema – A beloved past-time by locals, open-air cinema runs from April to October. The cinema allows you to watch the latest movies outdoors. Even better, each cinema tends to have a food specialty whether it’s souvlaki, sushi, or baked pies, and locals choose which cinema to go to based on what they feel like eating. When it comes to what to wear at the open-air cinema, it’s a free-for-all. It can get quite cool in the evenings so it is good to wear pants and bring a sweater or shawl.
Monasteries – In Greece, there are some beautiful Eastern Orthodox monasteries, most notably Meteora. It’s amazing to see monasteries sitting above steep cliffs and surrounded by beautiful olive groves. Most monasteries are open between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM depending on the season, and you will need to follow a strict dress code. No bare shoulders are allowed, women must wear a long skirt that goes past the knees, and men need to wear trousers. A wrap-around skirt will be provided if visitors are wearing shorts or skirts that are too short. Since the monasteries are located on steep cliffs, it’s also a good idea to wear enclosed shoes even though sandals are technically allowed.
What NOT to take to Greece
1.DON’T PACK heavy items
Things like extra books, too many clothes or shoes, heavy electronics, or too many extra, non-essential items can lead to an uncomfortable travel experience, and a sore back. You won’t need most of these things in Greece, and you can always opt for a Kindle if you like to relax with books while on vacation.
2.DON’T TAKE hairdryers
They’re heavy and unnecessary, especially since most hotels and hostels will likely have one that you can borrow. Or, for a change of pace, try giving your hair a styling-tool-break by rocking some natural beach waves in this gorgeous locale!
3.DON’T TAKE anything that screams “Hapless Tourist!”
Avoid wearing or using anything that signals to Greek locals that you’re a clueless vacationer. It’ll be obvious that you’re not Greek when you interact with people, but they’ll likely appreciate you much more if you respect their culture and make an effort to try to fit in where possible. Plus, wearing an “I Love New York” or an American Flag tee-shirt is a surefire way to pin a “try to pick my pocket” sign on your back.
4.DON’T BRING valuable belongings
Items with sentimental value or hefty price tag should always be left at home. Flashy jewelry, expensive electronics, etc. just aren’t worth the risk of losing them or having them stolen. The only exceptions to this rule are devices that you need to stay in touch with the outside world such as your phone.
5.DON’T PACK high heels
Monuments don’t allow them, and the winding, cobbled streets in many areas will make them risky and foolish – a broken or sprained ankle would really ruin your trip! Cute flats are a great replacement for high heels, even when going on dressier outings to restaurants or local hangouts.
6.DON’T BRING excessive amounts of cash
it’s true that most transaction in Greece will be cash-only, but carrying a lot of cash on your person at any given time is a bad idea wherever you are. Bring your ATM card with you and store it safely in your passport pouch until you need it. Keep some cash on hand and restock when you need to – you can always lock extra cash in your hotel room if you bring a way to lock it safely away from any potential theft.
What NOT to Wear in Greece – (Click to expand)
If you have plans to fly between Greek Islands, cities, or other places in Europe, budget airlines will charge hefty fees for checked and overweight bags, so avoid packing non-essentials. This would include things like beach toys which you can easily buy in Greece, hiking boots if you don’t plan on doing any serious hikes, heels of any kind, and bottles of body wash and shampoo which can be put in travel-size bottles instead. From spring to fall the weather is warm so you will only need a maximum of two pairs of pants. A heavy jacket isn’t required in the summer and for spring and fall, a lightweight windbreaker will do. Lastly, try to avoid standing out as a tourist – avoid baggy clothing, sweatpants, and graphic tee shirts.
FAQs about Traveling to Greece
1. Is Greece safe for travelers?
If you are careful and behave sensibly, you shouldn’t have any real trouble. The on-going budgetary crisis and the waves of refugees arriving on the Greek islands near Turkey have caused the entire country to be a little overlooked as a tourist destination in recent years. Despite the occasional demonstration, transportation strike, or bout of violence in big cities like Athens, most of Greece is still considered to be reasonably safe for tourists. However, members of certain ethnic groups may be mistaken for unwanted migrants and harassed as a result – I suggest reading recent Greek news to get a feel for the current climate.
2. What can I do to stay safe while traveling in Greece?
Of course, travelers should naturally exercise the normal precautions that come with visiting big cities. Keep an eye on your belongings at all times, avoid freebies from strangers, and be vigilant about your surroundings. You’ll also want to make sure all your belongings are properly secured in a safe at your hostel/hotel when you’re not there. It’s likewise a good idea to use public transportation where possible and be extremely careful when crossing the road, even at designated spots.
Places in Athens where you should be especially cautious, particularly after dark, include Exarchia, Monastiraki, Vachi, Kolokotroni, Syntagma, and Omonia Square. Other places to avoid include the clubs in the Glyfada district as well as the bus and train stations for Larissa and the Peloponnese at night.
3. What is a good basic daily budget for Greece?
Travelers that don’t mind staying in hostel dorms, prepping some of their own meals, using public transportation, and taking in the occasional free attraction can get by on as little as $30 per day. However, partying at the hottest clubs and eating out for every meal will quickly add up to far more than you may have planned on paying. A more accurate daily budget for someone willing to make a few sacrifices for their dream vacation would be around $65 to $75 per person. Individuals with a bit more cash to spare might instead want to start their daily budgets at a little over $100 per person.
4. When’s the best time to visit Greece?
Like most of Europe, Greece is at its best during the spring and the fall (and in parts of the country, you can still swim in September!). High temperatures and crowded attractions are characteristic of the summer months and can make your trip less enjoyable if you don’t like crowds and lines. The northern portions of Greece can also get fairly cold in the wintertime. In some spots, it even snows. Although the southern portions of the country aren’t nearly as cold, they tend to be especially rainy during those months.
5. Where are the main airports located?
The main ones are located in the northern portions of the country near Athens (ATH) and Thessaloniki (SKG) and in the southernmost portion of the country on the island of Crete at Heraklion (HER). Many of the main islands also have their own small airports. However, quite a few of them are regularly reported as being some of the worst airports in the world. This is no doubt because these facilities tend to be small, understaffed, and lacking in creature comforts. As a result, you’re probably better off taking the ferries if you need to get to and from the islands.
6. Do I need to tip in Greek restaurants?
It’s customary to leave a few euros in change and that’s certainly what the locals do in Greece. Of course, nobody’s going to complain about receiving an additional 10 percent on the tab if you’re either feeling generous or service was especially good. To be sure the wait staff receives the money they’ve earned, give them cash even if you’re paying with a credit card. However, travelers should be aware that the occasional establishment may add a predetermined service charge on the bill. Check for that before tossing your change on the table. There’s no sense in leaving two tips!
7. What vegetarian options are available in Greece?
Plenty! Although it may seem meat-heavy like it, Greek food isn’t all gyros and roasted lamb chops. There are actually plenty of vegetarian options on the traditional menu. While some dishes may occasionally be cooked with a fish or meat broth/stock to help improve the taste, that’s not always the case. Just don’t be afraid to ask. Many Greeks, particularly those in more touristy areas, speak English and can answer your questions about the menu items. However, do be aware that options for vegans who don’t eat cheese, eggs, and/or fish are extremely limited.
8. Can you suggest some good daytrips from Athens?
Delphi is a popular one, but it can take quite a while to get there. Better options include the nearby Greek islands of Aegina and Hydra. These can be reached quickly using the fast ferries. Or travelers might look at visiting the towns of Corinth, Mycenae, Epidaurus, Cape Sounion, and/or Nafplio. All of these spots are located a short drive away from Athens, and Nafplio in particular is highly recommended by travelers-in-the-know.
9. Can I drink the tap water?
On some of the islands and near the coast, the tap water may be too salty or too full of minerals for American tastes but it is still mostly safe to drink. On the other hand, the water in some of the inland areas can occasionally be unhealthy or unpalatable. Making things even more confusing is the fact that there are refreshing mountain springs in some other spots that are regularly used by the locals. If you are unsure about how to deal with the varying water quality throughout the country, simply ask the staff at the place you’re staying at whether or not you need to purchase bottled water during the duration of your stay, or bring a water bottle with built-in filter.
10. What’s the deal with not being able to use toilet paper on the islands?
Some of the islands have old plumbing that’s not set up for our modern toilet paper. It has to be thrown away instead so just use the baskets provided for this purpose. Don’t try to flush it or you’ll end up with a clogged toilet, and a lot of embarrassment!