Updated on March 13, 2019 by Asher Fergusson
What should I bring on my Greece trip?
I’ve created a list of 17 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!
5) Virtual Private Network (VPN) – 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.
Other Things You Might Need for Greece
Plastic Packing Bags
Watch or alarm clock
Small travel sewing kit
Sunglasses: Women’s and Men’s
Extra Flashlight Batteries
Journal or Notebook
What to wear in Greece
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.
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.
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.
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 a lot, but doesn’t get too extreme apart from rainstorms.
You will absolutely want a rain jacket and a windproof travel umbrella, and some enclosed shoes for wet days. For drier, sunny days you’ll enjoy wearing lighter fabrics that breathe well, so pack things like linen pants and shirts, a light cardigan, cute sunglasses, and a fun sunhat. Temperatures average between 55°F to 65°F (13°C to 18°C).
SUMMER – May, June, July, August:
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 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).
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 there are some people who 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 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
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?
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 USD 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 who is 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?
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?
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?
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!
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