17 Top Greece Packing List Items + What NOT To Bring (2017 Update)

What should I bring on my Greece trip?

Greece is every bit as wonderful as you’d imagine and then some – you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a trip of lifetime.

To help prepare for your adventure, I’ve created a list of 17 must-have packing list items for your Greece travels, along with what NOT to bring so that your packing choices will be a little easier. I’ve also included a section on what to wear and other FAQs.

Enjoy Greece’s magic, lively atmosphere, and true natural beauty!


1) Universal Waterproof Phone Case – I love this phone case. It provides protection from dirt and dust while also being waterproof and compatible with almost any phone! You can still use your device for internet browsing and taking snapshots while it’s inside the case. The price is also under $10, which makes it a no-brainer.
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2) Packing cubes – When you know you’re going to be hauling your luggage around sloping streets and stone walkways, it’s always good to pack as lightly as possible. These 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.
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packing-cubes

3) Travel insurance – No one wants to think about bad things happening on their trip. The truth is, things happen, and it’s better to be prepared – especially when you’re a long way from home and familiar medical and legal services. Travel insurance can help ensure that you don’t have to foot the bill for stolen items, or have issues paying for a return flight in case of medical emergency. Travel smart, bring insurance like the pros do, and sleep much better knowing you’re covered!
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4) Greece Power Adapter – 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 world adapter also has 2 USB ports and a built-in fuse to protect your devices in case of power surges.
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5) Affordable Underwater Camera – You’re definitely going to be taking photos in Greece – you’ll see some of the most beautiful sights, and you’ll want to capture them. Now, since many activities you’ll be doing in Greece will involve water it only makes sense to bring a waterproof camera to take those photos with, since you don’t want to risk the safety of your standard camera. Plus, this camera in particular is a reliable and much less expensive option if you don’t want to go all-in for a GoPro or a DSLR camera.
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6) Rolling suitcase – When you picture Greece, you see hillsides and narrow streets, right? Well if you don’t, look up a few pictures. It’s a magnificent place, and many of the most popular locations are on hillsides. This means you’ll be doing quite a bit of walking when you get there with your luggage, so you’ll want it to be easy to roll and carry. This bag can be rolled like a rollerboard suitcase or carried like a duffel bag, so it’s got the best of both worlds.
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7) Passport Pouch – You’ll be bringing your passport and probably small amounts of cash and your ATM card, so you’ll need a safe place to store those things. I always recommend keeping any valuables you have to carry with you in a secure place on your person. This wearable passport pouch tucks discreetly under your shirt but is still easy to access so that you don’t have to look “touristy”. It’s next-to-impossible to steal because it’s well-hidden, and it will keep your items safe so that you don’t have to worry.
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8) Reef-Safe Sunscreen – Where there’s water, there’s generally aquatic wildlife, and it’s incredibly important to protect that wildlife. Sunscreen, too, is crucial in Greece, but most sunscreens contain harmful chemicals that can compromise aquatic environments. Reef-safe sunscreen allows you to wear reliable protection from the Grecian sun while also keeping aquatic life healthy and safe.
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9) Water bottle with built-in filter – 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.
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10) Female Urination Device – 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 being, easy to clean, and nice to have in many of the world’s countries.
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11) Comfortable flats – 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.
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12) Scarf or shawl – There will be places in Greece where the dress code will require a bit more modesty, and a scarf is a great way to cover your shoulders without adding too much weight or warmth. 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.
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13) Travel backpack – Many activities in Greece will keep you active all day, so it’s wise to carry a daypack with you to hold the things you bring and accumulate throughout the day. You’ll thank yourself for bringing a backpack here instead of just a tote or shoulder-bag – your back and shoulders will feel much better at the end of the day, and you’ll have more room for any items you pick up while shopping or grabbing groceries to bring back to your room.
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14) Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger – I absolutely love this portable charger. Its small size, quick charge, USB compatibility, and sleek design make it indispensable for those of us who enjoy a lot of activity on our trips. I used to have to go back to my room to charge my devices but with this it’s easy to charge the portable charger while I’m already in my room and use it to recharge my other devices while I’m out doing the day’s activities.
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15) Guidebook for Greece – You’ll want to prepare for your trip by planning a few key must-see attractions, and learning about some cultural tips and best practices. While in Greece you’ll likely want to refer back to your guidebook as well, since there are so many amazing things to do and see. I tend to like Lonely Planet’s guidebooks because they’re pretty comprehensive and easy to use.
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16) Activated Charcoal – These capsules are an integral part of my travel kit. Almost every traveler has experienced indigestion 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.
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17) Travel towel – 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.
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Other Things You Might Need for Greece


 

What to wear in Greece


In any European country it’s important to dress a little more nicely than you’re used to in the more casual U.S., and Greece is no exception to this rule. People typically look comfortable, but classy. You won’t find short shorts or risque 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.
Items that can be layered are important, too. During the winter, you might want to bring a couple of long-sleeved shirts, a jacket or
sweater, and a scarf or two, but even in the summer an extra layer or two may be needed when the breeze brings a chill.

Cute, comfortable flats are also important, as there are many places where heeled shoes are not allowed due to the risk of damage to the monuments and soft stone paths. Bring a couple of pairs of cute shoes that you enjoy wearing while walking and looking nice, and you’ll be set.

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 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.
 
3) 🚫 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!
4) 🚫 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.
 
5) 🚫 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.
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 safelyaway from any potential theft.
 

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 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?

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. In order 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 particularly 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!


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