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As I waited to board the ferry in Santorini, I looked around and noticed something peculiar: everybody seemed to have dressed to match the island they were visiting. Whites, blues and stripes – along with Insta-ready dresses – seems to be the uniform there.
It’s not just Santorini, though. I spent two whole months living in Greece and exploring the Greek Islands last summer, and matching the islands seems to be the standard dress code in Greece.
That doesn’t mean you have to do the same, of course, but it should give you an idea of the vibe.
Since I live out of a suitcase, I didn’t pack specifically for Greece (I also stayed in Tbilisi, Aberdeenshire and South Africa in the same trip). But, of all the places I visited in those months, Greece was the one I wished I could have packed for specifically.
If you’re travelling to the Greek Islands – or any other part of Greece – soon, here’s what I recommend adding to your Greece packing list. We’ll take a look at what to wear in Greece, what else to pack and what you can leave behind. Oh, and there’s a free downloadable packing list for you, too!
What to wear in Greece
Greece is the kind of place where you can wear pretty much whatever you like.
The locals always go out well dressed, so don’t be afraid to get a little fancy if you feel like it. You’ll see everything from jeans and shorts to float-y skirts and maxi dresses when walking around, so it won’t be hard to fit in.
Still, if you want to as comfortable as possible, I recommend focusing on the following:
Loose, lightweight clothes
The weather in Greece can get pretty hot and sticky! If you’re visiting in the summer months (from May to September), expect temperatures of 30-40 degrees in the middle of the day.
Make sure you add some loose, lightweight clothing to your Greece packing list so you can stay cool and protect yourself from the blazing Greek sun. There’s rarely any clouds during the day, especially on the Greek Islands, so you’ll need to protect your skin.
Like many places, packing layers is always a smart idea in Greece. Think loose, lightweight layers that can be mixed and matched when you need them.
Even though the days can be sweltering in Greece, the evenings can be on the chilly side. If you’re going to one of the Greek Islands (or planning a Greek Island hopping getaway!), you’ll definitely want to pack something for when the sun goes down.
If you’re planning on taking the Greek Island ferries at any point, you’ll definitely want to wrap up on board. The air conditioning is a welcome relief when you first board, but gets brutally cold pretty quickly!
Given the number of beautiful beaches, it goes without saying that a swimsuit should be on your Greece packing list!
For women, bikinis and swimsuits are both acceptable, and you’ll probably want at least two if you’re a water lover. If you plan on having a pretty relaxing break in Greece, you may even want to pack three or four.
When packing your swimwear, don’t forget to include a cover-up or something to throw over your swimsuit. Most hotels have outdoor bars and snacks, so you can enjoy your lunch in your swimsuit.
TRAVEL TIP: Greece has no shortage of shopping opportunities, so you may want to leave some space in your case! Cute boutiques can be found on almost every street, selling shoes, clothing and – of course – swimsuits.
Sunglasses and sun hat
Whether you’re planning on lounging by the pool or exploring Greece’s adorable back streets, make sure you protect your face and eyes from the sun.
Luckily, sun hats are in right now. A big floppy slogan hat is the perfect pool accessory – team it with a pair of sunnies and it’ll be all the accessorising you need.
Greece is full of beautiful beaches but many of them aren’t pure sand.
A pair of comfy sandals will be your best friend on Greece’s rockier beaches and cobbled streets. The Greek Islands aren’t particularly flat, either, so expect to climb a few cobbled stairs while out exploring.
What to pack for Greece
You don’t really need to pack a whole lot for Greece. And if you do forget anything, it should be fairly easy to find it there.
Aside from clothing, there are a few other things worth adding to your Greece packing list.
A water bottle
You’re going to want to carry water at all times when exploring Greece, especially in the summer months.
This is especially true for the Greek Islands, where the best spots are the secluded ones far away from town… and far away from bars, restaurants and shops.
Tap water in Greece is supposed to be potable, but nobody drinks it. Even I – someone who drinks only tap water unless I can’t – couldn’t stomach it. It’s super salty and made me nauseous, so I ended up having to buy plastic bottles.
To reduce your plastic waste, I’d recommend travelling with a filter water bottle, such as this one. It’ll mean you always have access to clean drinking water and it clips easily on to backpacks or hiking bags.
Unless you live in another European country, you’ll probably need to pack an adapter or two.
Greece uses the typical round 2-prong adapter that’s used all over mainland Europe. They’re easy to pick up at the airport, but will be cheaper if you buy online beforehand.
You shouldn’t have too much of a problem with bugs in Greece, but you may want to pack some insect repellent for the evenings.
The insects only tend to come out as the sun goes down, but most of the time you won’t even see them. I found myself with several new bites after an evening stroll in Greece a couple of times. There’s nothing that will hurt you but it’s just not worth the itchiness!
This one is 100% natural and DEET-free, so you can use it without worry.
Camera batteries and charger
I only add this one because of experience! My boyfriend and I somehow managed to forget all of our battery chargers on a 5-day trip to Syros last year. Cue a manic race around the island to find a camera store…. to no avail.
There wasn’t a single store on the island selling the Canon 5D batteries or battery charger we needed, and it would have taken days to ship from Athens. Although it turned out to be a fun challenge for us photography-wise, I wouldn’t recommend doing the same!
If you’re planning on doing anything particularly adventurous, such as watersports or hiring a quad bike, make sure your insurance will cover you – otherwise it’s pointless!
Many insurance companies don’t cover these sorts of things, which is why I use World Nomads. As well as protecting you against almost anything that could go wrong, they also provide extensive medical, dental and mental health care, should you need it.
You can find out more about why I recommend World Nomads in this post, or get a quote right here:
What you don’t need to pack for Greece
Apart from the things on this list, there isn’t much else you need to add to your Greece packing list. But there are almost definitely some things you can cross off of it right now, especially if you’re short on space. Items I wouldn’t bother packing for Greece are:
Sun screen – It’s heavy, and super easy to buy it when you arrive.
Beach towels – Almost every hotel in Greece will provide these for you.
Hairdryer – Every hotel we stayed at in Greece had hair dryers available.
High heels – They’re just not practical in Greece’s cobbled streets!
Hiking boots – Greece has some incredible hiking trails, but there’s no real need for hiking footwear. It’s incredibly dry and fairly flat, so a pair of running shoes will do just fine.
Greece packing list
This packing list for Greece is based on a 7-day trip, but you can add or take away items as you wish.
If you’re spending less than 7 days in Greece, you can take out a few items easily. And if you’re travelling for a little longer, you won’t need much more. The one thing it’s worth packing more of is underwear because laundry can be expensive (and quite slow) on the islands.
- 7 x underwear
- 5-7 x socks – you’ll probably spend most of your time in sandals, but there are lots of great places you might want running shoes for.
- 2 x loose, lightweight trousers – one full length and one cropped pair would be ideal!
- 2 x shorts
- 1 x skirt or dress
- 2 x long, loose shirts
- 4-5 x t-shirts or tops
- 2-3 evening tops
- 2-3 swimsuits or bikinis
- 1-2 beach cover ups
- 1 x sweater or cardigan
- 1 x flip flops
- 1 x sandals
- 1 x running shoes (or other shoes you can walk in)
- sun hat
- waterproof makeup
- toiletries (if you wish)
- simple or statement jewellery – avoid anything tight-fitting or too valuable
- 1 x beach bag
- 1 x day bag
- 1 x evening bag
- a good book
- any medication you need
- toothbrush and toothpaste
- camera and SD cards
- European adaper
- phone and camera chargers