Ultimate Summer Greece Packing List for the Greek Islands

Black shiny quilted suitcase and smaller grey denim suitcase with handle up on whitewashed terrace

So you’re heading to the Greek Islands and you’re looking for a Greece packing list. Excellent, you’re in the right place. I’m assuming the time of year you’re going is during the summer months. So I’ll be giving you the ultimate packing list for Greek summers.

Like other European countries, Greece is pretty laid back in touristy areas in terms of clothing. It’s the perfect place to wear your favourite summer outfits and cute tops. However, you’ll need to consider your wardrobe a little bit more if you’re going somewhere more conservative, or more likely, visiting religious sites or ancient ruins.

Packing for Greece

Lightweight clothes are your friend. Remember, in this European country the average temperature can soar to 40 degrees Celsius in summer. So make like the ancient Greeks and take loose, lightweight pieces that you can mix and match.

It’s a good idea to get everything to fit into a carry-on bag. A lot of the islands have uneven paths, with steep hills or steps and you don’t want to be carting loads of luggage around. Having said that, if you arrange a transfer to your hotel from the port or airport someone else will probably take care of that for you.

If you’re taking checked luggage then one important thing is to make sure you keep essential items in your hand luggage. I like to keep personal items like a spare pair of knickers, a bikini, summer dress, deodorant and toothbrush and paste with me, just in case my main bag gets delayed.

With all my travel in recent years it’s never happened but one time I stayed overnight and had an early morning connecting flight. I didn’t realise that my bag would be checked all the way through. It was the one time I didn’t have my essentials in my hand luggage for overnight- typical!

Table of Contents

Packing Cubes or Not?

Sometimes packing cubes help and sometimes they don’t, it depends on the luggage. I have a carry-on travel backpack that also has wheels. It opens out like a clamshell and packing without cubes is much better for that.

For my bigger suitcase, cubes help to keep things more organised in the larger space. So, see what works best for you. What you want is for everything to fit easily as you don’t want to spend a lot of time packing if you’re hopping between islands.

Also, you might want to buy a few souvenirs or some summer clothes when you’re in Greece. (Take your credit card if you’re heading to Mykonos for those designer shops!) So you want a bit of extra space to fit those things in.

Travel Outfits

Your summer vacations /holidays might involve long flights from the United States. But even if your trip has a shorter flight like from the UK you still want to be comfortable while travelling.

Think about wearing your bulkiest items. If you’re going hiking, then travel in your trainers/hiking shoes. If you’re taking jeans then I’d probably wear them on the plane but if it’s the height of summer I wouldn’t bother. It’s not the best time for long trousers in heavy material.

Wear a maxi dress with a cardigan/shrug and wear your sarong as a scarf if you get cold during the flight. Layers are generally a good idea for travel then you can add/strip off as you need to.

Shoes for Greece

If it’s your first time in Greece you might be wondering about the best shoes to take. As a general rules, let’s just strike high heels straight off the list. You don’t need them. Honestly. If you want to come back with both ankles intact then ditch the heels.

Pretty flats or low-heeled sandals are a great idea instead. After long days of traipsing around ancient sites, you’re gonna thank me.

The exception to this is if you’re going partying in Mykonos for a week. Make up your own mind about what to wear with your glam outfits. It comes down to personal preference but be prepared to teeter about on uneven paving and steep steps.

My advice is:

  • Comfortable sandals for walking around the villages and sites and for the evenings
  • Flip flops for around the pool/beach
  • Trainers/hiking shoes if you’re going to be doing serious walking
  • Aqua shoes for rocky beaches are a good idea if you know you’re going to some
  • You could add in some converse-type trainers too

What to Wear for a Day Trip

A day trip on the Greek islands might involve discovering pretty corners of narrow white-washed streets, lunch at a taverna, wandering around an ancient site in the afternoon followed by a trip to the beach.

In summer you’ll be plenty warm enough but you’ll need to think about protecting yourself from the sun. You could spend a lot of time exposed so make sure you bring a long sleeve something light to cover up with.

Your outfit might look like:

  • Short-sleeved top and shorts or a summer dress
  • Comfortable sandals
  • Hat – the Greek sun is hot and especially if you’re on boat trips there might not be much shade
  • Bikini/swimsuit – if you’re going to the islands you’ll never be far from the beach
  • Sarong to cover up with if you’re visiting a church or to keep the sun off your shoulders in the peak heat
  • Handbag

Take a shoulder bag or day pack, whatever’s comfortable for traipsing round exploring. A great addition to pop in is a sarong or scarf. It’ll get a lot of use. You can wear it like a skirt so that you can go into churches and monasteries. Or use it to cover up your shoulders on sunny days walking around archaeological sites or discovering other beautiful places.

Keep your purse/wallet zipped away or attached to your bag. In touristy hotspots, you might find pickpockets (same as anywhere). Keep some of your cash and cards in different places and don’t flash them when you’re out. A money belt or wallet you wear around your neck could be a good idea.

What to Wear for a Day at the Beach in Greece:

Whether you’re spending the day at a fancy beach club or you’ve just found some of the most beautiful beaches to chill out on here’s what to wear and take with you:

  • Bikini
  • Sarong/cover-up/beach dress
  • Hat
  • Sandals / flip flops
  • If you’re going somewhere fancy and wearing jewellery bear in mind that metal can get really hot
  • Beach bag and towel
  • Credit card if you’re in Mykonos (a few good reasons come to mind, like those expensive cocktails and designer dresses!)
  • Snorkel and fins (buy those when you get there, it’s just a small extra cost)
  • Pool shoes for rock beaches or coarse sand

Greece Packing List

Your Greek packing list should probably include the following items:

  • Pairs of shorts you could include a pair of jean shorts
  • Vest tops or t-shirts / short-sleeve tops
  • Maxi dresses (good for covering up and you can dress them up for the evening)
  • Short sundresses (easy for the beach but be aware some of the islands can be windy!)
  • White linen shirt or another favorite item of summer clothing that’s always stylish for covering up from the sun
  • Cooling shorts to stop your thighs rubbing together and chafing
  • Underwear – no need to go nuts but take enough for a week
  • Beach bag that you don’t mind getting covered in sand and is big enough for a towel, snorkel kit, book etc
  • Pair of socks or two if you’re going hiking or travelling in trainers on the flight to Greece
  • Shoulder bag or backpack for evening or day use if you’re not going to the beach
  • Flip flops
  • Sandals
  • Walking shoes if hiking

If you’re in the shoulder season take a light jacket or a long-sleeve cover-up for the evenings but don’t bother if you’re going in the summer. Same with your pair of jeans.

Also, I wouldn’t worry too much about formal wear. If you’re going to Santorini, Mykonos or Sifnos you might want something a bit smarter. But think about what you really want to be wearing in the warmer months on a balmy summer evening.

Most other islands are a lot more casual so take minimal smart items for the evening. Think about glamming up a day maxi dress with some accessories if you want to.

Beach Towels

Ideally, you don’t want your Greece packing list to have to include a beach towel. Check if there’s one in your hotel room / Airbnb to use on the island’s gorgeous beaches. It’s a bulky item you could do without packing if you don’t need to. You want to keep as much space as possible for the essentials and souvenirs or gifts to bring back.

Mid-Trip Laundry or Take Enough?

Check whether there’s any kind of laundry service at your hotel or a laundrette nearby. That way, you’ll know whether your Greece packing list needs enough clothes for the duration or if you can do a wash partway through.

The good thing about summer travel is it’s way easier to get clothes dry if you have to hand wash anything in your room. Having said that, you want to be out having a good time not spending your holiday washing clothes!

If you’re going for a week, pack what you need. For longer trips, it shouldn’t be a big deal to do a wash part way through, especially if you’re staying in an apartment with a washing machine. Laundrettes aren’t necessarily as prolific as you might expect so don’t assume they’ll be one nearby (or on the island at all).

Having said that, the ones that I’ve used have a pretty good turnaround of just a couple of hours. Plus, they tend to have quite long opening hours. So it’s really easy to drop your stuff off on the way out in the morning and then collect it all when you come home in the evening.

Most prices are really reasonable although double-check them if you’re in Mykonos!

Toiletry Bag Packing

Travel-size toiletries can be good items on your Greece packing list if you’re taking hand luggage only. If I take a checked bag then I have to admit I just chuck in my full-sized stuff.

For short breaks, I tend to use the shower gel that’s provided where I’m staying. For longer stays longer I prefer to take my own natural stuff or pick something up locally when I arrive. I’m a bit fussier about my shampoo and conditioner so take my own to use even if the hotel provides them.

Remember you’ll need a clear plastic bag for taking things through security at the airport. All liquids need to be under 100mls. That’s bottle size, so don’t take half-empty 150ml bottles.

Toiletries:

  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Deodorant (I like natural crystal)
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Hairstyling products
  • Face products – wash/cleanser and toner plus moisturiser
  • Essential oils for skin issues and perfume
  • Prescription medication – keep it in its original packaging and double-check it’s ok to be brought into Greece (you’d be surprised at what isn’t allowed)
  • Minimal makeup

In the middle of summer, make-up will just slide off your face. The islands get really humid, it’s not always pretty! Go with the sunkissed look and take minimal items. Perhaps a waterproof mascara and eyebrow pencil, bronzer and a lip gloss or lipstick for the evening.

Other Greece packing list travel essentials to include are:

  • tampons/pads (tampons aren’t always easy to find)
  • Insect repellent like mosquito repellent – I like natural versions
  • Lip balm with an SPF – lips get forgotten about but they need sun protection too
  • Tweezers
  • Razor
  • Nail scissors (checked luggage only)
  • Sun Cream

If you’re going in the height of summer I’d buy sun cream and any after-sun body lotion you want at your destination. It’s one less thing to carry.

If you want to take some before you go get it at the airport (after security) especially if you’re taking carry-on luggage only. Sun cream isn’t cheap and usually, it’s over 100mls. So don’t waste your money on brand-new products you’ll have to leave at the start of security.

Other essential travel items

Adapter Plugs

In Greece, the sockets take 2-pronged plugs, different to the UK and USA but the same as other European countries. You probably won’t need a converter for the voltage (check your appliances, they usually say if they cover a range) but you will need a converter plug.

You might find some places have USB ports combined with normal sockets. So if you have an iPhone for example, you can just pull the USB cable out of the plug and use it directly. But don’t expect that everywhere by any means.

Reusable Water Bottle

Take a reusable water bottle with you that includes a filter. Plastic waste from plastic bottles is a big problem on the islands so do what you can to not make it worse during your Greek vacation / holiday.

On many of the islands, it’s not a good idea to drink tap water. If it’s from the mains it’s clean, but sometimes it’s not desalinated. Some islands like Paros, Syros and Andros have filtered water machines on the street that dispense water for free or next to nothing.

But the most convenient thing is to be able to use your own filter and fill up from anywhere.

Tech Stuff

If you’re taking a camera and are intending to shoot loads of images make sure you have the memory cards you need.

Your Greece packing list HAS to include chargers for any laptops, tablets and phones because they won’t be easy to replace on the islands if you forget.

Toilet Paper

Unlike in Turkey, I’ve never had a problem with not enough toilet paper in the hotels in Greece. But it might not be the quality you’re used to. If you think that might bother you, chuck a roll into your luggage if you have space.

So there you go, that’s my Greece packing list for travel to the Greek islands.

Ultimate Summer Greece Packing List for the Greek Islands

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