If you are wondering what to wear in Greece in the summer, the answer is very simple: whatever makes you feel comfortable and great when you’re spending a few hours under the sun, and exploring the many sites and quaint villages when the temperatures are steaming hot!
This list of suggestions for a Greece summer packing list will come in handy especially if you have never experienced a European summer. This will also help you determine the things you can’t forget to bring vs the things you should leave behind.
As you read through the below, I have also included tips on how to dress in Greece based on what the locals like to wear, and a list of must-haves I travel with that I hope will be useful.
This packing list isn’t a strict checklist to follow, but rather an insight into the local culture that will be helpful if you prefer to blend in, along with tips to guide your packing.
What to expect in the summer months in Greece
Summers in Greece are very warm, and can be pretty humid too, with sea breeze coming from the Mediterranean Sea taming the heat a bit and long days where the sun is up until past 8pm. Even in late October, Athens can still enjoy summer temperatures while the rest of Europe is already in winter mode.
Many of the Greek islands suffer from lack of rain and from strong winds resulting in few to no trees, so shade is hard to come by and the sun shines strong through the day.
This means that when packing for a summer trip to Greece, you should consider the heat, the sun, the wind and the time you’ll spend walking around exploring the many beautiful sites.
Being comfortable and smart when planning your Greek outfits will help you stay cool, protected from the strong sunrays and comfortable.
Weather in Greece in the summer
Summertime in Greece runs from June to September, officially, from the 21t of June until the 21st of September, but temperatures are high in May and October too, making it one of the countries with the longest summer seasons in Europe.
However, not all months are the same and you need to differentiate between the warm but pleasant season between the beginning of May and mid June and between mid September to mid October, and the peak season from mid June to mid September when everything is crowded and thermometers hit heat wave status.
Particularly in July and August, temperatures easily reach 40 C or 100 F daily across many parts of Greece, rain is unheard of, and in some of the islands, like Santorini or Mykonos, constant and strong Cycladic winds help ease the heat but can become too much.
In the peak hours of the day during these months, you can’t do much, which is why everyone heads to the beach or takes a siesta in the shade, coming back out in the evenings.
In contrast with the crowded mid-summer months, we love June and September in Greece, especially June. The days are long, the weather is warm but milder than in July and August and there is a sense of celebration in the air.
There are also lots of summer solstice celebrations and the strong winds of other months have yet to arrive. This means fewer disturbances to ferry schedules and less wind messing up your hair!
Because of rising temperatures, October has recently started to become the new shoulder season and many of the islands are increasingly staying open till the second half of the month. This is an excellent month for sightseeing and island hopping if you don’t mind the winds.
The sea temperature won’t be as high anymore (though they are still high enough for the beach), but the crowds are completely gone, so it is perfect for those who do not want to explore the more popular islands along with thongs of other tourists.
How to dress in Greece in the summer
With the above weather conditions in mind, it is important to pack accordingly for a trip to Greece in the summer, not so much for cultural reasons but to make sure you are comfortable.
To help you plan your packing list for Greece, I want to throw some considerations on outfit and cultural insights rather than sharing a dress code, so you can decide to wear what works best for you.
Footwear for cobblestone streets, stairs and rocky paths
Greece was not built yesterday. Most of the islands and archeological sites you’ll visit were made centuries ago, even millennia ago, and they have withstood the passing of time graciously.
This means many of the streets on most of the islands you will visit are cobblestoned, steep, winding, full of stairs, rocky, made of stones and polished by centuries of foot traffic.
What this means for you: It’s easy to slip, you need to be prepared to watch where you walk. In terms of shoes, when going sightseeing, it’s best to wear closed off shoes with grip that hold your feet in position so as to avoid spraining an ankle.
High heels are unpractical in Greece and you won’t go very far with them (even in Athens). Wedges are also dangerous as it’s easy to twist an ankle on the irregular cobblestoned streets. Flat flats can become quite tiring after a while and do not provide support when walking on uneven surfaces.
Comfortable walking shoes will be a blessing and you will be happy you packed a pair on your trip to Greece.
Greek are not big fans of AC
While the weather will be hot outside, public indoor spaces will have AC, though it is not something readily available everywhere and locals prefer to open windows and doors.
Most restaurants will have all doors and windows open to let the summer breeze in instead of turning on the AC and when on, it will not be too strong. Hotels and indoor restaurants may be the exception.
Beware of pickpockets
Europe is generally a very safe continent for solo female travelers but popular tourist destinations such as London, Paris, Milan or Florence are magnets for pickpockets who, believe me, are absolute pros.
When walking the many touristy towns or wandering the streets of Greece, you should be extra alert to anyone trying to distract you, asking something from you, etc. who may have hidden intentions.
Never leave belongings unattended (eg. your handbag hanging from the back of your chair) or in plain sight (eg. on the table when having a meal) and keep everything inside a zipped handbag.
Slash-proof bags designed for extra safety are highly recommended in Greece. Alternatively, a cross-body bag that is always zipped and in front of you should work.
There are so many easy targets available in crowded places that, as soon as you make yourself a more difficult one, you raise the barrier for the average thief.
Be bold and bohemian chic
Summertime in Greece is beach time and that means vibrant colors, flowers, short skirts and shorts, t-shirts and tank tops, dresses and sandals. Everyone wear colorful outfits and many of the islands combine that with a summer chic look.
On the more upscale islands of Santorini and Mykonos, where 5* uber expensive hotels abound, the dress code veers more towards designer chic than on the rest of the islands that are more laid back and bohemian chic.
In Greece you can dress however you like. There are no restrictions, cultural or otherwise, on what clothes you should or should not wear. Modesty is only required in religious buildings where you should cover knees and shoulders and high-end fine dining restaurants may require long trousers, closed toe shoes and a jacket for the men but otherwise, freedom reigns supreme.
Everything goes and you should bring whatever clothes make you happy and you enjoy wearing. In the next points I am adding some details related to the fashion sense and style of locals in case you prefer to blend in.
Try the local designers
Local fashion designers from Greece are a great alternative to take home something more than a souvenir and while you may have never heard of them, I can promise you they have nothing to envy famous French or Italian fashion designers.
Mary Katrantzou is known for her bold prints and unique designs, and is one of the most famous Greek fashion designers with pieces worn by the likes of Michelle Obama. Her designs are fantastic for a Greek summer.
Angelos Bratis is a minimalist designer who creates simple, extremely elegant pieces that are beloved by fashion insiders. I typically want everything from its collection.
Famous haute couturier Celia Kritharioti owns Greece’s oldest fashion house and has dressed many celebrities. She has also shown her collections at Paris Fashion Week.
Vrettos Vrettakos is another favorite to the stars with his unique style “Ultra Glam Rock Femininity”. He even designed the wardrobe for Beyonce’s 2013 World Tour. His main store is in Athens and you should go check it out even if the prices are beyond your budget.
For effortless summer chic, check out Evi Grintela, the Greek designer inspired by men’s shirts that most certainly conveys a simple summer style. Her designs don’t go out of style because she does not follow fashion trends, so they will always be perfect to wear in any European summer destination.
If you are into streetwear, Sneakaces is strongly influenced by Greek mythology and made of non-GMO Greek cotton and bold designs that stand out.
Zeus + Dione is another local and relatively new brand that bases a lot of its designs in Greek mythology and symbolism, including featuring the letter Delta Δ in its designs which alludes to spirituality, harmony and creativity.
If you are more into shoes, check out Sante, a local high street Greek brand that is reminiscent of Manolo Blahnik minus the tag. Or Ancient Greek Sandals, the new brand inspired by the Greek God Hermes feather sandals. Their gladiator designs are beautiful.
Summertime equals beach time
In the summertime, Greek islands are extremely beach-focused and casual wear is the general dress code for the whole day.
It is common to see women in bikini tops and see through coveralls, skirts or shorts, and men driving in unbuttoned shirts in their scooters towards the beach.
Plenty of people wear sneakers in Greece, especially on the islands where the cobblestoned streets and many stairs make these the best choice for walking.
If you will opt for sandals, choose comfortable ones that keep your feet in place (eg. with an ankle strap), have grip, and a sturdy sole.
Espadrilles are a good option, especially the ones with rubber soles. Comfortable and casual, you can wear them from the beach to a restaurant, depending on the model and the finishing. Check out this cute pair.
Nowadays, they make them in all sorts of cute designs and even with platform heels, wedges and ankle straps, French style, which can take you to wonderful evening meals looking very nice. Check these ankle strap ones.
Flip flops are not a good idea. Water shoes will come in handy in the many rocky and pebbley beaches, of which there are many in Greece.
A coverall can take you from day to night
To go from beach to club on the islands, a cute and fashionable but easy to carry, wear and pack, coverall is a fantastic idea. It can “glamourise” a beach outfit and make it ready for the posher villages, while being light to carry and easy to throw on.
A shirtdress is also a great alternative to a coverall, as is a kaftan, or a kimono top. Pair with a statement piece of jewelry to complete the outfit.
What to pack for Greece in the summer
Now that you understand the weather and the fashion sense in Greece, let’s look at the best things to pack for a summer trip to Greece.
Dresses are the best summer outfit. They are light, they don’t occupy a lot of space in your suitcase and they can be super flowy, fresh and comfortable.
In Greece in the summer, you can wear any kind of dress. It can be long or short, mini or maxi, in a solid color or patterned, a wrap-around dress or with spaghetti straps, loose or tight. But bear in mind that the strong winds can end up with a Marilyn Monroe moment if your dress is too short.
For the night, a cute short or long dress in a solid color paired with a nice accessory will help you blend in. I love this V-neck one.
A skirt with a top is another great alternative to a dress. I wear all kinds of skirts in the summer, but prefer a flowy skirt to a tight one that can result in chafing or roll up when I walk.
Long skirts are a fabulous evening outfit, especially in late May / early June or in late September / early October when the temperatures are a bit lower.
Three quarter length ones are better for the day than short skirts, because they are not blown off by the strong winds.
I like to wear shorts in the summertime. They are comfortable, easy to pair with a tshirt or top and will keep you fresh when the sun is shining. Plus, they are safer than short skirts for Greece’s winds and if you wear them with a cute pair of sandals and a nice jewelry piece, you can upgrade them to a fashionable evening outfit.
I am a big fan of crop pants because they can be really cute, come in a variety of materials, are fun and cover me from the sun, plus they fit my silhouette. A pair of light cropped denims or linen pants will come in handy.
Leggings and linen slacks
Leggings are another great comfortable outfit to pack. They cover your legs and knees for any religious building and can pair up with lots of tops. They are light and comfy and they take up no space in your suitcase.
Linen is a great material for the hot summer weather and I love to wear it, especially in loose fitting shirts over leggings or as a pair of long trousers.
The main issue with linen clothing is that it requires ironing and I don’t like to iron when I am on holidays. To minimize creasing, check out our packing hacks and roll the clothes.
A light cardigan
Although it is quite warm in in the summer in Greece, if you are used to living in a warm place, you may find the evening sea breeze when sitting still at dinner a bit chilly, especially in early June or late September. Alternatively, bring a nice pashmina or cute kimono top.
Greece in the summer means plenty of time at the beach so packing swimwear is essential. Bring swim suits, bikinis, etc. If you plan to venture to the many beaches, bring your own sarong, quick dry towel or Turkish beach and remember that most beaches are pebbley and rocky rather than sandy, so being a pair of water shoes.
Cute t-shirts and tops
Greek women like to wear comfy but cute tshirts, sleeveless, strapless or tank tops and blouses that may be floral, with a design or have details that make them a bit more than just a white t-shirt. Materials such as cotton and silk can dress you up and are light and fresh.
Other things to pack for Greece
In addition to the above tips and outfits to pack for Greece, below is a list of items you should considering bringing on your trip.
|A sun hat: As mentioned, the sun will be shining all day long so a hat is a great way to protect eyes and face from the sun exposure. However, it sis really windy in Greece so bring a hat with a strap or it’ll be useless. Locals like straw hats. Check out this wide brim one.|
|Hair ties or bands: I mentioned it a few times but the strong winds make it impossible to keep your hair in place, bring hair ties, hair bands or anything that helps you style it and keeping it away from your face.|
|A strapless bra: For all those tops and dresses, or if your outfit demands it, a stick-on one so you look perfect. Find a comfy wire free strapless bra here.|
|European / universal plug adaptor: Greece uses standard two round prong European plugs. We like the ones which come with USB ports so that we can charge phones, cameras and everything else with just one adaptor. I love this one because it has USB ports for all the electronics we now carry.|
|Power bank: Because the days will be long and we will spend many hours in the car, making several stops along the way, a power bank will ensure you can continue taking photos. We use the incredible Anker 30,000 AMP which is the real deal and can even charge your laptop, but you don’t need something this big, a power bank that can recharge your phone twice is enough.|
|Sunglasses: We expect sunshine, so a pair of sunglasses is an essential travel item in Greece. We like Oakley sunglasses as they are polarized and protect your eyes from any damaging sun rays. I alway wear them. Yes, they are not fashionable, but I have sensitive eyes that don’t like bright days, so they are a lifesaver for me. Lately, they have been launching more modern and stylish models. Check out their store on Amazon.|
|Waterproof mobile phone case: This comes in handy to take with you in the water in case you go to the beach alone as you can stash other belongings like credit cards or money in it and make sure they are safely with you even if you go for a dip. This one is a commonly purchased one by our guests to Iceland who take it to the Blue Lagoon for pictures.|
|Water bottle: Single use plastic bottles are terrible for the environment so we recommend you bring your own reusable bottle as part of our efforts towards zero-waste and responsible travel. Tap water in Greece is safe to drink and you don’t need to bring a water filter, just your regular bottle will do. Replenish it in your room or at breakfast, or use any of the public fountains.|
|Sunscreen: Perhaps the most important item in this packing list for the summer in Greece is sunscreen. The sun is very strong in the summer and you will be under its powerful rays for many hours, protecting your skin is key. We like using Japanese Biore SPF 50++++ because you can wear it under makeup and it is non-sticky and silky smooth. Living in the tropics, this is an everyday item for me I never leave the house without.|
|Lip balm: The sun makes it particularly tough for the skin and lips so you should bring a lip balm to stay moisturized. We find these are essential to not end up with completely ruined lips or even blisters. We like Neutrogena for their Nordic formula that tends to heal battered lips overnight and comes with SPF.|
|Sleep mask: Although hotels have proper blinds, you will be sharing the room with another traveler who may be a late owl. Bring a sleep mask like this one to block the light. Or upgrade to Manta Sleep, I have been using the sound mask for months now and it is INCREDIBLE both for the flight as well as to sleep at night and get over the jetlag. It is magic when paired with my Calm app.|
|Pajamas: As mentioned, you will most likely be sharing a room so don’t forget to pack your pajamas! Here’s a comfy choice from Amazon.|
|Ear plugs: It is never a bad idea to have a pair of earplugs handy, for the flight, a noisy neighbor or an antsy roommate. Check out these from Amazon.|
|First aid kit and medication: Available medications, brands and products in Greece may not be the same back home so it’s always best to bring everything you are used to and of course, all prescription medication or vitamins you take. We also recommend packing a basic first aid kit with items such as plasters, an antiseptic ointment, eye drops, hydration powder, etc. Have a look at our suggested first aid kit here. Make sure whatever you bring is allowed by checking our Greece travel tips section on medication.|
|A shawl: Some religious buildings such as churches will require that you cover your shoulders and knees so a shawl or sarong comes in pretty handy in those situations. Most notably, this will be required in Meteora and inside most of the churches. This beautiful one is very similar to the “manton de Manila” shawls worn by flamenco dancers.|
|Sarong / Turkish towel: While most hotels offer towels you can use, if you are planning to travel independently and not stay at a beach resort, or if you don’t want to lug around a large, thick, towel, I would recommend packing a thin but large sarong or a Turkish towel that dries quickly and takes little space. These ones are very cute.|
What not to pack for summer in Greece
There are also a few things we do not recommend you bring to Greece if you are coming in the summer, mainly, because you won’t need them.
- Thick jeans: Summertime is too hot and humid for jeans, though a pair of light summer denim trousers or cotton jeans, chino style, in light colors like blue, white or pastels will come in handy for an evening meal and can be styled to look cute.
- Hair dryer: Most hotels have them and if yours is old, you’ll also need to carry a converter or make sure it works with double voltage so that it does not get fried by the Greek 220V.
- Hand bags that don’t close: You know the ones, the basket-style ones that don’t have a zipper to close them are a big no-no in Greece an anywhere in Europe, unless you want to make pickpockets happy.
- Flip flops: Not because I am trying to make a fashion statement but because they will be unnecessary. You can’t walk on them in most of the cobblestoned islands and since many beaches are pebbley or rocky, they aren’t useful on the beach either. Leave them at home.
- Dress like you are going on safari: There’s no need to dress like you are in the Serengeti, with khaki clothes, trousers that unzip to shorts and trekking boots, in the middle of the city. You’ll stand out as a tourist and become a target for pickpockets, plus you really don’t need bulky boots.
- Hats without straps: I already mentioned it above but I want to repeat it. It is really windy across many of the Greek islands including Santorini and Mykonos, so if your hat is not attached, it will be useless.
- Really short dresses / skirts: For the same reason as above, anything that is short and can be blown away by the wind (thus exposing your behind), is not a good idea. You will be forever holding it down and it will be pointless. So you either layer it and wear a dress / skirt over a pair of leggings, or opt for the three-quarters length.
- A big suitcase and lot of luggage: You will most likely move from island to island in Greece by ferry and this means dragging suitcases up and down ramps, stairs and through ferry terminals and ports. Taxis will only drop / pick you up from the shore and there is nobody to help you otherwise. Pack light. I would not recommend bringing suitcases that you can’t easily pull yourself or that don’t have wheels, you will regret it.