You are probably here because you are traveling to Greece and you want to know what to pack for your trip. That means you already have your tickets, and now it’s time for the fun to begin: packing the suitcases!
First Things First
Hopefully you have read Before You Go and you have taken care of all the things listed there. If not, take a minute to review the information on that page before you continue.
As you go through the things you consider essential for your well being, also think about how much space they take in our luggage, and how much weight they add to your load (you will have to carry these luggage at some point).
Also consider that many items are readily available in Greece.
Is it really worth carrying around five large bottles of sunscreen all the way from home, or is it worth spending a little extra money to buy them after your arrival? You are the best judge of such matters.
You can find all the modern amenities once you are in Greece. The “Super Markets” are filled with goods imported from Europe and the United States, so you don’t have to pack a year’s worth of toothpaste or contact lens cleaners.
Here is what we consider essential items to pack:
ELECTRICITY IN GREECE: Voltage: 230V Socket and Plug Types: C, F
An adapter simply allows your plugs to fit into the Greek electrical outlets.
You need to purchase an electrical adaptor to make sure all your equipment can be plugged into the Greek electrical outlets.
An adapter by itself does not ensure that your appliance would work in the 220V electrical outlets you will find in Greece. Read more about transformers below.
What Electrical Adapter to Buy for Greece
If your equipment works on 220V, buy a simple adapter.
Keep in mind that you will need more than one adapter, unless you want to charge your equipment one at a time.
If your appliances are only rated for 110V, you need to also buy a transformer.
Do You Need a Transformer for Greece?
If you live in a country where 110V electricity is the norm, your electric accessories would not work in Greece where 220V (50Hz) electrical outlets are standard.
A transformer is a device that reduces electrical voltage.
Many electrical appliances have an embeded transformer, so they adjust to different voltage automatically (dual voltage).
Check your appliance manual, or the rating plate (usually printed or embossed on the plug itself, or the outside of the appliance) to see if it’s dual voltage.
If your appliance is “dual voltage” it will say something “Input: 110-240V”.
Very rarely you will find an appliance that must be switched manually from 120V to 220V electricity.
If your appliance does not have the ability to adjust to different voltage, you need to use your own transformer.
If you do not use a transformer, and your appliance is only designed for 110V input, you will probably damage your appliance permanently the moment you plug it into a 220 volt outlet.
What Electrical Transformer to buy for Greece
If your equipment is rated only for 110V (or anything below 220V), you need to purchase a transformer when you travel to Greece.
Electrical transformers are also known as Power Step-Down, or Voltage Converter.
If the transformer is not designed to be used in Greece (if it’s not a “travel” transformer), you need both a transformer (to reduce voltage), and an adapter to physically fit it into a Greek wall outlet.
Most sellers mix “transformers” and “adapters” in the search results. Make sure you buy a “transformer” (or “power step-down”, or “voltage converter” and not a simple “adapter”.
Packing for the Summer
Greece is a hot place in the summer, so light clothing is in order.
Early summer, May and June, is the most pleasant time to be in Greece. Its warm enough during the day to enjoy swimming, and the nights can be pleasantly cool.
But later in the summer, the heat rises and stays high throughout the day. The temperature sometimes reaches 45° C for stretches of four to seven days.
These heat waves occur usually mid-July until mid-August. But most of the time during this period, the thermometer hovers between 34° and 40° Celsius.
Shorts, T-shirts, and bathing suits are a must, as is a variety of head gear and sunglasses.
It would be almost impossible to stay outdoors for any length of time without any hat, and it might be hard to negotiate harsh terrain in archaeological sites or through short hikes to remote beaches without athletic shoes.
You might also want to pack a sweatshirt or a long sleeve shirt. It comes in handy in an air conditioned environment (like in ferry boats or airplanes), and in the evenings on the Greek islands where the temperature dips a bit bellow comfort levels when the “meltemia” winds blow over the Aegean sea.
Also keep in mind that although it rarely rains in Greece in the summer, you should be mildly prepared for the odd major rain storm that might strike at any time. Usually such rain storms last one or two days, but on rare occasions can last longer.
Many religious centers and monasteries do not allow men with shorts and women with trousers, mini skirts, or shorts, (or anything that reveals too much skin) to enter.
A shawl can be helpful to cary around since it can be deployed to cover the shoulders or to be tied around the waist over shorts.
Clothing for the Fall
You can expect cool weather, heavy winds, and frequent rain in Greece after mid-September.
Greek weather is mildly cool and a sweater is a necessity, especially at night. It is possible to swim until the first half of October in most places in Greece. The sea is warmer further south towards Crete and comfortable to swim even in October.
During the Fall it rains more often, though not every day, and most days might be still warm.
Pack long trousers, a couple of sweaters or sweatshirts, an umbrella and a raincoat, but you might also bring along a bathing suit just in case.
Packing for the Greek Winter
It does get very cold in the winter which lasts from late November until early February. During this period in rains often and the wind is bone-chilling.
Further north, and especially in the mountainous regions of Epirus and Macedonia snow is a usual occurrence.
Heavy clothing is advised during this period.
Pack a heavy coat, long trousers, heavy socks, boots, an umbrella, and you will not need a bathing suit.
Since the Greek winter is considered “short” and “mild”, most people fail to realize that Greek dwelings (hotels, rooms, homes, etc.) are not prepared for heavy winter cold.
The heat and insulation is usually inadequate for the frequent dip in temperature – especially during the night hours.
You don’t have to pack blankets, but having warm sleepwear is not a bad idea along with your warmest clothes for the day.
Packing for the Spring
The weather between February and April is unpredictable, with most days being warm. Rainstorms are not unusual, but most days are dry and very pleasant.
Light clothing is our advise. Pack long trousers, a few shirts or t-shirts and a few sweatshirts. A light coat and raincoat should be in your suitcase for good measure.
The sea is a bit too chilly for swimming during these months, but if you travel in late May throw in a bathing suite as well because there many warm days for swimming, especially in southern Greece.
Computer and Internet Needs
The vast majority of Greek hotels have WiFi available for guests. Some are free, some would charge, but they all vary in their strength of signal.
Read more about connecting to the internet in Greece.
In addition, you can find plenty of cafeterias with Internet connection in almost every city in Greece, so you can always check your e-mail, or send messages to your friends for a small fee.
It would be an anomaly for a computer not to be able to handle 220V of electricity, but double-check to make sure–especially if you have bought an aftermarket electrical adapter.
If you have a data plan for your mobile device, chances are your carrier would be happy to charge you data roaming rates while you are in Greece.
If your budget is unlimited and your heart can handle the bill when you get back home, this is probably your best option: Leave your data roaming on and surf the internet with impunity.
If you don’t have a camera, now is a good time to buy one. You will regret returning from your trip with no memorable photos from your experience.
Cellphone cameras have come a long way. They are adequate if you only post your photos on social media and look at them on a small screen.
But if you ever looked at a cellphone picture on a larger screen (or printed) you know that the tiny cellphone lens is no match for a dedicated camera lens, especially if you take pictures indoors with low light.
If you have a digital camera you can find all the accessories you need in Greece, including batteries, storage cards, or cables. But they might be more expensive there where your shopping options will be more limited. So pick up such items before you go on vacation.
You may use an internet café or your hotel WiFi to upload all your camera photos to your “cloud” (such as Dropbox, Facebook, Flikr, Picasa, and all that) while enjoying a drink.
Health and Comfort
Sunscreen in Greece during the summer is in high demand, and the prices reflect that. It cost you more than 15 Euro for a small bottle of 30 proof sunscreen, and you can go through it in two or three days if you stay at the beach for a long time.
So, you might want to back a few bottles of sunscreen if you live in an area where it’s much cheaper.
During the summer chances are good that you will find yourself on a small boat for a period of time. This is a great experience, except when the waves splash over the speeding boat and land on our expensive photo equipment.
It happens often so you might want to pack a handful of large Ziploc bags for such cases. Surprisingly, they are hard to find in a Greek Super Market, so pack some before you go.