What to wear in Greece in the Summer

by Cristina on March 18, 2009

by Cristina | March 18th, 2009  

skirt-and-blouseWhen visiting Greece we don’t need to worry that much about “blending in”. As opposed to Western Europe (France, for example) where everyone wants to be fashionable and stylish, Greeks prefer a casual style, especially in the summer. Casual, of course, doesn’t mean to stroll the streets of Athens in flip flops and shorts (ouch!) but it doesn’t mean you need to wear the latest dress from a famous designer and high heels, either.

Last year, I tried to put together a list of necessary items when we try to pack light so with that in mind, let’s try to explain why some items should be in our luggage and why some shouldn’t.

>>learn more about Summer in Greece

Shorts

It is acceptable to wear shorts, whether you are a woman or a man. However, NEVER (and I do mean NEVER) wear shorts if you want to visit a church or monastery. Also, if you plan to do a walking tour of Athens, ditch the shorts and opt for a dress – if you are a woman – or a pair of long pants – if you are a man.

Shorts are acceptable on the beach or when going from the beach to the shops near-by. If you plan to take a ferry between the islands, shorts are a good option if you travel by day (opt for a pair of long pants though if you travel by night).

Jeans

We all LOVE jeans, don’t we? They are versatile, can be combined with absolutely everything and they hardly ever show any signs of dirt.

Denim Capri pants are an excellent choice for the ladies, whether they visit the cities or plan a night out in the clubs. Pair them with interesting tops (tunic style long tops) and high heels and you are looking great! When the weather gets colder (at night) you can wear a pair of skinny jeans with the same top and shoes.

As for the guys, a pair of jeans (neutral color, not blue) is a great option: you can visit the cities, go in the monasteries without problems and enjoy the night life, as well.

Tops, blouses, shirts

beach
This is the hardest part. Firstly, you need a blouse or shirt suitable to visit the churches or monasteries. No cleavage, no shoulders visible. Something you’d wear for an interview (for example) but made from a light fabric (cotton). Men can get away with this easier, since a light-colored shirt is perfect for everything.

The tunic tops never go out of style. Pack several colors, like white, light blue and pastels in general.

Going clubbing? Then you should know that you need a nice clubbing outfit. While the young crowd likes to dress up, by no means this refers to wearing puffy dresses like Sarah Jessica Parker does in Sex and the City. Instead, a black top combined with a stylish pair of pants and sandals represents the perfect outfit for a woman. Men should ditch the shorts and opt for a pair of long pants and a stylish shirt along with stylish shoes. All black outfits for men are sexy and stylish.

If you are attending a party on the beach, you can be as “naughty” as you want. Wear your bikini top with a see-through tank or blouse and a pair of Capri pants or cute shorts. A guy can get away with wearing just a pair of cute shorts (yummy!).

The little dress

No, not that little black dress, just a stylish dress, made from a light fabric. Dresses are probably the best choice for a woman visiting Greece. Just throw a sweater (or a shirt) on the shoulders when you visit a church or when it gets colder at night and you are good to go.

A stylish skirt combined with a nice blouse or top can also be a nice option instead of a dress. If you like to wear mini skirts but plan to visit a church or monastery, you can just wrap a sarong around your waist to hide the mini skirt.

Backpack or purse

A small backpack (to fit your camera, wallet and maybe a map) is a nice addition to your outfit but you don’t wan to wear something that makes you look like a turtle. If you go to a fancy restaurant or in a club, a small purse is exactly what you are looking for.

Same for the guys: something small which goes with the outfit is excellent but let the bulky backpack in the hotel room (thanks!).

Shoes

The general rule says to pack something you are comfortable in. Pack a good pair of walking shoes, a pair of flat sandals and a pair of high heel sandals.

If you are staying in a beach resort, you will probably wear your flat sandals all the time and turn to the high heels when you go clubbing or to the restaurant. The style is casual in the resorts and on the beach. You probably can get away with the flip flops on the beach, but absolutely no where else!

If you plan to do some hiking, do pack a good pair of hiking boots. Combine them with a pair of Capri pants – both for the women and men. A stylish woman would wear the top of the bathing suit under a cute top (just in case there’s enough sun to catch a tan when hiking).

A conclusion

No matter how much we try, to some extent we cannot avoid looking like a tourist. Of course, it’s easy to blend in while clubbing or when you go shopping but when the camera comes out, it screams “tourist”.

Most importantly though, don’t attempt to be someone you are not just because you want to blend in. If you hate skirts or dresses (like yours truly!), just don’t wear them. Nothing is worse than trying to enjoy your vacation in an outfit you don’t like. Instead, choose a pair of Capri pants and cute tops and blouses. Similarly, if you don’t feel comfortable in high heel sandals, pack a pair of cute flat sandals to go with your outfits.

Photo credits: pure9 on Flickr; RobW_ on Flickr.

{ 2 comments }

Noelle Kodroff August 16, 2009 at 9:44 am
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Thank you for your good advice. I thought Greece was more casual in dress than other European countries, but I wasn’t sure. Now I know the clothes we plan to take with us are appropriate.

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Cristina August 16, 2009 at 12:34 pm
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@Noelle: my pleasure. it’s casual in some ways but it’s better to be prepared for everything :)

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