Located in Greece’s southernmost corner, Crete combines beach and mountains with myths, culture and nightlife. Packing for a trip to a multifaceted destination like this can be a real challenge – especially if you are travelling here for the first time.
Before fastening your suitcase, make sure to read our essential packing list for Crete, with tips on what to bring along and what to leave behind. The time of your visit is of course key: The island has been long associated with warm, sultry days and sunny, blue skies – but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t experience the four seasons. Still, the weather in Crete is year-round considerably friendlier than it is in most of Europe – so be prepared to enjoy the great outdoors no matter the season.
Essential packing list for Crete: Top 5 Items
With so many places to see and so many things to do, you’ll be out and about at all hours of the day – which means you’ll need to keep a lot of your stuff around. The best and most convenient option for a day bag is a backpack that’ll be able to hold all your things – water, sunscreen, wallet, papers, medicine, make-up, a layer of clothes in case the weather changes, a camera, etc.
Essential packing list for Crete ProTip: keep a simple canvas tote in your backpack to protect the environment, reduce your expenses and make life easier at the same time! Plastic bags come with a fee – and they are one of the main sources of pollution in Greece’s seas. Do good to your pocket and mother earth whenever you are running on small errands or embarking on any trip that includes a stop at the beach or pool — which is frankly almost any summer day in Crete!
Crete is an island brimming with wonders: from world-famous attractions to off-the-beaten-path gems there is so much to take in. That’s why keeping a guidebook with you at all times is always handy. Make sure to add one to your essential packing list for Crete – Lonely Planet’s is quite thorough, with a wide collection of interesting stories and practical advice.
Cute (Instagram- worthy, even!) swimwear
No visit to Crete is complete with spending hours on end on the beach – whether soaking up the sun, building castles on the sand, swimming your worries away, honing your skills at a watersport or gawping at the seabed’s marvels. Crete, of course, includes some of the most photogenic beaches on the planet – so if you are a social media addict, this is the perfect background for pictures guaranteed to make a sensation. In that case, you’d want to look (at least!) as good as your surroundings; so make sure to pack at least two gorgeous swimwear options, if not more – you won’t want to appear with the same outfit twice in your photos!
Essential packing list for Crete ProTip: Bring a couple of cute dresses (or elegant pants!) too – Crete sports a lively and smart eating and drinking scene, and you’ll want to make an impression, rather than looking frumpy. One or two long-sleeved shirts, a light jacket and socks are also a must – the weather can get chillier in the evenings even in the summer, especially if you find yourselves drinking raki or wine and chatting with the locals in a mountainous village.
Comfortable walking shoes
A Cretan holiday is full of hiking opportunities, long sightseeing days, and stunning vistas from hilly spots. To walk in the wild – it’s easy to do more than 10.000 steps in a day; unless you’re just chilling on the beach or by the pool – you need to bring a sturdy and comfortable pair of shoes. Hiking boots work best in the winter and hiking sandals in the summer.
Pro Tip: Make sure you break in your shoes before your trip. You don’t want a blister while hiking in Samaria Gorge, for example!
Crete is a civilized place with an abundance of pharmacists, so you’ll be able to get what you need locally – bar, of course, any prescription medications. There are some things to note, however. The sun is scorching here – so sunscreen with high protection like SPF 45+ is non-negotiable. The island also has many winding roads – and you’ll be travelling a lot by car or bus if you want to catch the sights. If you’re sensitive to movement, seasickness/motion sickness pills are a lifesaver. Mosquitos can be moreover quite vicious (even in the winter!), which means that insect repellent (preferably without DEET) is absolutely necessary.
Pro Tip: Crete can be as relaxed or as intense as you want. If you love a good party – of the contemporary or the traditional kind – make sure to pack a Pedialyte hydration packet, which will also come in handy after a long hike.