What to Pack for Your Crete Vacation (Plus Printable Packing List & Insider’s Tips)

What to Pack for Crete

Are you traveling to Crete and not certain what to put in your bag? Then, you’re in the right place. As a frequent traveler to the island (but also a long-time resident), I know exactly what you need to pack, what you can get here, and what you should not pack for a holiday in Crete.

📋 At the end of the post, you can find a free printable packing list to pack for your summer adventure in Crete!

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Boat cruise to Balos Lagoon & Gramvousa
Ticket to Knossos Archaeological Site

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What to pack for a holiday in Crete

Insanely Useful Packing List for Crete

Packing your suitcase for a trip can be a real challenge, especially if traveling to a destination for the first time. The same is true for Crete. 

This amazing island is associated with warm and sunny weather all year round, but you might be surprised to know that this isn’t always the case. 

Besides, since we’re talking about an island, there are some extra things that you may even not think about. 

What to pack for Crete
Packing for Crete

Before moving to the island, I traveled to Crete at least once a year. Trial and error made me a better packer. 

While on my first trips, I used to lug around useless items, I refined my packing skills over the years—so much so that on our last trips, we used to come to the island just with a backpack.

Certainly, I’m not saying you should do so, although I might write a minimalist packing guide for Crete in the future. This is a thorough list of things to bring to Crete for the regular packer without leaving any essentials behind. 

So look at this fool-proof, ridiculously helpful list of things to pack to travel to Crete. It’ll make your packing process a breeze and have you covered in any situation!

Check this packing list in advance to get organized! Learn what you must have, what you might need, and what you should leave home when traveling to Crete! So, without further ado, here’s my packing list for Crete!

First Things First: Choosing Your Bag

What to pack for Crete
Osprey backpacks are simply my favorite!

Depending on the purpose of your trip, first, consider what bag to take as your main luggage. 

Think about it like this: if you prefer to travel a lot around Crete – by bus or even in your rental car -then a backpack is the perfect solution. It’s comfortable to travel, and if you choose smartly, it has enough space to fit everything you need. 

I’ve long traveled the island using this Osprey backpack. These are also good options, considering the backpack I prefer:

However, if you plan to stay at one place during your vacation or travel with children, choosing a spinner is better. 

I have used soft and hard shell spinners; depending on the occasion, I can use any of them. Remember that soft shell ones survive better airport handling and loading on Cretan shuttles and buses.
Check the ones below.

Personal Item

This is probably the piece of luggage you need to consider more. Think of it as a flexible lifesaver holding all your necessities during your plane or ferry ride. It can also double as a shopping bag in town or as a beach bag. 

It’s better to choose soft materials, lightweight, and waterproof if you intend to pack your electronics there too.

What to pack for Crete

I used to love oversized totes like this one, and I still like them. Yet, years of use have taught me that, no matter how organized I am or how many pouches I can toss inside, they transform into black holes after a few hours into the flight with the tragic consequence of not finding anything!

So, I started using backpacks with good organization. This way, I can have a dedicated space for documents and other compartments for all my items. 

Nowadays, there are a lot of comfortable and stylish options. With a backpack, the weight is distributed equally on your shoulders so that you won’t get so tired. Besides, your hands are always free to take great pictures!

If you insist on a shoulder bag, choose one that can easily fit the things I list later on. If you don’t know what to choose, try this one with plenty of pockets. (Organization, pals! Organization!)

Whatever choice you make, it’s always better to choose a day bag with some security features, like interlocking zippers or RFID blockers.

This doesn’t mean to scare you! Crete is a very safe destination. But considering that you’ll also use the bag for other trips or that you’ll time in airports and stations, surrounded by crowds, it’s always wiser to be protected anyway.

And the last thing to remember: Choose a bag that you can easily fit under your seat on the airplane or bus. That’s very convenient!

Money Belt (…Really?)

They’re not really my thing, and in Crete, they’re useless and will be crying tourists on the go out loud to whoever sees you… So please, don’t bring one!

I admit they can be useful for keeping valuables safe when spending long hours in airports or taking the bus on the island. Just keep them underneath your clothes! This is my top pick for discrete money belts.

Keep Your Stuff Organized

What to pack for Crete
Using packing cubes helps you avoid this kind of messy bag!

Organized luggage makes your trip less stressful. Knowing where each item is can save you tons of time, and you can take it out easily without ending up with the whole bag upside down. Here are the best options that will help keep your belongings compact and accessible.

Packing Cubes

I love them!
I mean it… As soon as you start using cubes, your packing life will be divided into the before and the after. Seriously! Packing cubes are extremely helpful to keep your luggage organized and clean.

Invest in a good-quality set with different sizes. Choose durable materials and check the zipper quality, too. My favorite cubes are compression cubes. Eagle Creek Pack-it Specter cubes are fantastic! I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world when it comes to packing!

Cubes will be useful for any trip! It’s also a great idea to buy the ones with labels so that you always know where your things are.

There are plenty of cute and convenient designs. For family travel, use a code: have each member have a personal color (useful when sharing bags), so everyone can easily search for their stuff too. These are the ones I use:

(Multifunctional) Toiletry Bags

A multifunctional must! They help keep your make-up and toiletries in order but you can also use cosmetic bags for other stuff.

For example, use one to keep your cables and accessories in one place or other odds and ends like pencils, face masks, earplugs, or even snacks! If you still haven’t chosen a nice toiletry bag, check these out.

Pack-it Flat Toiletry Bag

What to pack for Crete
This is the one we use for the whole family. It’s a great Jack Wolfskin product, a fantastic brand for packing gear.

If cosmetic bags occupy too much space in your luggage, get a Pack-it Flat toiletry bag. This is a great accessory for the whole family or just for make-up. It can be rolled or folded like a book and is, guess what? It’s just flat! 

Flat toiletry bags are comfortable to pack and save space in your luggage and your hotel’s bathroom.

They combine perfectly with top-loader backpacks. I use the Jack Wolfskin Waschsalon for the kids, and when we don’t travel, I still hang it at home for extra organization!

Laundry Bag

You’ll need a laundry bag to separate your dirty clothes from clean garments. Besides, if you want to do the laundry on the go, everything will be gathered in one place.

Of course, you can easily use a plastic bag, but why not have something cute in your luggage? A reusable wet bag will save the island some recycling hassle!

Wet bags are versatile and keep unpleasant odors out of the way. They’re also great for toting your wet swimming clothes in your beach bag!

Ziploc Bags

Ziploc bags are perfect to keep your liquids safe and your luggage dry. Both for your checked luggage and carry-on, they help prevent accidental liquid spills.

My favorite ones are by Ikea.

I always stash a few in my day bag when going to the beach… ‘cause you never know when you’ll need one!

Canvas Tote

What to pack for Crete
A canvas tote is a super versatile piece to add to your luggage.

You will be shopping in Crete. Whether it’s groceries or souvenirs, it’s helpful to have a canvas tote to avoid using plastic bags. You will reduce plastic waste and your expenses, too. In Greece, plastic bags cost at least 20 cents in most shops and supermarkets.

A canvas bag is also an alternative for the beach if you don’t want to pack your beach bag. Want to add some colors to your tote? Then check out these. Such cute canvas totes can easily be a part of your summer outfit.

>> You can also read what to pack in your beach bag for Crete

Travel Wallet

What to pack for Crete
Use a colorful wallet to spot it fast inside your bag!

I love to have a travel wallet to fit the family passports. They help you find all the travel documents when you’re about to board. I got myself a very colorful one, this way it’s always easy and fast to spot them in the black hole my handbag has become (see above!).

However, I also usually carry this small wallet, which I love because it fits any handbag, it’s waterproof, and it’s very convenient. It holds a few cards, coins, and banknotes, so you’re not tempted to carry lots of junk inside it.

For men, I recommend something light, waterproof, and with security features. This is probably my favorite.

If you want, add a coin purse to your bag. In Greece, coins are very handy. You’ll use them to buy coffee and street food, to pay for bus tickets, and to enter museums. I prefer the rubber type because I can also use it for the beach. These cute silicone ones cost very little and keep your stuff dry.

Let’s Get Serious About the Trip: Your Travel Documents!

What to pack for Crete
Keep your travel documents organized during your trip.

It’s always better to check your important travel documentation at least 6 months before the trip to avoid rushing at the last minute. Make any necessary appointment to renew passports, visas, or your international driver’s license.

  • Passport: your most important travel mate! Keep a scanned photo of your passport on your phone. For further safety, prepare at least three copies of your passport. Keep one in your day bag, one in your suitcase, and one in your travel wallet, just in case. It’s also a good idea to email a scanned photo of your passport to your emergency contact person back home.

  • Driver’s License: if you want to rent a car, don’t forget your driving license. It also works great as an ID if you don’t want to carry around your passport. Drivers coming from outside the EU will need a special international permit. I explain more about it here.

  • Credit Card and ATM Card Information: In addition to bringing your actual cards to pay for stuff, it’s a good idea to have all the information you might need in case your card is lost or stolen. Scan both sides of your credit card, and keep your bank’s emergency phone number in your contacts.

  • Student ID or Senior ID: Greece has a great system of discounts on museum admissions for students and senior citizens, you can even get free entries in some places. Be sure to have your valid Student ID or Senior ID to show at the ticket office.

  • Confirmations: whatever you have booked in advance (hotel rooms, tickets, tours, car rental, transfers) always have a printed confirmation. In Crete, people trust more papers than e-confirmations on their phones.

  • Travel Insurance: For a hassle-free vacation, always get travel insurance. It should include medical coverage, luggage loss, and cancellation refunds (especially these days!).

>> Heymondo offers customizable plans that suit your itinerary and activities. >> Get a quote from Heymondo here.

>> Safety Wing offers insurance plans for long-term travelers. >> Get a quote from Safety Wing here.

Packing the Essentials: Things You Don’t Want to Miss When in Crete

There are a few things that you’ll definitely need when traveling to Crete. Even if you plan to travel to Crete in Winter, consider packing the items listed below.

Guidebook

What to pack for Crete

A classic paper guidebook can be a saver as there is not always a great internet connection around Crete to check your favorite travel blog.

It’s always better to buy it before you travel to start planning. Besides, they tend to be outdated and overpriced on the island. Lonely Planet Crete has always been my favorite.

If you prefer digital books and plan to visit West Crete, keep this one I wrote about Chania on your phone!

Map of Crete

Discovering Crete by car? Then a paper map is a must! There are so many small roads, especially in the mountains, you can easily get lost. And as I mentioned above, the internet connection in Crete is not always the best.

If you read this blog often, then you know that Michelin is my favorite map of Crete and that it has always been a lifesaver!

>> Planning a trip to Crete? This planning guide is a must-read.

Power Bank

You can easily spend all day out of the hotel exploring the wonders of Crete, and the last thing you want is a phone with a dead battery.

So be sure to have in your day bag a charged power bank to take plenty of memorable photos and videos! I have been using mine for ages, literally for ages, and it’s still new… three phones have died in the process, but that little power bank has survived all of them.

Waterproof Camera

What to pack for Crete
Don’t forget a camera!

When it comes to photo equipment, I’ve another whole article about what I use to take photos. Honestly, you want to bring a good camera to Crete. However, if you want to pack light and still take great pictures, consider an action camera that can also be used under the sea.

Submarine life on Crete is amazing. And snorkeling or diving is a must. To capture this experience and if you don’t have a waterproof camera, consider getting a waterproof case for your smartphone.

Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot

I bought this item for my first road trip in Crete and it soon became an absolute must. Just add a SIM card (you can buy them in any Vodafone, Cosmote, or Nova -former WIND- store in Crete) and you can share the internet with your travel mates.

>> Download your favorite digital guide and keep it on your mobile!

Beach Towel

While there are a variety of beach towels on the market, I always recommend the microfiber ones. They dry fast and are easy to pack since they take up very little space in your bag compared to a normal beach towel. I usually roll them to take up as little space as possible.

Reusable Water Bottle

water bottle
Don’t forget to pack your water bottle.

Water in Crete tastes quite good, and you can find mineral water in any kiosk too. In any case, it’s never too late to think about the environment.

At the same time, if you plan on exploring the Cretan mountains and gorges, it’s great to have such a bottle and fill it with fresh water from our mountain springs. If you’re shopping for a new bottle, choose one that has a large capacity, and that keeps liquids cold for long.

Sunglasses

Sunglasses are a must as the sun in Greece is very intense. When buying your sunglasses, privilege quality over price to give your eyes real protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

If you seek comfortable sunglasses that are easy to store then pay attention to this foldable pair from RayBan.

Medicine Kit

While there are plenty of pharmacies in Greece, it’s better to have the prescription medicine that you usually take. Here’s a basic list of medicines that should be in your medical kit:

  • Sea-sickness / Motion sickness pills if you are sensitive to movement (the roads on Crete are far from straight!)
  • Sunscreen (start with high protection like SPF 45+)
  • Aftersun lotion with aloe vera
  • Insect repellent without DEET, ’cause we have mosquitoes even in winter!
  • Painkillers, Band-aids, condoms
  • Pedialyte hydration packs (in case you have a crazy party night, or after a long hike)
  • Hand sanitizer and medical masks

Water Shoes

These shoes are a lifesaver for the beach. There are many rocky beaches in Crete and the seabed is not always sandy. I use a no-frills, comfortable pair quite similar to these ones. Besides, many beaches may require some walking or even hiking, and such shoes can be very handy in these cases.

Hiking Boots / Hiking Sandals

What to pack for Crete
Get a pair of comfy walking sandals.

Crete has breathtaking hiking paths, mountain trails, gorges, and more… To walk in the wild, get a sturdy and comfy pair of hiking shoes. Prefer boots in winter and a pair of hiking sandals in summer.

To hike the Samaria Gorge, it is better to wear hiking boots even in summer due to its harsh terrain and the seep, long descent.

>> Driving on the island? Discover what to pack for a road trip in Crete.

What Clothes to Pack for Your Trip to Crete

What to pack for Crete
Pack comfortable clothes to explore the natural landscapes in Crete.

Now that we are all set with the most important stuff, let’s think about our clothes. It all depends on when you are going to travel: summer (May through October) or winter (November through April). Here, you’ll find packing lists for both climates and both for men and women.

What to Pack for Crete in Summer (Women)

  • 2-3 Basic T-shirts: choose neutral colors that you can wear on any occasion.
  • 2-3 tank tops: pick breathable fabrics, these garments are great for excursions.
  • 2 long-sleeve shirts: if you are traveling in May or October.
  • 1 chambray shirt: also perfect for May or October, it can work as a light jacket.
  • 1 light jacket or raincoat: the weather in Crete is sometimes unpredictable, especially at the end of summer.
  • 2 pairs of shorts: consider a loose-fitting pair, comfortable for long walks.
  • 1 pair of leggings: if you go hiking, it’s good to have a pair of leggings in your bag in case it gets chilly.
  • 1 pair of long pants: for May or October as it is chilly in the evening.
  • 2 skirts: for your nights out.
  • 2-3 summer dresses: consider ones that don’t require ironing.
What to pack for Crete
Packing for Crete.
  • 2-3 swimming suits: It’s always better to keep one in your day bag, in case you want to change after the beach without returning to the hotel.
  • Underwear: Whatever you need plus a couple of extras.
  • 2-3 bras: Depending on your clothes, but it’s a good idea to avoid push-ups (in summer it’s super hot here!)
  • Socks: For May and October or if you pack hiking boots or sneakers.
  • Travel sandals: Choose a pair that is really comfortable, you’ll walk a lot.
  • Sneakers: Comfortable yet stylish sneakers are great for long walking days.
  • Sleepwear: Have something comfortable and light (nights in summer are pretty hot).
  • Jewelry: Take some cute but not expensive items that can add style to your summer outfits.
  • Hat: Wear a sports hat or a straw hat to keep your head and face protected. If you don’t want to pack one, get it on the island!
  • Flip-flops: You can also buy those in Crete.

What to Pack for Crete in Summer (Men)

  • 4-5 everyday T-shirts or polo shirts: According to the duration of your trip. If you don’t want to do laundry during the trip, then account for 1 shirt per 1-2 days of your trip.
  • 2 long-sleeve shirts: For May and October.
  • 2 pairs of shorts: These are great for long walks and tours.
  • 1 pair of jeans or trousers: In many hotels, there’s a dress code for dining, where shorts are not allowed for men. If you are traveling in May or October, add an extra pair.
  • 1 light jacket or raincoat: For May and October
What to pack for Crete
Are you packing light for Crete?
  • 1-2 pairs of swimming pants: For the beach or pool.
  • Underwear: Whatever you need, plus a couple of extras.
  • Socks: For May and October or if you pack hiking boots or sneakers.
  • Travel sandals: Choose a pair that is really comfortable, you’ll walk a lot.
  • Sneakers: Comfortable sneakers are great for long walking days.
  • Dress shoes: Pack some nice loafers in case you are planning a romantic evening with your significant other.
  • Sleepwear: Have something comfortable and light (nights in summer are pretty hot).
  • Hat: A baseball cap or a jockey hat is a must for hot summer days.
  • Flipflops: You can get them over here!

What to Pack for Crete in Winter (Women)

GREECE-Crete-Chania-in-winter
Winter in Crete.

Use the same list you have used for summer, and add the items listed down below.

  • 2-3 long-sleeve shirts: Great for layering.
  • 2-3 T-shirts: Even during winter, the temperatures can reach +20° C!
  • 2 pairs of jeans: Perfect for winter weather.
  • A pair of extra warm leggings: A secret weapon against the cold under your jeans if you’re heading to the mountains!
  • 1 warm jacket: Even if it doesn’t freeze, it can still be very cold in winter on Crete due to the high level of humidity and the strong northern winds.
  • Waterproof boots: Rain is common in winter, so waterproof boots are quite handy.
  • Warm pajamas: Most houses and hotels in Crete don’t have good heating, and sometimes warm A/C is not enough for the night, so pack those PJs!

What to Pack for Crete in Winter (Men)

Greece - Crete - Lasithi, Lasithi Plateau in Winter
Crete’s White Mountains.

If you’re wondering what to pack for cold weather in Crete, add these items to the summer list, and you’ll have a perfect packing list for winter in Crete.

  • 1-2 wool basic layers: The perfect base layer for winter in Crete.
  • 2-3 sweaters: Add an extra layer together with your T-shirt and you are ready for Cretan winter.
  • 1-2 thermal long-sleeve shirts: If you don’t like layers, then one shirt like this and a light jacket are enough.
  • Waterproof boots or sneakers: Great for rainy days and to keep those feet warm!
  • Warm pajamas: It’s essential to have at least one pair, as warm A/C may not be enough during winter nights in Crete.
  • 1 warm jacket: Winters can be really cold due to the high humidity and strong northern winds.

I hope you’re all ready now… So start packing for your next trip to the island!

What to pack for Crete

>> Don’t forget to pack your favorite digital guide on your mobile!

I publish new content about Crete almost every day! Bookmark my Crete and Practical Guides pages to learn more before your trip.

Are you dreaming of a getaway to Crete but feeling overwhelmed with planning?

  • You can join my Facebook Group, Things to Do in Crete, a friendly gathering of Crete enthusiasts.
  • With my consultation call services, I have assisted countless travelers in crafting the perfect Crete experience. Email me for more information!

Don’t forget travel insurance!

Although Crete is a safe destination, consider purchasing travel insurance to protect yourself and your loved ones from unexpected situations.

>> Join our Facebook Group!

More resources to enhance your Crete adventure

Start by checking out my guide to planning your trip to Crete, packed with helpful essential information. Explore the articles on prices in Crete, common mistakes to avoid, and insider secrets. You can also get one of the digital travel guides I’ve written about Crete. They are affordable and practical to check from your mobile.

When it’s time to plan, explore the best places to visit on Crete Island, discover my tours and activities, and be amazed at Crete’s incredible beaches. If you are exploring specific areas like Heraklion, Rethymnon, Lasithi, and Chania, I’ve got detailed guides to help you make the most of your time.

Suggested accommodation in Crete

No time to read all my accommodation guides? Check out these places to stay:

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A Local’s Guide to What to Pack For Your Crete Vacation!

What to Pack for Crete, Greece

About me:

Gabi Ancarola | The Tiny Book

Gabi Ancarola

I have lived in Chania, Crete, since 2016. As a local, I have an intimate knowledge of the Crete. I host culinary and concierge tours and experiences in Crete and write about the island for several travel media. During the last five years, I have helped many travelers plan the perfect holiday in Crete. I co-authored DK Eyewitness Top 10 Crete and had more glasses of frappe than any regular person could ever handle.

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