Are you wondering what to wear in Crete? Crete is Greece’s most Southern island and is a very popular vacation destination due to its range of activities and luxury accommodation. In this guide will tell you exactly what to wear in Crete on the beach, in the towns and out for dinner to help you not look like a tourist no matter the season you are visiting.
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But before we get onto the specifics of what to wear in Crete along with some outfit inspiration we thought it would be worthwhile to talk about exactly what and where Crete is, and how the seasons will affect your Crete Packing List.
Where is Crete?
Crete is the largest and southernmost island in Greece. It is located just South of the Cyclades Islands which are home to Santorini and Mykonos, and is the most populated of all the Greek islands with over 600,000 residents.
Alongside its beautiful beaches, Crete is home to some larger towns such as Chania and archaeological gems such as the Palace of Knossos.
In mythology it is also believed to be the birthplace of the Greek God Zeus.
Note: Although all of the Greek islands have similar fashion sensibilities and dress codes, it is worth checking out each our our island and city specific guides as there are some key regional differences:
- What to wear in Mykonos
- What to wear in Santorini
- What to wear in Paros
- Whats to wear in Naxos
- What to wear in the Greek Islands
- What to wear to the Acropolis
So now you know where Crete is, what are the dress codes you should be aware of?
Crete Dress Code
As with many places in Greece, Crete doesn’t really have a dress code per se. As it is famed for its beautiful coastal location it should come as no surprise that lightweight resort wear can be seen in the town and on the beach.
However it is important to realise although coastal, you will find people in Crete fashionably dressed.
It is also worth noting that Crete as with most of the Greek islands are a big tourist destination. As such peak season usually runs from April until October. If you visit Crete in Winter you will find there to be far fewer tourists. But this comes with the downside of the weather not being as beach friendly.
How do local people dress in Crete?
The locals in Crete know that the key to dressing in particular for summer, is picking outfits that can cope with the heat.
You will find loose and flowing dresses and skirts are very much in fashion throughout Greece. Heraklion and Chania are the big centers of Crete where there are many shops for both clothes and souvenirs.
Clothes wise you will find many of these stores selling lots of loose flowing dresses and skirts so you know these styles will help you fit in with the locals.
And you can never go wrong with linen whether you are a man or woman in Crete.
Considerations for your Crete Packing List
Before we get onto the exact items to include to make your Crete outfits, we thought is would be worth outlining some considerations for your packing list. These are:
Natural fabrics are your best friend in the towns of Crete such as Heraklion and Chania and on the beaches.
Cottons, silks and linen are well known for being more breathable than man made fabrics and are Greek styles to go for. Linen in particular is very in fashion among locals and tourists alike in Crete.
Island hopping is a great thing to do on your Greek Vacation however if you decide to do this then you will need to pack light. Nothing can spoil the island hopping experience than having to lug heavy luggage onto multiple ferries.
For more information on how to pack light for Greece in Summer we recommend checking out our guide on the 5 4 3 2 1 packing method which will help you create the perfect Greece Capsule Wardrobe.
What to Wear in Crete in Summer (June, July and August)
Chances are if you are looking to at what to wear in Crete and you will be visiting during the Summer Months. Summer in Crete is characterised as June, July and August although peak tourist season runs longer than this.
During the Summer in Crete you can expect lots of sunny days and very little rain. In terms of temperatures, in the summer you can expect t1o see average highs of 64F/18C and lows of 51F/11C. Though you will find the evening temporaries much lower than daytime ones.
But the good news is that the chances of rain in Crete in Summer is pretty much 0%.
For more information on what to wear in Greece in summer check out our related guides:
As such we would recommend putting the below on your summer Crete packing list:
As I mentioned above there is lots of beach wear and resort wear seen in and around Crete in Summer.
Maxi dresses are one of my favorite things to wear when touring Greece, especially on the islands in Summer.
Loose and flowing dresses are better for Crete in Summer than tight fitting ones made of man made fabrics as they will keep you cooler. They are also great for wearing down on the beach and out for dinner.
Maxi Skirts are also great for pairing with T shirts and Tank tops in Crete.
Tank Tops and T Shirts
These are perfect for out exploring Crete and can be paired with skirts or shorts. Tank tops are also acceptable in Crete in most places just don’t expect to go into churches in a tank top without covering your shoulders first.
I personally find a t shirt or tank top with a pair of shorts the best things to wear at the archaeological sites such as the Palace of Knossos.
Trousers and Blouse
Trousers and blouses are a great alternative to maxi dresses for exploring towns and having dinner as they are a great day to night transition outfit.
Linen trousers are popular with the locals and are good in the hot weather.
I never travel anywhere in Greece without a pashmina. They are great for the evenings in case you get chilly dining al fresco and can also be used to make an outfit more modest for visiting churches in Greece.
Shorts are great for Crete both on the beach and in towns such as Chania. They are also my favorite things to wear at archaeological sites.
If you are visiting Crete in Summer chances are you will be spending time on the beach, on a boat, or around a hotel pool. Therefore you will want to have some stylish swimwear with you.
As there are no dress codes on public beach esin Crete you can choose whatever swimwear you feel most comfortable in whether that be one pieces or bikinis.
Depending on how long you plan to spend on the beach here depends on how many pieces of swimwear you will need.
I would recommend packing at least two swimwear pieces so one can be drying while you are wearing the other if you are going to Crete for a week.
Most people in Crete when not swimming or sunbathing will put on a beach cover to head to bars or local amenities so we recommend adding one or two beach covers to your packing list.
Sunglasses with good UVA Protection are an essential for staying sun safe in Crete.
Sun hats are a staple on any Greek summer packing list. Be sure to pick a wide brimmed straw hat instead of a baseball cap to fir more in with the locals.
Goes without saying
Light weight PJs are a must for the Greek islands in Summer.
Note: If you want to know what to wear in Crete for men I recommend packing a mixture of chinos and linen trousers and some smarter shorts alongside plain t shirts and polos and short sleeve shirts for summer.
What to Wear to the Crete in Spring (March, April, May)
Depending on what time in Spring you are visiting Crete will depend on how hot the temperatures are.
April really kicks off the peak tourist season in Crete and you may find March too cold to be spending too much time on the beach and not all the shops and restaurants will be open yet.
In March average high temperatures are 10C and lows of 0C/32F while it slowly warms to highs of 14C/57F and lows of 5C/41F in May.
For this reason we recommend packing the same as the summer for May while your March packing list will be more akin to the Winter packing list for Crete.
In March you really won’t need much swimwear as the water tends to be too cold to swim in and you will want some extra layers with you for the Spring months.
Additions to your Spring Crete packing list should also include:
Crete days and evenings in Spring can be cold so be sure to add a cardigan to pair to your dress and trousers outfits.
Sweater / Hoodie
This is great for exploring Crete in Spring no matter the month.
This may be needed if you are visiting Crete in March and later in Spring if you feel the cold.
Also for March you probably will only need one item of swimwear at most as the sea temperature still tends to be too cold to go swimming in for most people.
What to Wear to the Crete in Fall (September, October and November)
What to wear to Crete in Fall and Autumn is very similar to what to wear in Crete in Summer.
In particular, if you are visiting Crete in September you can pretty much select the same outfits as you would in Summer as the temperatures are very similar particularly to June. For instance the average highs are from 10-17C / 50-62F and only drops to between 3-9C / 37-48F.
In fact Fall in Crete is much warmer than Spring, and you will find the sea temperature much more comfortable for swimming in.
November is really the only cool month in Autumn.
Also you will want cardigans and sweaters on your packing list, and in November you may even need a jacket however I still recommend packing swimwear for September and October in particular.
What to Wear to Crete in Winter (December, January and February)
Crete can be cold in Winter and as Winter isn’t peak season you will find that many of the local businesses such as shops and restaurants will be closed or have limited opening hours.
Also it is generally speaking too cold to swim in the sea and use the beach in Winter in Crete so you can really limit the swimwear you need to bring with you.
Generally speaking the temperatures range from 6 to -1C / 42 – 30F in Winter and is the rainiest season in the area. The wind is also at its strongest in Winter.
Therefore we recommend abandoning the summer packing list and wearing the below to Crete in Winter instead.
You will definitely want a warm jacket or for the Crete in Winter. If possible we recommend a waterproof one as you can get rainy and something that is good in the wind.
Cardigans, Sweaters and Top Layers
We recommend packing a few different types of top layers with you for instance a combination of cardigans, sweaters and hoodies of different weights so you have enough variety in case of a very cold snap.
Long Sleeve Tops
It is unlikely you will be wearing short sleeve t shirts in Crete in Winter. Long sleeve t shirts and blouses are therefore a much better choice.
We recommend packing a variety of long sleeve tops and blouses with you including some smarter ones for dinners if you are visiting in the Winter months of December, January and February.
Although linen trousers are perfect for Crete in Summer and the shoulder seasons, they are too lightweight for Winter visitors to the region.
Instead we recommend going with heavier weight trousers in Winter. We tend to recommend packing jeans instead.
I never go to Greece without one. But it is a handy extra layer for Winter visitors and can also be used as a scarf.
Goes without saying
A slightly heavier weight pair are better in Winter.
Best Shoes for Crete
Sneakers are great for Crete whatever time of year you visit.
They can cope with the warmer weather (if you pick a light weight and breathable pair) while also being good for your feet on uneven surfaces such as for archaeological sites like the Palace of Knossos.
Note: if you plan on doing any longer length hikes then you may need hiking shoes.
However we do recommend wearing sneaker socks with them to reduce sweat and odour in your shoe.
Sandals are a definite must for Crete in the summer. However due to the terrains you encounter in Crete I would pick a pair with arch support and without a heel.
Espadrilles or wedges are a great evening shoe choice particularly for nicer restaurants in towns.
Flip Flops (Optional)
Flip flops are not good for walking, especially on the steep terrains such that you get in Crete. However if there is space in your case you may want to pack a pair of flip flops for round your hotel pool.
Water Shoes (optional)
Water shoes are optional depending on which part of Crete you are visiting as there are both sandy beaches and rocky coves on the island.
Therefore I advise taking water shoes to firstly protect your feet if you plan to visit rockier beaches or if you are visiting in Summer with children, when you may need to protect their feet from the heat of the sand.
What Else to add to your Crete Packing List
- Aftersun cream
- Insect Repellant
- Phone / Camera
- Reusable Water bottle
- Beach bag
FAQs About What to wear in Crete
So now you know what to wear in Crete season by season we will answer some of your more specific questions.
What to wear in Crete at night?
Crete is still relatively casual in the evenings. Therefore we recommend sticking with a maxi dress for going out at night in Crete.
If you can dress it up with an accessory such as a pashmina or some costume jewellery, it will make it a great day to night transition piece.
Do I need a jacket in Crete?
If you are visiting Crete in Summer then a jacket likely won’t be necessary however if you are visiting in Winter or one of the shoulders seasons I would recommend packing a jacket. In April and October for instance, a lightweight one such as a denim jacket will be fine. However in Winter a heavier weight jacket is likely to be needed.
Are there mosquitos in Crete?
Crete does how mosquitos. They don’t tend to be dangerous however an irritant if you get bitten. Therefore we recommend packing insect repellant and some long sleeve tops and trousers if you are visiting during mosquito season.
Do you have a question about what to wear in Crete that we haven’t answered? Drop us a comment below and we will do our best to answer.