White-washed houses clinging to cliffs. Bright blue domes overlooking the sparkling, clear blue sea. Of all the Greek islands, the island of Santorini stands alone in terms of beauty. On such a chic vacation, you’ll want to look equally as fabulous. Here’s everything you need to know about what to wear in Santorini so you are comfortable and cute.
What you wear in Santorini depends somewhat on when you visit, but the weather doesn’t change that much during the tourist season (typically April through October). Weather in the summer months will be hot, while it’s pretty warm even into late October, when I visited. In fall, it is cool in early morning, and I appreciated having a very lightweight sweater to pair with my shorts and shirts.
Top Tips for Dressing in Santorini
Stick with a Color Scheme
I mostly chose solid colors for my Santorini outfits, as I typically do when traveling. I find that it is easier to mix and match shoes and accessories if my clothes generally coordinate. Especially thinking of how “busy” the backdrop would be in most of my photos in Santorini, I wanted my clothes to stand out but not compete. I love blues, so I stuck with blues, greens, and blacks primarily. I was choosing for comfort but also to look good in photos, let’s be honest. The natural beauty of the island really steals the show, and I wanted to capture that magic by keeping my clothes fun yet simple.
The best color for photos in Santorini is one that will pair nicely with blue and white – think yellow, orange, and red. White, black, and light beige are always chic against the beautiful white architecture in Santorini, and you can’t go wrong with blue to match those blue Santorini church domes.
Consider Your Activity
You’re likely to do a lot of walking in Santorini, but equally as much browsing, eating, and lounging. There is good reason to pack a variety of options, ones that can be dressed up for a romantic dinner as well as dressed down for an afternoon strolling the alleyways of Oia. If you plan to be active, bring athletic clothes, but generally, athleisure as we wear it in the US is not common in Greece (or anywhere in Europe that I have seen).
Unless you’re going out very early in the morning or late at night, the weather will be warm. Think sundresses, breathable fabric, and lightweight layers you can use as needed.
Stay True to Yourself
Whether you realize it or not, you have a personal style – stick with it! The last thing you want on a vacation is to be uncomfortable in your clothes. Pack what you love, what makes you feel good, and what is weather-appropriate. You will love how you look (in real life and in pictures) much more if you exude comfort.
I’m a sucker for sundresses, and I packed several for this trip. They were great for hotel lounging, exploring the towns, and wine tasting tours. Dresses were an easy go-to when I was thinking about what to wear in Santorini because they are a complete outfit in one item, which frees up a lot of space and makes my carry-on dreams a reality.
One of the dresses I packed is a gorgeous embroidered minidress from Boden which is no longer available but I did find some similar options below.
I also packed a green and white striped dress from Loft which is also not available, but this one is a very similar style.
My third sundress was a black and white speckled sleeveless midi dress with cute asymmetrical snaps that I got from a consignment store. I also packed a bodycon striped midi dress from Loft with a matching cardigan, which is no longer available, but they do have a very similar cardigan dress in the same fabric.
Date Night and Dinner Outfits
This was my first time in Santorini, and I was dreaming of watching Santorini’s famous sunset on a romantic dinner date. I checked all those boxes at Sunset Ammoudi, where I wore this off the shoulder maxi dress with long sleeves and, of course, flat sandals.
This dress is sexy, lightweight, super comfortable, and a great choice for evening attire. Flowy maxi dresses generally seemed like the dress code at the nicer restaurants with caldera views, but you would also be perfectly on point in a skirt and top set or pants and a cute top. I would avoid jeans and I wouldn’t wear shorts to dinner, but dressy or flowy pants in light colors would look great.
If you are visiting in peak season (aka summer season), I would avoid tight clothing. I brought this bodycon dress in a dusky baby blue, which I wore for dinner in Athens, and it was great in Athens but didn’t feel right (or frankly comfortable temperature-wise) once I got to Santorini. I would stick with short sleeves, or lightweight and breezy fabrics, for the perfect Santorini outfit for dinner.
If you keep it casual for dinner at one of the many walk-up Greek tavernas on Santorini, you’ll find locals and tourists in much more casual wear. Whatever you had on during the day will be fine here, be it shorts or a sundress.
Shorts and Shirts
I brought a pair of cutoff denim shorts on this trip, and they paired with tons of options. One day, for walking around Megalochori (a town on the western side of the island), I paired them with flat sandals and a very lightweight patterned sweater. Even at the time of the year I visited (late October), there was still hot weather, and after a couple of hours, I was sweating! Light fabrics are crucial, and layers like a light jacket are even better so you can stay comfortable as the sun heats up.
Another day, I left the hotel early to photograph Oia before the cruise ship crowds arrived. Even if you’re not there in high season, the best time to sightsee is early morning. I got great light and few crowds at 8 am, and I was able to head back to my hotel for a late breakfast just as the crowds were picking up. This day, I paired my frayed jean shorts with a sleeveless tee and chunky sandals – always with heel straps!
For our afternoon on a catamaran, I paired jean shorts with a cropped, ruffled top from Boden (no longer available), but cropped or sheer tops would look great on a boat and serve as an easy bathing suit cover up.
Swim Styles for Santorini
Any Santorini vacation is going to see lots of time lounging by an infinity pool, cruising on a catamaran, or wiggling your toes into black sand beaches. What that requires is several options for swimwear. I went with 2 (identical) bikinis from Sea Level Swim, my new brand of choice. I wanted a pop of color to stand out against the white and blue, so I brought a solid red bikini, but I also wanted to coordinate with the blues. My other bikini on this trip was a seersucker blue and white stripe.
Santorini is not conservative in its dress, so you can comfortably wear any level of swimsuit coverage that works for you. Take a look at these other adorable swim options, perfect for a Santorini photo shoot.
Here are some other styles (most of which I own and love) perfect for Santorini.
What Shoes to Wear in Santorini
The first rule of Santorini is not to pack high heels. Santorini streets are a maze of narrow, cobbled paths with many uneven steps, making it a good idea to pack flat shoes for daily wear. Even sandals work best when they have a heel strap to secure them to your foot – the cobblestones are slippery in places, and it’s easy to slide right out of a flip flop.
I brought these Steve Madden sandals in black and white to wear with most outfits. I have somewhat wide feet, and these were actually not very comfortable, but I loved how they looked. Chunky but with cute gold detailing. They would be great for people with normal or narrow feet, but I would avoid them if you have wide feet.
The other flat sandals I packed are no longer available, but I also have this pair of Sam Edelman sandals with a heel strap that would have been perfect on this trip and they come in tons of bright colors as well as neutrals.
Whatever you pack, comfortable shoes are a must. Santorini requires a lot of walking, and there are many areas that cars cannot even reach, so you will be entirely dependent on your feet. I never felt like I needed water shoes (even when on a boat ride), but I did have some casual sneakers with me that I wore both on the plane with leggings and with dresses in Athens and Santorini Greece. These Paul Green sneakers are my favorite shoe for traveling because they are so insanely comfortable, pair with everything, and are really high quality.
Check out these great flat sandal options with heel straps perfect for Santorini:
Accessories to Pack for Santorini
You can’t visit a sunny climate without sunglasses, so be sure to pack a couple of pairs. I’ve got designer ones on in my photos (Prada and Tom Ford, both from Nordstrom), but I’ve just bought some cute ones from Amazon that I’m loving. Check out these and these.
One thing I forgot to pack was a beach bag, and I got lucky that the pajamas on the flight from New Jersey to Athens came in a cute bag that I promptly made my beach bag. Look for beach bags that are natural fabric, not boxy (no need to take up extra space in the suitcase), and neutral colors so you can double them up as a satchel or large purse.
You likely won’t need to pack a beach towel, as your hotel will have them available for use. If you do choose to bring your own, save space with a microfiber or other performance fabric that will pack up small.
And, we can’t talk about what to wear in Santorini without talking about…hats. I love a stylish hat – they are practical and look great in pictures! – but I’m not willing to sacrifice the space, even for a better photo session. I stuck with a carry on for this trip, but if you have the space, here are a few I love.
Lastly, let’s talk purses. I bought this Tory Burch crossbody bag (mine is in a cognac color) specifically for travel, and I love how compact and yet useful it is. I have also talked numerous times about how I carry this anti-theft purse on pretty much all my travels, as it is a good size, super practical, and it costs just $36. I think it has now visited 6 countries with me and it’s still going strong! The good news is that I never felt unsafe in Greece, but I love that it looks like a normal bag and just has these great safety features built in.
Ready for More Santorini Inspo?
Check out my other essential travel tips for Greece.
- What to Wear in Santorini: Best Outfit Ideas for Greece
- Yamas! The Best Santorini Wineries and Top Wine Tours
- Full Review: The Best Private Tour in Athens, Greece
- Best Luxury Santorini Travel Guide – Food, Hotels, Tours
- Real Review of a Flying Dress Photoshoot in Santorini