Greece was a country I tacked onto my last trip for the sake of checking a new country off of my bucket list, and I’m so glad I did. From the hustle and bustle of Athens to the lazy beaches of Mykonos, Greece turned out to be a delightful surprise that left me wanting more. I spent about 10 days in Greece and feel like I barely scratched the surface. Hopefully this Greece Itinerary will assist you in planning your trip to this beautiful country.
Greek Island Ferries
I was able to get from mainland Athens to Greek islands via the Greek island ferries, but I recommend catching a flight. Reason being, the port can be mayhem, confusing, and you’re lucky if your ferry arrives and leaves on time.
Why did I opt for the ferry? I was down for the adventure and usually prefer to take the scenic route. Because one should arrive at the airport well in advance, and it’s a trek to the airport, I figured the ferry would technically take the same amount of time.
I arrived at Athens Piraeus port at 6am as it was recommended to come an hour before my 7am departure. It was the longest walk to my actual ferry terminal and once I got there, I was in a line of hundreds of people with only three people printing out passes, as printing online or at an actual kiosk was not an option. While I was 98% positive that I and no one behind me would make the ferry, we did.
If you insist on trying out the Greek island ferries, which honestly make sense depending on where and how far you’re going, then I recommend purchasing directly through these websites:
- Seajets (I used them)
- Ferry Hopper
- Direct Ferries
I paid 174.90€ total for ferries from Athens to Santorini, Santorini to Mykonos, and Mykonos to Athens.
10 Days in Greece
2 Days in Athens
Instead of trying to catch a ferry immediately after landing in Athens I decided to stay overnight before heading to the islands. I also spent another night in Athens before flying back to Rome. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t enough time.
After exploring the surrounding area of my hostel before heading to the Monasteraki area to purchase my train ticket in advance, I realized that I really liked Athens enough to want to see more. And “more” is what I didn’t have time for, so I hope you do.
Things to Do in Athens, Greece
Visit the Acropolis
Sitting atop a hill in Athens and seen from neighborhoods near and far is the Acropolis. The acropolis isn’t actually a building, but a citadel that contains several ancient buildings.
This ticket allows you to skip the line and visit both the acropolis and its museum. Don’t visit this ancient city and not go to arguably the most visited monument that is also a UNESCO site.
Explore the Monastiraki Markets
I only visited this area to purchase a train ticket to the ferry port and stumbled upon a buzzing marketplace. I think this flea market ridden neighborhood is great to explore whether or not you’re looking to buy trinkets for yourself or relatives. It’s also a great place for cheap eats. I recommend purchasing a gyro and exploring on foot.
Tour the Saronic Islands
If you don’t care to stray too far from Athens then I recommend at least taking a full-day Tour of the Saronic Islands from Athens. This is a luxury day cruise that stops at the islands of Hydra, Poros and Aegina with time to explore each. Lunch is also provided on board but you definitely have the opportunity to grab a bite on any of the islands.
There’s a chance that you’ve seen photos of the Meteora rock formations and you’ve also probably seen the monasteries set atop them. On this tour you are provided with a train ticket from Athens to Kalambaka and that is where you start your guided tour to visit all six monasteries and more. The panoramic views from these historic locations are something you have to see at least once indoor lifetime.
Where to Stay in Athens
Great Airbnb’s in Athens
- Acropolis View & 100m to Monastiraki metro
- Athens Center Apartment
- Industrial Loft with Acropolis view
Amazing Hotels in Athens
3 Days in Santorini
Even though the journey was a long one, I’m so happy that I visited Santorini during my time in Greece. I decided I’d visit the more “touristy” islands before even considering the “off the beaten path” ones, and I don’t regret my decision. I also think three days in Santorini is a great amount of time but you can easily spend up to a week there.
What to Do in Santorini
Where to Stay in Santorini
I stayed pretty close to Fira while in Santorini and only visited Oia during a day trip. My advice? Stay in or as close to Fira town as you can get. Oia’s lodging, restaurants, and shopping are all overpriced in my opinion. However, if you want to be surrounded by the white buildings and blue domes, then go for it.
Fira was a bustling town that had just as much to offer as Oia, if not more. It was also a hub for transportation. No matter where you’re trying to go, you can get there from Fira.
Airbnb’s in Santorini
Hotels in Santorini
Getting from Mykonos to Santorini
I recommend taking the ferry between these two islands as the journey is only two and a half hours. The only thing is that if they’re delayed then you have no choice but to wait. There are four daily ferries to choose from and I’d personally choose one of the earlier time slots. I assume they’re more likely to be on time.
3 Days in Mykonos
I personally feel like the highlight of my Greece itinerary was Mykonos because of the beautiful beaches. There are so many to choose from and the best part is that you can visit a new beach every day if you like.
Three days in Mykonos should be enough for anyone to get a real feel for the island and I’d cap time there at about four to five days.
I stayed directly in Mykonos town and quickly learned that it was a maze. I was told that since most Greek cities were built on hills, it was abnormal for Mykonos to be mostly flat. So to protect themselves from invasions, they built the city like a maze, making it confusing for those invading. And after getting lost repeatedly, I can attest to that.
Things to Do in Mykonos
Where to Stay in Mykonos
I highly recommend staying in Mykonos town when visiting Mykonos. Sure, it may be the most touristy part of the island but it’s super convenient for those arriving by ferry and there’s plenty to do here. It also provides easy access to other parts of the island.
Airbnb’s in Mykonos
Hotels in Mykonos
2 Days in Crete
Crete is the perfect addition to this Greece itinerary because of all it has to offer. It’s the largest of the Greek islands and has everything from sandy beaches white mountains. Crete also offers some Greek mythological history as it is said to be the birthplace of Zeus, god of the sky, lightening, and thunder.
Things to Do in Crete
Crete to Santorini
The ferry from Crete to Santorini is a short two and a half hour ride. It runs twice daily. The only downside is hoping that ferries coming in are on time as that will obviously affect your departure time.
There are SkyExpress flights between Crete and Santorini that are only available in the summers, otherwise you’d have to connect in Athens if flying is your preference.
Where to Stay in Crete
Airbnb’s in Crete
Hotels in Crete
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