With twelve days in Greece, you can dig deep into one region, like the mainland or the Cyclades, and still have time to explore the iconic sights and flavor of Athens. There are myriad ways to divide up your days depending on your desired pace and preferences: hop around an island chain; devote more time in fewer destinations through a historical lens; or hit the road to discover villages, towns, and unique ruins. See some options below.

Itinerary #1: Relaxed Athens, Santorini, Naxos & Mykonos

Keep things nice and easy with this trip plan through Athens and three island gems - Santorini, Naxos, and Mykonos. Perfect for epicureans and beach lovers, this itinerary introduces you to Athenian and Cycladic culture with a food tour, farm visit, cooking class, and home-cooked traditional meal — all balanced with leisurely beach days, a casual bike tour, and a languid catamaran cruise. 

Iconic white cubist buildings on Santorini
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Athens, Welcome Dinner Athens
Day 2 Athens Food Tour Athens
Day 3 Athens to Santorini Santorini
Day 4 Santorini Catamaran Cruise Santorini
Day 5 Ferry to Naxos Naxos
Day 6 Naxos Beaches and Villages Bike Tour Naxos
Day 7 Cooking Class on Naxos Naxos
Day 8 Ferry to Mykonos Mykonos
Day 9 Farm Visit and Mykonian Dinner Mykonos
Day 10 Mykonos Beach Day Mykonos
Day 11 Return to Athens, Sunset at Cape Sounion Athens
Day 12 Depart Athens  

It’s time to meet Greece through its food, starting in Athens, where you’ll spend the first two days of your trip. Work up an appetite seeing iconic sites like the Parthenon and wandering exhibits at the immense National Museum, then get a taste of the city on a culinary tour. Your guide will usher you through stalls at Syntagma Square, and you’ll sample the best of Athenian flavors at Varvakios Market and the city’s outstanding spice street. 

On day two, you’ll be whisked off to the Cyclades, stopping first on stunning Santorini, crowned with a volcanic caldera. Wander any of the dozen walking paths, stopping at cliffside tavernas in white, cubist buildings; learn about local folklore and archeology at the island’s great museums; or head straight to vibrant colored beaches. A semi-private catamaran cruise will breeze you to secret spots, including the vibrant Red Beach and the prehistoric city of Akrotiri, all while you tuck into a barbecue dinner onboard. 

After breakfast on day five, you’ll hop to the island of Naxos, whose main town is home to windy streets, charming restaurants, and a Venetian castle. The Portara — the entrance to the unfinished Temple of Apollo — and the Temple of Demeter are just two of the wonderful ancient ruins begging to be explored. Glide through the beaches, hidden gems, and quaint villages on a 2.5 hour guided bike tour, and take a traditional Greek cooking class in the home of a villager in Kaloxylos

The chic eateries, nightlife and breathtaking beaches of Mykonos greet you on day eight; you’ll explore the island for the next few days with plenty of personalized recommendations from your specialist. You’ll visit a farm and sit down to a home-cooked traditional Mykonian meal, and can spend the rest of your time however you choose. Windsurf at Ftelia Beach, sip a cocktail on popular strips of sand (try Elia and Platis Gialos), or stretch out on a quieter beach (like Fokos or Kalafatis) serenaded by the crashing surf. Soak up the sun before returning to the mainland on day eleven, where you’ll explore the Athenian Riviera and the Temple of Poseidon. Enjoy one last cocktail, gazing out at the Saronic Gulf, before departing from Athens the next morning. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Relaxing Secret Cyclades

Discover a smattering of lesser-known islands in the Cyclades with this trip plan, which whisks you away from the crowds of more popular destinations in favor of remote beaches, unique guided tours, and local treasures that are off the beaten path. Foodies will also love this itinerary’s culinary tours and cooking classes.

Flower-lined taverna on Naxos
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Athens Athens
Day 2 Athens Food Tour Athens
Day 3 Travel to Syros Syros
Day 4 Syros Mansions Driving Tour Syros
Day 5 Ferry to Tinos Tinos
Day 6 Tinian Culinary Workshop Tinos
Day 7 Ferry to Naxos Naxos
Day 8 Naxos Food Panorama Naxos
Day 9 Ferry to Ios Ios
Day 10 Sikinos Island Tour & Wine Tasting Ios
Day 11 Return to Athens, Sunset at Cape Sounion Athens
Day 12 Depart Athens  

Before you sail off to the Cyclades, treat yourself to the iconic sites of Athens: don't miss visiting the Acropolis complex, especially the Parthenon. The next day, discover the city’s local flavor with a guided food tour; sample stalls in Syntagma Square and select delicious delicacies in Varvakios Market. On day three, you’ll venture to your first island, Syros. Hike up to the medieval settlement of Ano Syros and stroll through cobblestone squares. You’ll take a private driving tour around the island and its eclectic mansions, including the stately former residences of 19th-century sea captains in Episkopio

Next, it’s onto Tinos, the Island of the Virgin Mary; explore its 80 windmills, serene beaches, hiking trails, and Panagia Evangelistria, a church where pilgrims pay homage yearly. Tinos is also home to a feast of local goodies for food-lovers; you’ll experience the island’s flavors through a culinary workshop and you’ll learn to cook local specialties. You'll then hop to Naxos: work up an appetite summiting Mount Zas, play in the sand, and explore the Portara (the entrance to the Temple of Apollo), before taking a guided food tour of the island’s towns and local producers. You’ll even learn to make traditional fare like keftedes — meatballs accompanied by creamy tzatziki. 

Finally, you'll head to Ios, a lively island with popular beaches, like Kalamos Beach, and more secluded spots, like Manganari’s gold sand shores. You’ll also tour of the quieter and less developed Sikinos Island; after seeing highlights like the Monastery of Episkopi, you taste a varietal at a local winery. The mainland welcomes you back on day eleven, where you’ll explore the Athenian Riviera, visit the Temple of Poseidon, and watch your final Greek sunset from Cape Sounion, overlooking the Saronic Gulf. Spend your last night in Athens relaxing over platters of mezze and perfectly cooked lamb or go wild and dance until dawn at a beach bar before you head home the next morning. Learn more

Plan your trip to Greece
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

itinerary# 3: Past and Present in Athens, Tinos, Mykonos & Naxos

History buffs will love this itinerary, which dives into the history of ancient Athens, followed by time in the Cyclades, where you’ll learn about culinary and artistic traditions. There’s also plenty of time to relax on the beach, wander around charming cobblestone streets, and unwind as you watch breathtaking sunsets from the sand.

Terrace of the Lions on Delos
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Athens, Welcome Dinner Athens
Day 2 Acropolis and Ancient Greek Mythology Tour Athens
Day 3 Museums and Ancient Cooking Class Athens
Day 4 Day Trip to Mycenae and Nafplio Athens
Day 5 Ferry to Naxos Naxos
Day 6 Naxos Food Panorama Naxos
Day 7 Ferry to Mykonos Mykonos
Day 8 Day Trip to Delos Mykonos
Day 9 Ferry to Tinos Tinos
Day 10 Follow the Marble Route Tinos
Day 11 Return to Athens, Sunset at Cape Sounion Athens
Day 12 Depart Athens  

To gain a full perspective of Greek history and its influence on modern life, you’ll spend the first few days of your trip in iconic Athens. Amble through different neighborhoods (like the Psyrri district), then learn about the foundations of Athenian history and its relationship to mythology on a guided tour of the Acropolis and other Athenian landmarks. You’ll have ample opportunities to visit incredible museums, from the sprawling National Museum to hidden gems like the Museum of Ancient Greek Technology

Deepen your connection between past and present through an ancient Athenian cooking class, in which you’ll reproduce Classical cuisine using modern ingredients prepared through old-world methods. On day four, you’ll take a full day trip to the fascinating ruins of Mycenae, the original home to ancient power couple King Agamemnon and Helen (before she was Helen of Troy), after which you’ll visit the charming seaside town of Nafplio, which features Bourtzi Castle (situated in the middle of the bay) and Palamidi Castle (accessibly by a 1,000 step climb up a hill).

Island adventure awaits on Naxos, home to the ruins of Temple of Demeter at Sangri, as well as the Portara, the entrance to the unfinished Temple of Apollo… not to mention gorgeous beaches, hiking trails, and welcoming tavernas. Refuel after your day of exploration on a guided food tour of the island’s towns, tasting fresh local produce and specialties, some of which you’ll even learn how to prepare. Next, it’s on to Mykonos, famous for glitzy beaches and buzzy restaurants. Try windsurfing or wander through the 18th-century charm of Little Venice before a day trip out to the sacred island of Delos. A guide will show you archeological gems, like the scenic Terrace of the Lions, and will unlock the history and mystery of Artemis and Apollo’s mythological birthplace. 

Finally, you'll head to Tinos, known for its imposing and revered Panagia Evangelistria church. Relax on the beach, see Venetian ruins, and enjoy locally brewed beer. Discover the island’s resources and artisans as you “follow the marble route,” where you’ll learn how Tinian craftspeople transform raw pieces of marble into exquisite pieces. You’ll visit the home of a local sculptor, as well as museums devoted to the history and process of marble craft. Spend the final of your journey on the mainland, where you’ll see the Temple of Posiden and watch the sunset from the gorgeous shores of Cape Sounion before heading back to Athens for the night, and departing the next morning. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Athens and Crete Family Adventure

This family-friendly trip plan allows you and yours to learn about Greek mythology in Athens, then adventure through the island of Crete. You’ll play in the sand, trek through a lush gorge, learn to cook in a botanical garden and ride horses around the stunning turquoise waters of Kournas Lake. 

The pink sands of Elafonissi beach
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Athens, Welcome Dinner Athens
Day 2 Acropolis and Ancient Greek Mythology Tour Athens
Day 3 Athens to Chania Chania
Day 4 Old Town of Chania Tour Chania
Day 5 Trek Samaria Gorge Chania
Day 6 Chania Beach Day Chania
Day 7 Explore the Villages of Apokoronas Chania
Day 8 Family Cooking in the Botanical Park, Travel to Vamos Vamos
Day 9 Douliana & Almyrida Nature Walk and Beach Visit From Vamos Vamos
Day 10 Cretan Delicacies Vamos Tour Vamos
Day 11 Horseback Riding at Kournas Lake Vamos
Day 12 Return to Athens, Depart  

Your family will start the trip of a lifetime in Athens, where you can explore storied neighborhoods like the Plaka, tuck into delicious loukoumades (donuts dripping with honey) and visit your choice of cool museums (tip: the National Museum features a model of Antikythera mechanism, an ancient analog computer). With an expert guide, you’ll also tour iconic sites like the Parthenon and Temple of Olympic Zeus through the lens of mythology. 

On day three, say hello to island vibes when you transfer to Crete, Greece’s largest inhabited island. You’ll start your stay in the northwest city of Chania, a former Venetian city full of charm, history, and fantastic beaches. Tour the Old Town with a guide who will introduce you to Cretan monuments and traditions, the ruins of the great Minoan city of Kydonia, as well as panoramic views, perfect for a family photo. The next day, you’ll head into the verdant Samaria Gorge for an easy 11-mile trek through the White Mountains, ending at Agia Roumeli, a peaceful beach where you can dip into the sea. Then, savor a full day of Chania’s beaches: try the pink sands of Elafonissi or Kiani, which is close to town.

Explore rural life on day seven, thanks to a guided tour of the seven villages of the Apokoronas region, where you can watch artisans craft hand-knit lace, visit a Venetian watermill, and see a limestone fossil once believed to be the remains of a mythical sea siren! You'll also take a guided tour of the Botanical Park and Gardens of Crete, and in a special section of the park, you’ll pick ingredients for a family-friendly Cretan cooking class. 

After spending the night in a traditional village guesthouse in Vamos, you’ll take a guided nature walk through historic villages in Douliana, ending on the family-friendly shores of Almyrida. The next day, another culinary adventure awaits: you’ll taste the delicacies of Vamos with the help of a guide who will teach you about the region’s olive oils, cheeses, and local purveyors. Your final day on Crete is exceptionally memorable, starting with a guided horseback ride around the shallow, azure waters of Kournas Lake. Enjoy a delicious lunch nearby, visit the 19th-century lighthouse of Rethymno, and wind down with platters of local lamb and mezze in Vamos before heading back to Athens for your departure the next morning. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Mainland Greece Roadtrip

Get your motor running for this incredible 12-day road trip that loops you to and from Athens, as you uncover rural gems, seaside villages, and unmissable archeological sites around the Peloponnese. Visit ancient Olympia, seek the oracle at Delphi, taste local wines, and discover unique villages built from stones and carved from cliff-side rock. 

Ruins of the Temple of Zeus in Nemea
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Athens, Welcome Dinner Athens
Day 2 Acropolis and Ancient Greek Mythology Tour Athens
Day 3 Travel to Nafplio Nafplio
Day 4 Nemea Winery Exploration Nafplio
Day 5 Mycenae and Epidaurus Day Trip Nafplio
Day 6 Castle of Mystras Mystras
Day 7 Travel to Monemvasia Monemvasia
Day 8 Areopoli & Mani Peninsula Areopoli
Day 9 Pylos & Palace of Nestor Pylos
Day 10 Olympia Archaeological Site to Nafpaktos Nafpaktos
Day 11 Visit Delphi, Travel to Galaxidi Galaxidi
Day 12 Return to Athens, Depart  

Before heading into the countryside, get your bearings in Athens, where you can visit the National Museum or wander the stalls at the Monastiraki flea market before enjoying a delicious welcome dinner. Learn about ancient Athenian legends with a guided mythology tour of the city: you’ll stop at sites like Temple of Olympian Zeus and the ancient cemetery at Kerameikos to hear their lore and the facts that inspired them.

You'll then head to Nafplio, an irresistible seaside town featuring two memorable castles: the hilltop Palamidi Castle and the 15th-century Bourtzi Castle (on the waters of Nafplio Bay). You’ll learn about the region’s wines in Nemea, where you’ll visit vineyards, sample varietals like Agiorgitiko, and enjoy more pairings with your lunch. Next, travel through the ages in Mycenae — home to mysteriously built Cyclopean walls — and Epidaurus, where you may be able to watch a performance on the town’s third-century theater. 

The Byzantine citadel of Mystras in Morea awaits on day five. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was a fortified town built in the 13th century; after several empires conquered and occupied Mystras, it was ultimately abandoned in 1832, leaving behind centuries of history in a beautiful, hike-worthy hillside.

It’s on to the coast the next morning, where you’ll explore Monemvasia, another medieval town. Spend the day wandering cobblestone streets, Aghia Paraskevi (a Byzantine-era castle) and Aghia Sophia (an impressively preserved church from the 12th century). Continue hugging the coast as you discover the Mani region, whose villages are studded with stone tower houses and sea-cliff views. Then it’s off to Pylos, where you can wander the remarkably preserved Mycenean ruins of the Palace of Nestor, or simply relax on the smooth sands of Voidokoilia beach.

Fuel up at breakfast in preparation for a guided tour of Olympia, the vast archeological site of the first Olympic Games, then spend the evening in Nafpaktos, where you can tuck into platters of seafood from a table overlooking the Gulf of Corinth. Finally, seek out the oracle at Delphi; a guided tour will treat you to stops at the Temple of Apollo and the Treasury of the Athenians but be sure to wander the gorgeous grounds on the footpath once used by worshipers of the god Pan. You'll pass through the resort town of Arachova before your final dinner in Galaxidi, home to neoclassical houses and scenic ports. The next morning, you’ll depart to Athens to head home or onto your next destination. Learn more

More Great 12-Day Greece Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your Greece trip? Check out these other 12-day Greece itineraries, ranging from active, to cultural, to luxury, or family-friendly trips.

Or, describe your ideal trip and we will connect you with a local specialist to make it happen.


Map of 12 Days in Greece - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 12 Days in Greece - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas