Hit three major hotspots on this active eight-day tour of some of Greece's most beautiful and iconic sites. You'll start in Athens, with a full day to experience the Acropolis and Greek mythology and buzzing neighborhoods before hopping a ferry to glamorous Mykonos. Here you'll explore beaches, boardwalks, and nightlife under the eyes of the island's famous windmills and take a horseback ride to the coast. End the trip in Santorini with its classic white-topped cliffs and caldera views, complete with island cruising, hiking, and stunning sunsets to spare.

Highlights

  • Appreciate the timeless magnificence of the Parthenon and dive into Greek mythology amidst the modern bustle of Athens
  • Savor magnificent Mykonos on horseback, from glittering beaches to its best-kept traditional secrets
  • Hike and sail Santorini, taking in iconic architecture, captivating volcanic landscapes, and sandy beaches in dreamy hues

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Athens Athens
Day 2 Acropolis and Ancient Greek Mythology & Museum Tours Athens
Day 3 Athens to Mykonos Mykonos
Day 4 Horseback Riding to Fokos Beach Mykonos
Day 5 Mykonos to Santorini Santorini
Day 6 Volcanic Lagoon Boat Tour Santorini
Day 7 Caldera Day Hike Santorini
Day 8 Santorini to Athens and Depart  

Detailed overview

Day 1: Arrive in Athens

Monastiraki Square and the Acropolis
Monastiraki Square and the Acropolis

Welcome to Greece! You'll begin your trip in Athens, home to both the iconic Acropolis and so much more. The mythology of this spectacular city precedes it, with towering temples to Classical deities and the ruins of ancient marketplaces rubbing shoulders with lively nightlife, crowded flea markets, and contemporary cuisine. Make the most of your time in the city at some of these spots:

  • Check out the views of the can't-miss Parthenon. (Pro tip: The Parthenon is the temple, the Acropolis is the hill.) This temple to Athena has enchanted visitors since its construction was completed in 438 BC. It's probably the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of ancient Greece and is visible from many of the city's high points.
  • Stop at the sprawling National Museum for a crash course in ancient iconography. Be sure to seek out the room housing the Antikythera mechanism, essentially an ancient astronomical computer.
  • Visit a smaller archaeological site at the Tower of the Winds, then stroll down neighboring pedestrian Aiolou Street to stop at shops and cafes. 
  • Find your perfect souvenir or sun hat in the busy stalls of the Monastiraki flea market. 

Spend your evening exploring the up-and-coming Pangrati neighborhood or amid the nightlife and mezze of the Psyrri district.

Day 2: Acropolis and Ancient Greek Mythology & Museum Tours

Ancient columns
Ancient columns

Experience the ancient stories surrounding you with today's guided mythology tour. You'll meet your guide and storyteller at the Temple of Olympian Zeus, then head to landmarks around the city including the Acropolis, ancient cemetery at Kerameikos, and the Agora. The myths that founded the city and are featured in its retellings for generations will accompany as you go, with stories of Zeus, Athena, Poseidon, Dionysus, and more. Hear both the stories themselves and the historic facts behind them, adding resonance to the archaeological ruins you will visit during this four-hour tour.

Stick with the supervised experience with another guided tour at the Acropolis Museum in the afternoon. Named one of the ten best museums in the world by National Geographic, this modern museum houses a multitude of artifacts removed from the hill of the Acropolis for safekeeping to provide insight into ancient religious practices and daily life. Linger for lunch in the museum's cafe, with views of the artifacts' former hilltop home.

As night falls, visit the Athens Observatory to learn about the constellations overhead and take a look through the telescope.

Day 3: Athens to Mykonos

Bright balconies of Little Venice
Bright balconies of Little Venice

You'll start your tour of the Cyclades on Mykonos, one of the larger islands in this chain. Known for its glitzy restaurants and nightlife, art scene, and jet set crowds (it was recently home to a Gucci pop-up boutique), Mykonos will throw you headfirst into your island adventure.

Your first day's itinerary is up to you. You'll receive a personalized list of tips for exploration, but some highlights include:

  • If you need to get your toes in the sand immediately, head to remote Agios Sostis beach to find your own isolated paradise.
  • For a more active experience, Ftelia Beach is known for its excellent windsurfing.
  • Take a short ferry over to the archaeological site at Delos for a day-trip. This entire island is full of ancient ruins and is one of the most important in the country for its history as both a sanctuary and the mythological birthplace of Apollo and Artemis.
  • Stroll through Little Venice, an 18th-century neighborhood where colorful former captains' mansions and seaside restaurants seem to sprout straight from the sea. It's also right next to the island's famous hillside windmills for great photo ops.

Day 4: Horseback Riding to Fokos Beach

Awaiting the tour
Awaiting the tour

Get a new perspective on Mykonos from the back of one of its resident horses as you ride through the agricultural areas of the island for roughly two hours. A transfer can pick you up from wherever you may be staying on the island and bring you to the stables, where you'll depart for a a tour of the island's fields and pastoral countryside, as well as a mountain reservoir frequented by other local livestock.

Your ride will take you to Fokos Beach. This remote northern beach is a far cry from the more crowded southern beaches, with nothing but the seabirds and sand to keep you company as you lounge away the afternoon. Don't forget to visit Fokos Taverna, the beach's only restaurant and one that's good enough that you won't need any others.

Day 5: Mykonos to Santorini

Looking down into Santorini's caldera
Looking down into Santorini's caldera

After breakfast at your hotel, you'll get an early ferry to Santorini. Nothing says "good morning" like watching the sun coming up over the island's iconic cubic architecture. Upon arrival, you'll take in the island's central caldera—the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in history—rising above you. 

The island's volcanic history has led to the formation of some of the more unique beaches in the Greek islands, along with the dramatic cliff views on the island's caldera side. Spend your day relaxing at the beach or catching some exercise—and even more views—from one of Santorini’s more than 12 scenic walking routes, ranging from between two to eight miles each.  At dinner, sample the island's signature cherry tomatoes and white eggplants as guest stars in seafood dishes or the main event.

Day 6: Volcanic Lagoon Boat Tour

Your vessel awaits
Your vessel awaits

No trip to Santorini is complete without an exploration of its iconic caldera. The island is shaped by the volcanic eruptions of its past. The most intense is known as the Minoan eruption in the mid 2nd millennium BC, which created the island's current structure and was felt around the ancient world. 

After breakfast, you'll be transferred from your hotel to the port of Athinios, where you'll hop on a traditional wooden boat to begin your journey. You'll sail the caldera for six hours, seeing the majority of the lagoon with a guide providing the details and backstory of your surroundings.

You'll head across the basin to the two small lava islets in its center. These are the youngest of their kind in the eastern Mediterranean, only forming about 50 years ago.  Stop to hike around the rocky red soil of the islets before hopping in the hot springs at Nea Kameni. These yellow-tinted waters are high in sulfur and renowned for their potential therapeutic benefits. You'll also take a break for lunch on the less famous island of Thirassia and enjoy the views of the cliffs of Oia rising across the water. If you're up for it, take a hike up to the island's main village of Manolas, which feels like Oia must have before the arrival of tourism.

Day 7: Caldera Day Hike

Trailside views
Trailside views

You'll really get those postcard views with today's hike. Lace up your sneakers and depart for one of the best walks on the island. Circle the caldera from Fira to Oia, taking in the picture-perfect surroundings. The full hike takes roughly five hours, but can be broken up with stops in the towns or tavernas along the way.

Start early if you'd like the trail to yourself or go out in the late afternoon to arrive in Oia just in time for the sunset views the town is known for, but try to avoid the heat of the midday sun. Stroll through Oia's alleyways and art galleries once you arrive, or head down into Ammoudi Harbor if you want seafood on the shore.

Day 8: Santorini to Athens and Depart

Take one last look
Take one last look

It's time to say farewell to Greece! Savor one more breakfast in Santorini before your transfer to the airport or your ferry to begin your journey home.

Map

Map of Active Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini - 8 Days
Map of Active Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini - 8 Days