Over 10 days you will discover Greece's best islands, learn about ancient Greek mythologies, watch the sunset over Santorini during a cruise, and much more. The trip will start with two days and a city tour in Athens before heading to Greece's most famous archeological site, Delphi, and then to Meteora which is home to spectacular clifftop monasteries. We then head to the islands, starting with a few days in Santorini before taking a ferry to Crete where you'll learn about the local history and culture of Chania during a village tour.

Highlights

  • Visit Acropolis during a city tour of Athens
  • Discover hilltop Monastries at Meteora
  • Enjoy a sunset cruise around Santorini
  • Meet locals during a village tour in Crete

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Athens Athens
Day 2 Acropolis and Food Tour Athens
Day 3 Tour Delphi - Arachova Mountain Village Delphi
Day 4 Tour of Meteora and Monastries Meteora
Day 5 Transfer to Santorini Santorini
Day 6 Catamaran Sunset Cruise Santorini
Day 7 Santorini Beach Experience - Ferry to Crete Heraklion
Day 8 Cultural Immersion: Discover Knossos, Rethymno & Chania  Chania
Day 9 Local Cretan Village Tour Chania
Day 10 Depart Chania  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Athens

Monastiraki Square and sunset over Plaka
Monastiraki Square and sunset over Plaka

Welcome to Greece!

In Athens, which is famous for its mythology, you will discover the city's towering temples, classical deities, the iconic Acropolis, and the ruins of ancient market places which are contrasted by the vibrant nightlife, bustling flea markets, and contemporary cuisine. You will have at least half a day to explore the city.

Suggested activities include: 

  • Visit Parthenon, which is the temple while Acropolis is the rock. This temple has enchanted visitors and locals alike since its construction centuries ago in 438 BC. While this famous temple is visible from many parts of the city, it's worth visiting these ancient ruins up close.
  • Discover one of the world's first meteorological sites, the Tower of the Winds. Afterward, you can stroll down the neighboring Aeolou Street, which is home to an array of charming local shops and cafés that are worth visiting. Try to keep some extra space in your suitcase in case you decide to buy something at one of the busy stalls of the Monastiraki flea market.
  • Take a stroll along the cobblestone streets of Plaka, one of Athen's oldest neighborhoods in Athens, where you'll find iconic two-story Athenian houses, bric-a-brac shops. The neighborhood is tucked under the Acropolis hill and has a lovely vibrant city atmosphere.

Day 2: Acropolis and Food Tour

A view of the Parthenon
A view of the Parthenon

The best way to learn about the city's mythology and discover the city's best sites and cuisine is through a private guided tour.

During the tour, you'll visit the Acropolis, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erextheion, and the iconic Parthenon. As you marvel at the sheer size and beauty of these destinations, your tour guide will explain the myths and cultural history around them. We will continue the tour by exploring the various flavors of Athens. This includes a visit to the bustling Varvakios Market as well as Psiri and Monastiraki neighborhoods. We'll also taste an array of delicious Greek specialties throughout the day.

Highlights of the tour include:

  • Visit the majestic Acropolis, the theater of Dionysus, the temple of Athena Nike, the temple of Erechtheion, the Propylaia and the Parthenon.
  • Learn all about the Greek gods and heroes as well as the myths behind the sites.
  • Enjoy tasting a variety of three tapas as well as other delicacies including Greek coffee, sweet custard pie, olives in olive oil, honey, cheeses, and cured meats.
  • Visit the bustling Varvakios market. This is the biggest and most popular fish, meat, and vegetable market
  • Discover the cultural scene of Athens’ vibe as we visit the locals’ favorite drinking and eating spot.

Day 3: Tour Delphi - Arachova Mountain Village

Architecture of Delphi
Architecture of Delphi

In the morning, after a spectacular drive across the countryside with scenes of vast landscapes, we will reach Delphi, Greece's most significant archeological site. After arriving, you can take in the exquisite archeological site and the museum of Delphi at your own pace with a private guided tour.

Delphi was once believed to be the center of the world and is the site where Apollo spoke through his oracle. Your guide will explain how the oracle functions and the role it played during the ancient times. After you have marveled at the grandeur and serenity of Delphi, you can take a leisurely stroll through the mountain village of Arachova where we'll also stop at for lunch.

Tonight, we'll stay at the beautiful sea-side village of Galaxidi before heading north the following day.

Day 4: Tour of Meteora and Monasteries

The Monastery on a clifftop
The Monastery on a clifftop

Today we'll explore the wondrous natural landscape of Meteora. Meteora is the second-largest pilgrimage and monastic area in Greece. The area, which is a UNESCO world heritage site, features imposing rock formations and fascinating views of the landscape and town below.

At Meteora, you can also visit some of the oldest Monasteries in Greece. You will find that all the Monastries have a unique location and construction. Until the end of the 19th century, monks and nuns had to use rope ladders to transport the simplest of goods up and down the rocks.

After the guided tour of the unique monasteries in the area, we will visit a local tavern for lunch. After lunch, we'll depart back to Athens.

Day 5: Transfer to Santorini

The island lights up at night
The island lights up at night

In the morning, you will take a ferry or flight to the famous Greek island, Santorini.

As you approach the island you will spot the famous Caldera—the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in history—which rises above the sea in a crescent. As the sun rises, it will color the cliff-side and its cubic architecture in a golden glow.

While settling in, you can observe the views of the small volcanic islands that formed less than a century ago. Apart from the Caldera, the island's volcanic history has helped create many of the island's unique beaches.

Suggested activities include:

  • Spend your day relaxing on the beach, perhaps Kamari or Perivolos, which are part of the black beach on the east side.
  • Discover stunning views and locations by embarking on one of Santorini's scenic walking routes. The distance ranges from two to eight miles (three to 13 km).
  • At dinner, sample the island's signature cherry tomatoes and white eggplants, along with a main dish of seafood. 

Day 6: Catamaran Sunset Cruise

Swim in the therapeutic hot springs
Swim in the therapeutic hot springs

In the early afternoon, you will join a semi-private Catamaran Cruise. This is one of the best ways to discover the natural beauty of Santorini as it covers almost 100% of the Caldera Lagoon.

Santorini is shaped by the volcanic eruptions of its past, including Caldera, the lagoon, and the small volcanic islets. The most intense eruption was known as the Minoan eruption which occurred in the middle of the second millennium BC and created the geography of the island.

You will be transferred from your hotel to the Vlychada port where your cruise will depart.

The cruise will include:

  • A visit to the Red Beach where you can swim and snorkel as well as the White beach,  the Venetian Lighthouse, and the Indian Rock.
  • The chance to admire the surreal rock formations and lunar landscape.
  • A stop at the Hot Springs for a therapeutic bath in the yellow-tinted wanters full of sulfur. Sulfur is known for its potential therapeutic abilities (it's a good idea to use an old swimming suit for this bath).
  • Views of the amazing Santorini landscapes including the famous Oia, Fira, Imerovigli, and Akrotiri.
  • Visit Mesa Pigadia which is one of Santorini's best-kept secrets.
  • Freshly prepared Greek food and a barbecue on board.

Day 7: Santorini Beach Experience - Ferry to Crete

Harbor lights in the evening
Harbor lights in the evening

In the morning, you will have some time to visit the breathtaking views and scenery from Santorini's beaches. With spectacular cliffs looming over, turquoise water, and Greek sand⁠—making this a surreal setting for swimming and sunbathing.

Suggested beaches include:

  • Kamari Beach is the most upscale and touristy of the beach towns with lots of places to eat and drink. Kamari has a friendly atmosphere, with lovely paths to walk along, and is one of the most family-friendly towns on Santorini.
  • Perissa and Perivolos Beaches are essentially one very long beach that caters to a younger crowd and it has a vibrant party scene. There's also a wide range of accommodation and restaurants. 
  • Red Beach which is famous for its red pebbly sand and picturesque backdrop.
  • Monolithos Beach is a quieter, family-friendly beach with calm waters and fine sand. There is a small collection of hotels and restaurants on this beach.

Bear in mind that most of Santorini’s beaches are made up of dark volcanic sand that often heats up in the mid-day sun. Beach sandals or water shoes are recommended for getting around on the sand.

In the afternoon, you can take a ferry to Heraklion to truly discover Cretan nature and hospitality.

Among the most outstanding sights of Heraklion are the fortification walls that delimit the “old city”. The first fortifications were built by the Arabs and later reinforced by the Venetians in the 15th century. From the seven bastions, only the Martinengo bastion is still surviving. Visitors will also find the tomb of the renowned writer Nikos Kazantzakis overlooking the city. 

Day 8: Cultural Immersion: Discover Knossos, Rethymno & Chania 

Palace at Knossos
Palace at Knossos

Today, you'll have the chance to immerse yourself in learning about the history and culture of Crete.

First, you will discover the cradle of the Minoan civilization. This evocative Bronze Age site is believed to be Europe's oldest city. While learning about its history and mythology, you'll hear the story about the labyrinth, the mythical Minotaur, and the trick Theseus used to kill the beast with the help of Ariadne. 

Later in the day, you'll visit the aristocratic seaside town Rethymno—the island’s intellectual and cultural capital—to visit the Venetian Fortezza. You can also wander around the town's lively Venetian harbor, check out the town's 19th-century lighthouse or take a sunset stroll along the sandy Rethymno beach before heading back to Chania for the night.

Chania, famous for its beautiful Venezian old port, is the last stop of your trip. You will have the chance to relax while enjoying the amazing landscapes and beaches, great food, and renowned hospitality.

Day 9: Local Cretan Village Tour

Stone arches at a former olive oil press in Apokoronas
Stone arches at a former olive oil press in Apokoronas

Today, you'll have a chance to visit some of the island's traditional villages while meeting and interacting with locals.

The region's villages—seven of them—are home to a number of sites including an Ottoman fort, historic churches, and a folklore museum. Arguably, the most interesting part of the trip are the conversations you and your guide will have with the local Greek residents in the area.

Heading to Apokoronas one of the first villages we'll visit is Aptera. We will also visit the Ottoman fortress and enjoy a breathtaking view of Souda Bay and the valley of the province. Following a route through traditional Cretan villages with lovely natural scenery, you will meet the locals, try local raki and cheese, and have lunch at a traditional kafeneio under the sycamore at the central plateia. Here, a woman will also demonstrate the incredible knitting technique of "Kopaneli". 

Suggested evening activity:
Check out Chania's waterfront districts of Halepa and Tabakaria. In these districts, you can wander off the beaten track among former tanneries and factories.

Day 10: Depart Chania

A Greek sunset
A Greek sunset

You can enjoy a last tour around the village, a stroll in the narrow streets or a quiet coffee at the old harbor before leaving for the airport. You will catch a flight to Athens in time for your international departure. Travel safely!

Map

Map of Best of Greece: Athens to Crete  - 10 Days
Map of Best of Greece: Athens to Crete - 10 Days