Hit three major hotspots on this nine-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 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. End the trip in Santorini with its classic white-topped cliffs and caldera views, complete with island cruising, wine tasting, and stunning sunsets to spare.

Highlights

  • Appreciate the timeless magnificence of the Parthenon and other incredible historical sites amidst the modern bustle of Athens
  • Savor magnificent Mykonos, from its world-famous glitz and glittering beaches to its best-kept traditional secrets
  • Indulge in a cruise past some of Greece's most enticing beach scenes: choose to hop off and sunbathe or just stay aboard and toast to your good fortune!
  • Hike and sail Santorini, taking in iconic architecture, captivating volcanic landscapes, and sandy beaches in dreamy hues
  • Unwind in Santorini's ancient wineries, enjoying delicious volcanic varietals utterly unique to this stunning setting

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 Explore Authentic Mykonos Mykonos
Day 5 Explore Mykonos, Traditional Dinner and Optional Cooking Class Mykonos
Day 6 Mykonos to Santorini Santorini
Day 7 Santorini Catamaran Cruise Santorini
Day 8 Santorini Wine Tasting Tour Santorini
Day 9 Santorini to Athens and Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

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, you may be able visit the Athens Observatory to learn about the constellations overhead and take a look through the telescope. Its hours vary seasonally and by day of the week.

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: Explore Authentic Mykonos

Colorful boats bobbing in Mykonos' Old Port
Colorful boats bobbing in Mykonos' Old Port

Today, you'll sneak away from the cosmopolitan side of this island to discover Mykonos' authentic heart, touring charming villages, little harbors, and remote beaches with your expert guide. You'll start with a panoramic viewpoint of Mykonos Town to capture the perfect 360 shot. Head to the port of Agios Ioannis, a protected harbor where fishing boats now launch. Hear the stories of its namesake saint, including a church dedicated to him and the cell he was held in that are now home to an annual festival. 

Next, you'll go through the island's agricultural and livestock country, past cultivated fields and animals grazing. At Ano Mera village, you'll explore a farm with its superintendent and even have the opportunity to help out with some farm work or say hi to the animals. You'll also sample a light snack lunch with products grown right there in the fields. After lunch, the colorful village square awaits, including a monastery tour and stroll through the open-air market.

From there, the shores of Kalo Livadi, Kalafati, and Aghia Anna all await your camera lens as you pass them on your way to learn about the island's history at the site of former mines. The now-abandoned structures used to mine lignite from the island's soil. Wrap your tour up on the picturesque narrow streets of Mau, home to the Mykonos dam.

The evening is yours to spend as you will, whether you want to relax by the sea, wind away the hours with a sundowner in Little Venice, or dance the night away on the boardwalk of Paradise Beach.

Day 5: Explore Mykonos, Traditional Dinner and Optional Cooking Class

Enjoy a savory Greek dish
Enjoy a savory Greek dish

You've got two options for your early day today. Independent types can continue their island explorations on their own or head to a beach to lounge. Stroll through the cosmopolitan streets, scoping out the boutiques that draw the island's stylish crowd season after season.

If you'd prefer a more guided experience, opt for a cooking class to learn about Greek cooking techniques and ingredients. You'll master strategic deployment of olive oil, fresh produce, seafood, and more with your master instructor.

Either way, as the sun begins to set, you'll sit down to a traditional dinner, either cooked by you or your fellow travelers. You'll be welcomed into a local Mykonian household for the meal, where you'll experience the traditional Greek way of life, culture, and cooking. Hear all about their stories of the island's culture and history as well as their own family history, over authentic dishes and free-flowing local wine (for the older crowd).

Day 6: Mykonos to Santorini

The caldera of Santorini
The caldera of Santorini

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 7: Santorini Catamaran Cruise

View from Fira
View from Fira

Enjoy a leisurely morning breakfast with time to stroll through town and scope out the small shops and boutiques. Head over to Fira, the capital of the island, which offers plenty to explore. History buffs will be delighted by proximity to the Archaeological Museum of Santorini, the Museum of Prehistoric Thera, the Folklore Museum of Emmanuel Lignos, and the church of Hypapante.

As the late afternoon unfolds, you'll head toward Vlychada Port to board your semi-private catamaran cruise around the island. Your first stop will be at the Red Beach to swim and sun, followed by a second stop at the White Beach to take in all the distinctive-colored sands of Santorini.

Barbecue will be served onboard while you sail past landmarks at Aspronisi, the Ancient LighthouseIndian Rock, and the prehistoric city at Akrotiri, hidden away at the southern tip of Santorini. These ruins are the site of some of the Bronze Age’s most advanced settlements, which prospered for centuries before being destroyed by a great volcanic eruption in the mid-second millennium BC. Top it off with a jump into the hot springs at Nea Kameni, where the mineral-rich volcanic waters are believed to have therapeutic properties.

Day 8: Santorini Wine Tasting Tour

Vineyard hills
Vineyard hills

Raise your glasses to your last full day in the islands with a vineyard tour. Visit three of the island's ancient wineries, where you'll learn about some of the award-winning volcanic vintages of Santorini. With twelve varietals, all accompanied by local cheese and other snacks, the history of the island will be right at the tip of your tongue. 

Don't miss one more sunset before you go. You can visit the smaller town of Firostefani or stay on the other side of the caldera rim out in Oia. The furthest town along the rim of the caldera, Oia's arty streets are the perfect spot for sunset views. Stake out your viewing platform over the panorama, then stick around to wander the alleys and linger in the town's tavernas into the evening.

Day 9: 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 Discover Athens & the Cyclades - 9 Days
Map of Discover Athens & the Cyclades - 9 Days