Visit some of Greece's most important sites on this archeology and mythology tour, starting in the buzzy capital of Athens, atop the famous Acropolis Hill, and at the Temples of Delphi. Then head to the islands, stopping in Crete to explore Heraklion, Chania, and the Arkadi Monastery, followed by Mykonos and Santorini for prehistoric ruins. End your trip on the island of Delos where you'll walk the Terrace of Lions, then head back to Athens for one final day visiting the Temple of Poseidon and chasing the sunset along the Athenian Riviera.

Highlights

  • Explore the neighborhood of Athens and the ancient Acropolis with a private tour
  • Discover important historical sites like the Temples of Delphi and Akardi Monastery
  • Visit the preserved prehistoric town of Akrotiri on Santorini
  • Chase the sunset along the Athenian Riviera and stop at the Temple of Poseidon
  • Enjoy a tour of the archeological history of Crete

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Athens - Explore Athens
Day 2 Discover Greek Mythology and History atop the Acropolis Athens
Day 3 Explore the Mythical Routes and Temples of Delphi Athens
Day 4 Transfer to the Majestic City of Heraklion Heraklion
Day 5 Discover Heraklion's Archaeological History with a Private Tour Heraklion
Day 6 Explore the Arkadi Monastery and the Old Venetian City of Chania Heraklion
Day 7 Transfer to Santorini - Explore Santorini
Day 8 Visit the Prehistoric Town of Akrotiri Santorini
Day 9 Take the Ferry to Mykonos - Stroll its Charming Neighborhoods Mykonos
Day 10 Enjoy a Guided Tour of the Sacred Island of Delos Mykonos
Day 11 Return to Athens - Visit the Temple of Poseidon & Enjoy the Sunset  Athens
Day 12 Depart Athens  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Athens - Explore

Monastiraki Square and Sunset over Plaka
Monastiraki Square and Sunset over Plaka

Welcome to Greece!

Upon arriving in Athens, you'll settle into your accommodation and enjoy the city famous for its mythology. You'll discover its towering temples, classical deities, the iconic Acropolis, and the ruins of ancient market places, all in contrast to the vibrant nightlife, bustling flea markets, and contemporary cuisine.

Suggested activities include:

  • Visit the Parthenon temple, which sits proudly atop the Acropolis rock. This temple has enchanted visitors and locals alike since its construction centuries ago in 438 BCE. Although it's 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. 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—where you'll find iconic two-story Athenian houses and charming antique shops. The district is tucked under the Acropolis hill and has a lovely, vibrant atmosphere.

In the evening, your hosts will recommend the best places to enjoy original Greek food. The country's cuisine has evolved over the centuries through a rare blend of Eastern and Western influences, all prepared while using local and seasonal ingredients.

Day 2: Discover Greek Mythology and History atop the Acropolis

The Parthenon atop the Acropolis in Athens
The Parthenon atop the Acropolis in Athens

After breakfast, you'll enjoy a privately-guided tour of the Acropolis with an English-speaking guide, who will share interesting information about the hill's past. The Acropolis is the most famous monument in Greece, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.  

On the tour, you'll learn all about the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Temple of Athena Nike (dedicated to goddess Athena, the patron of the city), and the Erechtheion, all located on the sacred rock of the Acropolis. Beneath the rock, you'll admire two theaters: the Theater of Dionysus and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, where spectacular musical nights take place during the summer.

Your next stop is the Acropolis Museum, where you'll admire the Parthenon Gallery with its objects and artifacts of every-day life in ancient Athens. Note that the museum cafe is an ideal lunch spot with a great view of the Acropolis.

In the afternoon, you can stroll around the unique Plaka neighborhood and the center of Athens, perusing the historical streets and shopping for authentic Greek goods.

Day 3: Explore the Mythical Routes and Temples of Delphi

The Treasury of the Athenians at Delphi
The Treasury of the Athenians at Delphi

Get ready for an interesting and historical visit the village of Delphi, once home to priestesses of Apollo who many believed could predict the future. You'll enjoy a guided tour through this sprawling archaeological site, with stops at the Treasury of the Athenians, the Temple of Apollo, and the expansive, open-air theater.

Explore the ruins and venture up an ancient footpath that starts at the temples and continues to Corycean Grotto. This scenic path was once used by worshippers of the god Pan for their religious rites. Along the way, you'll be surrounded by a valley of olive trees, plus views of the Corinthian Gulf and the Peloponnese Mountains. 

You'll also visit a district of the old town, which is largely abandoned today. If you're lucky, you’ll meet the last bell-maker in Greece. In his small workshop, he’ll show you how he creates the livestock bells used by local villagers.

After a long morning, it’s time for lunch. Head back to the town square for a picnic under the large plane trees, where you'll nosh on different delicacies from the region, including local cheeses and the famous Amfissa olives. The local women of the village will also prepare a traditional regional specialty as a main course for you to enjoy.

With a full belly, head to the museum. Don't miss the bronze Charioteer of Delphi, the haunting Sphinx of Naxos, and what might be the very first recorded notation of a melody, contained in an ancient inscription from the walls of the original Athenian Treasury.

You'll return to Athens in the late afternoon to get some rest before exploring the vibrant Athenian nightlife.

Day 4: Transfer to the Majestic City of Heraklion

Heraklion's Harbor Lights at Dusk
Heraklion's Harbor Lights at Dusk

Today you'll start your journey to the beautiful island of Crete, Greece's largest and most populous island. You'll venture by either boat or plane, arriving in the incredible port city of Heraklion. 

Once settled into your accommodation, head out into the city to enjoy its outstanding sites. These include the famous fortification walls that guard the “old city”. The first fortifications were built by the Arabs, and later reinforced by the Venetians in the 15th century. From the seven original bastions along the walls, only the Martinengo bastion survives to this day. Here, you'll find the tomb of the renowned writer Nikos Kazantzakis overlooking the city.

From the original gates to the city, only the New Gate and Chanioporta Gate, with the characteristic winged Lion of Saint Marc, still survive today.

Next, head to the market of Heraklion, one of the richest in the Mediterranean. You'll find all sorts of modern products, as well as traditional Cretan products, like the famous Cretan olive oil, raki, local wine, honey, herbs, and more. Grab dinner at the market or along the port.

Day 5: Discover Heraklion's Archaeological History with a Private Tour

Ruins of the Palaces in Heraklion
Ruins of the Palaces in Heraklion

Enjoy breakfast at your accommodation, then get ready to explore all that Heraklion has to offer with your own private guide. You'll start with a visit to Knossos, the largest and most famous of the Minoan Palaces, the residence of the mythical King Minos and the monster Minotaur. It's a multi-acre complex of royal apartments, elaborate staircases, and storage areas, plus the first European theater and a room featuring an original Bronze-Age throne. Enjoy gazing at the many replicas of frescoes that grace the palace.

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

End your morning with a walking tour of Heraklion itself. Crete's largest city abounds with buildings, monuments, and churches that mark its centuries-old history, among them being the Morozini Fountain, the Venetian Loggia, St. Titus Church, and much more.

After lunch, you can visit the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, one of the greatest museums in the world. It hosts the unique Minoan art. Then head back to your hotel for a little rest after such a busy day. Emerge in the evening for peaceful strolls along Heraklion's harbor and a delicious Cretan meal.

Day 6: Explore the Arkadi Monastery and the Old Venetian City of Chania

The Charming Streets of Chania
The Charming Streets of Chania

Awake early for a full day touring the northwestern region of Crete. First, you'll stroll through the grounds of the Arkadi Monastery, which is a symbol of freedom to nearly all Greeks. Once the site of the 1866 battle between Cretans and Ottoman Turks, the monastery was destroyed and only a few of its occupants escaped the massacre. Those who fought in the battle exhibited bravery and resistance, igniting a movement throughout the island that resulted in the liberation of Crete.

After visiting the monastery, you'll continue to the city of Chania, one of the most scenic spots on Crete. Life in this former Venetian city revolves around its charming 14th-century harbor, narrow streets with winding alleys, and colorful architecture influenced by past Ottoman and Egyptian eras. Visit the neighborhoods of Topanas, Splantzia, Kolombo, and Kasteli, all popular spots to admire the panoramic view of the harbor, the traditional Cretan taverns, and the magnificent buildings. You'll also see the ruins of the great Minoan city of Kydonia and high walls of former Venetian moats now integrated into the city.

Once you've worked up an appetite, visit the Municipal Market of Chania and neighboring Municipal Garden to enjoy a coffee and lunch amid the shade of the trees. Return to Heraklion in the evening.

Day 7: Transfer to Santorini - Explore

The Gorgeous Island of Santorini at Night
The Gorgeous Island of Santorini at Night

This morning, you'll travel to gorgeous Santorini, one of the country's most popular and beloved islands. You'll arrive either by ferry or plane.

As you approach the island, you'll 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.

After settling into your hotel, 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 its unique beaches.

Other suggested activities include:

  • Spend your day relaxing on one of Santorini's many beaches. Both Kamari and Perivolos are excellent choices, connected the Black Beach on the east side of the island.

  • Discover stunning views and locations by embarking on one of Santorini's scenic walking routes. The distance ranges from two to eight miles (3 - 13 km).

  • At dinner, sample the island's signature cherry tomatoes and white eggplants, along with a main dish of delicious seafood.

Day 8: Visit the Prehistoric Town of Akrotiri

The Archeological Site of Akrotiri
The Archeological Site of Akrotiri

After breakfast, you'll enjoy a guided visit to one of the most important prehistoric settlements of the Aegean: the archaeological site of Akrotiri. Considering that this scenic city was once buried by volcanic ash for more than 1,000 years, its preservation is truly remarkable.

Learn all about the history and the strategic position of Akrotiri, which played a determining role for economic growth. Walk amongst the walls of these prehistoric houses and learn how the inhabitants would leave the city by boat each time the volcano was about to erupt, only to return and rebuild the city from scratch.

You'll then head back to Fira to visit the Museum of Prehistoric Thera and the Archaeological Museum. Admire findings spanning over thousands of years, both from Akrotiri (such as entire murals that have been preserved) and from ancient Thera, situated on top of a rock on the east part of the island.

In the evening, stroll the charming streets of Fira and enjoy dinner with a sunset view.

Day 9: Take the Ferry to Mykonos - Stroll its Charming Neighborhoods

The Colorful Neighborhood of Little Venice
The Colorful Neighborhood of Little Venice

Enjoy an early breakfast before starting your journey to the beautiful island of Mykonos, via a 40-minute fast ferry. Mykonos, a cosmopolitan island, is renowned for its white-and-blue-architecture and amazing beaches, plus upscale restaurants and a vibrant nightlife.

Settle into your accommodation and head out to explore this gorgeous island. Spend some time exploring the Cycladic architecture of the beautiful town of Mykonos with the famous hillside windmills.Then stroll through Little Venice, an 18th-century neighborhood where colorful, former captains' mansions and seaside restaurants seem to come straight up from the sea. If you need to get your toes in the sand immediately, head to the remote Agios Sostis beach to find your own isolated paradise.

In the afternoon, relax in your private pool and watch the sun setting into the sea. Discuss dinner options with your hosts, as there is an array of high-class restaurants, bars, and cafes in the main town.

Day 10: Enjoy a Guided Tour of the Sacred Island of Delos

The Terrace of the Lion on Delos Island
The Terrace of the Lion on Delos Island

In the morning, you'll catch a ferry from Mykonos' port to join a group-guided visit to the sacred island of Delos, one of the most important and impressive archaeological sites in Greece. The entire island is uninhabited, as the magnificent archaeological findings are widespread and cover almost the entire surface.

Delos was once the center of the Cyclades Islands in the ancient world and the birthplace of the Greek gods Apollo and Artemis. Due to its mystical location, the island became home to the first multicultural civilization and was an important trade center in Ancient Greece.

Your guided tour will take you through the foundations of former traders' mansions, temples, and landmarks, such as the Terrace of the Lions. Don't skip the island's museum, where many of the smaller artifacts and frescoes are housed.

In the late afternoon, you'll return to Mykonos in time to enjoy a delicious dinner amid its buzzy nightlife.

Day 11: Return to Athens - Visit the Temple of Poseidon & Enjoy the Sunset 

The Ruins of the Temple of Poseidon
The Ruins of the Temple of Poseidon

Enjoy one last morning on Mykonos and catch a plane back to Athens where you'll spend your final night in beautiful Greece. After settling in, visit the Plaka neighborhood. It's known as the neighborhood of gods and is the oldest in Athens. 

Make your way to the Flisvos Marina, where you can admire some of the Aegean’s most impressive yachts. Here you'll meet your driver for a tour of the Athenian Riviera. You’ll make your first stop at Lake Vouliagmeni, which is, in fact, a collapsed cave. The area's underwater tunnels lead so far back under the mountain that they’ve never been fully mapped.

Then you’ll head to the Temple of Poseidon, a marvelous 5th-century archaeological site perched on the very top of Cape Sounion. The view here is tremendous, and it’s obvious why this piece of land was chosen as a site where people could worship the God of the Sea.

To end your final day in Greece, grab an early dinner at a traditional taverna right on the beach where the fish on your plate was caught just off the shore. Enjoy the sounds of the the lapping waves as you watch the sun melt into the sea.

Day 12: Depart Athens

Aerial View of Athens
Aerial View of Athens

Sadly, it' s time to say goodbye to Greece. A private driver will transfer you to the airport where you'll catch a flight from the airport in Athens.