- Visit the Parthenon and other ancient sites in the modern bustle of Athens
- Savor the world-famous glitz and glittering beaches of Mykonos
- Keep a lookout for celebrities on petite Antiparos
- Hike and sail Santorini, taking in the iconic architecture and landscapes
- Take a cruise and hop off at some of Greece's most enticing beaches
|Day 1||Arrive in Athens||Athens|
|Day 2||Athens to Mykonos||Mykonos|
|Day 3||Explore Authentic Mykonos||Mykonos|
|Day 4||Mykonos to Paros||Paros|
|Day 5||Day Trip to Antiparos||Paros|
|Day 6||Arrive in Santorini, Hidden Gems Tour & Wine Tasting||Santorini|
|Day 7||Santorini Catamaran Cruise||Santorini|
|Day 8||Santorini to Athens and Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Athens
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: Athens to Mykonos
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 3: Explore Authentic Mykonos
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 4: Mykonos to Paros
After breakfast in Mykonos, you'll hop a ferry to the relaxed shores of Paros. This island is no less charming but significantly lower key, just waiting to lure you into a beach chair. Some of your options for exploration include:
- Hit the sea air and golden sands of popular Kolymbithres beach. The beach umbrellas are accented by towering granite rocks, resembling natural sculptures. Take in the sea breeze or take a coastal walk past the area's attractions. You'll spot antique chapels, island vines, and rustic farmhouses on your way to the hillside ruins of the Mycenean Acropolis, dating back to the 13th century BC, and the Monastery of St. John.
- Recline on the sandy beach of Molos. Lounge on the shore or visit the neighboring St. Anthony's Monastery with a walk or drive. The hiking trail also takes you through the ruins of a former Venetian castle before you reach the top, where you'll find the double-domed monastery and scenic views of both Paros and neighboring Naxos.
- Go inland to the village of Lefkes. Head up all the way towards the Byzantine architecture of the Agia Triada church, located on one of the most beautiful squares in the Cyclades.
Stick with the al fresco theme for dinner and eat on the beach, or take your pick of the traditional tavernas along the main strip of town. Listen for the ones that have live music if you're in the mood for both dinner and a bit of a show.
Day 5: Day Trip to Antiparos
Take a brief day ferry to even more petite Antiparos. This island's scenery has drawn celebrities including Tom Hanks to buy villas on its picturesque shores. Your day there could include any of these sights:
- The Venetian Castle: Set right in the heart of the old town, this castle was originally built to protect the town from pirates in the 1400s and now wraps around many of the town's central buildings.
- Kambos village: Head to the center of the island to this village with just a dozen inhabitants. Its whitewashed churches set the scene for the traditional atmosphere, as do the nearby Glyfa and Livadia beaches.
- The Cave of Antiparos: Drive roughly 10 minutes from Kambos and up Agios Ioannis Hill to visit this ancient cave, known for its stalactites and stalagmites.
Head back to Paros for the evening and explore the chic town of Naoussa. Its whitewashed cobblestone streets are home to a myriad of tiny shops, cafes, and bars and clubs that attract partiers all summer long.
Day 6: Arrive in Santorini, Hidden Gems Tour & Wine Tasting
Welcome to Santorini! There's nothing like catching your first glimpse over the island's iconic cliffside architecture. Once settled, watch for your first views of Santorini's central caldera—the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in history—rising up in a crescent.
Spend some time after you've settled in to wander the streets of Fira or get beachside. Don't wear yourself out too soon, though, as in the afternoon you'll take a guided tour which will show you a side of Santorini that most travelers don't see.
You'll start with a stroll through famous Oia, where your guide will point out hidden treasures, followed by a trip up to the highest peak on the island, with 360 degree views at the top for the perfect souvenir photo (or five). Then head on to the medieval villages at Megalochori and Pyrgos, which feel a world away from the touristy towns along the caldera rim. Finally, you'll stop for a wine tasting at the caldera's edge to sample varietals dating back centuries as you watch the sun sink into the Aegean.
In the evening, head back to Oia, passing the Blue Dome of Firostefani along your way. The furthest town along the rim of the caldera, Oia's arty streets are the most famous spot for sunset views, but the evening after the crowds have died down is one of the best times to wander the alleys and linger in the town's tavernas. When searching for your dinner, seek out tomato keftedes, deep-fried tomato balls that encapsulate the essence of the Mediterranean diet, and the Santorini specialty spelt pie.
Day 7: Santorini Catamaran Cruise
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 Lighthouse, Indian 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 to Athens and Depart
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.