- Hear and tour the mythology of the ancient Acropolis
- Lounge on the luxury beaches of Mykonos
- Hike along the scenery and architecture of Santorini's iconic caldera
- Sip volcanic varietals in Santorini's ancient wineries
|Day 1||Arrive in Athens||Athens|
|Day 2||Explore Athens & the Acropolis||Athens|
|Day 3||Athens to Mykonos||Mykonos|
|Day 4||Explore Authentic Mykonos||Mykonos|
|Day 5||Mykonos Beach Day||Mykonos|
|Day 6||Mykonos Day Cruise||Mykonos|
|Day 7||Agios Sostis Beach||Mykonos|
|Day 8||Mykonos to Santorini||Santorini|
|Day 9||Santorini Wine Tasting Tour||Santorini|
|Day 10||Caldera Day Hike||Santorini|
|Day 11||Santorini Sail||Santorini|
|Day 12||Return to Athens & Free Evening||Athens|
|Day 13||Depart Athens|
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: Explore Athens & the Acropolis
Today's full day tour brings you up to the mighty Acropolis and more. You'll start at the white marble Panathenaic Stadium, home to the first Olympic games in 1896 as well as previous tributes to Athena. Continue past Zappeion, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and the Athens Trilogy, which includes the University of Athens, the Academy of Athens, and the National Library.
Eventually, you'll reach the top of the Acropolis hill, where you'll follow your expert guide through the ruins of the iconic 5th-century BC complex overlooking the city and hear the stories of the country's most famous monument. In addition to the iconic Parthenon, dedicated to the city's patron goddess Athena, you'll view and learn about the Propylaea, the Temple of Athena Nike, and the most sacred temple of Erechtheion, all located on the sacred rock of the Acropolis.
Continue with a walk past Herodion and the Dionysus Theater to the modern Acropolis Museum. Many of the more delicate statues and other artifacts originally found at the Acropolis have been moved here, but you can imagine them in their previous home as you explore the exhibits. Don't miss the Caryatids or the Parthenon Hall, with its impressive metopes, pediments and frieze. Complete your visit with a stop in its cafe for either lunch or a relaxed snack and coffee.
Day 3: Athens to Mykonos
You'll start your time in the islands on Mykonos, one of the most famous islands in the Cyclades 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.
- 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
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 degree shot. Then, 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 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: Mykonos Beach Day
Spend a relaxing day filled with sea and sun! Choose from one of Mykonos's many lovely beaches, such as:
- Agios Sostis, full of island residents and travelers who prefer tranquility to amenities, with just sand and a nearby taverna.
- Fokos, a quiet beach on the northeastern end of the island, with no distractions but a single taverna serving up local favorites and organic white wine produced on the island.
- Elia, considered one of Mykonos's most beautiful beaches. This beach has one of the longest stretches of sand on the island and plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas to keep you fed and serviced.
- Kalo Livadi, a petite pebbled beach on eastern Mykonos. This is one of the best spots for swimming, with plenty of people enjoying the beach along with you.
- Platis Gialos, a popular beach lined with hotels and restaurants with music drifting out of their patios.
- Kalafatis, a quiet beach ideal for family relaxation.
- Ftelia on the northern side of the island, known for windsurfing and sailing when the winds are blowing and tavernas along the bay.
Day 6: Mykonos Day Cruise
You have two seafaring options to choose from for today's excursion.
Your first option is a private yacht cruise around the secluded bays of Mykonos, along with a stop at the uninhabited island of Rineia. In addition to the natural attractions, your boat will come equipped with snorkeling gear, floating mats, and fishing equipment, and you can even add a jet ski if you so choose.
Option two is a group experience on a glass-bottomed boat. Mingle with fellow travelers as you enjoy a barbecue meal and soft drinks while enjoying views of the Aegean horizon.
Day 7: Agios Sostis Beach
Trek out to one of the island's remote beaches at Agios Sostis today. Located on the northern side of the island, the beach is named for a nearby church overlooking the bay and remains one of the last bastions against Mykonos's organized sunbed beaches. Though it does get busy during the high season, this uncultivated stretch of sand provides quiet seashore devoid of beach chairs or umbrellas—just you and your towel and whatever else you choose to bring with you.
Day 8: Mykonos to 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 9: Santorini Wine Tasting Tour
Raise your glasses to a day in the islands with a vineyard tour. You'll 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 a dramatic Santorini sunset. 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, although you won't be alone. 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 10: Caldera Day Hike
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 11: Santorini Sail
Today takes you on a 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 and make sure you've gotten plenty of beach time.
After your second swim, 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 by dropping anchor at a spot below the cliffs of Oia to watch the sunset from the water, with just you and your shipmates away from the crowds.
Day 12: Return to Athens & Free Evening
Return to Athens after your final breakfast. Once you've returned, use your afternoon to scope out some of the museums you may have missed earlier in your trip. The city has a whole slew to be explored, depending on what specialty speaks to you.
For more history and mythology:
- Acropolis Museum
- National Archaeological Museum
- Museum of the Ancient Agora
- Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos
Find some fine arts at:
- Benaki Museum
- Museum of Modern Art
- National Gallery
Go off the beaten path at:
- Museum of Cycladic Art, where you can also buy some truly unique souvenirs
- The digital interactive museum at the Platonic Academy, next to the site where the actual Academy stood
- Museum of Ancient Greek Technology in the center of Athens, featuring a working model of the Antikythera mechanism, the first analog computer
Museum tickets and guided tours can be arranged upon request.
Day 13: Depart Athens
Time to say farewell to Greece. Enjoy your final Athenian breakfast and sneak in some last-minute exploring before your transfer to the airport.