Dive headfirst into history with this tour of ancient Greece's most important sites. From Athens and the Acropolis to Delphi and onward to the islands of Delos, Santorini, and Crete, you'll discover fascinating ruins amid some of Greece's most beautiful locales. Wrap up your trip back on the mainland with a stop at Helen of Troy's home at Mycenae before returning to the modern era.  


  • Explore the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis on Delos
  • Visit prehistoric Akrotiri, a possible inspiration for the lost city of Atlantis
  • Walk the Minotaur's labyrinth at the Palace of Knossos
  • See where Helen of Troy lived at Mycenae

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Athens, Explore Greece's Ancient Capital Athens
Day 2 Guided Tour of the Acropolis & Parthenon  Athens
Day 3 Day Trip to Delphi, Lunch at a Local Village Athens
Day 4 Ferry to Mykonos, Boat Cruise to the Island of Delos Mykonos
Day 5 Ferry to Santorini, Afternoon at Leisure Santorini
Day 6 Discover Prehistoric Akrotiri, Ferry to Crete Heraklion
Day 7 Tour Knossos & Heraklion, Transfer to Chania Chania
Day 8 Guided Visit to Ancient Aptera, Explore Chania's Old Town Chania
Day 9 Fly to Athens, Transfer to Nafplio via Mycenae Nafplio
Day 10 Transfer to Athens, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Athens, Explore Greece's Ancient Capital

Monastiraki Square and the Acropolis
The Acropolis looms large over Athens' skyline

Welcome to Greece! Upon arrival at the airport, meet your driver and transfer to your hotel in downtown Athens. Greece's buzzy capital city is an eclectic mix of ancient and modern, acting as an outdoor museum to some of the world's most historic landmarks. Settle in and relax after your flight, then head out to discover the city's blend of towering temples, ancient ruins, and colorful markets. If classical history and mythology are your thing, a visit to the National Archaeological Museum or the Museum of the Ancient Agora is a must. 

Beat the crowds with a visit to the smaller archaeological site at the Tower of the Winds, then stroll down the nearby Aiolou pedestrian street where you'll find plenty of shops to browse and shady cafés to sip a cold drink, grab a bite to eat, and soak up the atmosphere. Refueled, wander over to the bustling stalls of the Monastiraki flea market, where you'll find everything from handmade silver jewelry to antiques and vintage vinyl. In the evening, head to the up-and-coming Pangrati neighborhood for predinner drinks, then search out the nightlife of the Psyrri district. 

Day 2: Guided Tour of the Acropolis & Parthenon 

Caryatid Porch of the Erechtheion
Admire the Caryatids of the Erechtheion on today's visit to the Acropolis

Today, you'll take a guided tour of ancient Greece's most iconic ruins. Start at the Acropolis, a vast fifth-century complex on a rocky hilltop overlooking the city and home to many of Athens' most famous sights. Stroll the temple of Athena Nike, the earliest of the Acropolis' temples, dating to 420 BCE, and the sacred temple of Erectheion, regarded as one of the world's finest examples of classical architecture. As your guide regales you with captivating stories of Greek mythology, you'll arrive at the spectacular Parthenon, the temple dedicated to Athena, the goddess of wisdom.

At the end of the tour, head to the nearby Acropolis Museum to discover the delicate statues and artifacts found at the site and stop for lunch and refreshments at the on-site café. Afterward, return to the city via the picturesque Anafiotika neighborhood on the northeast slope of the hill. With classic white geometric architecture reminiscent of the Cyclades islands, the car-free, cobblestone streets make an intriguing contrast to the rest of the city. 

Day 3: Day Trip to Delphi, Lunch at a Local Village

The Treasury of the Athenians at Delphi
Discover tales of Greek mythology at Delphi's Treasury of the Athenians

Seek out the oracle this morning with a day trip to the haunting ruins of Delphi, nestled on the slopes of Mount Parnassos. Meet your guide and make the 2.5-hour transfer to the archaeological site, once home to priestesses of Apollo who ancient Greeks believed could predict the future. Tour the ruins, whose highlights include the Treasury of the Athenians, the Temple of Appollo, and the expansive amphitheater. Your final stop is the Corycean Grotto, a vast cave used for religious rituals by worshippers of the god Pan and surrounded by an expanse of olive trees with views of the Corinthian Gulf.

After working up an appetite, you'll drive to the town square in the nearby village, where you'll enjoy a delicious al fresco lunch of local cheeses, amfissa olives, and home-cooked delicacies served under the shade of plane trees. Take a stroll in the local neighborhood, visit the workshop of one of Greece's last bellmakers, and then walk down the hill to the museum. Here, you'll see treasures, including the bronze Charioteer of Delphi, the marble Sphinx of Naxos, and what may be the first recorded notation of a melody once inscribed on the walls of the Athenian Treasury. 

You'll be transferred back to Athens in the late afternoon, where the rest of the day is yours to relax or continue exploring before dining out at one of the capital's great restaurants. 

Day 4: Ferry to Mykonos, Boat Cruise to the Island of Delos

Mykonos detail
Stroll Mykonos' bougainvillea-lined cobbled streets and whitewashed houses

This morning marks the start of your Greek island-hopping adventure, and first on the itinerary is Mykonos, the most famous of the Cyclades archipelago and known for its whitewashed houses, art scene, and jet-set crowds. After a 2.5-hour ferry to the island, check into your hotel and waste no time heading out for today's trip. You're off to Delos, a Greek island and archaeological site famous as the mythological birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. Head to the port and enjoy a short 45-minute boat cruise to the island, where you'll take a guided tour of the key sights. 

Wind your way through the foundations of former traders' mansions, temples, and landmarks, including the Terrace of the Lions. Don't miss the island's archaeological museum, where many smaller artifacts, statues, and frescoes have been moved to protect them from the elements. As the sun dips, return to Mykonos in time for a stroll through Little Venice, an 18th-century neighborhood and an excellent spot for dinner at one of the seafront restaurants overlooking the Mediterranean. 

Plan your trip to Greece
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 5: Ferry to Santorini, Afternoon at Leisure

Welcome to santorini
Savor the views of Oia's colorful houses that cling to the cliff face

Enjoy one last breakfast on Mykonos before catching the early ferry to Santorini. It's a sight to behold as you watch the sunrise over the island's iconic cliffside architecture and see the central caldera, the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in history, rising above you. Settle into your hotel, then the rest of the day is yours to spend as you choose. Relax on one of the black or red-sand beaches formed from lava pebbles and take a dip in the inviting waters, or wander the whitewashed streets of the island's capital, Fira

If you're feeling energetic, head out on one of Santorini's many scenic walking routes, ranging from 2 to 8 miles (3-12 km). Opt for a light seaside hike that takes in the island's main beaches, Perissa, Perivolos, and Agios Georgios, or tackle the walk along the cusp of the caldera from Fira to the spectacular village of Oia. Here, you'll be rewarded with sweeping views of the Aegean, olive groves, and the village's colorful houses that tumble across the cliffs. In the evening, dine on freshly caught seafood alongside the island's signature cherry tomatoes and white eggplant.

Day 6: Discover Prehistoric Akrotiri, Ferry to Crete

Explore the wonders of Akrotiri
Travel back in time and explore the archaeological site at Akrotiri

Today, you'll tour one of the Aegean's most significant prehistoric archaeological sites. Hidden away at the southern tip of Santorini, on the caldera slopes, lies Akrotiri, a once substantial Bronze Age settlement that prospered for centuries until the 16th-century volcanic eruption. You'll have the morning to explore the well-preserved streets via a series of walkways while your local guide shares stories of the site's history. 

Finish your tour with a visit to the Archaeological Museum of Thera, where you'll find preserved murals from Akrotiri and the settlement ruins of ancient Thera, discovered on the top of a limestone hill on the east of the island in 1895. Afterward, your guide will drop you back at your hotel in Fira, stopping to see the island's infamous trio of bells atop a blue-domed church. 

In the afternoon, it's off to the harbor in time to board a two-hour ferry to Crete, your final island destination and the largest and most populous of the 230 inhabited Greek islands. Upon arrival at Heraklion, the island's capital, you'll be transferred to your hotel. After a refresh, the evening is yours to stroll the old Venetian Harbor before dining on delicious local fare such as kaltsounia (Cretan cheese pies) and kleftiko (slow-roasted lamb).

Day 7: Tour Knossos & Heraklion, Transfer to Chania

Palace at Knossos
Discover the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur at Knossos

Discover the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur this morning with a guided tour of Crete's finest historical site, the Palace of Knossos. Believed to be Europe's oldest city, the 3,500-year-old Minoan palace is an incredible maze of royal chambers, private apartments, courtyards, and more, excavated and restored by British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans over a period of 35 years. You'll have plenty of time to explore the complex and study the palace's artifacts and frescoes as your guide shares tales of the rise and fall of Minoan Crete.

Spend the afternoon strolling Heraklion's Old Town at leisure, taking in the city's medieval and Venetian architecture. Highlights include the elegant arches of the Loggia, now in use as the town hall, and the Venetian Fortress along the harbor walls. You'll transfer to Chania in the late afternoon, a two-hour drive west on Crete's northwest coast. A bustling harbor town and former Venetian city, it's considered one of the most scenic spots on the island. Wind through the colorful, narrow streets to the 14th-century harbor, where you'll find plenty of excellent bars and restaurants.

Day 8: Guided Visit to Ancient Aptera, Explore Chania's Old Town

Chania's Venetian harbor
Watch local life unfold with a stroll around Chania's Venetian harbor

A short drive east of Chania lies the archaeological site at ancient Aptera, a once powerful city founded in the seventh century BCE and considered one of the island's most important states until its destruction by an earthquake in the seventh century. Spend the morning touring the site with your guide, where you'll find a 12th-century monastery, a theater, and a second-century BCE Greek temple. The incredible panoramic views over Souda Bay are a bonus.

Return to Chania, and the rest of the day is yours to explore at leisure. The maze of streets behind the harbor reveals plenty of excellent shops, markets, and boutiques for souvenir shopping, with several leafy squares where you can while away an hour or two with a cold drink and watch daily Cretan life unfold. In the evening, sample some of the area's Turkish influence with mezédes (tapas) at Taman, a taverna on a former Turkish bath site, or opt for a creative modern twist on Cretan cuisine at Portes

Day 9: Fly to Athens, Transfer to Nafplio via Mycenae

Lion Gate, Mycenae
Enter through Mycenae's Lion Gate and discover tales of the Trojan War

It's an early start this morning as you catch a flight back to Athens and meet your driver for a two-hour transfer southwest to Nafplio via Mycenae, the ancient city referenced in Homer's "Iliad" for its role in the Trojan War. Pass through the Lion Gate to enter the ruins and see the tombs of Aegisthus and Clytaemnestra while your guide shares the myths and stories surrounding Helen of Troy and her husband, Menelaus, King of Sparta.

Continue on to Nafplio, considered one of the prettiest seaport towns in the Peloponnese peninsula, and according to legend, founded by the son of Poseidon. Check into your hotel and stroll through the Old Town, where you'll find Ottoman fountains, Venetian architecture, and the 15th-century Bourtzi Castle in the middle of the harbor. Accessible only by boat, the castle was built in the 1470s to defend the city, and it still keeps watch at the entrance to Nafplio Bay

Later on, the 1,000-step climb to see the view from Palamidi Castle is a great way to build up an appetite for dinner, and in Nafplio, you have plenty of options. You'll find narrow, bougainvillea-filled alleyways with various family-run tavernas to choose from. Feast on delicious, fresh mezédes, washed down with a glass or two of the local wine to toast your trip. 

Day 10: Transfer to Athens, Depart

Until the next time, Nafplio!

It's time to say goodbye to the Aegean. After one last stroll around the harbor, you'll transfer to the airport in time for your flight home or onward journey. Safe travels!

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