Whether you only have time for a long weekend in Athens, a couple of weeks of island-hopping in the south, or (lucky you!) a good few weeks to explore the country from north to south, it’s impossible to feel like you've been in Greece for too long.
Make the Most of Your Time in Greece
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No matter how long you plan to spend in Greece, it’s likely your trip will begin and end in Athens. A destination in its own right, Athens attracts travelers for its architectural treasures, buzzing arts scene, and exciting dining options. If you have less than 24 hours here, the Acropolis should be your priority. But you can easily spend up to five days getting to know the city, with options for day trips including important sites like Delphi and the nearby wine region in Attica.
The crescent-shaped island of Santorini is compact enough that driving from one end to the other takes less than an hour, and it's easy to maximize a short trip. With only 24 hours here, you can see the ruins of Akrotiri, the vineyards at Megalochori, and the whitewashed villages of Oia and Fira. But to really experience Santorini, consider spending three to five days: you'll be able to sightsee, hike, and beach-hop while embracing the relaxed pace of island life.
Tiny Mykonos can be crisscrossed by car in about 25 minutes, but that doesn’t mean you should skimp on your time here. Long known as Greece’s party island, Mykonos actually has a lot to see and do during daylight hours if you're interested in its history and culture. You can have a satisfying visit in one day, taking in the Cycladic architecture of Mykonos town and the cocktails of “Little Venice.” But it's easy to fill up to five days of sight-seeing, beach-hopping, and enjoying the island's famous nightlife.
Crete is Greece’s largest island—just driving from one end to the other makes for a five-hour journey, and there's much to do and see in between. If you want to experience all Crete has to offer, plan to spend a full week exploring its monasteries, olive groves, towns, and coast. If you have less time, don't fret: with as little as 24 hours, you can visit a major archeological site, wander through a local village or two, and hike to perches with fantastic island views.
Greece boasts hundreds of islands, which can make choosing the best to visit a daunting task. However, with the right planning, you'll know whether a day trip to the historic isles of the Saronic Gulf or a couple days lazing on the sands of Santorini and Crete is the perfect vacation for you. Or combine locales to get the most out of this region's beaches, food, nightlife, and ancient ruins.
The largest of the Cyclades islands, Naxos is often paired with a visit to its neighbor Paros, as well as smaller surrounding islands. You can visit in 24 hours (it’s a short ferry ride from Santorini, making it a perfect daytrip or overnight). To really experience Naxos, however, consider spending up to five days here: you’ll be able to tour traditional mountain villages, take in the unspoiled nature of the island’s interior, and check out some of the island’s beaches, said to rival those in Santorini.
This less-visited Greek peninsula offers a wealth of historic treasures, so it’s worth taking an entire week to explore if you can. But with only a day or two, you can explore the birthplace of the Olympic Games and Ancient Sparta, taste regional culinary delights, and visit a timeline of castles from the medieval to the Byzantine eras. Rent a car to explore the region from end-to-end on your own time, and don’t worry about bad weather thwarting a tight schedule: the Peloponnese is predictably pleasant throughout the year.
A popular option for a week in Greece is to spend a day in Athens upon arrival and then head out to the Greek islands by ferry or flight. Another recommended option is a road trip to explore the ancient history and mythology of mainland Greece. Or, experience the Greek islands on a yacht. No matter which itinerary you choose, you will experience plenty of history, culture and food. Read on for 7 great 7-day itineraries to make the most of your week in Greece.
With 10 days to spend in Greece, travelers won't have too many tough choices to make. You'll have plenty of time to island hop around the Cyclades, do a deep dive into ancient history on the mainland, or combine the highlights of both. Check out these 5 itineraries optimized for every type of traveler, from active adventurers and families to those who simply need 10 days of blissful relaxation.
Two weeks is a great length for a Greek vacation. You'll have plenty of time to see multiple islands and historic mainland sites, taking part in cultural or outdoor activities along the way. These itineraries explore the possibilities: get active on some of the Cyclades lesser-known islands, dive into ancient mythology, enjoy a laidback beach holiday, and more.
Spending a week in Greece is already great—but with an added bonus day, you have another chance to dig into the food, culture, and outdoor activities that make this destination special. Get to know the mainland, explore Crete, or chill out on Mykonos and Santorini with these 8-day itineraries.
With multiple weeks in Greece, you can truly do it all, returning home with memories of the mainland and a number of islands. History-minded travelers can begin and end in Athens before visiting the sacred sites of Delos near Mykonos, prehistoric Akrotiri in Santorini, and the Palace of Knossos on Crete. Or, spend your time hopping between the Cycladic islands at an easy pace, experiencing the beaches, outdoor activities, and culture of each.
Five days in Greece offers a great introduction to its ancient treasures and incredible landscapes, and there are two general approaches to make the most of a brief itinerary. First, you can split your time between vibrant Athens and one additional destination, like the seaside town of Nafplio or the island of Naxos. Or, devote your entire trip to one locale, such as Crete or Rhodes, to truly understand the complexities of a specific island or region. See more options for your trip below.
With nine days in Greece, you can island-hop your way through an island chain like the Cyclades or the Ionian Islands, road trip around the mainland, or mix it up with a bit of both. Many of these itineraries include time in Athens, after which it’s off to adventure at a speed that suits your style, whether you’re a foodie, touring with a family, or excited to sail from port to port. Check out the trip plans below for more ideas and information.
In seven days, it’s easy to combine Athens or other mainland sightseeing with one or more Greek isles and experiences. You can wind through the medieval ruins of Rhodes, immerse yourself in the local lifestyle and cuisine of Crete, or be a sybarite as you ferry-hop the Cyclades Islands. Let this diverse collection of 7-day itineraries inspire you.
With six days to spend in Greece, you can split your itinerary between one mainland area and an island, or base yourself in one place, with some day trips mixed in. If you’re interested in exploring two locations, start in either Athens or Thessaloniki, then head for an island like Naxos or coastal town like Nafplio. If you’re interested in diving deep in one spot, consider the island of Zakynthos or the Chania region of Crete. See our itineraries below for more ideas.
With 230 inhabited islands and a sprawling mainland, Greece offers more than enough culture, adventure, and relaxation to fill an 11-day trip. You'll likely start with must-see sites in Athens, then explore two or three of the major Cycladic islands. Other options include road tripping the Peloponnese peninsula, going off the beaten path on less-visited isles, or a combination of all of the above.
With 10 days, you can easily hop between three of Greece's distinct islands—Tinos, Naxos, and Ios in the Cyclades, for example—if you're looking for a variety of experiences. Or, immerse yourself fully in the culture and archaeological sites of one or two larger isles, such as Rhodes and Crete. Let these five itineraries inspire you.
With twelve days in Greece, you can dig deep into one region, like the mainland or the Cyclades, and still have time to explore the iconic sights and flavor of Athens. There are myriad ways to divide up your days depending on your desired pace and preferences: hop around an island chain; devote more time in fewer destinations through a historical lens; or hit the road to discover villages, towns, and unique ruins. See some options below.
The Greek Islands may number in the hundreds, but with less than a week, it’s possible to sample a variety of isles and experiences. You can rummage among the medieval ruins of Rhodes, immerse yourself in the local lifestyle and cuisine of Crete, or visit the filming locations of the movie Mamma Mia on Skopelos. Let this diverse collection of 5-day itineraries inspire you.
In just under two weeks, you can easily tour Greece’s capital, mainland, and islands. Make your way from Athens to the Cycladic islands to Crete at a slower pace, or pack in guided historical tours or adventurous activities as you hop through the same destinations. You can also elect to explore one specific region, such as Crete or the Greek mainland, where you can discover unique villages and get a feel for the area’s history and culture. Read on for some great itineraries that make the most of a 12-day trip.
In two weeks, you can experience the highlights of several Greek islands for a variety of relaxing, educational, and exciting experiences. Consider pairing Rhodes with Crete and Corfu, or touring a few lesser-known Cycladic isles like Tinos, Ios, and Syros. You can also choose a more immersive experience by sticking to only two islands—Naxos and Santorini, for example, offer more than enough active adventures and cultural experiences to fill 14 extraordinary days.