Athens – Santorini – Crete – Rhodes Itinerary

Overwhelmed by planning exactly how you should spend 2 weeks in Greece? The Athens – Santorini – Crete – Rhodes combination is a good choice for a two weeks in Greece itinerary.

Athens is famous for the Parthenon and the Acropolis - a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Greece

The Athens Santorini Crete Rhodes itinerary is an ideal travel plan for exploring the rich history and natural beauty of Greece.

Begin your journey in Athens, the historic cradle of Western civilization. Spend a few days immersing yourself in the ancient ruins of the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the Plaka district.

Next, head to Santorini, the stunning volcanic island famous for its white-washed houses, caldera views, and vibrant sunsets. Enjoy a romantic dinner in Oia or Fira, take a boat tour of the caldera, and relax on the beautiful beaches.

Then, travel to Crete, Greece's largest island, where you can explore ancient Minoan ruins, go hiking in the Dikti Mountains, and indulge in delicious Cretan cuisine.

Finally, head to Rhodes where the medieval Rhodes Old Town is a delight to explore.

This Athens Santorini Crete Rhodes itinerary offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural wonders that will leave you with unforgettable memories of Greece.

Planning a trip to Greece?

So, you've decided that you'd like to spend your vacation in Greece. But all of a sudden, you've realised there's a LOT of beautiful places in Greece to choose from!

How do you go about narrowing it down?

Anafiotika in Athens Greece

There's no right or wrong way of going about it. There's no ultimate 2 week, one size fits all Greece travel itinerary.

Whatever you do, you can't see it all. I've lived in Greece 5 years, and I've barely scratched the surface!

Instead, it's probably best to look at a few different travel itineraries based around spending 2 weeks in Greece, and see which one appeals the most.

There's an almost endless combination of them, but in this Greece itinerary, I'll just focus on one.

One day in Santorini - things to do

Athens – Santorini – Crete – Rhodes Itinerary

As far as travel itineraries go for spending 2 weeks in Greece, this combination of destinations provides perhaps the most variety.

You'll get to see the birthplace of democracy, enjoy the beauty of the most famous of the Cyclades islands, relax on beaches in Crete, and wander around a medieval city in Rhodes.

I've arrived at this Greece 2 week itinerary by having visited each of the places myself on more than one occasion. This Greece tour itinerary is suitable for first time visitors to Greece, or anyone that hasn't visited these particular Greek destinations before.

Flights to Greece and getting around

Keep in mind that your flights to and from Greece will determine how many full days you have for sightseeing and chilling on the beach. Also, your time spent on ferries or flights between Greek islands is a factor.

Where it's useful, I'll include information or links to travel resources on where to book flights and ferries in Greece. You'll have to organize that yourself though – it's your trip, after all!

Two Weeks in Greece

Treat this guide on how to spend 2 weeks in Greece as an outline you can adapt. For example, you might want one night less in Athens and one more in Santorini.

If you find yourself needing to cut out a destination completely to make it fit with your timetable, I'd suggest cutting Rhodes. It will always be there for next time!

2 Days in Athens

How long you decide to spend in Athens will largely depend on what time your flight arrives, and how tired you might feel. Jet-lag can affect people differently.

The Parthenon in the Acropolis

I'd suggest that 2 full days in Athens is enough to get a taste of the capital of Greece. It allows time for the must-see places such as the Acropolis, as well as those hidden gems such as cool street art and hip neighborhoods.

Athens airport to your hotel

You can take the metro, bus, or taxi from Athens airport to your hotel. The bus is the cheapest option and runs 24/7, and taxi the most expensive, particularly after midnight.

I've a full guide here: How to get from Athens Airport to the center.

Hotels in Athens Greece

Athens has literally thousands of hotels to choose from. In my opinion, it makes the most sense to stay near the historic center when in Athens just for a few days.

I've got a guide here: Hotels in central Athens.

A view over Athens

The more centrally located hotels in Athens can come with a higher price tag due to their location. Staying further out from the center may offer better value for money.

If you choose to do this, my advice is to stay at a hotel in Athens near a metro station so you can easily get into the center.

I've a guide here with interactive map: Where to stay in Athens

Things to do in Athens

Athens is a vibrant city, with a cool arts scene, amazing coffee places, incredible food and fun nightlife. So, it's not all ancient ruins and museums! 

Changing of the Guard at Syntagma square in Athens

That said, those ancient ruins and museums are among some of the best in the world, so you have to go and see them!

Some of the things you should do when in Athens are:

  • Visit the Parthenon and Acropolis
  • Visit the National Archaeological Museum and Acropolis Museum
  • Walk around Plaka
  • See the Changing of the Guard near Syntagma Square
  • Take an evening trip to the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion

I've got two very useful guides that go into more detail:

If you decide to stay a day longer in the city, you might also be interested in these Athens day trips.

How to get from Athens to Santorini

After you've finished your time in Athens, you'll need to travel to Santorini. Athens is connected to Santorini by flights and by ferry. Depending on when you want to travel, one method of travel may have advantages of another.

You should definitely take at least one ferry during your 2 weeks in Greece, just for the experience! 

Full guide here: How to travel from Athens to Santorini

2 Days in Santorini

Often described as one of the most beautiful places in Greece, Santorini is famous for its blue domed churches, whitewashed buildings, and stunning views. In recent years Santorini has become something of a bucket list item, and tourism has exploded.

Enjoying Santorini in Greece

Some people think they need to spend a week in Santorini in Greece, but really, a couple of days is enough. It's only a relatively small island, and the main attractions of Santorini can be enjoyed in 2 or 3 days.

An honest opinion: Santorini IS beautiful. The thing is, it's also become a victim of its own success. Don't go to Santorini expecting a taste of the ‘real' Greece, and do be prepared for lots of other tourists. If at all possible visit outside the peak months of July – August – September.

A look at some of the best Santorini excursions, including volcano boat tours, catamaran caldera cruises, and even Santorini helicopter tours!

Getting to your hotel in Santorini

There are two main arrival points in Santorini, which are the airport and the port where the ferries dock. Public transport is available from either in the form of buses. Taxis are also available, although you should note prices will be higher due to a supply and demand inbalance.

Find out more here: How to get from Santorini airport to your hotel

Where to stay in Santorini

If you are staying in Santorini for just a few nights, the town of Fira is probably the best choice of where to stay. This way, you can easily get around to different parts of the island using public transport, walking, or taxis.

Take a look at hotels in Fira, Santorini using the interactive map below.

Things to do in Santorini

Taking plenty of photos is probably number one on everyone's list!

Imerovigli in Santorini Greece

These are some things to do in 2 days in Santorini:

  • Walk from Fira to Oia
  • See the sunset at Oia
  • Visit the volcano
  • Go on a wine tasting tour

For more detailed itineraries for Santorini, take a look here:

How to get from Santorini to Crete

When it's time to move on to Crete from Santorini, the best choice is going to be to take a ferry.

Take a look at my full guide here: Santorini to Crete ferry

Book ferries easily online here: Ferryhopper


If you want to spend longer in one place during your 2 weeks in Greece, I'd suggest making it Crete. The largest of the Greek islands, Crete is almost a country in its own right.

The Matala Caves in Crete always remind me of somewhere the Flintstones might live

There's incredible variety here, from the archaeological site of Knossos to the curious Flintstone caves on Matala beach. And let's not get started on the food, because I'll be talking all day about how good it is!

Crete is where you can enjoy the ‘beach' part of your holiday. So, it's up to you whether you want to spend all your time here in one place, or prefer to hire a car and take a small road trip in Crete for a few days.

Heraklion Port to Your Hotel

Heraklion port is located close to the center of Heraklion town. If you are staying in Heraklion itself, then the buses may be a good way to get into the center. You might just find it easier to pre-book a taxi though as it will take you directly to your hotel.

Knossos is a must see when visiting Crete

If you are staying in other towns in Crete, you'll need to think a bit more about how to get to your hotel. Buses may go to your town a few times a day, and taxis are likely to be expensive.

If you take the road trip option to explore Crete, it may be easier to pick up a hire car in Heraklion.

Where to stay in Crete

As mentioned, Crete is the largest Greek island, so there are numerous places you can both visit and stay at. If you have chosen to visit Crete for just a few days, then staying in Heraklion may be the best choice. 

This will probably be the part of your 2 weeks in Greece itinerary you need to think the most about. Also consider how you will get from Crete to Rhodes, as that may affect where you travel to and stay in Crete. Good luck!

Things to do in Crete

It's really impossible to summarise what you can do in Crete in just a few lines, but I'll do my best!

  • Visit the archaeological site of Knossos
  • Take a day trip to Spinalonga island
  • Enjoy the pink sands of Elafonisi beach
  • Have a Yabba Dabba Do time at Matala beach
  • Walk the Samaria Gorge

Here's a few guides to Crete you may find useful:

How to get from Crete to Rhodes

Rhodes is about 300 kms away from Crete, which means the ferry journey takes quite some time. Whilst there is an argument that taking an overnight ferry may make sense if available, most people may choose to fly.

Olympic Airways (operated by Aegean) service the Crete to Rhodes route from Heraklion. You can check Skyscanner for more details.

If you do decide to take a ferry, you'll find Ferryhopper an easy place to book tickets online.


The island of Rhodes is most famous for its UNESCO World Heritage site. The Order of St John of Jerusalem occupied Rhodes from 1309 to 1523, constructing a fortified medieval city that is still breathtaking to this day.

Exploring Medieval Rhodes with its fabulous castle and walls

In addition to to medieval city of Rhodes, there are also plenty of beaches to relax at, and ots of other things to see and do. Rhodes is also a good autumn destination in Europe, as the weather tends to stay warmer for longer due to its location.

Related: Is Rhodes worth visiting?

Rhodes Airport to your hotel

The transfer options from Rhodes airport to Rhodes town are buses and taxis. Whilst buses are cheaper, the journey is a longer more uncomfortable one. Prebooking a taxi online may be a better option.

Related: Do I need a car in Rhodes?

Where to stay in Rhodes

There are numerous resorts you could choose to stay at in Rhodes. The problem with these, is that they are normally not close to the center, which means you'd spend time on buses coming in and out to see things.

Walking around the streets of Rhodes old town

It's probably better to stay in a hotel in Rhodes town for a few days instead. This way, everything will be within walking distance for you. You can check out hotels in Rhodes town on Booking.

Things to do in Rhodes

  • The Medieval City of Rhodes
  • Mandraki
  • Lindos
  • Lazing on the beaches
  • Ancient site of Kamiros

How to get from Rhodes to Athens

And so finally, it's time to make your way back to Athens and your flight back home. I strongly recommend that the last mode of transport you use to get back to Athens is a flight. This way, you don't run the risk of bad weather or strikes holding up a ferry.

As with the Crete to Rhodes flight, you can use Skyscanner for flights from Rhodes to Athens. You'll find there's more choice, but keep in mind baggage restrictions on some budget flights. These require you to pay extra to take checked in luggage.

Note: You can also travel by ferry from Rhodes to Santorini if you want to make an itinerary in a different order.


Athens Airport

What you do during your last day in Greece will depend a lot on your international flights back home, and what time you get back to Athens. You might get a last day or two in at Athens if you like. Some people find themselves in the position of having to stay in a hotel near Athens Airport.

There's only one hotel at the airport itself, and this is the Sofitel Athens. All other ‘airport hotels' in Athens are quite some distance (iw not walkable) away.

I've a guide here: Where to stay near Athens airport.

And that more or less brings this travel guide to spending 2 weeks in Greece to a close. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

You might also like to signup for my free travel guides to Greece using the form at the top of this blog post for even more information about planning a vacation in Greece!

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2 Weeks in Greece travel itinerary - Athens - Santorini - Crete - Rhodes

You should also read: The best Greek islands to go on vacation in September.

Dave Briggs visiting an island in GreeceDave Briggs
Dave is a travel writer who's been living in Athens in Greece since 2015. As well as creating this 2 week Greece itinerary, he's also written hundreds more travel guides and itineraries. Follow Dave on social media for travel inspiration from Greece and beyond:

2 thoughts on “Athens – Santorini – Crete – Rhodes Itinerary”

  1. Your site is a wealth of info. My husband & I want to go to Greece next Sept/Oct for 3 weeks. We want to spend 10-14 days on the mainland and then rest on 1 or 2 Islands. We favor small villages and less touristy places and more interested in beautiful scenery than ruins.
    I want to skip Mykonos and Santorini – I stopped there many years ago- was on a cruise- and they were every crowded. I know you’ll have some good ideas.

    • Hi Janice,
      For the mainland I’d recommend trying to fit a road trip to the Mani area in the Peloponnese into your itinerary. Info here: Mani Road Trip
      At the opposite end of the country, you’ll also love Meteora: Meteora Monasteries
      These two ideas will definitely have you covered on the scenery front! Meteora is touristy, but not terribly so at the time of year you are planning.
      For the islands, I could suggest Naxos and Folegandros.


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