Greece Itinerary: 7 Days in Greece for First Time Visitors

A popular 7 day Greece itinerary combines time in Athens, Santorini and Mykonos. Here's a local's guide to planning the perfect Greece itinerary 7 days.

Santorini is a good Greek island to visit for first time visitors

7 Day Greece Itinerary

People often ask how long they should stay in Greece for. My answer is as long as you can, as Greece has a lot more to offer than you think.

I've lived here for nearly seven years, and feel I've still barely scratched the surface!

After setting up a design your own trip feature on the blog, I came to realize that a significant amount of people were requesting information for spending 7 days in Greece.

I also noticed that the most popular combination, was the Athens – Santorini – Mykonos one. We could think of this as the classic Greece itinerary for first timers.

As a result, I created this Greece in 7 days itinerary to help people plan their Greek vacations.

Dave and Vanessa in Mykonos Greece

1 Week in Greece

If this is your first time in Greece, it makes sense to go to the most famous destinations, i.e. Athens, Santorini and Mykonos.

Keep in mind that these Greek destinations are quite popular. So, whilst you will be visiting well known and incredibly beautiful places, Santorini and Mykonos in particular offer less of the ‘authentic' Greece. 

I've tried to create this Greece 1 week itinerary to minimise your travel time, and maximise your overall experience. This Greece tour includes visits to ancient sites in Greece, beaches, and how to see the incredible Santorini sunset.

Before we get too far in though, sign up for my travel itineraries, insights and guides. Trust me, you'll appreciate the information you'll receive.

 

All good? Awesome.

Let's carry on and look at how should you get around Greece. The logistics of travel between Greek islands in 7 days is something worthy of deeper consideration.

Logistics and transportation for your Greece 7 days itinerary

Before you start planning your week in Greece, you should understand the logistics of travelling around Greece and the Greek islands.

Dave Briggs getting a ferry from Piraeus in Athens

Greece has several groups of islands, most of them being in the Aegean Sea. 

Mykonos and Santorini both belong to a group called the Cyclades, and they are reasonably close to each other. As they are popular destinations, they each have an airport as well as a port.

As such, whilst Greek island hopping by ferry is the ‘old way' to get around, flights are certainly an option.

How to get from Santorini to Mykonos

You can only travel between Mykonos and Santorini by ferry.

Santorini and Mykonos are connected by a number of boats, running on a daily basis. There are many types of boats, the fastest one taking just under 2 hours and the slowest one around 4 hours.

If you only have seven days in Greece, time is important, so you might prefer to choose the fast boat.  At the same time, the journey on the slower boat is generally more pleasant. Something to consider.

You can check out ferry schedules between Mykonos and Santorini and book tickets online using Ferryhopper.

How to get from Athens to Santorini and Mykonos

Athens, the capital, is connected to both Santorini and Mykonos by flights as well as several types of boats departing from Pireaus or Rafina, the two ports close to Athens.

It takes anything between 5 and 10 hours to get to Santorini on a boat, while getting to Mykonos takes anything from just over 2 hours to about 5 and a half hours.

A flight from Athens to the islands and vice-versa will take you just under an hour.

Flying from Athens to the Greek islands

Is it best to fly or use the ferry?

With all of the above in mind, if you are trying to plan your Greece itinerary for 7 days, your best bet is to spend less time getting from A to B, and more time enjoying the different places.

If you book well in advance, you can get good deals for flights to Mykonos and Santorini – in fact, some boat tickets are a lot more expensive than flights booked in advance.

You can book ferry tickets online easily here: Ferryhopper

Want specific information on Getting from Athens to Santorini? Take a look at my travel guide to get from Athens to Santorini.

And here's how to get from Athens to Mykonos.

Blue Star ferry at the port in Santorini

Arriving in Greece

Unless you are arriving on a direct flight to Santorini or Mykonos (which you can if flying from some European countries), chances are that you will be landing at Athens International Airport.

My suggestion is to find the next available flight to Mykonos or Santorini, whichever one suits best your budget and your timetable, and go to the first island straight away, leaving Athens as your last destination.

This is so that you can have some time to unwind on the islands before hitting the capital. Also, there is the rare (but still possible) scenario of getting stuck on one of the islands because of bad weather or a last-minute boat strike.

Greece Itinerary 7 Days

In short, your Greece itinerary for 7 days could look like this:

Athens > flight to Mykonos > 2 days in Mykonos > boat to Santorini > 2 days in Santorini > flight back to Athens > 3 days in Athens.

Or, it could look like this:

Athens > flight to Santorini > 2 days in Santorini > ferry to Mykonos > 2 days in Mykonos > flight back to Athens > 3 days in Athens.

If you want a more relaxed week-long vacation, you could just choose two destinations, and skip either one of the islands or Athens.

However most people seem to prefer to visit as much as they can in their Greece itinerary for 7 days. I don’t blame you!

7 Days in Greece – 2 Days in Mykonos

The windmills of Mykonos

If I had to choose, I would marginally prefer to go to Mykonos before heading to Santorini. The reason being, that Mykonos is more geared towards beaches and nightlife, whereas Santorini has more to do in terms of day activities.

When in Mykonos, you can rent a car and go around the island, visiting the most famous beaches like Elia, Platis Gialos or Ornos for some beach time.

You don't need a rental car at all though if you want to walk around the picture-perfect old town.

When visiting Greece, you're never too far away from an ancient site, and this also applies to Mykonos! Don't forget the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Delos which is a perfect half-day tour. I highly recommend visiting on a guided tour!

mosaic at delos in greece

At night, there are several bars and clubs to choose from in Mykonos Town and other resort areas.

Mykonos has been a party island for many decades, so they definitely know what they are doing!

Check out this article to plan your 2 days in Mykonos – Fun things to do in Mykonos.

Looking for interesting day trips and tours? Take a look at this guide to the 10 best Mykonos tours.

How to get from Mykonos to Santorini

From Mykonos, the best way to get to Santorini is by ferry.

I've got a full guide here on how to get from Mykonos to Santorni.

A good website for checking out boat routes in Greece is www.ferryhopper.com.

Note that if you are planning your trip many months in advance, the information isn’t always updated.

Also, there are more boats during high season (June-August) than in low season, and it’s best to book your tickets early if your dates are fixed.

Note that it is actually possible to fly from Mykonos to Santorini through Athens, but the boat trip makes more sense – and is more scenic.

7 days in Greece – 2 days in Santorini

European getaway breaks guide

Santorini is world-famous, and for good reason.

The white-washed houses, blue-domed and stunning sunsets would be enough on their own, but there are also winery tours, boat cruises around the island, Akrotiri and a visit to the volcano and hotsprings.

The scenic backdrop makes it a popular addition to a Greece honeymoon itinerary, and the sunset at Oia is legendary.

Oia in Santorini is one of the most famous locations in Greece to see the sunset

The beaches in Santorini are not as nice as the ones in Mykonos, but you should still take time to put your feet up and get some sunshine. The black sand beach of Perissa is a good place to take a swim, and there's plenty of places to eat along it promenade. Red Beach is another Santorini attraction to make time and see.

You can start planning your 2 days in Santorini here – Santorini 2 day Itinerary.

If you wanted to stay a bit longer, I've also got a 3 Day Santorini itinerary.

How to get from Santorini to Athens

From Santorini, you can fly to Athens airport. If you are there in high season, book your tickets as early as possible, as they tend to go up in price closer to the time. Some people however prefer to take a ferry to Piraeus port in Athens.

Santorini’s airport is tiny, but it gets super crowded, so arrive with plenty of time.

For information on how to get to and from Santorini airport, take a look here – Santorini Airport Transfers.

7 days in Greece – 3 days in Athens

Best time to visit Athens

With 7 days in Greece, staying in Athens for 3 days might sound a lot, however the capital has plenty to offer in terms of history, archaeology, museums, walks, as well as shopping, if that’s what you are into.

However, some people might prefer to spend less time in Athens, and spend an extra night on one of the islands – it’s all up to what you are after so there is no “right” or “wrong” way of planning your 7 day itinerary in Greece.

What to see in Athens

When you are in Athens, the obvious sights to see are the Parthenon and Acropolis, the Ancient Agora and the Acropolis Museum. While these can easily be done in just one day, I definitely do not recommend it if you want to do them justice.

Being able to visit the Acropolis is one of the best reasons to visit Athens

If you want to find out more about Greek history, I also suggest talking a guided walking tour of the Greek capital.

The Changing of the Guards in Athens

Other must-see highlights in the capital include the Parliament and the change of the Guards at Syntagma Square, Plaka, Roman Agora, the National Archeological Museum, the Benaki Museum, the food market, and a walk on Areopagitou Street.

If you are a sports fan, make time to see the Panathenaic Stadium. This was where the first modern Olympic games were held.

If you are lucky, you can also catch a performance in the Herodion Ancient theatre – check for tickets well in advance. There is a yearly Athens and Epidaurus festival, with live events held at this historic ancient site.

Staying an extra day in Athens also gives you the option of taking a full day tour. The most popular day trips from Athens include Delphi, Mycenae, and the Temple of Poseidon.

To learn about detailed Athens itineraries, take a look at these popular posts:

Also read: Best time to visit Greece

Athens And Greek Isles Vacation Planning – Useful to know

Here's some quick links to essential travel sites that will make your Greece vacation planning easier:

Skyscanner – To start getting an idea about flights and prices

Booking – For apartments and Greece hotel choices. AirBnB typically offers poor value for a 7 day trip.

Viator – Book all your day trips such as a caldera boat tour or guided tour of the Acropolis UNESCO heritage site in advance.

Ferryscanner – When you need tickets for a ferry ride in Greece, book them online!

Rental Cars – You won't need to rent a car in Athens, but you might consider one in Mykonos and Santorini.

Free Guides to Greece

Hopefully, the above itinerary ideas should give you a good start on planning your 7 day Greece itinerary. These 10 day Greece itinerary ideas might also be of interest.

If you'd like more information and travel tips on things to see and do in Greece, sign up for my free guides.

I'll send you inside tips and useful insights into things to do in Greece, so you'll have the perfect vacation!

Trip Planning for One Week In Greece FAQ

Readers planning a vacation in Greece often ask questions similar to:

Is 7 days enough time to visit Greece?

Spending the week exploring Greece will allow travelers to spend time in both Athens and one or two Greek islands, such as Santorini or Mykonos. Alternatively, you could always spend the week exploring one place such as Crete.

What can you do in Greece for 7 days?

By spending 7 days in Greece, you can experience everything from the grandeur of Ancient Athens to the beautiful beaches of the Cyclades islands. You can put together a Greece itinerary that includes whatever interests you have for the ultimate dream trip!

How many days is enough for Greece?

Greece is such a varied country, that it really needs as much time as you can give it. The bare minimum of time to get the most out of your trip to Greece should be a week.

What famous Ancient Sites can I see in Athens?

If you are a lover of ancient Greek history, you'll want to visit historical sites in Athens such as the Acropolis and Parthenon, the Ancient Agora, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.

What Greek islands can I see in a week?

The Cyclades are some of the most stunning islands in Greece. They are also quite close together, with ferry journeys between them being just a few hours. This means it is possible to visit 3 or 4 Greek islands in a week if you want to pack out your schedule!

Pin this 1 week Greece itinerary for later

If you are a Pinterest pinner, please add this one week in Greece pin to your boards. This way you'll be able to return to it again when you are finalizing your travel plans for your Greece vacations.

Spend a perfect 7 days in Greece with this classic Athens - Santorini - Mykonos travel itinerary.


Dave Briggs visiting an island in GreeceDave Briggs
Dave is a travel writer based in Greece. As well as creating this suggested seven day Greece itinerary, he's also written hundreds more travel guides to Greek destinations. Follow Dave on social media for Greece travel ideas and inspiration so you can plan the perfect Greece vacation:

 

100 thoughts on “Greece Itinerary: 7 Days in Greece for First Time Visitors”

  1. Dave, your website has so much useful content. Thank you!
    We are traveling for 7 days in April, with kids aged 10 and 13. What would you recommend?

    Reply
    • Hi Raj,
      Given the time of year and the age of the kids, I’d say an Athens, Crete (Heraklion especially), and Rhodes combination would be worth looking into.
      If you don’t wan to travel around too much, stick to Athens and Rhodes.

      Reply
  2. Hello Dave

    Me, my wife and 3 teenage girls are planning to visit Athens/Islands in last week of October. It’s really useful information on your webpage, thanks for that. How do you think is weather gonna be? We plan to enjoy swimming and beaches, do you think it’s doable or will be too cold to do so?

    Reply
    • Hi Jamal,
      It’s really the tailend of the season – if you are brave you might still get a comfortable swim, but you probably shouldn’t base the vacation around beaches alone.

      Reply
  3. Hi Dave … Girls trip to Greece in September (arrive 9/16 – depart 9/22) and I should mention we are in our early 50’s. My friend wants to take surfing lessons, I want to do some Greek wine tasting, we want to take in great water experiences (beach, sunset cruise, etc) and we’d like to experience good Greek food and culture. Looking for more authentic experience vs tourist trap. What do you suggest?

    Reply
    • Hi Rox,

      Honestly, this is a difficult one!
      The surfing is a problem – it’s not so big here as kitesurfing.
      That said, I think Chania in Crete would tick a few of your boxes, and at that time of year, the tourist crowds have thinned out considerably.
      There’s a couple of surf schools there from what I can see.

      Reply
  4. Hi Dave,
    My husband and I want to travel to Greece late September/early October this year for about 10 days. We have to fly into Athens. What island or islands would you recommend we travel to? We are looking to avoid crowds (this is priority!) and want to spend our time doing a lot of swimming, hiking, and eating (we’d love to do a wine and/or olive oil tour). We are happy to ferry or fly to another island but don’t want to spend too much time traveling.
    Thanks in advance!
    Mariana

    Reply
    • Hi Mariana,
      I think Naxos would be a perfect fit. It’s a big island, so things will still be open for the locals, and at that time of year it’s quiet with tourists.
      There’s lots of hiking paths and great beaches.
      You can also take a day trip and/or spend a few days on nearby Paros island.

      Reply
  5. Hi Dave,

    We are a 30 something couple who love to look at history, hike, good beaches, and eat good food. We love your itinerary and wanted to see if you could give us any advice on adding Zankynos Island where the famous shipwreck beach is to your Athens-Santorini Mykonos itinerary from above. Thanks so much.

    Reply
    • Hi Christine,

      There’s two barriers in the way of that.
      The first is that Zakynthos is on the ‘wrong side of Greece’. It means you’d have to add on two additional flights (not ferries) to your journey at some stage. If you only have a week, I don’t think it would be enough time. If you have longer (10 days), possible, but…
      The second problem is that the beach is now closed due to a landslide. So, while boat trips take you out there, you can no longer go on the beach itself.
      If you have extra days and want to go somewhere amazing, look into Milos!

      Reply
  6. Hi Dave,
    My husband and I will be celebrating our 10th year anniversary and going to Greece for the firs time. We’ll arrive to Athens September 18 close to 8pm. Leaving Athens on Sept 27 around 2pm.
    We’d like to visit Santorini and another island, someone recommended Crete, but I’m not sure since I hear it’s so big and we don’t have enough time to enjoy it. I don’t want to spend the whole trip driving a lot to go to places. What island do you recommend? We’d like to see nice beaches, experience good food and culture, ruins would be nice and maybe a hike, def would like to do at least a day in Athens and see the Acropolis. I considered Mykonos, but we’re in our late 30s and don’t party hardcore.
    Thank you for your time.

    Reply
    • Hi Patty,
      Thank you for reaching out and congratulations on your upcoming 10th anniversary! Greece is a wonderful destination and I’m excited to hear that you’re planning a trip here!
      Based on your preferences, I would highly recommend visiting Milos instead of Crete.
      Milos is something of a couples island, and has the mix of what you are looking for in terms of beaches (80 of them! hire an ATV for a day or two to get to the more remote ones), hiking, some ruins, and food. You can even take a day trip to neighbouring Kimolos island if you want to fill more time up.

      Reply
  7. Hi Dave, thanks for all of the useful information. We are flying in and out of Athens with our 2 year old 9-19 October.
    We picked October as we don’t like hot weather (I’m not too bothered if it rain on the odd day) and we didn’t want to be in the height of tourist season. We were thinking of getting a ferry to Naxos/Paros (not to sit on a beach but to explore the island) but have been put off by reports of cancellations and choppy water. what are your thoughts? We could spend our holiday on the mainland alternatively or go to closer islands. We also want to spend 4 days or so in Athens as we have never been.
    thanks!

    Reply
    • It’s true that weather can cause cancellations or delays in ferry services to the islands, but it’s actually quite rare. Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell for sure if ferries will be cancelled due to bad weather, as it can change quickly and unexpectedly. October is one of the better months for weather.

      If you’re concerned about potential issues with the ferry, another option could be taking a flight to your desired destination from Athens. Both Naxos and Paros have airports. Out of the two islands, I prefer Naxos and I think it would be more suitable for young families.

      Reply
  8. Hi Dave,

    We are visiting Greece in the June 2023 and only have time for Athens and one island. Of course, we would LOVE to visit Santorini but the crowds and price have us a little leery. From all of our research, we have narrowed it down to Naxos, Paros or Milos. What do you think? Are any of those a good replacement for Santorini or should we bite the bullet and book Santorini?

    Reply
    • Hi Robin,
      They are all good islands in my opinion!
      Milos is ideal if you like wild beaches and landscapes. Best explored by ATV to get to those really out of the way beaches.
      Paros has gained in popularity – not quite on the level of Mykonos or Santorini but the top of division 2! I think this would be a good choice if you only have limited time.
      Naxos – In my opinion more authentic than Paros, but perhaps not as easy for first-timers to Greece as Paros.

      Reply
  9. Hi Dave,

    I love reading your posts. I am flying to Athens late on the 8th of April and then back out in the evening of the 15th. I thought I would spend the evenings of the 8th and 9th in Athens… but then not sure where to go in order to see more of Greece. This is my first time there. Where would you go? I love culture and being outside. I don’t need fancy but I definitely want great food. Maybe some beach time?

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Hi Laurie,

      At that time of year, Athens and Crete would be a good combination.
      Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and has something for everyone, from ancient ruins to stunning beaches to beautiful hiking trails. Its location means you have the best chance for beach weather in all of Greece (although April can be variable – perhaps too cold for swimming extended periods in the sea).

      Spend a few days in Athens, then fly to Crete to explore the cities of Heraklion and Chania, visit the Palace of Knossos, and relax on the island’s beautiful beaches. (You’d maybe want to fly Athens to Heraklion, and then bus to Chania, and after fly Chania to Athens)
      Oh and the food in Crete is fantastic!

      Reply
  10. Thinking of a trip in late May 2024 (May 17-25) for our 30th anniversary. Any suggestions for our trip planning? I like the 7 day itinerary for Athens/Santorini/Mykonos although we aren’t much on late nights/night life.

    Reply
    • Hi Tom,

      Instead of Mykonos I think you would appreciate Paros more especially at that time of year (unless you want to see Delos of course).

      So I would suggest something like fly directly to Santorini (2 nights), ferry to Paros (2 nights) then flight or ferry to Athens (2 nights). Depending on how your arrival and return flights pan out, Santorini would be the island to add an extra day to if you have the time.

      Reply
  11. Hello! Love your site and already combed through all the comments which are super helpful. We are flying into Santorini on 31 March and leaving from Athens on 8 April (we arrive and depart rather late/early, so let’s not count the travel days), so Santorini and Athens are pretty much set. I was wondering whether it is worth going to Mykonos as I worry that the itinerary would be a bit crammed with packing and unpacking for three different hotels. We are not into nightlife at all, we enjoy history, good food, beaches and views. Any piece of advice that you could provide?

    Reply
    • Hi Lilly,

      In my opinion not worth going to Mykonos at that time as not many things will be open, and it’s too cold to enjoy the beaches.
      If you wanted to add on another island, Naxos is worth considering – the main town is very pretty and the island is open all year through. If you do get good weather, there’s very nice beaches there as well. Oh, and the food is great!

      Reply
  12. hi Dave, thank you for all the tips 🙂
    May i please ask your take on planning a trip in September 2023 : dates 22-29. we want to cover mykonos, santorini and athens but could you please give us a direction in terms of which part should be explored first along with no. of days? thank you

    Reply
    • Hi,

      It’s a nice time of year to visit!
      I don’t think it makes much difference which way around to do it, but I always recommend leaving sightseeing in Athens until last – 2 days for that.
      I’d say 2 days in each place, and an extra day for Santorini would be good.

      Reply
  13. Hi Dave, thank you for the wealth of info! Still a bit overwhelming for the first timer 🙂 We will be traveling to Greece in late April – partly for work, partly for fun. After working in Athens (Thu, Fri) and a weekend spent sightseeing (Sat, Sun), we will have 3 full days (Mon, Tue and Wed) to go somewhere, before coming back to Athens (Thu) to fly back home (Fri). What’s our best bet in late April in terms of what’s open and easy to get to and from? We love nature (beaches, sunsets, etc) and prefer it over historical sights for those 3 days (since we will cover those already in Athens). Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Victoria,
      Keeping in mind you’ll want to be able to get there and back relatively easily, I’d suggest looking into Naxos.
      It’s the largest of the Cyclades islands, so there’s always places open.
      You can stay in the main town, and take hiking paths, buses, or rent a car to visit villages etc.
      Naxos has great beaches, and the iconic Portara is a lovely sunset spot.
      Weather late April is likely to be warm, although the sea may feel chilly to swim in for too long!
      (May is the earliest I swim – I’m a bit weak!!)
      Here’s a guide to Naxos: Naxos Travel Guide

      Reply
      • Thank you so much, Dave! I will look into Naxos for sure. I was also looking into Santorini, given that we’re first timers and everyone seems to go there :). We were actually hoping it may be less crowded in April than in the summer months.

        From what I’ve seen, an hour flight each way looked pretty easy and expeditious and many places seem open and reasonably priced. Is there any particular reason to stay away from Santorini in April? Thank you very much, Dave!

        Reply
        • The only month I would say to avoid Santorini is August. It’s really not enjoyable at that time!
          April would be a nice enough month to go to Santorini – it will still have lots of visitors, but the cruise ship arrivals have not started in full at that time.

          Reply
  14. Hi Dave,
    Would appreciate your opinion on the below.
    Planning our first 10-day trip to Greece in April with family (13 and 15 years old teenagers) and looking at the following itinerary:
    – arrival to Athens and fly straight to Crete (Crete is a must destination) for 3 nights
    – transfer by ferry to Mykonos for 2 nights
    – transfer by ferry to Santorini for 3 nights
    – transfer by ferry to Athens for 2 nights
    Crete is a must and I feel it’s hard to skip Mykonos and Santorini. Flexible to switch order of destinations.
    Thanks a lot,
    Patrice

    Reply
    • Hi Patrice,
      Assuming ferries are running on the days you want to go, transfer for Santorini first and then go to Mykonos after.
      When planning Crete to Santorini, you normally have to leave from Heraklion port – this may affect your Crete travel itinerary.

      Additional note: Greek Easter 2023 is: Sun, Apr 16, 2023. Traveling around these dates may mean that some places are not open or have changed opening hours (like archaeological sites).

      Reply
  15. Hi Dave,
    Planning to arrive in Athens on a Sunday morning and leaving the following Sunday afternoon. I like your idea of then flying directly to Santorini or Mykonos however, we only want to spend 1 day in Athens so we can fit in another island. What do you recommend as a third island that would be close in proximity? How would you break down the time on each and in what order. Also, what’s best site to find the better hotels on each island? Much appreciate your response

    Reply
    • Hi Gary,

      The best site for finding hotels in Greece is: Booking
      For fitting another island: You could consider Naxos, and stay in the main town (where the ferry port is). Naxos is just south of Mykonos.
      In fact, you might come away finding you preferred Naxos to Mykonos!

      Reply
    • Hi Kristin,

      A lot of places are going to be closed due to the Christmas holidays.
      No beaches obviously – far too cold for that.
      My opinion is that unless you have family ties in Greece, or specifically want to see what it is like for personal reasons, this wouldn’t be a great week to go to Greece for most people.
      I don’t have a winter specific article, but this one might be worth reading as some things are still relevant: Greece in January

      Reply
  16. We are planning a trip to Greece by End of November for 7 days starting from 25th November until 01st December 2022. Is that a good time to visit Greece or do we need to change our plans for later next year?

    Reply
    • If you have the option, it would be better to change dates for months between May and October.
      If you can’t change months, keep in mind that it is more or less winter November/December. Highly unlikely to be snow, but expect rain and some cold days.
      Give Mykonos a miss – it will be virtually all closed down and like a ghost town. Santorini is just about ok at this time though.

      Reply
  17. Thank you for this guide. Family of 4 (ages 16 and 19) heading to Greece mid March 2023. Athens & Santorini are on the list. No to Mykonos based on your comments above and time of year(thx). However what do you think about Hydra? We only have 7 days. Based on your comments leaning towards Rhodes or Crete. We are big hikers. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi Audra – Hydra is nice, but not really worth more than a day trip. If you could work Rhodes in to your itinerary, it would be a good match especially for that time of year. The old town is lovely to walk around (UNESCO castle area), and there’s plenty to see and do there.

      Reply
  18. Hi Dave , many thanks for itinerary , we (family of 4- kids aged 4&7) are planning our visit in February 2023 to Greece. which island and itinerary would you recommend ?.

    Reply
  19. Hi Dave! I and my husband are planning to travel to Greece in 2023. However we are not sure which month would be best to travel as we have had very bad experience travelling in Europe because even if we check the weather before planning our trip, it always ends of raining while we are on the trip. So could you please suggest what would be the best month to visit Greece islands like Santorini, Mykonos, Crete and Athens where we can get good sunshine with lesser crowds.

    Reply
    • Hi Anya,
      Nothing is guaranteed for sure in Europe (or anywhere else lately it seems!) when it comes to weather.
      In my experience, the first two weeks of September are good because there’s a better chance of good weather and the school holidays in Europe are over.
      Another option is last two weeks in June.
      If you are going to Mykonos there is a different side to the weather you should know about – the Meltemi Winds!!

      Reply
  20. Hi Dave, I’m trying to get my husband on board to do a trip to Greece in November 2022 – probably the end of Nov. My husband isn’t too interested in Greece because he gets very sea sick and has no interest to go on a Ferry. However, since we are (aging*) avid cyclists, I think I could persuade him with some biking. So, I’m wondering if you know of good bicycle tour companies on any of the Islands – where weather would be reasonable that time of year. We aren’t fussy, and in addition to being cyclists — we love exploring cities — so we could easily spend 8-10 just in Athens. But, since we will be in Greece, I’d like to see at least one additional island, even if we fly there.
    *I say “aging” because I don’t really want to hassle with bringing my own bike anymore — I’d like freedom to do some traditional touring and some cycling — cuz everything is better on a bike.

    Reply
    • Hi Sally,
      Tricky one here! The end of November the islands will be all but closed down.
      However, you could look into Kos – not only is it possibly warmer and with slightly better weather, but cycling is very common there (at least when we visited in June this year!).
      Most hotels in and around Kos town have bicycles to use or hire, and there are many bicycle rental agencies.
      Even better – You could fly to Kos from Athens so no ferry needed.
      For outdoor companies, Trekking Hellas are the people to try (https://trekking.gr/). Could be worth reaching out to see what they provide at that time of year!

      Reply
  21. Hi, Dave-

    I am a first-generation Greek-American – parents from Tripoli, Peloponnisos. Your web site is an unbelievable source of valuable information that most Greeks don’t even know about! I’m planning to be in Greece in September, and your articles are helping me plan my intinerary. I don’t know how you have the time to research and document so many facts, and I envy the fact that you get to live in Greece! I hope to retire there someday.

    I’m assuming you’re not Greek, but we will anoint and honor you as an “honorary Greek”!

    Efharisto poly,

    Kostas

    Reply
  22. Hi Dave – Just signed up – Enjoy reading your Blogs – Question for you Sir!! Travelling as a couple, we do enjoy beach clubs night life.. Based on your expertise, what would you recommend? Fly out of Canada, travelling to Greece for the first time.. Looking for stunning beach front scene, day clubs, and then transition back into Athens to Enjoy the city in Sept 2022 – Your input is appreciated!

    Reply
    • Hi Taha,
      I think given your criteria Mykonos is going to tick all your boxes – but be warned it will not be cheap!!
      Another island to consider would be Ios – perhaps you even have time to do both during your vacation. If you do, let me know which one your preferred and why!

      Reply
  23. Hello – we are looking to do Athens and few islands March4-12 2023 arriving from states. The ferryhopper is not updated with 2023 dates – what could be possible itinerary considering low season and weather

    Reply
    • Hi – 2023 Ferry itineraries for march may not go live until just after Christmas.
      You should know though that these dates are very much off-season. It would not be worth going to Mykonos at this time of year (if that was your intention).
      Santorini would be ok, but cold!
      Athens would be fine – it’s always got things to do!
      The two islands I could recommend due to weather etc (in addition to Santorini if that’s on your list) would be Crete and Rhodes

      Reply
  24. We are flying into Athens on September 18th. Then flying to Santorini for three nights. We want to hit two more islands for 2 nights each on way back to Athens. I guess ferry to an island stay 2 nights, ferry to another and stay two nights. Then need early out of the last island to get to Athens, our flight is 2pm that last day. Any recommendations on what 2 islands we can hit??
    Love your info so helpful

    Reply
    • Hi John,
      I think Folegandros would be a nice island to visit directly after Santorini.
      From there, I guess you would want an island with an airport to get you back to Athens? Try Milos, Paros or Naxos.
      Your last island might be determined by ferry connections and flight availability though.

      Reply
    • I just keep reading your advice! Terrific. I want to add Corfu and Crete to your itinerary also. No particular time of year. We have the time to spend. Wouldn’t mind getting to Dubrovnik and Split in Croatia or across to Italian coast for Venice, and San Marino. Of course, anywhere else I need to add – 3 weeks or less – not budget not luxury. I welcome all suggestions.

      Reply
      • Hi Lisa,
        Crete can be a good addition, so it would look like Athens – Mykonos – Santorini – Crete. If you really wanted to go to Corfu after, you would need to fly Crete to Athens and then Athens to Corfu. Out of Dubrovnik and Split I far prefer Split – but I guess you can’t go to Croatia without going to Dubrovnik!
        If you do go to Corfu, you might consider Albania. It’s a fascinating country, and you’ll probably find some day trip options from Corfu.

        Reply
    • Hi – you could make the order Athens – Mykonos – Santorini – Crete. You could also fly out of Crete back to your home country if there are good connections.

      Reply
  25. Hi! We are a couple, planning to visit Greece towards the end of this month for 7-8 days. Shall we include Zakynthos island as well? Is it worth spending 2 nights for it?

    Reply
    • Hi – Not really worth adding to this itinerary as the travel time would be a bit of a waste. I’d consider extending Santorini or Athens.

      Reply
  26. Hi Dave,
    We are a couple and planning to visit Greece mid October. We will have 8 Days (7 Nights) in Greece and have some doubts.
    Will. the weather in Greece be ok in October?
    Is it possible to visit to Athens, Mykonos and Santorini without renting a car?
    Can we include Naxos or Paros in the itinerary?

    Reply
    • Hi,
      I think adding Naxos and Paros will be too much for your time.
      You don’t need a car in any of the places you plan to visit, especially Athens. If you want to explore more of Santorini at your own convenience, then a car rental for a day might be better for you.
      For the weather – The earlier in October the better. Generally, I’ve experienced very nice weather in Greece in October, however as we all know, weather patterns are not something we can rely on nowadays!

      Reply
      • Hi Dave. Great info! Considering doing this itinerary for our Spring Break…first week of April 2023. Would you recommend Mykonos during that time of year? Or too cold, not enough open? If so, what island would you substitute? Thanks!

        Reply
        • Hi,
          Mykonos is unlikely to be more than partially open in early April. Probably too cold to swim, and the ‘point’ of going there for many (beaches, party scene etc) not really there at that time.
          Instead of Mykonos, you could try Paros, Naxos or even Crete. These islands will have more going on at that time of year.

          Reply
  27. Dave, thanks for the great ideas and itinerary for 7 days in Greece. It is very helpful. We are planning to visit from roughly December 16 – December 28th and also plan to spend 5 – 6 days in Greece and 5-7 days in Italy. Traveling will be my wife and I and also two boys that are 25 and 28. We are interested in Athens but more interested in Santorini and Mykonos so we will probably only spend 1-2 days in Athens. We like old towns, hiking, beaches and history. Any other suggestions would be appreciated. Also any lodging where we could get two rooms in a rather nice hotel or home would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • Hi Chris,

      December is definitely the off-season. It’s winter in Greece, cold, and sometimes rainy. Daylight hours are shorter as well.
      I don’t think there is any value in going to Mykonos in December – too cold for the beaches, many places closed, not really any bars or nightclubs open – in short whatever pictures you have in mind of Mykonos won’t really apply in December.

      Santorini is a little better in December – some places are open (but many closed down for the season). You can still enjoy the views, but it’s still not the same as the better months of June or September.

      In short – December is not a great time to visit Greece for the island destinations you have in mind. Better you know now before you book anything!

      Reply
  28. Hi Dave!
    Thank you for the comprehensive 7 day itinerary and tips on internal traveling in Greece. If we have 12-14 days in Greece (family of 3, including a well behaved 8 year old), where all would you recommend we visit? We plan on a visit in June. Are the hotels etc pretty safe during the pandemic? It is our first visit, and probably our only visit to Greece. Thanks for your help!

    Reply
    • Hi Arya,
      A lot depends on what you would like to see and do as a family. What type of vacation you are after.
      I consider Crete and Naxos to be the two best family friendly destinations in Greece, so perhaps if you are set on Santorini and Mykonos, you could include Crete or Naxos as well?
      My suggestion is to think about how you would like to actually get around – if you are comfortable hiring a car etc which would be the best way to see Naxos and Crete.
      Greece is well set up for protocols (perhaps a little too well – if you are coming from the States or the UK, you will be surprised at the mask wearing and current measures for sure!).

      Reply
  29. Hi Dave:

    Thank you so much for your 7 day itinerary to Athens-Mykonos-Santorini. Most likely, my husband and I will follow it during our trip for a wedding in Corfu on September 2022. What would be your suggestion on how to add the Corfu stop to your 7 day Athens-Mykonos-Santorini? Should we leave that for the end of the trip or start with Corfu and then your itinerary? We fly out of Michigan….

    Reply
    • Hi Grace,
      You’ve got a couple of options. Ryanair seem to fly from Corfu to Santorini on Tuesdays and Saturdays. If that works with your times, one option could be Corfu – Santorini – Mykonos – Athens.

      If the flights don’t line up for you, I would still go to the wedding first, but make the schedule more like – Corfu – Athens – (flight straight out to Santorini) – Mykonos – Athens (sightseeing in Athens for X days).

      If you want to include Corfu with the destinations of Athens – Mykonos – Santorini, you’ll almost certainly need to transit through Athens airport once or twice whatever you do.

      Final note – Ryanair are notorious for extra baggage fees and non refundability. It’s a budget airline. If you do choose to use them, make sure you have all your baggage allowed for to avoid extra charges at the gate!!

      Reply
  30. Hi Dave,
    Thank you for your great itinerary.
    We are going to Greece for the first time (family of five, kids aged 18, 15 and 10). We are staying for 7 nights. We were planning 3 nights in Athens and 4 nights on the Cyclades (Santorini and Mykonos). However, accommodation for 5 people in Mykonos seems to be very expensive. Can you think of an alternative island please?
    Thank you,
    Mariana

    Reply
    • Hi Mariana,
      Yes Mykonos can be very expensive – and it’s not necessarily the best island for kids in your age range.
      Perhaps a better choice would be Naxos. Great beaches, amazing food, ancient sites if you want to go to them.
      I’ve a guide here: Where to stay in Naxos
      I normally recommend first timers to the island to stay in the Chora (which is where the ferry arrives).
      However, if you want better beach access, consider Agios Prokopios – Agia Anna

      Reply
  31. Hi Dave,

    We are planning a honeymoon Vacation in 1st week of Feb 2022 in Greece and What to cover Athens and Santorini for sure, what other island we can cover for a 7-8days of total stay in Greece.

    And what will be the approx. budget for a nice stay for us?

    Reply
    • Hi Ami,
      At that time of year, I suggest you other island should be Crete.
      You can get to Crete from Santorini by both ferry and planes.
      Crete has a lot to offer, and for your time frame, consider locating yourself in Heraklion (which is where flights should land).
      You’d get to see Knossos, local markets and a few other things. A good place to take a food tour!
      Keep in mind February weather can be variable.
      As for cost – It really depends what sort of travelers you are. February will have more budget friendly accommodation though!

      Reply
    • Hi Christina,
      I’d suggest swapping out Mykonos for the Greek island of Milos.
      If you want luxury, take a look at Elounda in the island of Crete.

      Reply
  32. Hi Dave! We were hoping for some insight as we are trying to plan a vacation to Greece. Our interests are definitely Athens, hoping for a couple nice beach days but not sure which island is best for the that. We love Winery’s as well! Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Stephanie,
      Most islands will do good beaches and wineries, but in particular, I recommend Kefalonia. I actually worked in a winery there many, many years ago!
      If you have either read or watched Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Kefalonia is the island that it is set on.
      Hope you enjoy your time in Greece!

      Reply
  33. Hi Dave,
    I think your 7 day trip is amazing!
    We are travelling in june( first week) with our family celebrating our 40th year marriage. We have to end our trip in athens, my son is going to a wedding there. We want to visit also Crete. What itinerary would you recommend?
    Any help will be appreciated

    Reply
    • Hi Maria,
      There’s a lot of combinations you can make, but in your case the Santorini – Crete – Athens combo would work quite well I think. (Assuming you haven’t been to Santorini before).
      If you have been to Santorini, you could try Naxos instead.
      So if possible, you could land in Athens, get on a flight to Santorini, spend 2 or 3 nights there, fly to Crete, 2 or 3 nights there, and then finish in Athens.
      If it looks like cramming too much in, you could skip Santorini and concentrate on Crete. There’s plenty to do there, with a lot of variety!
      Some blog post suggestions for further ideas:
      2 Weeks in Greece Itinerary: Athens – Santorini – Crete – Rhodes
      Crete Travel Guide
      Greek island hopping guides

      Reply
  34. Thinking of doing a 7 day trip to Greece! Not sure what to visit! It will be myself, my 17 yr old daughter, and 21 year old son. Don’t really care about party scene. Would like to see some history, beaches, maybe some countryside or hiking! Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Hi Steve,
      With a 7 day trip in mind, and with your hiking and beaches in mind, might I suggest the islands of Andros and Tinos?
      They are quite close to Athens (just a couple of hours away), are less touristy, but equally as stunning as more well known ones.
      In addition, both islands have some lovely hiking paths, from were you can walk up to and through amazing villages.
      They also have some incredible beaches.
      If you think to only do one, then it could be Tinos.
      A suggested itinerary would be Athens – Andros – Tinos – Athens.
      Check out here for more details.
      Outdoors activities in Andros and Tinos
      Andros island travel guide
      Tinos island travel guide

      Reply
  35. Hi Dave,

    I really enjoyed reading your itinerary and found it very helpful. My mom (68) and I will be visiting early May. After reading your itinerary I’m contemplating whether we should visit Mykonos. What is your thought? Is there a recommended area to stay in if we do? Thanks for your input!

    Reply
    • Hi Kimberly,
      Hope you are enjoying the Christmas break!
      It’s a difficult one to answer, and really comes down to why you want to visit Mykonos. It’s most well known for it’s party scene and cosmopolitan, upscale, maybe slightly pretentious edge – all accompanied by a price tag of course!
      For early May, you could pretty much stay anywhere you want as it’s not high season.
      Perhaps though, Naxos might be a better match.

      Reply
  36. Hi Dave,
    we are 2 couples in mid 60’s planning a trip to Greece November 1 -15 -2020,are plan is to see Athens 3 days then rent a car and visit Nafplio,Mystros,Olympia,Delphi and Meteora all for one overnight.We will drive back to Athens and Take a flight to Santorini and spend 1 week there renting a car for a few days then fly back to Athens and spend 1 more night before our flight to the US.
    Does this sound like a doable itinerary? Is 1 week to much for Santorini?
    I love your site!! Thanks,Denis

    Reply
    • Hi Denis,
      Glad you’ve found the site useful!
      The itinerary is doable, although perhaps a little rushed in week one with one night in each place.
      I also think 7 nights in Santorini is a little too much.
      Based on a 3 or even 4 night stay in Santorini maximum, I’d be tempted to add in Mycenae and/or Epidaurus to your first week (possible by including a 2 night stay in Nafplion), and extending your stay in Meteora to two nights as well.
      You’d also have time on the drive from Mystras to Olympia to see the impressive Ventian castles of Koroni and Methoni.
      Bottom line: 7 days is too much in Santorini unless you have a specific reason to stay that long.

      Reply
  37. Hello! We are going to be in Greece aug 7-15th . 2020 and have friends celebrating on Crete on the 10th or 11th by Kalathas beach for a renewal of vows and basing their travel that week around that location. If we fly into Athens on the 7th or 8th and want to do Athens and then Crete to be with them and then what would you suggest. We have two boys 10 and 13 yo. Can we sign up for travel recs and places to stay or pay a fee for intinerary and places to stay. I love your 7 day travel guide and other ideas and after trying to figure this out I can’t seem to find the perfect itinerary or places to stay. I was on Crete in 1995 and solo for three weeks but want to show my boys the contract as able with such a short time.

    Reply
    • Hi Kimberly,
      It sounds like a great vacation planned, and I’m sure the kids will love Greece!
      There should be a signup box on the main article, so by all means sign up and you’ll receive a lot (potentially overwhelming!!) amount of travel info!
      For an Athens itinerary, can I suggest you take a look here – 2 days in Athens. I used this with my own nephew and niece who were similar ages when they visited. It’s easy to follow, gentle pace, but you’ll see the highlights of the city all the same.
      I’ve also a guide on where to stay in Athens. You’re better off staying in the historic center if possible as it will reduce travel time for sightseeing.
      Once in Crete, if you are up for hiring a car, I’d suggest taking a road trip around the island. It’s perfect for doing just that! You can get some ideas here – Road trip in Crete.
      Keep in mind you are traveling peak season – there will be LOTS of people around!!
      Enjoy your time in Greece 🙂

      Reply
  38. Good to know on Santorini weather, that’s a plus. Any other island you can suggest if we exclude mykonos. Our plan for the trip where we can do some sightseeing and relax.

    Reply
  39. Hi !
    Such a lovely Itinerary.. for summer or during good weather let’s say !
    However, My husband and I are planning to go to Greece for the first time for 5 days ( till 4th December,2019 ) which is going to be cold, we know .. but is it recommended to visit during this time ( It’s the only time we would be able to go ) , will it be a good destination during this time or shall we pick a more “common” winter European city/ destination ? and If it’s still a good choice , what would you recommend for this kind of weather?

    Thanks !

    Reply
    • Hi Linda,
      I hope you are having a great week so far!
      In all honesty, there would be no point in going to Mykonos in December.
      You could still visit Athens and Santorini though (and there’s also plenty of things to do on the Greek mainland).
      Keep in mind that archaeological sites do have shorter opening hours, with many closing at 15.30
      My advice, would be that if this is the only time you could ever visit Greece in your life, then definitely visit.
      If you are able to visit in the future, opt for a June/July or September visit instead.

      Reply
  40. Hi Dave, we are family of 3 adults arriving Athens on 29 Sep. First trip to Greece. Free & easy. We got about 10-11 days to spare, departing from Athens to home.

    Would love to do Crete besides adopting your 7 day itinerary. Which route would you recommend: Athens to Crete first or to Mykonos >Santorini> Crete> Athens. Apology if this have been answered earlier . Thanks for sharing your info and tips!

    Reply
    • Hi,
      I don’t think it matters much the order, but if you wanted to take ferries, and then fly back on the last leg, then Mykonos >Santorini> Crete> Athens might make more sense.
      Important note: Ferry availability and times may change going into October. Check what routes are available on Ferryhopper. (There’s an English mode to the site)

      Reply
  41. Hi Dave,

    I love your 7-day itinerary, but would it work for a trip in early March? I’m wondering about the weather on in the islands that time of the year. I’ve also heard the ferry transportation options may be limited. Any insight would be appreciated!

    Reply
    • Hi Kay,
      I feel early March would be a little too early to get the most out of Mykonos. It would be a great time to visit Santorini though (start of season, and fewer people), and anytime of year is good to visit Athens!
      Although I normally recommend people to stay much longer in Crete (which is a fantastic island), if you do want to travel in March, you might consider swapping Mykonos out for Crete.
      The other option, might be instead to choose Santorini, Athens, and then mainland Greece. Places like Meteora and Delphi won’t give you that island feeling, but they really are amazing!
      In terms of transport, all those islands are well connected throughout the year, although you may find that the timetables for Spring next year have not been set. Keep an on on Ferryhopper for your options. Also, you can fly between these places from Athens, which may not be as expensive as you think.

      Reply
  42. Hi Dave

    I’m off to Santorini at the end of August (v good deal on flights). I have seen your 7 day itinerary and looks fab. However l’m in a bit of a dilemma as l fly into Santorini and fly out of Santorini, but want to do Mykonos and Athens. How do you advise l plan my time and maximise the time l have there
    HELP?

    Reply
    • Hi,
      If you have a direct flight to Santorini, and assuming you have just 7 days or there abouts, I would suggest skipping Athens and seeing it next time.
      For options on getting between Santorini and Mykonos, you’ll need to take the ferry. Check out ferry routes with Ferryhopper (by far the easiest way to book your ferry tickets and see available routes).
      You could also visit some of the other nearby islands when in Mykonos on day trips.
      If you have longer than 7 days, look at these options on how to get from Santorini to Athens.

      Reply
  43. Landing in Crete Heraklion from venice late 11:30 PM but we have a hotel in Chania (Lefka Ori hotel). Busses seem to end at 12 midnight and cab for 4 of us with 4 carry on bags is 165 euros any ideas on a less expensive rid to our hotel. Here for 2 days then to Santorini (2 days) then to Mykanos (maybe, 2 days) then to Athens 2 days then home. any ideas on how to get to these places efficiently and not to expensive??? 2 adults and 2 18 yr olds

    any help greatly appreciated for us last minute travelers (July 22 – July 30)

    Reply
    • Hi Linda,
      I hope you are having a good day – holiday transportation aside!
      I’ve had a look, and actually I think at 165 euro you got a very good price on the cab!
      (The reason it is expensive, is that Chania is 2 or even 2.5 hours drive from Heraklion, and there are surcharges for driving after midnight).
      In terms of buses – I actually think they may stop at 21.00 (unless it was a private transfer bus).
      SO, I think these are the options you have:
      1. Hire a car at Heraklion airport and drive to Chania – It would be cheaper, and you’d get the use of the car throughout your stay.
      2. Cancel the hotel for the first night in Chania and stay in Heraklion. This also gives you the benefit of seeing a little of Heraklion in the morning (castle, port), as well as the archaeological site of Knossos.
      3. If you can’t cancel, do the math on very cheap rooms in Heraklion + bus fare to Chania, and see if it’s cheaper than the cab. I had a look on Booking, and there are cheap rooms available.
      In terms of getting to the other islands, you’ve chosen the most expensive islands in Mykonos and Santorini at the most expensive time of year unfortunately. So, any cheap flights most likely have gone a long time ago.
      My suggestions are to look on Ferryhopper for ferry crossings.
      Also, I would suggest that no matter where you end up last, to arrange flights back to Athens rather than a ferry – just in case of ferry delays or strikes. Better to be safe than sorry!
      If this all sounds too much, also know that Crete is an island you could easily spend a week, or even a month on and not scratch the surface. So if moving around so frequently sounds too much, you could always plan a road trip in Crete instead.
      Further reading that may be useful:
      How to get from Crete to Santorini
      How to get from Mykonos to Santorini – 2019 Travel Guide
      How to get from Athens to Mykonos

      Reply
  44. We (group of 5) are planning our first Greece trip in December. Would you have a different recommendation of the 7 days itinerary for winter? We have a little more time though, about 9-10 days.

    Reply
    • Hi,
      If you are travelling in December, I wouldn’t recommend you do an island hopping trip such as this one, as the weather won’t be good enough.
      Instead perhaps a mainland Greece trip might be better.
      I’ve got an article which lists 10 different 10 day itineraries – maybe something in there will be useful: 10 days in Greece

      Reply

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