This 10-day Itinerary in Greece and the Greek Islands covers everything you need to know on your trip to Greek destinations: Santorini, Naxos, Mykonos, and finally Athens, the ancient capital of Greece.
Santorini, Naxos, and Mykonos islands belong to the most popular group of Greek islands, the Cyclades. They are frequently interconnected, with Athens Piraeus main port and Rafina (a smaller port in Athens) through daily ferries and flights as Santorini, Naxos, and Mykonos have also airports on their lands.
This 10-day itinerary in Greece includes 3 nights in Santorini, 2 nights in Naxos, 2 nights in Mykonos, and 2 nights in Athens. This itinerary is not a fixed one. Sometimes, you have to play it by ear, you may stay more on an island and less on another and you figure this out while you are on the islands. It all comes down to how a place makes you feel.
Logistics of the 10-day Itinerary in Greece
This 10-day itinerary in Greece can work both ways: You can land in Santorini and end up in Athens or start off at Athens, take the ferry or fly to Mykonos, Naxos and Santorini. From Santorini, you can fly either to Athens and from there fly back home or fly straight home from Santorini. Basically, this itinerary can be ‘mix-and-match’ and it is a fantastic way to get to know 3 of the most beautiful islands in Greece!
If you travel during summer, there will be frequent and at least 3 to 4 ferry connections between the islands.
In winter, there might be 1 or 2 ferry connections but not to all islands and not even every day. I checked the 11th of January (random date) for ferries from Santorini to Naxos and there were 2 ferry connections, which was good. So if you are traveling off-season the ferries must be carefully selected.
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10-day Greece Itinerary – Day 1
Day 1: Arrival in Santorini
I suggest you arrange in advance with your hotel to pick you up from the Santorini airport or port. Most of the hotels in Santorini have their own minibusses to transport their guests. If they haven’t got one, they collaborate with local taxis. In any case, they should be able to pick you up.
Dependent on the time you arrive and after you have settled in the hotel you may have time to do sightseeing around the town you are staying in Santorini. As a top site, go to Oia, find a nice spot, and enjoy your first sunset in Santorini.
The shops stay open until late, so go around and explore, and enjoy your evening. If it is July or August you may find it difficult to get a table with a sunset view. For the other evenings in Santorini, I suggest you book your table in advance.
Best Oia Sunset View Restaurants
Kastro Oia Restaurant and Lycabettus Restaurant will leave you breathless of their awesome views and their excellent cuisine. But you do need to book your table in advance.
Where to Stay in Oia Santorini
Andronis Boutique Hotel: The hotel has spectacular views over the Caldera, spa, swimming pool, organic restaurant, and very friendly staff. They also provide free pick up from the airport. The famous Lycabettus restaurant belongs to the Andronis Hotel chain in Santorini.
Canaves Oia Suites and Spa: If this trip to Greece is your honeymoon, consider staying at the best Suites in Santorini for newlyweds.
For budget hotels in Santorini, read my recommendations on the Best Santorini Budget Hotels.
10-day Greece Itinerary – Day 2
Day 2: Santorini – How to get around the Island
You can rent a car – check out CarRentals with the best local deals – but keep in mind that the roads are narrow, there is going to be some traffic, and parking can be challenging at times. The local public buses (Central station is at Fira) go around the island but not to the remote areas, they can be packed with people, and be slow in the summer.
Cable Car in Fira: This is your alternative to donkeys (please don’t use the donkeys!) and steps if you want to visit Mesa Gialos, the old port of Fira, where a lot of caldera cruises start.
For your second day, you can go to Fira, Santorini’s capital, and Firostefani village, they are very close to each other, stroll the picturesque alleys, take photos of the blue-domed churches and enjoy your day in Santorini.
Swim in the eastern side of Santorini, black beaches of Perissa and Kamari.
Explore the stunning ancient Thera between Perissa and Kamari black beaches. Go to the impressive Vlichada, my favorite beach in Santorini.
In the evening dine at the beautiful Esperisma Bar-Restaurant in Fira.
For the full list of the things to do in Santorini, read my article 12 Best Things to Do in Santorini
10-day Greece Itinerary – Day 3
Day 3: Santorini
Explore the southwest part of Santorini. Go to Akrotiri Bronze Age Site and visit the nearby impressive Red Beach.
A note of caution about Red Beach: The Municipality of Thira (Official name of Santorini) has put warning signs against visiting it as the beach is prone to landslides.
I would recommend you visit the red beach by Catamaran Cruise, see below, with stops at the Volcano Hot Springs, Vlichada, Mesa Pigadia, and Red beach:
Take a guided catamaran cruise to Nea Kameni (volcano) Island or hike the spectacular Santorini caldera or have a food tour with local products:
10-day Greece Itinerary – Day 4
Day 4: Santorini and Naxos
The ferry to Naxos leaves at around 15:45 so you have plenty of time to experience a bit more of Santorini.
The port in Santorini is southwest near Megalohori, the capital village of wine production in Santorini. This is the perfect place to experience the authentic Santorini, less touristically developed, and have amazing wine tasting. And buy a few bottles for Naxos nights as well!
Then off to your ferry to your next adventure, Naxos. Ferries take from 1 to 3 hours to reach Naxos, dependent on the type of boat you have booked.
Where to Stay in Naxos
Naxos is very different from Santorini. Naxos is the biggest and greenest island in the Cyclades, less touristically advanced, and much closer to authentic Greece.
I suggest you stay in Chora (or Hora) Naxos, the capital town and port, a beautiful place with a maze of whitewashed houses and centuries-old Greek Churches.
One of the best and reasonably priced hotels is Hora Seaside Suites, built very close to Naxos landmark: the Ancient Portara or Temple of Apollo and the best place in Naxos to see the stunning sunset.
The beautiful Suites are next to the sea, just a 5min walk from Chora shopping center and the port, and neatly tucked away from the busy main road. Both a gorgeous and convenient hotel to stay in Naxos.
After you have settled in your hotel, stroll the iconic alleys of Naxos and start feeling the vibe of the island. I suggest you try some really traditional Greek taverns such as Apostolis Restaurant for your dinner.
Apostolis restaurant has a fantastic Cycladic yard and is a couple of streets off the main seaside road, a 5-minute walk from your hotel. Try his mixed salads with the local but Greekwide famous Graviera yummy cheese and pick a local dish of the day.
10-day Greece Itinerary – Day 5
Day 5: Naxos – How to get around the island
Naxos is famous in Greece for its delicious cheese and potatoes, the endless golden sand azure-colored beaches, the picturesque villages scattered around the island, and fantastic hiking opportunities on its mountains.
There are public buses on Naxos but I got around the island with a car from RentalCars.com as it offered the freedom to explore the island in-depth and save time, especially when you only have 2 days to explore a large island.
The closest to your hotel and probably some of the best beaches in Naxos are the ones on the west side of the island: Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna, Maragas and Plaka are all beaches one after another in a big bay.
Whichever you choose you cannot go wrong – crystal clear sea, bars and tavernas with sunbeds at reasonable prices, or free areas if you prefer quietness and solitude.
Alternatively, explore mainland Naxos with its beautiful and traditional villages:
If you don’t like driving, get a guided tour for the best in Naxos or a food tour (highly recommended) or a catamaran around the island, to have a hassle-free day in Naxos:
10-day Greece Itinerary – Day 6
Day 6: Naxos and Mykonos
The ferries to Mykonos from Naxos leave around 15.30 every afternoon and the trip lasts between 40 to 80 minutes, again depending on how fast is the boat you have booked.
You will have plenty of time to have a fast swim around Portara or explore a bit further Chora Naxos. You can visit the Venetian Castle on top of Chora and the medieval Catholic Metropolis Church with graves of the most important catholic families that lived on the island.
Another landmark is the Archaeological Museum with exhibits from the Cycladic and Mycenean times.
Where to Stay in Mykonos
If you take the fast ferry then around 4.30 or 5 pm at the latest you should be at your Mykonos hotel. This time I would advise against staying very close to Chora Mykonos because in the summer it can get very noisy, the hotel prices are really high and the beaches are either not so great or just too busy.
As with Santorini, you can again organize with your hotel to pick you up from Mykonos main port. The Kensho Ornos hotel is 6,5 km from Mykonos Chora and port, situated on the beautiful beach of Ornos village. The hotel is simply stunning and offers 5-star service.
Ornos beach is a popular beach in Mykonos, dotted with bars and taverns and many things to do. As soon as you have settled into your room you can go straight for a swim in Ornos beach or have a cocktail and seafood in one of the best restaurants in Ornos: The Buddha-Bar Beach.
Alternatively, go to Chora and wander one of the most beautiful Cycladic villages but be prepared: if you are visiting Mykonos in July and August, it is going to be very crowded.
Walk around the centuries-old windmills, go to Paraportiani Church, and take a photo with the notorious Mykonos Pelikan (there are currently 3 on Mykonos).
Find Scarpa bar in Little Venice, get a table, and enjoy your first breathtaking sunset in Mykonos.
For a detailed list of things to do read my post on How Best to Spend 3 Days in Mykonos Island
10-day Greece Itinerary – Day 7
Day 7: Mykonos
On your full day in Mykonos, you can explore the super cosmopolitan and party – beaches of Super Paradise, Paraga, Kalo Livadi, Elia, and Agios Stefanos.
If you love archaeological sites then a trip to Delos island, a UNESCO-listed site is a must. Delos is one of the most important archaeological sites and one of the five Sacred Ancient Cities in Greece along with Athens, Elefsina, Olympia, and Delphi. There are boats leaving from Ornos to Delos every day.
A very nice bar in Mykonos Chora is Jackie O’ club, by the seaside where you can enjoy another beautiful sunset.
10-day Greece Itinerary – Day 8
Day 8: Mykonos and Athens
Your ferry from Mykonos to Athens leaves around 17.00 (always check with FerryScanner or FerryHopper) and the trip will last 3.5 hours to Athens port Piraeus. From the port, the Athens center is about 20-25 minutes far and you can take a taxi from the port or book a private transfer to your hotel.
You can also fly to Athens from Mykonos. The flight will be about 45 minutes but you have to add the extra hour that you will have to wait at the airport and 45 min to an hour to get to Athens city from the airport.
Where to Stay in Athens
I suggest you stay near Acropolis in Athens so that you are central to all the sites and just walk around the city. The most luxurious hotel to stay in Athens is Grande Bretagne situated right across from the Greek Parliament on Syntagma Square. Grande Bretagne is 15 minutes walk far from Acropolis entance.
Another option is Ava Hotel and Suites, a small luxury hotel, in a tiny Plaka (Old Athens where Acropolis is) street with its balconies overlooking Adrian’s Arch and its terrace towards the Acropolis Hill.
If you prefer to choose a budget hotel in Athens then read below my dedicated post on the best budget hotels in Athens:
10-day Greece Itinerary – Day 9
Day 9: Athens
The good news with most Athens Best Landmarks and Monuments is that they are concentrated in the same area, Athens Historical Triangle, so you can walk almost everywhere. If you take the metro be careful of your belongings, there is a petty theft issue.
Essential Things to Have for Athens Metro: An anti-theft design Backpack
Purchase your Acropolis ticket – the lines can be crazy – from Official Acropolis Tickets here. The only catch here is that if you change your mind you can’t change dates or cancel them. The usual ticket for Acropolis in the high season is 20 euro pp.
There is the 30 euro option that allows you to get into Acropolis Hill and Slopes, Ancient Agora of Athens and its Museum, Kerameikos Archaeological site, Hadrian’s Library, Lykeion Archaeological Site, Olympieio (Temple of Zeus), Roman Agora of Athens.
If you prefer the freedom of changing dates or free cancellation then you better book your ticket through GetYourGuide.
Other significant sites in Athens are:
- Kallimarmaro Stadium
- Zappeion Park and Mansion
- Athens Trilogy
- Acropolis Museum, National Archaeological Museum, Benaki Museum, Byzantine Museum
- Lycabettus Hill
Full details about the Acropolis of Athens check my related post 16 Things to Know before you visit the Acropolis of Athens
Suggested Athens Guided Tours
10-day Greece Itinerary – Day 10
Day 10: Athens, Cape Sounion and Flying back Home
Depending on the time your flight is, and if you have 4 free hours then I highly recommend you visit Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon through the Athens Riviera. Cape Sounion from the Athens airport is 45 km far and easily connected with excellent road.
The Temple of Poseidon in Cape Sounion, built between 444–440 BC is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. It was strategically built so that Athenians have control over the sea and most importantly over the silver mines next door to Lavrion town.
If you are short of time you better book a guided tour of Viator local agents that will pick you up from your Athens hotel, drive you to Sounion, and then to your airport. Check below the best-guided tours to Sounion:
What Difficulties you may Encounter in Greek Islands?
There are a few things that a first-time visitor should keep in mind while visiting Cyclades Islands:
- The roads are not always in good condition or they may be too narrow for what you are used to. You need to be careful especially if you are driving at night, as the islands tend to have their main town built on top of their mountains and there is limited to no road lights.
- If a beach is not organized, it will probably have no trees or other shade available, water, or food supply. You should always carry your own supplies if you are visiting a remote beach
- When it gets windy (June – August meltemia), it just won’t stop. It can also get a bit chilly in the evening. Get a light jacket with you just in case
- If you go hiking in summer on an island with no trees, you can get very easily heat stroke and get disorientated. If you go hiking, go with a group so that they can help you if you feel unwell.
- For more info on travel dangers and precautions in Greece, read here my post on hiking safely in Greece
End of this 10-day Greece itinerary, hopefully, you are now full of wonderful memories from your Greek travels and you are flying back home happy and content!
How to Get to Greece
Like most visitors to Greece, you will probably have to fly to Athens or Thessaloniki International Airports to get to your final destinations.
For the Cheapest, Fastest, Best Worldwide Flights, I highly recommend the Skyscanner search engine site.
If you prefer to avoid the hassle of public transport and wish for some luxury pampering, you should book a private transfer with English speaking chauffeur from Athens International Airport to Piraeus Ferries. Check availability and prices on Viator here
Message from Evgenia
Some of my Favorite Travel Resources for Greece
- Airflights: Cheap/Fast/Best Worldwide Flights from KAYAK or SkyScanner search engine site
- Map of Athens Metro
- Booking.com: I use Booking.com because I can get the best deals, have info on hotels and Airbnb’s alike, with breakfast or not, free cancellations, and great prices!
- Ferries to the Greek Islands: Book your ferry transfer with FerryScanner or FerryHopper, and get the best prices in the market with no hidden fees
- World Nomads Insurance: I feel insecure traveling to another country without having even the most basic of insurances. Insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft and cancellations
- Best car rental prices – Guaranteed. RentalCars.com
- Get Your Guide: For all your day or multi-day tours and city guide needs, I use Get Your Guide
- iVisa: For any questions, you may have about your documents, passport if you need a visa, a new photo, or any visa-related matter, iVisa is your man (or woman!)
- Emergency Numbers Anywhere in Greece: AMBULANCE 166 – FIRE 199 – POLICE 100– EMERGENCY NUMBER 112
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