Greece remains a top-tier travel destination, constantly topping every traveler’s “top 10 places to visit before you die”, dominating all travel bucket-lists year after year. An ancient, sun-drenched country with a myriad of activities that range from discovering ancient monuments that span four millennia, swimming in crystal clear waters as the mountain rise behind you from the sea, eating local food at small taverns as you watch the world go by or partying the night away under the starry night.
The echo of the Greek language flowing in the air, blended with the warmth of the sun, the white-washed villas juxtaposing blue domes, and the balmy seas backed by lush native forests and an incredible mountain terrains make Greece perfect from a lifetime vacation. From exploring ancient towns where Homer, Aristotle, and Sophocles lived and thrived, to basking in the sun by turquoise waters, from hopping from one island to another getting lost its dozens of narrow convoluted alleys – Greece is not only beautiful but also incredibly affordable.
So who wouldn’t want to end up in the rugged, windswept heart of Greece? Three of the most popular places to go to Greece are Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini and here’s how you can visit all three while taking in the most important attractions in just ten days!
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How to spend 10 days in Greece – a first-timers itinerary
10 days in Greece – Day 1 Arrive in Athens
As you arrive at the airport, the hustle and bustle of the city slowly start creeping on you, making your heart pound with excitement for the journey ahead. Head to the hotel and explore the neighborhood.
10 days in Greece – Day 2 Explore Athens
In Athens, every step you take, and every turn you make ends in a historical attraction. There’s an incredible juxtaposition between the modern and the ancient – where all monuments stand gracefully right next to the thriving modern edifices, unscathed by time and still as majestic as they were back then. Athens gives you an unfiltered, gritty, raw experience of Greece, it doesn’t try, it just effortlessly offers incredible cultural, historical and architectural attractions. The City of the Gods is the perfect destination, and you can see all of its main attractions in just two days!
This is without a doubt the most important of all sites in Greece. It dominates the entire skyline of the city, and you’ll first see it as you randomly walk down a street, blending with the ruggedness of the city, and complimenting the concrete jungle. It’s one of the most important civilizations in the world that dates back to 477 B.C and don’t only offer panoramic views, but also a glimpse into the past.
Head over to the most important temple in the Acropolis that was built to honor the cult of Athena. You’ll be able to admire the exterior, and it’s definitely one of the most photographed buildings in Athens.
Theater of Dionysus
Built in the 4th century B.C, this theater was used for performances back then and was actually the birthplace of the art of theater and the place where some of the most important plays in the world were performed for the first time.
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
Another theater, this one can be visited today and still hosts live theatrical and music performances.
Tip: Try to visit the archaeological site of the Acropolis as early as possible to avoid the crowds and the heat especially during the summer months.
Tickets: There is a special ticket package for visiting most of ancient Athens monuments costing 30 € full and 15 € reduced which is valid for Acropolis of Athens, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos, Hadrian’s Library, Kerameikos, Museum of the Ancient Agora, North slope of Acropolis, Olympieio, Roman Agora of Athens, South Slope of Acropolis. The ticket is valid for 5 days.
If you just want to visit the Parthenon, tickets cost 20 EUR from April 1st to October 30th and 10 EUR from November 1st to March 31st. You can buy Acropolis tickets online ahead of time at the official e-ticketing service of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports.
The crowds are huge between April and October at the Acropolis. If you want to beat them I recommend that you visit the Acropolis at the opening time (8:00 am). If you are interested in a guided tour I recommend this No-Crowds Acropolis Tour & Skip the Line Acropolis Museum Tour by the company Take Walks that gets you in the Acropolis for the first viewing of the day. This way not only you beat the crowds but the heat as well. It also includes a skip the line tour to the Acropolis museum.
Another great option is the Best of Athens tour that takes you in the Acropolis for the first viewing without any crowds and also in the Ancient Agora and a walk around Plaka. This way you can see the best of Athens in 4 hours. Plus with combo pass that you get, you have access to five more top Athens attractions for the next five days.
Finally, If you are interested in a guided tour of both the Acropolis Museum and the Acropolis, I recommend the Athens, Acropolis and Acropolis Museum Including Entry Fees. This 5-hour guided tour includes skipping the line entrance tickets to both sites and a guided tour as well. It also includes a visit to the Panathenaic Stadium and the Royal Gardens.
Soaring glass windows, high-ceiling, a glimpse into all artifacts found by the Acropolis and sweeping views of the Acropolis – this museum is a beauty to marvel at and get lost in.
Temple of Zeus
A ruined temple built to honor Zeus, with 15 columns left, a glimpse into Roman architecture, city walls, a Roman bath and a grand statue of Zeus.
Arch of Hadrian
This triumphal arc was built to honor Roman Emperor Hadrian and reflects the time of war, has incredible inscriptions carved on its architrave, and was used as a defensive wall against the Turks back then.
Walk around Plaka
Walk around Plaka, eat at one of the many taverns, explore one of the oldest districts in Athens, shop until you drop, and visit the Museum of Greek Folk Art.
10 days in Greece – Day 3 Explore Athens
Strolling around the Agora is a humbling experience, as you walk aimlessly through greenery and what once was used to be the commercial hub, the marketplace and the focal point for all social and economic activities. It was the place of gathering back then.
Syntagma Square is the center of the city, the city’s pulsing heart, and its main transport hub. This is where people go to have a drink, shop, have a meal, meet with friends or relax after work. Don’t forget to watch the change of the guard in front of the Parliament building.
An entire stadium made solely of marble, the Panathenic Stadium is an incredible sight to see, and has been there since 4th century B.C. What’s interesting about it is the fact that despite how old it is, it still hosted the Olympic Games in 1896!
Go on a self Graffiti tour around Psiri and Monastiraki
These quirky neighborhoods showcase an authentic mixture of graffiti-filled walls, and it’s refreshing to be walking amidst the colourful vibrancy that fills the streets. You’ll find galleries, quirky stores, flea markets, and much more!
Visit the markets: Athens Central Market and Monastiraki Market
Athens Central Market: Explore the Greek culture by embarking on this slice-of-life journey as you enter the market! You’ll find the best representation of the Athenian food scene with all types of meat and seafood imaginable.
Monastiraki Market: The market offers different types of shops and stalls offering all sorts of merchandise from ancient vinyl, handcrafted objects, products, leather goods, rare books and much much more.
If you find it hard to visit all of the ancient monuments on your own, or need someone to guide you through them and explain their history to you, then you can take a 4 hour guided tour from 9 am every day in either English or French where you will be able to visit the most important monuments the Acropolis, the Zeus Temple, the Ancient Agora, and much more. Not only will you be visiting all of the monuments in a systematic tour, but you’ll also learn about the Gods and their history, and the city’s ancient history, the society and how it worked and how people lived back then.
10 days in Greece – Day 4 Athens – Santorini
Santorini is an enchantress, seducing you with its allure, with its indescribable intrigue, and making you come back for more. Filled with multicolored cliffs that soar above pristine blue waters, perched with quaint little villages, boasting incredible panoramic views and showing off its blazing white houses with symbolic deep blue roofs – Santorini is truly something else. It’s the perfect getaway and the ultimate romantic travel destination!
Watch the sunset at Oia
You will arrive with enough time for you to prepare for one of the most iconic moments of your life. Your trip to Santorini will start with a bang, as you head over to Oia to experience the grandeur that results from the blend of nature with architecture.
According to National Geographic, the best sunset in the world is experienced in Oia, and they are right! Oia itself is a beautiful village on the Aegean island that you should take time to explore, but as you stroll through the narrow silent streets, you will suddenly hear it. The buzzing of a hundred voices filled with anticipation, the promise of something beautiful ahead…You’ll reach the standpoint where people watch the sunset from and you’ll find hundreds of people preparing intently for the sunset, getting their cameras ready (which you should do to!), setting up their chairs, and reserving the best location.
As the sun slowly sets, you will realize the postcard-perfect beauty of the entire scene, with blue domes contrasting the marble streets, the sun slowly disappearing into the sea, the entire village colored with different hues of orange and red, and pink – it will all hit you at once, and you will be filled with an enticing sense of awe and admiration!
10 -day Greece itinerary – Day 5 Explore Santorini
Hike from Fira to Oia
It’s a well-known fact that the best way to explore a new city is by getting lost into its streets, narrow alleys and experiencing it first-hand. Luckily for you, you can do that by going on the world-renowned hike from Fira to Oia. You don’t need to be extremely well-prepared, or a fitness junkie – the hike is suitable for all people.
You’ll be met with spectacular views throughout all the hike, revealing the intricate of the stunning Greek island, offering a real taste of the Aegean experience. You’ll get fabulous views of the glistening sea, the streets, the alleyways, and you’ll pass by several churches too!
The path itself is very well-marked throughout the hike and you’ll only be preoccupied by the beauty of the villages, the trail, the views from the caldera and the cliffs!
The Archaeological Site of Akrotiri
Your next stop should be Akrotiri with is incredibly beautiful ancient ruins, reminiscent of times when life was mush simpler.
It all started when in the 19th century, the volcanic Theran earth was excavated to provide material for the construction of the Suez Canal. While excavating, a ground-breaking discovery was made. An entire pre-historic village was found, completely preserved, unscathed by history or nature.
The ruins date back t the Minoan period, and the Akrotiri is an actual full preserved town that was protected by volcanic caldera.
The settlement was a major city that had an incredible social structure, great architecture and advanced engineering, until one of the deadliest volcanoes in the history of Greece destroyed the town. There are no signs of skeletons, however, meaning that everyone was successful in evacuating before the volcano. You’ll find all sorts of objects, artifacts, ancient beds, carved facades, elaborate frescoes, and much more – all under the roof of one huge, airy building.
A great tour if you want to see the highlights of Santorini and the sunset from Oia:
Visit Pyrgos Village
Head over to Pyrgos, a little village at the top of the hill, offering sweeping vistas of the entire island above. Currently inhabited by about 800 people, this was the previous capital of the island and therefore, you’ll find medieval houses stacked on top of each other, with beautiful churches and a castle.
This is where the highest point of Santorini is, so it’s the perfect place to get panoramic views. Visit the dozens of churches that are built around the Venetian castle, and visit the world-renowned boutiques that sell all types of clothing, shoes and souvenirs.
Wine-making in Santorini dates back 3,000 years, and so you’ll find different types of wine – from Assyrtico, Athiri and Aidani and you can go to on a tour to two or three different wineries where you’ll be able to taste the best wine of Santorini. This will all be complimented by cheese, salami and Greek olives.
The Santorini Half-Day Wine Adventure tour is the perfect tour that will allow you to visit the wineries and taste the best Volcanic wine.
Explore the village of Emporio
Visit Emporio, the biggest village in Santorini, and has beautiful unique streets, churches and one of the five medieval castles in Santorini.
You’ll find beautiful houses stacked really close together, eccentric winding staircases, overhead bridges, and picturesque streets!
10 – day Greece itinerary – Day 6 Explore Santorini
Try Some Local Food
Santorini has incredible food, and Greece is known for its wonderful gastronomic experience that it offers. It’s recommended not to visit any of the touristy chains, and instead, find a little alley with an authentic Greek tavern that is run by a small family to try out their food. Definitely try Flava, the most famous dish in Santorini which is a yellow split pea puree, or Ntomatokeftedes which are Greek tomatoes served with hot olive oil and peppers, onions, mint or White EggPlant Puree! Try Melitinia which is a traditional sweet cheese pie or Apochti, another traditional food that is salted pork loin.
Visiting the Volcano and the Hot Springs in Santorini is one of the most important activities you should do on your trip to Santorini!
When the word Santorini is mentioned, you probably envision beautiful white-washed houses, blue domes and glistening waters – but what you might not know is that Santorini itself is the result of an immense volcano, so it’s only logical to visit the volcano there!
Usually, boat trips head to Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni from Fira, and you can buy tickets from any travel agency if you want bus transport and less hassle!
The first stop will be Nea Kameni, the volcano, where you’ll get to hike for about an hour and half while learning about the history of the caldera and the volcano.
Your next stop will be Palea Kameni, which are the hot springs. You’ll get to swim in them for 30-40 minutes!
Head to the beach
What’s a Greek vacation without an abundant amount of time spent lazing by the beach and enjoying the warmth of the sun as it engulfs you?
The two most famous beaches are:
Red Beach – The Red Beach is not only one of the most famous beaches in Santorini, but also one of the most beautiful, with a unique landscape of red and black volcanic rocks contrasted with the blue waters of the sea. It’s only minutes away from Akrotiri!
Perissa – This beautiful beach features unique black sand juxtaposed with crystal clear waters, making your beach experience unlike any other you’ve had in your life. You’ll have a massive rock called Mesa Vouno soaring from the sea, and is usually the main attraction of the place.
A great way to see the scenic beauty of Santorini is on a five-hour catamaran sunset cruise. This cruise leaves from the Ammoudi Port of Oia, although guests can be picked up at local hotels for an additional charge. The first stop is the beautiful Red Beach which is a great place to snorkel. After 30 minutes, the tour continues to White Beach for more snorkeling underneath the towering white cliffs. After enjoying a barbecue meal, then continue on to the Hot Springs for a mud bath. Climb back onboard the catamaran to watch the sun set on your return to Oia.
10 – day Greece itinerary – Day 7 Santorini to Mykonos
Chora encompasses beautiful white-washed houses contrasted with glitzy mansions, charming restaurants, cafés, shops and more.
You’ll be walking in white narrow alleyways, and you’ll be met with incredible views of the vigorous sea splashing onto the walls of the village, the blues and whites meeting together to create a picture-perfect view.
Things to do in Chora:
Little Venice: Lively, noisy and bustling with life, Little Venice is great for the amount of cafes and bars there. A lot of the places there also overlook the nearby water, and you can have incredible during sunset as you eat or drink at one of the bars.
Museums: Many people don’t see themselves visiting Museums while in Mykonos, but you should definitely check out the Archeological Museum which gives you an insight into the Greece’s terrain, and then head over to the Folk Museum to get first-hand knowledge of the island’s culture.
The Windmills: Chora is renowned for its iconic windmills. You’ll can see them from almost anywhere in time, and they date back to the 1600s boasting beautiful Venetian architecture. They are a quintessential feature of the landscape of Mykonos, and the three whitewashed structures stand beautifully, giving you a reminiscent vibes of the times they were used.
10 -day Greece itinerary – Day 8 Explore Mykonos
On your eighth day of your Greece itinerary, it is essential to visit the island of Delos, so you have the option of either going on your own or taking a tour there along with Rheina island. There are several ways to reach Delos, you can take one of the daily ferry services, go on an organized tour that will also take you to Rheina, or take a private boat.
Delos is an incredible island, that bears important mythological, historical and archeological significance. Over the years, several excavations have been done in the island, and are considered the most important in the entire Mediterranean area. This was the supposed birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, and there’s plenty of things to see.
You can wander through the ancient ruins of structures that once had great significance including:
Propylae – A grand marble archway
The Sanctuary of Apollo– This was considered the most sacred site in the entire Greek world, and was the house of the famous Oracle.
Hike up the Mount Kythnos – This will reward you with incredible views of all the surrounding islands, forming a picturesque vista.
Rhenia is the epitome of relaxation and tranquility with crystal clear waters, soft sands, hidden covers, and it’s the perfect uninhabited island to let yourself relax in. You can swim, tan, snorkel, read a book – the most important thing is to completely relax!
10- day Greece itinerary – Day 9 Mykonos to Athens
Spend your morning reveling in the beauty of the island for the last time, create memories that will last you a lifetime, take extra pictures, and truly appreciate the place for the last time.
Spend your day at one of the beaches in Mykonos and have one last final stroll in Chora with its beautiful shops, and maybe visit one of the churches you didn’t have time to visit!
Head to the beach
Make you sure visit one of the beaches: Platys Gialos, Elia Beach or Paradise Beach.
Check out the best beaches in Mykonos.
Afternoon ferry or plane to Athens
10 – day Greece itinerary – Day 10 Flight home
Spend your last few hours strolling the streets of Athens, visit a quick historic ruin, an ancient site, go shopping, or languish in one of the many cafes, restaurants or quirky stores.
Head to the airport early.
It is advisable to already be in Athens on the day of your flight, since taking a ferry or a plane from Mykonos or Santorini would be risky. There are usual strikes, weather misfortunes, delays, repairs and much more that might hinder your trip!
So this is how you get to see Greece’s most breath-taking landscapes, learn about its history, taste its food, get lost in its islands, and immerse yourself in the Greek way of life in just 10 days. After you go back home with your sun kissed skin, your salty hair, and your beautiful memories – you’ll think of nothing but Greece for the next few months!
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