Even if you’ve never been to Greece before you probably have a few ideas of places you’d like to visit in Greece. Many people who visit Greece want to see Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos. You may also want to explore the lesser-known islands of Paros, Naxos, Rhodes, and Crete.
So how many days in Greece is enough? And, should you split up your time between all the sites and cities you want to see? Don’t worry, this article will serve as a guide to help you plan your Greece vacation itinerary and decide how many days in Greece in enough for you.
Planning Your Trip to Greece
If there was ever a destination that you could spend 365 days in it’d be Greece. From stunning beaches to ancient ruins, lively nightlife, and excellent cuisine, Greece is the perfect destination to feed your hunger for wanderlust.
We recommend that you spend at least seven days in Greece to be able to comfortably explore Athens and one or two Greek islands. With more days to spend, you can obviously explore more destinations and less-visited islands, but if you are planning a quick getaway we’ve got you covered too.
From the island of Crete to sky-high monasteries on the mainland, the Minoan ruins and the warm sandy beaches of Corfu Greece has all your travel needs covered. Our comprehensive guide to travel in Greece will walk you through a few itineraries and help you find points of interest to visit during your stay in Greece.
Your Four Day Itinerary
With only enough time for a long weekend in Greece, we highly recommend that you make Athens your main hub. At the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum, you can explore more than 2,400 years of Greek history.
Visit the Parthenon for an up-close look at classical Greek architecture. Dedicated to the Goddess Athena Parthenos (Athena the Virgin) the temple is considered to be a culmination of the development of the Doric order. The Doric is simple and austere compared to other architectural orders in Greek history.
Check out the Athen Riveria to experience a slower pace of life similar to the life of the islands. It’s just a 30 to 40-minute taxi ride the meaders down a southern coastal road to the southernmost point at Cape Sounio. At the Athen Riveria, you’ll find blue flag beaches, small port towns, and ancient sites. The restaurants, hotels, and nightlife attract a great crowd and rival those of Mykonos. It’s also possible to find quieter spots as well.
Be sure to eat all the flaky spanakopita pastries you can at the local food marts and try the local wine. Foodies can loosen their belts and join a food-specific tour in Athens where you will learn stories of Greece’s culinary history and have an introduction to some of the local producers and chefs.
Shop the local markets and shops for a range of local delicacies like Baklava, souvlaki, and much more. Learn where the locals dine and enjoy the Mediterranean diet. After the tour, spend the rest of your day exploring the city or enjoying a well-deserved break.
If you plan to visit Greece at the peak of tourist season during the summer months you will want to do as the Athenians do and sit outside as you dine to enjoy the breeze from the Aegean coast. If you plan on driving around the mainland be sure to check out this guide.
You can easily spend four days in Athens alone checking out the morning coffee cafes and exploring the city’s ancient ruins. Visit the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion a sacred site dating back to the Bronze age. It will take your breath away with its sweeping ocean views and gigantic ancient columns. Once you’ve had your fill board a boat and take a sunset cruise on the Mediterranean.
Your Seven Day Itinerary
If you have a little more time to spend in Greece, say seven days, you can visit Athens and check out a couple of the islands. Eat and drink your way through the olive groves, wineries, farms, and villages where the food was grown an arm’s length away.
First stop: Athens. Spend the afternoon at a local wine bar across from your hotels tasting Greek wines from various local wineries against an authentic downtown backdrop. Afterward, hit the town and explore. Check out the Temple of Hephaestus a well-reserved Greek temple that remains largely intact.
Foodies will love the Varvakeios Agora Market and the city’s neighborhood farmer’s markets. Greek food goes far beyond gyros and feta salad. If food is an important part of your vacation consider joining a gastronomy tour of Athens or Crete.
On your second-day bid farewell to Athens and head to Crete. We highly recommend that you atop in Vamos Village. Visit the 14th-century Byzantine church and greet the dozens of local kri-kri goats and sheep. There is also a world-famous olive oil factory for you to explore. Pick up some olive oil to take home as a souvenir. Tour the factory and meet the producers before enjoying a fresh lunch in town.
After lunch, make your way over to Chania where you can spend the night in a charming rustic little town. Chania is a great base from which to explore all the island has to offer. The next day set off early to take a hike up the Samaria Gorge. It is the longest trekking canyon (11 miles) in Europe and ends at Agia Roumeli village by the sea where you can grab lunch and a cold beer before making your way back to Chania.
Samaria Gorge has been a national park since 1962 and is currently on UNESCO’s tentative list. The hike from Omalos to Agia Roumeli will take about 5 to 7 hours depending on your speed. After you finish your lunch at the local tavern enjoy a leisurely boat ride back to your hotel.
The next day, enjoy a visit to the Botanical Park and Gardens of Crete. Visit the orchards and fields or take a cooking class with a culinary expert who will teach you make to make traditional Greek cuisine. Enjoy your meal overlooking the beautiful parks and gardens.
Then board a luxury coach and make your way down to Kissamos Port. From the port, a small ferry can transport you to the Gramvoussa and Balos beaches. Thes beaches are famous for their pink-tinted sand and they are top-rated Greek beaches. Both beaches are protected by the Natura 2000 initiative which seeks to protect endangered habitats and wildlife. Spend your day relaxing by the seaside. Catch some sun, swim, and enjoy the beautiful blue-green waters.
On your final day in Crete take a 4×4 Jeep ride to the vineyards of the Manousaki Winery and visit the Manousakis Winery at Lake Ori Mountain. Taste local wines and buy a bottle to take home. Enjoy a light lunch of famous Greek specialties such as apaki, kalitsounia, and dolmadakia. Then when you are ready circle back to Chania where you will stay one last night before you head home.
Your Fourteen Day Itinerary
How many days in Greece is enough? Fourteen days will provide you will enough time to see just about everything you will want to do. Two weeks is enough time to have a real Greek adventure. You’ll be able to see multiple islands and mainland historical sites. Take part od cultural or outdoor activities, dive into ancient mythology, and enjoy the laid back island life.
First head to the lesser-known Greek islands where you can surf, hike, ride horses and enjoy a plethora of outdoor activities. Hang ten at Kolymbithra Beach, snorkel at Naxos, or cruise along by boat on the Aegean Sea. There is an adventure for you at every turn.
When you arrive in Athen take the ferry to Tinos. Tinos is a Greek island that is not well known despite its fascinating history, a vast array of activities and beautiful beaches. Hike the famed marble route and explore the iconic windmills along the coast. Then take a guided climb at Exomvourgo, a granite rock with well-maintained routes and a path for everyone from beginner to expert. At the top, you will enjoy sweeping 360- degree views.
Head back to Kolybithra Beach and take a surf or paddleboard lesson. This protected cove on Tino’s northern coast is one of the best places for water sports. Many tourists rent jet skis or other water sports equipment. Take a ferry to Naxos for a diving excursion. You can learn the basics of diving before you head out to a chain of small rocky islands, reefs, and caves right off the coast.
Check out the villages of Naxos on the west side with a bicycle tour or guided horseback tour. The coastline is usually filled with people in speedboats cruising the waters. On to Los where you can visit spots of interest along the coast including many underwater caves and shipwrecks. These spots are perfect for snorkeling or scuba diving. Canoe or kayak in Mylopotas Bay to a cove that is perfect for sunbathing and having a beach picnic.
On your last day return to Athens and get one last look at the city before you leave with a relaxing bike ride around the neighborhoods and historic ancient sites. You could also take a walking tour with an English speaking guide who will make sure you don’t miss out on any of the important cultural sites before you leave.
Points of Interest You Can’t Miss
When traveling to Greece there are certain spots you just can’t miss. In recent years Athens is shaping up to be a great destination. Greece offers better value for your money than other Mediterrianina spots like Italy or Spain and has tons of small islands just waiting to be explored. Here are a few of the points of interest you can’t miss on your Greek vacation.
This is the birthplace of democracy and the thriving capital city of Greece. You could spend a whole trip just exploring Athens as we mentioned before. If you can plan two to three days to take advantage of everything Athens has to offer tourists. Some of the highlights you don’t want to miss include the Acropolis, Ancient Agora, and National Archaeological Museum. Wander through the colorful streets of Plaka and Monastiraki and soak up the warm and inviting atmosphere and the hilly Kolonaki district.
The Greek seaside city of Thessaloniki was established in 316 BCE. Perhaps you have heard of it from the Bible. Named after Alexander the Great’s sister the city is full of Roman, Christian, Jewish, and Byzantine history. There are many great restaurants and dining options that putting Thessaloniki is a must for any greek vacation itinerary. Better yet, it only takes about an hour to fly to Thessaloniki from Athens.
Just 15 miles outside of Athens is Lake Vouliagmeni but it will seem like you are world’s away. Its name is derived from the Greek word vouliiazo which means submerged. Indeed the mesmerizing lake formed when a huge underwater spring let loose and caused the massive cave roof to collapse.
This stunning Cycladic island is where many Greeks go on their honeymoons or just to getaway. It is famous for the Venus de Milo statue that sits in the Louvre. Milos is volcanic in origin and just as beautiful as the island of Santorini. The unique geology has gifted the island with beautiful beaches and landscapes. The best news is it is just a three-hour ferry ride from Piraeus.
How Many Days In Greece Is Enough?
If you are traveling to Greece you should ideally give yourself at least a week to explore the mainland and visit a few islands too. Visit the ancient ruins, swim off the coast, and visit a different restaurant each night to get a good sense of why Greece is beloved by many travelers. If you can add some extra time to go hiking or enjoy outdoor activities, even better.