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If you have 10 days to spend in Greece and it’s the first time you visit, you might want to fit as many destinations as possible in your itinerary and the result can be nothing but overwhelming. However, if you keep your itinerary simple and well-planned, 10 days can be a good number of days to see the best of the country or its islands.
The country, rich in amazing beaches, interesting archaeological sites, and fantastic natural landscapes, offers great vacation opportunities for every type of traveler. You can go for an adventure trip in the mountains, practice extreme sports, visit unique cities and forgotten villages, or simply relax and enjoy some of the most amazing beaches in the world.
In this article we offer you 3 different itinerary ideas to visit the best of Greece in 10 days without feeling overwhelmed and without feeling that you missed out on the best of the country.
Choose the one that best suits your travel style!
Mainland Greece Itinerary
Days 1-5: Athens
Begin your trip to Greece arriving at Athens International Airport and heading right to the center of town where you can easily walk around and discover some of the top sites of Greece’s capital. Chill and relax from your flight with a walk around the center, visit the neighborhoods of Plaka and Monastiraki, have dinner in the center of town and get ready for a second day in which you discover the history and the highlights of this unique European capital.
Devote the second and third days to visit the archaeological sites and museums in town.
The first place to visit should be the Acropolis hill and the Parthenon, and then move on to the stunning Acropolis Museum where you’ll be able to admire many of the statues and objects discovered in the magnificent archaeological site.
If you’re in the mood for more, devote a few hours to the Ancient Agora and admire one of the best preserved temples in Greece, the Temple of Hephaistos.
Spend some time discovering the neighborhoods of Plaka and Anafiotika and then head to Syntagma Square to see the Parliament and witness the change of the guard.
On the following days, it’s a good idea to discover the tastes of Athens, joining a wine tour or a gastronomic tour. You can explore the Public Market (Varvakios) on your own or even learn how to cook some of the local dishes by booking a cooking lesson.
If you’re a foodie at heart, you can visit some of the tavernas along Aiolou Street or enjoy a cocktail with a view from one of the many bars with rooftop terraces in the area.
On day three or four, depending on your travel pace, venture into a discovery trip to explore the ruins of Delphi. You can get there with a bus, or by booking a private tour, usually more convenient and stress-free. The travel time is about 2 to 3 hours.
Delphi was once home to priestesses of Apollo, who — according to Greek mythology — was able to predict the future.
Devote the next day to sail to one of Athens’ nearby islands and to spend a day in contact with a different lifestyle, far from the hustle of the city center. Choose either Aegina, Poros, or Hydra, or visit all three of them in a one day tour if you’re adventurous and want to see more in a short time.
Days 6-8: Thessaloniki
When day 6 arrives, it’s time to head to Thessaloniki. You can do so either by car or bus (although the trip can be long and tiring), or take a flight from the capital which lasts no more than thirty minutes.
Thessaloniki is located in the north of Greece and it is one of the most vibrant places you can choose to spend time in the country. Go for a city tour to check the highlights and best places to visit on the next days in town.
Among the things to check in Thessaloniki, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Byzantine churches and the Roman agora – perfect places for those who love history.
If you are more of a foodie traveler, enthusiastic about city life and local traditions, head to the modern food and flower markets.
Among the things to taste, check the traditional bougatsa from Thessaloniki, a typical dessert with very ancient origins. Also get yourself a koulouri, a bread ring with sesame seeds and Byzantine origins which, according to the locals, tastes much better in this northern part of Greece.
On your second day, climb all the way to the White Tower, one of the landmarks in town. This structure dates back to the fifteenth-century structure and it houses an interesting history museum. From here, the views of the city and the sea are unmissable.
Once you’ve visited the White Tower, you can also discover the ruins of Galerius Palace, which date back to the 4th century as well as the Rotunda, considered to be the best-preserved pantheon outside of Rome.
You still have one more day to spend in the area, so consider venturing an hour away from Thessaloniki on a day trip to the Pella archaeological site.
The ancient city of Pella was the capital of ancient Macedonia, and birthplace of Alexander the Great. This impressively huge site is about 40 square kilometers with an onsite museum where you can admire artefacts, weapons, mosaics, statues, and maps dating back to the fourth century BC.
Days 9-10: Athens
On your last two days in the capital, you can chill and enjoy walks in different neighborhoods, shop for souvenirs, dine in some of Athens’ best restaurants, or attend a traditional open air cinema. If you are up for more adventure instead, embark on a day trip to Cape Sounio, where you can admire not only the beautiful southern riviera of Athens, but also one of the most impressive classical temples in Greece.
Island Itinerary – Classic Cyclades
Days 1 – 2 Athens
Start your trip in the capital of Greece, Athens, where you can spend two days visiting the unique historic landmarks of Greece’s magnificent capital.
Since you’ll only be spending two days in Athens, it’s a great idea to join an organized historic tour so as not to miss any of the highlights of ancient Athens.
This way, you’ll be able to visit the Acropolis, the Parthenon and the Ancient Agora. It’s also a good idea to spend some time discovering the gems exhibited inside the spectacular Acropolis museum.
The rest of your time in Athens can be spent visiting the local neighbourhoods of Anafiotika and Plaka where you can admire the typical architecture, taste some unique Greek and Mediterranean dishes, and where you can also go souvenir shopping.
Day 3 Mykonos
On the next day, head directly towards the port of Piraeus, either by taxi, bus or metro, and board a ferry to Mykonos, Greece’s most glamorous island.
You won’t have a lot of time to explore every corner of Mykonos, but time should be enough to admire the whitewashed capital and the traditional windmills, one of Greece’s most important landmarks.
Days 4-6 Naxos
On the next day, board a ferry to explore the idyllic island of Naxos, where you can explore some of the most beautiful Greek beaches you can imagine.
If you’re more into adventure and unique landscapes, venture in the green plains of the island to discover the traditional village of Halki, one of the most picturesque hamlets in the Cyclades.
On the second day on Naxos discover the archaeological sites of the island, or venture on a cruise around the Small Cyclades. These picturesque and tiny islands feature pristine beaches and emerald waters and can be seen in a one day sailing trip.
Boats to the small islands of Heraklia, Donoussa or Schinoussa depart from the port of Naxos and you can choose whether to see them all or to spend the day exploring only one of them.
Pack your bags and get ready for more sea exploration. Devote your day to sail to the small island of Antiparos, and spend a day exploring the quaint village, the unique beaches and one of Europe’s largest caves. Once your day is finished, get ready to sail to Paros, one more port of call in your Greek Island itinerary.
Days 7-8 Paros
Packed with exceptional beauty Paros is a great place for a holiday with convenient prices and lots of things to do and see. Among the things you can choose to discover, start by exploring the unique Beach of Kolimbithres, secluded and with a lunar landscape where small pools provide the perfect safe settings for small children who want to enjoy the sea while parents relax with complete peace of mind.
At night, you can discover the capital of the island, Paroikia, with endless opportunities for dining out and enjoying a cocktail by the sea. On your second day, visit the harbor built in traditional Cycladic style with whitewashed houses, octopus hanging to dry under the sun and plenty of colorful bougainvillea.
Days 9-10 Mykonos – Athens
On your last day you will head to Mykonos where you can either take a flight back to Athens or sail to the capital of Greece for your last day in Greece.
Mainland And Top Islands
Days 1-3 Athens
Your adventure begins in the capital of Greece, Athens where you should spend two days visiting some of Greece’s magnificent landmarks.
Since only two days in Athens won’t really leave you a lot of time to explore, the best you can do is to join an organized historic tour so as not to miss any of the highlights in the city.
A private tour of Athens is the perfect way to explore the Acropolis, the Parthenon and the Ancient Agora. It’s also a good idea to spend some time discovering the gems exhibited in the spectacular museum devoted to the artefacts found in the Acropolis.
The rest of your time in Athens will be enough to discover the tiny quarter of Anafiotika and Plaka, Athens’ elegant and neoclassical neighborhood. Here you can go souvenir shopping or enjoy local dishes in any of the several restaurants and tavernas.
Days 3-5 Mykonos-Santorini
On the next day, head directly towards the port of Piraeus, which is easily reached from the center of Athens by taxi, by bus or using the metro. From there, board a ferry to Mykonos.
On your first day in Mykonos you can take some time to discover the traditional Cycladic cobblestone alleys of the Chora, also known as Mykonos Town, discover the beaches near the center, or board a boat to explore unique shores such as Ornos and Elia.
On the second day, set sail to visit the Archaeological Island of Delos, a unique archaeological site and museum in the heart of the Cycladic Islands. Delos is one of ancient Greece’s most sacred sites, believed to be the mythological birthplace of god Apollo and goddess Artemis.
Back in Mykonos, spend some time exploring the old Church of Panagia Paraportiani and the colorful area of Little Venice right by the sea. Don’t go to bed too late – get ready to board an early ferry to Santorini on the following morning.
Upon arrival to Santorini, head to the whitewashed town of Fira, the capital of the island, and spend a few hours exploring the town, and the unique landscape of the Caldera. Right after, head to the Archaeological Museum or discover one of the many churches in the area.
It’s a good idea to have a late lunch in Fira with some of the staple products of the island, including white aubergines, yellow split pea spread, known as fava, and tomatokeftedes, the typical tomato fritters cooked all over the island.
After that, head to the bus station where you can either jump on a bus or hire a taxi to visit the magnificent northern town of Oia, one of Santorini’s most iconic spots, the place where everybody wants to be to witness the magical sunset over the sea.
Oia is a great place for souvenir shopping, but also to chill and take hundreds of photos. You can visit bookstores, boutiques and jewellery stores as well as art galleries and art exhibitions from local painters and artisans.
Once the sunset time gets closer, head to the old castle of Oia in order to find the perfect spot to see the sun going down. This is one of the most popular places in Santorini at sunset, so don’t arrive too late.
On the next day, head to the southern tip of the island to explore the old ruins of the prehistoric town of Akrotiri, a unique memory of the island’s glorious past which remained for centuries covered by the volcanic ashes of Santorini’s eruption. Right after, spend some time exploring the beautiful and unique Red Beach, also in Akrotiri, to then head to the port to board the overnight ferry to Crete.
Days 6-9 Crete
Crete is the largest of Greece’s islands and, early in the morning, your ferry will be arriving at the capital of Crete, Heraklion Palace at Knossos. Don’t waste time and join a guided tour of the Palace of Knossos, a 3,500-year-old Minoan site where you can admire the royal chambers and restored frescoes that perfectly depict the past of the island, which dates back as far as the Bronze Age.
After the visit to the archaeological site, wander the streets of Heraklion, and visit the old Venetian Port and the Fortress. From there, walk to the public bus station (or rent a car) and head to the westernmost city of Chania to explore one of Greece’s most beautiful cities.
Chania itself is the second largest city in Crete, home to a spectacular old town with a charming Venetian port, narrow streets, and colorful architecture.
Devote the last day in Chania to explore one of the most beautiful beaches in Crete, Balos. Join a tour that takes you on a day cruise to discover the pirate island of Imeri Gramvousa as well as one of Greece’s most exotic beaches.
Spend the day surrounded by the turquoise waters of Balos and, once back in Chania, spend the last evening exploring the magnificent waterfront of Chania’s Venetian Harbor and admiring the romantic views of the Egyptian lighthouse.
Day 10 Athens
Sail back to Athens and spend your last day in Greece checking trendy neigborhoods such as Kolonaki or Koukaki, explore Syntagma Square and go shopping in Monastiraki’s Flea Market, wander Monastiraki Square and visit the Acropolis.