Looking for the best ten-day itinerary for a trip to Greece? You’re definitely in the right place then. This itinerary is great for everyone, whether you’re looking to spend your days partying, hiking, or exploring all the ancient ruins.
Athens, Santorini, Zakynthos, and Kefalonia are just some of the places this itinerary includes. So, if you’re going to Greece for ten days and you’re not sure which cities and islands are worth it, you’ll find all the info you need below!
I’ve also covered all the basics – when to go, best places to stay, and how to get around. Scroll down to see what we have in store for the ultimate ten-day trip to Greece!
The best time to visit Greece is the shoulder season – May or September. It’s still very warm, but without all the crowds the high season brings.
Don’t get me wrong – summer is a good time to visit Greece, but it’s not ideal. It gets ridiculously crowded, accommodation prices are double than usual, and the temperatures are extreme. The average high in July is 32°C, while the overall average temperature is 27°C. It can be unbearably hot, and unless you’re staying in one of those villas that feature a pool inside your bedroom, you won’t be able to do much during the day.
September is still warm, with a comfortable average of 24°C. The sea is at its warmest, there aren’t that many people around, and the prices are much lower.
Greece is incredibly popular with tourists for its spectacular islands. Zakynthos, Mykonos, Santorini, and the large island of Crete are most popular with visitors, each with its own unique attractions.
This itinerary includes island hopping, so let’s talk about your transportation options. Flying is easily the best and the quickest option for visiting the various islands, but you should know that direct flights to most islands are only available from Athens.
It is possible to book a flight from one island to another, but they aren’t direct flights. Instead, you’ll be paying astronomically high ticket prices, and spending most of your time waiting at the airport for the connecting flight.
There are also ferries, and they’re a good option if you’re traveling between two islands that are not that far apart. Mykonos to Santorini is only 2-3 hours on a ferry, but Santorini to Zakynthos is a ferry ride of more than 12 hours.
If you want to follow this itinerary, you really don’t need a car. Renting a car would mean you’re limiting yourself to only traveling by ferry, and I would not recommend that. It’s time-consuming, expensive, and it would mean you would spend too much of your time in Greece on a ferry.
However, if you plan on driving in Greece, be sure to read our helpful guide on the subject!
Timezone: The timezone in Greece is EEST, so it’s two hours ahead of the UK and one hour ahead of central Europe.
Currency: The Euro is the official currency of Greece and the only one that’s widely accepted.
Credit Card Acceptance: MasterCard and Visa cards are widely accepted in Greece. Larger shops, hotels, and restaurants will usually accept cards, but smaller places won’t. It’s smart to always have some backup cash.
Visa: Visa requirements for Greece are pretty much the same as the ones for other European Union member countries. Here’s a comprehensive list of visa requirements.
Language: Greek is the official language of the country. English is widely spoken in the country – it’s estimated that 51% of the population speaks English, and it’s especially common among the younger crowds.
Electricity: The standard voltage in Greece is 230V with a frequency of 50 Hz. The outlets are the same as in the rest of Europe, meaning all US travelers will need adapters.
Books: If you want to research or read a bit about Greece before you go, we have a list of great books on Greece.
From the Acropolis to the Laganas Beach – our ultimate ten-day itinerary for Greece includes all the major tourist spots. We’re starting in Athens, making our way through the most beautiful islands, and heading back to the capital city for the flight back home.
Related: Check out the best waterfalls in Greece
Athens International Airport is the largest of its kind in Greece, so let’s assume you’re arriving there. We’re kicking off this itinerary with a quick historic tour of one of the oldest cities in the world!
Athens is a city famous for its history, but it’s never the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a relaxing vacation in Greece. It’s crowded, a bit rough, and an absolute must if you’re even remotely interested in Greek history and mythology.
Go visit the Acropolis, the Parthenon, the Temple of the Olympian Zeus, the Ancient Agora, and Panathenaic Stadium. Spend some time at the Acropolis Museum, the National Archeological Museum, the Benaki Museum, and the National Gardens. All of the famous ancient attractions are within walking distance of one another, so consider it a walking tour of Athens. And don’t worry if you don’t get to see absolutely everything – we’ll be back in Athens after a few days.
Accommodation options in Athens vary from a campsite just outside the city to AirBnBs near the Acropolis for $30. I would recommend private accommodation since you’re here just for one night and AirBnB and Booking apartments are incredibly affordable. Additionally, it’s best to look for a place close to the airport. Apartments in Spata and Artemis are $20-25 for two people, and they’re within walking distance of Athens International Airport.
Leave your luggage at the apartment, shower, and then grab a bus or a taxi into Athens. Make your way back to your place when you’re done exploring the ancient city, and the next morning you don’t have to worry about traffic since you’re just 5-10 minutes away from the airport.
Head to Mykonos from Athens on your second day – it’s a 60-minute flight and maybe a 5-minute ride to your accommodation.
Mikonos (the city) is best known for its white buildings in the terraced hills, but also the insane beach parties. If you’re the partying kind, you’ll really enjoy your time on the island. And if you’re not, don’t worry – Mykonos is also home to museums and countless art galleries, so there are other ways to spend your time here. Oh, and let’s not forget about the spectacular beaches – if you want to spend the two days in Mykonos just lying on the beach and working on your tan, no one would blame you!
Check out the beaches, visit the Rarity galley (I am in love with the art here), go see the windmills, and stop by the Archaeological Museum of Mykonos. In case you want to party, just head down to the main beach near the port – there are dozens of bars and clubs here, one of which will surely be up to your standards.
There’s more to this spectacular island and you’re going to explore it on your second day there. Head to Paradise Beach if you want to party – it has one of those clubs where you can party all day long and drink cocktails with breakfast. It’s also a beautiful beach but tends to be crowded with party folk.
If you’re not up for electronic music at 11 AM, head to Paraga beach, Elia beach, Kalo Livadi beach, or Ftelia beach – they’re all spectacular sandy beaches with the azure blue sea. And if you’d rather focus on the historic aspect of the island, I’d recommend a guided tour of the 16th-century Monastery of Panagia Tourliani, or an easy hike to Armenistis Lighthouse. Both are historically important for the island and are a nice change of pace from all the dance music.
Mykonos is one of the most expensive Greek islands, and it has a lot of luxe accommodation options. If you’re not worried about money, I would highly recommend booking one of those villas that come with a private infinity pool. Enjoy breathtaking sunsets from your own pool, which happens to be three feet away from your bed – does the rest of the island even matter?
It’s also possible to spend two nights in Mykonos without breaking the bank. Private accommodation ranges from $25 for a room to about $40 for a comfortable and modern apartment. Hotel rooms are $70-100 for the more basic options and around $250-350 for the five-star experience.
Santorini is Greece’s most romantic island, with countless wineries, hiking trails, black sandy beaches, and mesmerizing scenery. You can get there from Mykonos in about three hours on a ferry, or just some 40 minutes in a helicopter transfer – if you can afford the 600 Euro per person fee, that is.
The island is full of interesting places, from the Bronze Age Ruins in the south to the castle of Oia in the north. And let’s not forget about all those wineries in the west and the spectacular black sand beaches on the east side of the island. No matter where you stay, there are plenty of things to keep you entertained during your time in Santorini.
Additionally, this island is perhaps the best place in Greece for hikers and adventurers. It’s quite small, and it’s entirely possible to explore most of it on foot. Hiking the entire inner crescent (from Castle of Oia to Akrotiri Lighthouse) takes just five hours, and it’s maybe an hour and a half to hike from the far west to the far east side of the island. So, whether you’re looking to lounge on the beach or hike half of the island, Santorini will not disappoint!
I’d recommend checking out Oia, Thira, and the wineries on the first day. The ferries arrive in Thira, so you can go from there and slowly head to Oia, where we’d recommend you stay – it is thought to be the most romantic town on the island, with its terraced hills full of white and blue houses, spectacular views, and flowers everywhere.
If you took my advice and explored the inner crescent of Santorini on day four, day five is perfect for exploring the south of the island. And it’s just as good for relaxing on the beach if that’s more your thing.
Head straight to Akrotiri Lighthouse – it’s about a 40-minute drive, and getting a cab is your best option. Busses will only take you to Akrotiri village, and you’d have to walk about an hour from there to the lighthouse. Enjoy the magical views, and when you’re ready, start heading east. There are quite a few beaches on the south side of the island, so more than enough opportunities for a refreshing swim!
Akrotiri archaeological site is the next stop on this tour of Santorini. It will take you about an hour and 20 minutes to get there, but you get to enjoy some wonderful scenic views along the way. The archaeological site features ruins of a Bronze Age settlement, which are incredibly well preserved. And maybe 10 minutes away you’ll find an equestrian center where you can go horse riding if you’re in the mood to do something exciting!
From there, you can hike to Ancient Thera. It takes about two hours and 30 minutes, with a very steep ascent (a lot of stairs) to the top of the mountain. And it’s undoubtedly worth it to make the effort – Ancient Thera is what remains of a mountaintop city, with ancient ruins and dramatic coastal views.
If you have it in you, head to Monolithos beach next – the black sand is truly spectacular. Otherwise, just grab a cab back to your room and spend the rest of your day relaxing and preparing for day six.
Oia is probably the best place to stay in Santorini. The town is charming, beautiful, and features some of the best views on the island. It’s also the home to the most luxurious apartments and villas. Thira/Fira is a close second since it’s where you’re arriving by ferry and it’s very close to the airport. The central location of Fira makes it easy to explore the rest of the island without having to spend a fortune on cab rides.
We’re back in Athens on day six like I promised! The flight from Santorini to Athens is about an hour long, and it’s the best and quickest way of returning to continental Greece. Since this itinerary explores western Greek islands in the remaining four days, it’s necessary to head back to Athens.
Spend day six exploring all those places that you didn’t have time for on day one. Visit the Byzantine and Christian Museum, head to the Temple of Hephaestus, go to the Museum of Cycladic Art, and stop by the Central Municipal Athens Market.
Alternatively, you could spend this day in Corinth – it’s another town with an incredibly rich history, and it’s a great place to visit if you want to see even more remains of Ancient Greece. It’s about a 90-minute bus ride from Athens to Corinth, so it’s not too much of a hassle to get there. Head to the ruins of Ancient Corinth, hike to Acrocorinth, and make your way into the modern town to spend some time on the spectacular Corinth beaches. The last bus to Athens is at 10:30 PM, so you have plenty of time to do whatever you want.
We’re going to Zakynthos on day seven! It’s just an hour-long flight from Athens to this idyllic island, and you’ll land just outside Zakinthos town. It’s one of the more quiet cities on the island, so it’s the perfect place to stay if you’re not looking to spend your time here partying and dancing. And if you are a party maniac, head south to Laganas or Kalamaki. That’s where all the dancing young people are.
Zakynthos is so much more than its fancy nightclubs and beach parties. It’s about spectacular beaches with incredibly tall cliffs towering over them, ancient castles, monastery tours, and plenty of hiking opportunities!
Spend your first day on the island however you like. Relax on the beach, party all day long, explore the hiking trails, head to one of the many monasteries, or go see the ruins of an ancient stone castle in Bochali.
Where you should stay in Zakynthos depends on what you want to do on the island. If you’ve come here for the parties and nightlife, then definitely head to Laganas. This is THE party town of the island and it’s usually swarming with young people looking to have the time of their life. Accommodation options range from cheap studio apartments to luxury resorts, so it’s not difficult to find something good in your budget.
If you’re not for partying, you can still have a great time on the island – just stay far away from Laganas. Tsilivi is the best town for families, thanks to the water park and its family-friendly beaches. Vasilikos is another popular option, with spectacular beaches and gorgeous nature. Zante is a good mix of parties and picturesque scenery, plus it’s as close as you can get to the airport.
In any case, accommodation on Zakynthos is anything but lacking. There’s everything from cheap rooms with shared bathrooms to luxe resorts, and practically everything has easy beach access.
The second day on the island is a great time to see some of the iconic Zakynthos sights. One of those is Navagio Beach – the crescent bay that’s in pretty much every single advertisement for the island. The beach can only be reached by boat, and it’s as spectacular as it looks in the photos with crystal clear sea and a shipwreck. However, Navagio Beach is not very big and it’s usually crowded with tourists – think 7-8 cruiser boats full of people.
An alternative is to drive to the lookout point just above the beach. You can still enjoy spectacular views but without the hundreds of people.
Marathonisi islet is also an iconic Zakynthos sight worth your time. Marathonisi Caves are perfect for snorkeling, and if you rent a small boat you could spend an entire day just having fun on the water here. There’s also a nice sandy beach on the northern side of the island, which isn’t usually crowded.
Kefalonia is just a short ferry ride away from Zakynthos, and it’s a great place to spend a day. I’d recommend doing this as a day trip – getting on the ferry early in the morning and returning to Zakynthos in the evening.
Drogarati Cave is the most popular natural attraction on the island. It’s also often used as a concert location because of the great acoustics. The limestone cavern is a phenomenal testament to nature’s beauty, and it’s the best place to be on the island on a hot afternoon.
The Sacred Monastery of Agios Gerasimos of Kefalonia is another must-see on the island. The 16th-century church complex features a tomb, a monastery, gardens, and a vast courtyard. It’s spectacular throughout, what with the adorned walls, extravagant chandeliers, and panoramic island views.
Kefalonia also features beautiful beaches and quite a few rewarding hiking trails, so do what you enjoy for the rest of the day. Just make sure you don’t miss the ferry back to Zakynthos.
If your flight back home from Athens is early in the morning, you’ll want to catch a flight to the city on day nine. The earliest flights from Zakynthos to Athens are at 9 AM, and that’s only on certain days during peak season. If your flight home is in the AM, you’ll want to make your way back to Athens on day nine.
It’s your last day in Greece! Head to the airport to catch a flight back home, and don’t forget to enjoy the views along the way!
If you have a few hours to kill before you need to get back to the airport, you can go and explore some of the best hidden gems of Athens. Anafiotika is an ancient neighborhood north of Acropolis, with narrow streets, stone buildings, and a lot of cute kitties.
Monastiraki‘s Flea Market is another hidden gem, perfect for grabbing some last-minute souvenirs. You can get anything here, from furniture to old cameras! And if you want to get something to eat before your flight, go to Plaka’s Stairs – you’ll find a lot of different restaurants here, and the location is so uniquely Greek.
Anyway, walk around Athens until it’s time to get to the airport. I hope this itinerary was everything you expected, and that you really enjoyed your ten days in Greece!
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!