It’s been well over a year now since I was blessed with a trip to Greece and I still catch myself reminiscing back on our time there. If you told me I could only visit one place for the rest of my life, I’d choose this country in a heartbeat.
There are a wide variety of itinerary options to choose from for your Greece vacation. With 227 different islands, it’s the one destination you could visit for the rest of your life and every trip be completely different from the last.
While you may be on the go quite a bit during your vacation, I feel like this itinerary has the perfect balance between exploring and relaxing.
Here’s The Ultimate 10-Day Greece Itinerary:
Arrive in Crete
Fly into Chania International Airport in Crete to kick off your vacation. Crete is Greece’s largest and southernmost island and it’s also the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean. With both the Aegean and Libyan Seas bordering Crete, those gorgeous teal waters can be seen for over 600 miles of coastline. Along with those postcard sea views is Crete’s outstanding mountainous terrain that rapidly changes throughout it’s 3000 square miles of land area.
There are many options of places to stay in Crete as it takes nearly 5 hours to drive the entire length of it. Heraklion, on the northeast side, is a popular place to stay but we chose to stay in the Chania region in Kissamos on the northwest side of the island.
Seitan Limania Beach
After arriving into Chania International Airport, snag your rental car and drive the 15 minutes to Seitan Limania Beach.
Drive to Kissamos
We chose a beachfront AirBnb that was everything we needed. This one bedroom condo was $85 dollars a night, had a balcony with outdoor seating overlooking the bay of Kolpos Kissamou and was conveniently located next to the beach-front boardwalk with multiple restaurants to choose from.
Click here to get $40 off your first stay using AirBnb!
Dinner at Cellar Tavern
After checking in to your place, head on over to the beach boardwalk in the bay of Kissamos. Keep in mind that the Greeks eat very late in the evening; some of the restaurants won’t open until after 7 PM and most don’t start filling up until about 9.
Nestled on the boardwalk just a few steps from the Airbnb is the Cellar Tavern. Stop in here for a fresh tuna cobb salad and some complimentary Souma, homemade Cretan moonshine.
Wake up and walk back over to the Cellar Tavern for a scrumptious breakfast of eggs, fresh buttered croissants, Canadian bacon & a cappuccino.
Drive through the Mountains
After filling your belly with breakfast, hop in your rental car & punch in “Elafonisi Beach” on your Google Maps. Although it’s only about 25 miles to the beach, the drive will take around an hour. Wind yourself through the twisty roads up above the clouds, stumbling upon little villages and pulling off for a quick cup of coffee or some snaps of the beautiful landscape.
After about an hour you’ll reach this beautiful little slice of paradise. Elafonisi Beach is world-renowned for the vibrant pink sand strewn along the shoreline. Spend your day relaxing on a beach chair, exploring the coastline, snorkeling in the reefs, and soaking up the sun. A snack bar is located at the beach for your convenience, offering sandwiches, salads and refreshments.
If your belly’s growling when you leave Elafonisi, about 10-15 minutes down the road are a couple of restaurants to try out, like Sun Set and Stomio Tavern.
You can also wait to eat until you’re back in Kissamos. If that’s the case, hop on over to Bar Bea on the boardwalk for some drinks and dinner.
If you’re lucky enough, you may snag a seat on the edge of the water for a colorful sunset!
Early Wake Up
Rise & shine bright and early today so you’re able to get a head start on the tourists. Trust me, there’s a point to getting up at the crack of dawn on vacation!
Breakfast at the Bakery
Since you’ll be waking up earlier than most restaurants are open, head over to Coffee Break Kissamos, as it opens at 6:30 am. Snag a Nutella croissant and a cappuccino before heading out in your rental car for the day.
Drive the Gramvousa Peninsula
This just might be your most favorite part of your Crete vacation! At least it was for me.
Punch in the “Balos Lagoon” on Google Maps and begin your trek out. Even though it’s only 9 miles away, the drive will take you about 45 minutes but will seriously supply you with some of the most stunning views you’ll ever see.
Some people suggest not to take your rental car out here due to the bad quality of the road (if you even want to call it a road) but we did it and were totally fine. With that said, drive at a very slow pace (like 5-10 mph) the entire way so you don’t scratch the underbelly of your rental.
If you’d rather not drive to Balos (even though I highly suggest it!), ferries make daily trips to the lagoon from the port of Kissamos. Try the Cretan Daily Cruises company who offer 3 separate departure times for cruises around Gramvousa and to Balos.
The most stunning beach I have ever had the privilege of visiting is the Balos Lagoon.
Quick-tips for visiting the Balos Lagoon:
- Arrive extra early in the morning for the best experience: an entire lagoon to yourself!
- Bring a cooler of drinks or a bag of snacks for the day. There is a snack shop but it doesn’t open until about 10 AM and prices are a little expensive.
- Bring your own beach umbrella or you can rent one along with a chair.
- Be sure not to carry too much because the hike down (and up) from the parking lot to the lagoon is just under a mile.
- Wear the right shoes for the hike.
Read More: The Breaktaking Balos Lagoon
After a full day at the Balos Lagoon, head back to your hotel or AirBnb to get cleaned up for dinner. This time, try the Aretousa Restaurant on the beach boardwalk.
After dinner, head back to your accomodation to pack up the rest of your stuff as you’ll be leaving Crete in the morning!
Fly to Athens
Catch a 6 AM flight from Chania International Airport to Athens. Plane tickets can be found for as low as $50.
Explore the Acropolis
After arriving at the airport, head to the train ticket office to buy a one-way to the Acropolis. After about an hour, get off at the Athina stop and begin your exploration of the Acropolis.
Make Your Way to the Piraeus Port
After you’ve seen the top sights in Athens, hop in a cab or on the public bus (or walk like we did) 7 miles away to the Piraeus port.
Ferry to Mykonos
Catch an evening ferry to Mykonos from Piraeus.
Multiple ferry companies operate routes from Athens to Mykonos, with the trip taking anywhere from 3 to 6 hours, depending how much you’d like to spend.
Book your ferry tickets online here.
Accomodation in Mykonos
Click here to get $40 off your first stay using AirBnb!
Day 5 – 6
Options for food obviously depend on where you’re staying in Mykonos but if you’re near Old Town, try the Vegera Café Bar Restaurant or Gioras Wood Medieval Mykonian Bakery.
Spend the next 2 days exploring Mykonos and the nearby islands of Delos and Rineia.
Options of things to do in Mykonos:
- Explore Old Town Mykonos
- Hike the north coast with a tour guide
- Visit the Aegean Maritime Museum
- Rent a quad and explore the seaside villages
- Partake in a Pilates class at the beach
- Spend the day soaking up the sun at the beach
- Short boat ride to Delos to explore the archaelogical sights
- Take a day trip to the uninhabited island of Rineia to see historic temples and churches
Ferry from Mykonos to Paros
After you’ve explored Mykonos, take a late evening ferry to Paros on day 6, arriving an hour after departure.
Arrive at Your Accommodation
Paros is quite a big island with multiple different villages to stay in. Since you’re arriving later in the evening, I suggest snagging a place in or near Parikia.
We stayed at this studio AirBnb that was absolute perfection. The hosts willingly picked us up from the port, stocked our fridge with many snacks and drinks and we had our own private sitting area and beach on the edge of the sea.
Read More: 24 Hours on Paros Island
After waking up to the stunning views outside of your french windows, pop on over to Aliprantis Bakery for a morning bite. Choose from fresh buttered croissants, sugared doughnuts and multiple variations of coffee to start your morning off right.
Rent an ATV
Located a short walk to the north of the bakery is a building with multiple quads sitting out front. Snag an ATV at 45 Euro for a 150cc, strap on your helmet and hop on the road to explore the island.
The main road that runs a loop around the island of Paros was described to us by locals as their island’s “Pacific Coast Highway.” It’s around 35 miles and will take about 1.5 hours by car without stopping.
To decide on a route to explore Paros, choose from heading up north through Naoussa and down the east side of the island or, like we did, head south and work your way back up. If you’re exploring on an ATV and need to make it back to Parikia before dark, you most likely won’t make it around the whole island, depending on how many times you stop. We made it just past Isterni before heading back to Parikia on the road that cuts through the island.
Spend the day stumbling upon all of the stunning seaside villages that decorate Paros’s coastline. Stop in the fishing village of Aliki, dip your toes in the waters at Trypiti & Glyfa, walk the cobblestone alleyways of Dryos and feel the sands beneath your feet at the famous Golden Beach.
Read More: The Fishing Village of Aliki Guide
Lunch in Logaras
Halt your journey in Logaras for some lunch on the shores of the Aegean Sea.
Fisilanis offers some amazing Greek-cuisine. The restaurant/hotel is known for its daily display of octopus.
Continue Exploring on the Quad
Be sure to stop by Molos, and, my favorite beach in all of Paros, Kalogeros.
Wine by Sunset
After returning the quad, make it back to your AirBnb for a quick bottle of wine by sunset.
Take your pick for dinner from multiple restaurants that line the water in Parikia. We opted for Nufaro, a family-run restaurant with authentic cuisine and beautiful views.
Day 8 – 9
Pop on over to Parea Cafè for a scrumptious breakfast with an authentic atmosphere.
Ferry to Santorini
Hop on a morning ferry from Paros to Thira, Santorini, taking anywhere from 2 to 5 hours, depending on how much you’d like to spend.
There are countless options of places to stay in Santorini. For day 8 pick somewhere near the port in the capital of Thira and then spend day 9 in the famous Oia region.
An option for a hotel in Thira: Santorini Hotel Mesotopos.
Oia is quite expensive but a great budget-friendly hotel is the Angel Cave Houses.
Spend your 8th and 9th day of your Greek vacation exploring everything that Santorini has to offer.
Options of Things to Do:
- Winery Tour at Santo Wines or Venetsanos Winery
- Walk & Food Tour with a Local Guide
- Take a Day Trip to the uninhabited islands of Nea Kameni or Palea Kameni
- Explore Santorini’s Volcano & Hot Springs
- Sail on a Catamaran for a Day
- Hike Trail Fira in Oia
- Soak Up the Sun at One of the Many Stunning Beaches
Lunch & Dinner
Santorini offers numerous restaurants with seaside views and exquisite Greek-cuisine. Some amazing options for lunch and dinner include Tzanakis Family Tavern, Panorama Restaurant, Cave Alta Mediterranean Cuisine, Argo Restaurant, and Sunset Ammoudi Taverna.
Early Morning Travel Back to Athens
If you’d like to fly from Santorini to Athens, depending on the dates, you’re looking at anywhere from $40 to $300. This could be a good option for getting back to Athens.
Ferries from Santorini to the Piraeus port in Athens can take anywhere from 5 to 8 hours. Santorini to Rafina in Athens ferries can last anywhere from 5 to 12 hours.
If you’re pushing for time to make it back to Athens for your flight, the airline is your best bet.
Fly from Athens to Home
After arriving at the Piraeus port, the cheapest option is to walk back to the Acropolis then taking the train to the airport. If you aren’t worried about budget, snag a cab from Piraeus to the airport and catch your flight home from Athens.
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