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12 Day Greece Trip Itinerary help


I'm travelling in a group of 3 22 year olds from 9 June to 21 June to Greece. We're slightly unsure of how to plan our trip on 4000 euros for hotels/transfers/sights.

At the moment, we're landing in Athens at 8 am and we intend to rent a car and head to Meteora. There, we will stay the night and head out the next afternoon to Zagori. We'll stay the night in Zagori and leave the next afternoon towards Delphi and back to Athens. Is this possible or would it be better to rely on public transportation?

We plan to take an overnight ferry from Athens to Santorini (to save on one nights of accomodation). However, it is at the island hopping part that we are rather stuck because we do not know which islands we want to go. We do want to see santorini for the fact that it is iconic but staying many days seems slightly out of our budget. We're also keen on nightlife if possible.

Do you have any recommendations for getting the most of the island hopping - would going to the Ionian islands be better?

After island hopping, it was our plan to ferry back to Athens and spend 2 days exploring the acropolis/parthenons etc before flying off.

I'll be keen for any help in planning the itenary in terms of transportation/flights and suggestions are greatly appreciated. Do let me know if you would need more information!!

Posted by
10332 posts

landing Athens at 8 am and we intend to rent a car

After an overnight flight of 8-10 hours you plan to drive 300+ miles ( 500+km) ? You may not make it to day 2 if you follow that plan

Do your island hopping first and the mainland second, ending in Athens.

Posted by
1226 posts


If you want to go to a "festive" island, look at the island of Ios,
it is famous for welcoming young people who want to have fun. It's mainly during school holidays but I think in June you can enjoy it too.
In addition, it is close to Santorini and an ideal stopover before returning to Athens.

For ferries schedules see or

Posted by
1226 posts


Some ideas, taking into account budget limits

Arriving at 8am in Athens, if you don't want to leave immediately by car (which would be more reasonable) and if you are not staying in Athens at least one night, you can take a flight to Santorini with Olympic/Aegean, Sky Express or Volotea.

Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. there are about 5 direct flights every day.
The plane costs a little more than the ferry but allows you to save time and various expenses (bus, bar, restaurant, hotel) in places that only have a transit function before the real vacation.

Otherwise, to go to Santorini by ferry, the only possible one when arriving at 8am at the airport is the Blue Star Patmos which leaves at 5:30 p.m. from Piraeus (the crossing takes 8 hours), the other ferries leave before 9 a.m.

I recommend the Blue Star ferries, they are cheaper than the highspeed Seajets and the journey is more pleasant.

So if you want to go to Santorini on arrival you will have to spend a night in Athens or the port of Piraeus. This is what most visitors do (including myself) when the flight option is not possible.

Then, leave the next morning by ferry (most ferries to Santorini leave between 7am and 9am).
I recommend the Blue Star ferries, they are cheaper than the highspeed "Seajets" and the trip is more pleasant.
The Blue Star Delos departs for Santorini every day at 7.25 am, the ticket price is €49.

To go from the airport to the port of Piraeus the cheapest is the X96 bus which goes directly to the port. The trip lasts about 1h10, the ticket costs €6.

At the port of Piraeus there are some cheap hotels (<€60) to spend the night.
Piraeus is not just a port, it's a big city. you will find many bars and restaurants as well as offices to buy your ferry tickets if you have not booked in advance by Internet with the Webcheckin option

The Ionian Islands are in the Ionian Sea and not in the Aegean Sea, there is no ferry between Santorini and the Ionian Islands

Posted by
1261 posts

Totally agree driving on day of arrival is a very poor choice. Many experienced visitors to Greece recommend you do Athens at the end of your trip. That way you have acclimatized to Greece and you will have to be in Athens at the end of the trip before your return trip.
Because you want to do Santorini you are basically choosing the Cyclades islands. I checked the ferry schedule and on June 8 there is 1 ferry that might suit you. Blue Star Delos is a conventional ferry so it is slow. It departs Pirais (Athens port) at 5:30 in the afternoon. I believe it stops in Naxos, Paros, Ios and Santorini. It arrives Santorini at 2:45 am on the 9th. That is a very long couple of days including the transatlantic. The ferry cost is on 38.50 Euros so it is an inexpensive option.
Sometimes the cheap option is not the best one. I think Aegean has a seat sale on now. Perhaps you should consider taking a mid day flight and get to Santorini on your day of arrival in Athens. Spend a night there take it in and find a ferry next day to Ios. You should find the night life there that you are looking for. From Ios take a ferry to Naxos.

Naxos pretty much gives you a great destination with all you are looking for.

The Santorini Ios Naxos combination is a great choice. They are on direct ferry route. You get the the magnificent views and hype of Santorini then just a short ferry hop to Ios for the party scene then to Naxos.

Naxos town is where the main activity takes place. It is the transportation hub for the island including the ferry port, KTEL bus system,Taxi stand and one day sail boat charters.
There is a nice waterfront promenade and harbour. There is a maze of back alleys leading up the Venetian era Kastro at the top of the town.
We recommend you look at St George beach. Its a 10 minute walk along the headland to the waterfront promenade. You get a beach vacation with all the attractions and activities of town.
If you are more oriented to a beach stay then consider Plaka beach on the west coast. There is a stretch of beaches in this area, 2 with Villages, Aggia Anna and Prokopious, while Plaka runs another 3 km serviced by hotels, tavernas and mini marts along the other side of the sand road, providing services. You can beach with crowds, in rental chairs or just find a stretch were there are a few people sitting on towels and you can find areas where there is no one else in sight.
If you can find a day somewhere you will be glad you used it on Naxos.

By the time you are finished you island hopping you will be rested up for the driving part of your vacation.
Here is Naxos
Naxos town
Trip around Naxos
Naxos sunsets

Posted by
4535 posts

I think it makes more sense to just connect in Athens and fly into Santorini. You may find the cost is not much, if any, more than trying to take a ferry. And if there is no overnight ferry, then you are wasting valuable vacation time and not saving anything. Once finished with the islands, then drive to Meteora. BTW - will you be able to rent a car if everyone is under 25? Double check that. If that scheduling doesn't work for you, I'm not as worried about the drive right after arriving in Greece. There will be three of you in the car and as long as everyone agrees to stay awake and entertain the driver, you shouldn't have any issues.

Posted by
1226 posts

About renting a car in Greece::

You must be at least 21,. so at 22 you'r good. But remember that you must have held your license for at least 1 year.

Be aware that some local rental companies ask for a minimum of 23 years old.
If available, read the "Terms and Conditons" section when you visit the websites.

As a non-European citizen you will need to present an international driving license

About June 21.

It will be your last day in Greece but also the first day of summer.
As in many European countries there will be musical entertainment in the streets. It's all day but mostly in the evening. So don't be surprised if you see stages being set up in the streets the day before.

Posted by
6 posts

We're considering taking the train out to Meteora (the IC 52 from Athens at 9.22 changing to IC1882 because I think the IC884 is only at 7.20 am and we land at 7 am which would leave insufficient time) when we land because we've checked and many of the car rental companies don't allow us to drive especially since we got out licenses this year. My issue now is whether we can get from Meteora to Zagori via public transport as well?

Because there's an option for us to fly from Ionnina to Athens to Santorini which works pretty well so we were considering this.

Would it be more workable this way?

Posted by
6 posts

Hi, do you think its enough time for us to go from Athens airport to Larisa Train station if we land at 7 am and th IC 52 from Athens departs at 9.22? We won't have checked baggage!

Posted by
1226 posts


It will be very risky.

Plan to take the IC54 which leaves at 12:22 p.m.

From the exit of customs controls to the airport train/metro station it will take you about fifteen minutes. (probably more if you are not used to the airport)

From the airport train/metro station to Larissa station it is about 40 minutes by train. The only train you can catch to be on time for the IC52 departure is the 8:09 a.m.
(trains leave at 09' of every hour)

By taxi it will be very expensive and the journey takes 35 minutes without traffic problems.