I am traveling in mid June to Greece and my return flight is booked from Athens. I have 17days in hand, would like to split between Greece 10days and one more country 7days. Are there any suitable options with low travel cost?
Explore the possibilities of Turkey and Croatia. Both are low-cost countries and share borders with Greece.
Unfortunately, Greece and Croatia do not share a border. Depending on what part of Greece you start out in, you would have to travel through two, three or four other countries to reach Croatia. Greece is bordered by Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey. Although there are land crossings to all of those countries, ground transportation in the area is very slow (figure maybe 30 mph or 50 kph) and will eat up a lot of your time.
I can vouch for the attractiveness of Bulgaria and Istanbul (the only part of Turkey I've seen, albeit decades ago) but haven't visited the others, but I would not myself combine Greece with any of them on a trip as short as 17 days. If I had to do so, I'd choose Istanbul for a short city break. Do check on the current security situation in Turkey, though.
As an island nation, Greece has a tremendous amount of variety. I would absolutely spend all 17 days there. we usually discourage people from including the very interesting island of Crete on their itineraries because they wouldn't have time to see much of it. You would have time!
Not keen on Turkey as it adds up to my Visa cost. Even initially, I was interested to spend 17 days in Greece but I am not too much into history & islands might get boring after a point. I love greens , so thought of doing some country side places
I stand corrected. Albania is the country I was thinking of, not Croatia. So much for my geography lessons!
The northern part of mainland Greece has some nice green areas. I believe there are some good walks on the Pelion Peninsula, and there are mountains in the northwest. There are striking Byzantine sights (Mystras, Monemvasia) in the Peloponnese, though that area is drier.
Crete has mountains in the interior and is quite diffrerent from the white/cubic Cyclades. The Ionian island of Corfu is much rainier than the Aegean islands and is green.
You need a comprehensive guidebook to Greece. I've seen the Rough Guide recommended. You don't have to visit only Athens, Santorini and Mykonos just because so many other people do!
Traveling around Greece takes considerably more time than it does in most of the countries to the west because there are no super-fast trains. You'll find that 17 days is not nearly long enough once you start doing some exploratory reading.
I'd agree with acraven and others that you could spend all 17 days in Greece and not get bored or "islanded out." Athens is worth several days. Nafplio would be a good base for several more. You could work your way around the Peleponnesis, visit Olympia, cross the bridge across the Gulf of Corinth, visit Meteora, and work back to Delphi. That would take several more days. Crete would be a multi-day destination and you'd probably enjoy some of the other, smaller islands as well. Consider Rhodes if you have time. I haven't been to Santorini or Mykonos, and from what I've read I don't want to go, though I know Santorini has some great scenery.
Borrow a recent guidebook from your library and see what interests you. If history doesn't, you might want to consider alternatives to the cradle of western civilization. But Greece still offers scenery, food, wine, music, beaches, and some of the friendliest people you'll ever meet.
I agree completely with Dick's post. Plenty to keep you interested and occupied in Greece.
Istanbul would be the only logical alternate destination that is easily accessible from Greece. The Balkan states are not easily accessible from Greece, especially on a short trip.
Are you planning on renting a car? To see most of mainland Greece, you pretty much need a car as train and bus service is very limited and not easy to move from place to place. You mention low coast travel, and Greece can be that, but not in high season on islands and not without a car on the mainland. Please read a comprehensive guidebook or come back here with more questions.
I disagree about the absolute need for a car in mainland Greece, though certainly you must plan carefully and will not move as rapidly if you depend on public transportation. You can get a lot of places by bus.
You could fly from Athens to Naples (short flight) and tour around southern Italy for 7 days.