Please sign in to post.

9 day itinerary suggestions for a first time visit to Greece


We are planning to travel to Greece for 10 days in end of May. We are a family of 4 with 2 late teen daughters. We love sightseeing and exploring food and culture. We are thinking of starting with 2 days/3 nights in Santorini and end our trip with 3 days / 4 nights in Athens. Would like to hear any suggestions for places to visit for about 3 days in between Santorini and Athens. Thanks!

Posted by
3991 posts

You could squeeze in a trip to Nafplio by car (about two hours from ATH)--stopping at Arcocorinth one way, Nemea the other, and visiting Mycenae and Epidaurus from Nafplio. The town itself is gorgeous and pleasant even if you did no sightseeing.
It's a lot, but tearing teen girls away from the idea of Santorini is probably a taller order! Athens has a ton to see of course, but I do think you could shave a day off--my reasoning being that anyone who falls in love with Greece is going to come through Athens again, and you need not see it all in one go.

Posted by
1362 posts

Nafplio is an excellent suggestion. You could fly from Santorini to Athens, pick up a rental car at the airport, and then drive to Nafplio. It's a 2-hour drive.

Or, another good option, instead of Nafplio, is the island of Naxos. It's very different from Santorini, quieter and less touristy. Naxos has lovely beaches, you can explore Naxos Town, and then one day rent a car and explore the island, stopping at mountain villages and fishing villages. You can take the Blue Star Ferry from Santorini to Naxos. A two-hour trip.

And after your stay on Naxos, you can fly to Athens. The flight is about 40 minutes.

Posted by
7019 posts

Plan more time in Athens.
Don't miss the New Acropolis Museum and the Archaeological Museum. The Acropolis/Parthenon will take up several hours of a day.
There are many other historical ancient Greek and Roman sites in Athens.

The Temple of Sounion is south of Athens. Lord Byron carved his name in one of the columns. Also, consider a day trip to Corinth and the canal.
Further, do a day trip to Delphi and another day trip that includes three islands near Piraeus.

All this will eat up a week. Consider skipping Santorini, it is always crowded with other tourists, that is why more days there than one is a bit of a waste.

Other posters had some good ideas on the Peloponnese.

Posted by
14 posts

I was reading up on Crete and it seems like a great place too(so does so many islands in Greece :-))

Which itinerary would make more sense

Option 1: Fly to Santorini, 3 nights/ 2 days, ferry to Naxos 3 nights/ 2 days in Naxos, fly or ferry to Athens? 3 nights 3 days at Athens

Option 2: Fly to Santorini, 3 nights/ 2 days, ferry to Crete 3 nights/ 2 days in Crete, fly or ferry to Athens? 3 nights 3 days at Athens

Posted by
3991 posts

I'd honestly do neither--too much travel in too short a time to me, but the Naxos plan makes more sense. Crete is a huge island.

Posted by
1261 posts

Crete could easily use all your available time. Naxos is often called Mini Crete. it has so many things to see that are similar to Crete. A great main town with a maze of back alleys all leading up to the Venetian era Kastro. Mountain villages, some antiquities and really good beaches.

Naxos is also a perfect pairing with a visit to Santorini. You can leave Santorini by ferry and be in Naxos by late morning so its an efficient timely ferry hop.
Stay at St George beach. Its a good sand beach and is actually part of Naxos town. You get a beach holiday with all the activities of town.

With such a short time frame you would be wise to fly back to Athens on the morning
flight from Naxos. That way you can be in Athens by noon.

Here is Naxos. and for fun Santorini and Athens too.

Around Naxos town 2022
Back to Naxos 2022

Posted by
14 posts

Thanks stanbr! I am looking at the ferry options from Santorini to Naxos and flight options from Naxos to Athens.

Trying to avoid longer ferry rides as my daughter and myself don't do well with sea travel. Having said that any pointers on which ferry to choose from Santorini to Naxos would be much appreciated.


Posted by
1261 posts

Sorry I meant to comment of ferries and forgot. Your have some options for ferries.

For us we want to get to our next island as soon as possible. We learned that on one of our early trips to the islands. The ferry hop from Paros to Naxos which is only a hour hop actually took up half the day. We had to check out of the hotel, Cthey want you gone by 10) Get to the ferry port. Hang around the port till the ferry arrives, an hour to Naxos and an hour to get to and check in to the Naxos hotel. We were on the beach by 2.

So your options are to take the first fast ferry from Santrini to Naxos. Without checking actual dates that ferry is usually a Seajet coming from Crete. It gets to Naxos around 11 AM. The seajets are very large fast ferries. They are stable in good weather and with a chop. We have never encountered a problem with stability at all.

Your second option would be the mid afternoon Blue Star ferry. Its a conventional ferry so not as fast as the seajet. It too is stable with lots of deck space to wander around (Seajets too have a deck at the back of the ship that can hold 100 people but thats a different experience compared to the freedom to wander around the Blue Star. ) The other difference is the Seajets is only in the Caldera for just under 20 minute. The Blue Star is in the Caldera for much longer so the views of Santorini are better. The problem for me is the Blue star depart mid afternoon so will not be in Naxos till around 5. So you are sacrificing 6 hours on Naxos by taking Blue Star.

Book your ferry tickets when you arrive on Santorini. Any local travel agent can sell a ticket. By booking just before the hop you will have the latest weather/Strike information so you can alter your plans if necessary.