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9 days in Greece - Athens + Santorini + Crete. Is this enough time?

I love to travel but I want to go to Greece this year but since I started a new job I only have 9 days to do this. I am thinking I can stay in Athens for 3 days, Santorini for 2 days and Crete for 3 days. This will be friday June 17 - saturday June 25th.

I REALLY hope you all agree I have enough time to do this. :)

Posted by
2950 posts

Eliminate one or the other island. Don't forget to factor in the loss of time due to travel between islands. Crete is huge, 3,206 sq. mi., and Santorini is tiny, 440 sq. mi. It takes a minimum of a week with a rental car just to barely scratch the surface of Crete.

Posted by
6011 posts

It is time enough to get a taste, some will argue that Crete needs more time, but it is what you have. I would do the trip the following way to maximize time...

Arrive in Athens, depending on arrival time and connections, either spend the night in Athens and get an early start the next day, or go directly to either Crete or Santorini. Plan on flying, do your time there, then ferry to the other island, do your time there, then fly back to Athens for the rest of your trip.

Ferry from Athens to either Santorini or Crete takes most of a day or overnight, eating up time, making flying a better use of time.

For Crete, if possible, arrive in Heraklion, do a night there, visit the Museum and Knossos, then head to Chania for the remainder.

Doing Athens at the end reduces the risk of trying to make connections home.

All this is pretty quick, maybe hectic, but makes a good trip.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you so much! This was very good info. SO much to think about but I think I will do all 3 stops and sleep when I get back home...lol!

Posted by
2896 posts

I truly agree with both responders --- With such a cruelly short time, you cannot do the time-waster of Athens first... going in to central athens TWICE wastes precious hours that you do not have. SO if possible, you need to fly to your farthest destination immediatly upon arriving Ath airport. BTW, you need to be clear about what day you ARRIVE in ATH, not the day you leave your house -- it takes overnight to reach Greece. I'm guessing u will arrive on SAT JUne 18, not FRIDAY. On Aegean air website On Sat 6/18 there are flights to SANTORINI at 13:10 (1:10) 15:45, 17:05 ranging from €129-163. (u do the conversion I don't have time).

You really don't have time for Crete... with just 3 days you'll barely get off the highway. Instead, consider taking a ferry 2 hours to NAXOS or 3 hours to PAROS, to spend a couple of days, then ferry or fly back to Athens. Those 2 islands have enough "greekness" left to take away the crowd-memory of Santorini ... you can bus out into the hills, or rent a scooter, and the beaches are golden sand.

Posted by
3 posts

Your info was so great I am now planning to add 3 more days to my trip. I am leaving on a thursday to arrive in Greece on a friday and leaving the following sunday evening to get back to DC on a monday. My friend traveling with me wants to add Mykonos to the mix but I think that may be pushing it. Do you agree?

Posted by
2896 posts

IF you stay on either NAXOS or PAROS, your friend can have her cake & eat it too, as the saying goes. Why? Because, unusually for the Greek Isles, there are TWO companies that run DAY excursions to either Santorini, or to Delos-Mykonos. ONe company runs a boat called Naxos Star, the other runs MV Alexander (our choice, since it's a much larger boat & smoother ride).

The Delos-Mykonos run stops first at Delos the isle of sacred ruins,about 10:30, then about 1 pm takes passengers over to Mykonos. https://parosbooking.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=23:delos-–-mykonos&Itemid=86 (NOTE: if you hate ruins, talk to the captain & most times, he lets people off in Delos then goes to Mykonos & back to Delos at 1 -- so you could skip Delos & have all day in Mykonos). About 5 pm it heads back to Paros/Naxos. Of course your friend may be interested in Mykonos mainly for the parties, but she should know they really don't get going until late July, and even then it's between 11 pm -4 am. This excursion at least will give her the opportunity to SEE Mykonos & take photos, so she can show her buddies that she really went there.