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First time visit to Greece

We are planning a 7-8 night trip to Greece in June. It is tacked on to another trip and that is about all the time we can spare. I need some guidance on how long to spend in Athens and what island (s) to visit, thinking two islands max. Obviously we won’t see it all but it has been on our list and are looking forward to it. Also, hotels VS. Air b n b? Was thinking Athens, Santorini and ?… thx for the insight!

Posted by
11352 posts

For such short stays everywhere, use hotels.
My least favorite place in Greece is Santorini but it should be seen one time. Then go to a more real Greek island experience in Paros or Naxos.

Posted by
15554 posts

My friends who are from Athens told me to spend no more than two days in Athens and then spend the rest of the time exploring the country.

Unless you are someone who loves to visit every museum possible and stop to read every exhibit, two days should be enough.

I would also suggest a day trip to Delphi from Athens.

After that, spend the rest of the time exploring the islands. Santorini is very commercial but should be seen. It will give you the postcard view of the Greek Islands.

Crete is another island that could take up an entire week easily.

Posted by
1382 posts

Experienced travellers to Greece often suggest you do Athens last so you will be on the mainland the day before your return flight.

Where is your first trip? Perhaps you can get a direct flight to Santorini.
While it is going to be crowded it really is spectacular and worth 2 or three days.

Another option would be to fly to Crete. You could spend 5 nights there and then fly back to Athens for 2 or 3 days.

Both Crete and Santorini have international flights.

Posted by
1957 posts

Exactly the same recommendation as stanbr.

From mid-May to mid-September there are plenty of direct flights to Santorini or Crete from many European cities

Note that Airbnbs most of the time require a stay of at least 2 or 3 nights

Posted by
29 posts

Thanks for all the info. We will be coming from Denia, Spain where we are visiting my father in law. We can fly out of Madrid, Valencia or Barcelona. I’ll check flights to Santorini. We were looking at Paros and Naxos, any others?

Posted by
1957 posts

From Madrid in June there are direct flights every day to Athens with Iberia or Aegean, from Barcelona every day with Aegean, from Valencia on Mondays and Thursdays with Aegean.

And there are direct flights Madrid → Santorini with Iberia on Sundays or Fridays.

It would be possible to take a flight Spain → Paros (or Naxos) via Athens in a single ticket with Aegean/Olympic but depending on the day the price of the ticket can be extremely expensive (>250€), in my opinion it is not worth it, you might as well fly to Athens and go to an island by ferry

Posted by
870 posts

Do not skip Santorini! Sitting on your patio with a drink at sunset is magical. Look at staying in Firostefani, as Oia is very crowded. From there, take the Seajets ferry to Naxos.

Posted by
1652 posts

I agree that you should not miss santorini. It is beautiful and unique. Stay in firastefani, much quieter than Oia.

If you have 3 nights, rent a car one day to visit the rest of Santorini.

Take Blue Star ferry to Naxos. 2 hour trip. Very easy.

Posted by
269 posts

We opted to skip Santorini and instead went to Delphi, Meteora, Sifnos, Milos and finished in Athens. Would love to return, especially to Sifnos, but would skip Milos. Delphi was interesting but did not compare to Meteora which is amazing. Sifnos was relatively untouristed, welcoming, relaxed, and had great food (and ouzo!). Two to three days in Athens is plenty to hit the highlights and get a good feel for the city. Enjoy!

Posted by
254 posts

I agree with all the others who said not to skip Santorini! I love Athens, and 2 days is enough. Love Rhodes, and Crete.