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First trip to Greece: w/ teens

Hi there,
We are planning a trip to Greece for 10 days in July with our teens, age 19 and 16. While we've travelled a bunch, this will be our first visit to Greece. We like a bit of history, and learning about food and culture, beaches, visiting places that are more authentic rather than super touristy. Based on suggestions from friends, we're thinking Naxos and or Paros, Athens, Santorini, and maybe Crete? Any advice re: how much time to spend in each place, or in general re: where on each island to stay, or things not to miss? We'd also love to take a cooking class, and do some wine tasting, would love recos for those if possible! Thanks so much!

Posted by
895 posts

Does the 10 days include your travel from and back to the States? Even if you have 10 full days on the ground, you will be hard-pressed to visit all the places you mention. You mentioned Crete, that would be a good choice to spend a week as it does give you most of what you want. It has some stunning beaches, lots of smaller towns, great food, wonderful historical and archaeological sites, good hikes. Then return to Athens and spend the rest of your time exploring that city. For a good guidebook to Crete I recommend the Rough Guide. It’s late to be planning a visit to Greece so you may have difficulty in finding accommodation -
For a family, a Villa or condo rental night be the best option.

Moving between islands eats into your vacation time - at least half a day for each move, another good reason to choose just one place.

Posted by
1957 posts

I'm afraid that your friends' suggestions don't match what you're looking for and the few days you'll have.

First, in 10 days you will only be able to visit part of Crete.

visiting places that are more authentic rather than super touristy.

Among the approximately 150 inhabited Greek islands, the other 3 islands that you mention: Santorini, Naxos and Paros are in the top 10 of the most touristy places and in the top 4 of the most touristy of the twenty Cyclades islands. They can be called super touristy, or even mass tourism destinations. Especially since you go there in July, the busiest month with August.

Whatever happens and wherever you go, with 10 days you won't be able to visit more than 2 islands if you and your teens don't want to spend your vacation packing, unpacking and waiting for ferries.
Staying on an island while not "missing things" requires at least 4 full days (5 nights).

So taking into account your preferences: either you stay only in Crete, or you look at relatively quieter islands in the Cyclades like Serifos, Kythnos, Tinos, Andros, Kimolos, Folegandros or Amorgos and you select 2 connected daily by ferry .

Posted by
4542 posts

With ten days, choose three places max. You could do Athens and a limited part of Crete, but otherwise I would omit Crete.
Don't discount the mainland--all of the greatest "stuff" is there, and the coastline is just as gorgeous.