Greece 10 Day Itinerary Ideas (from Athens)

Greece is a country on every traveler’s radar- and for good reason. The photos don’t lie. It really is THAT beautiful. 

Once you’ve made the decision to go, trying to fit it all in on a budget is tricky. While many people go to Greece on an organized tour or a cruise, we did this itinerary on our own. This works perfect for a round trip flight in and out of Athens!

Here is a breakdown of my 10 Day Greece itinerary:

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1. Athens, Greece

We flew into Athens, and began our vacation! It is a 45 minute cab ride into the city, so after checking into the hotel we were eager to explore. First, we did a self-guided walking tour, and saw:
We then spent about 3 hours at the Acropolis Museum. This houses most of the detailed pieces and stonework from the original Parthenon and ancient Agora, and is crucial to visit if you want to understand how the monument used to look, feel, and function in its prime. | Check out organized sight-seeing tours in Athens | Read about visiting Athens with kids |
Next was Syntagma Square the political center of Athens. We saw the Presidential Palace, and found a place with amazing Greek salad. We ended the night at our hotel, which has a great view of the Acropolis and Parthenon!

Lodging: Astor Hotel A budget stay, but an amazing breakfast and view from the rooftop! See other hotels near the Acropolis

2. Athens ⇒ Delphi

On our second day, we had a day tour to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. We booked our day trip to Delphi via We had a medium-sized group, and our guide was very knowledgeable about the history and archaeological site.
To reach the site on your own, it is best to hire a car. Discover Cars offer car hire in Greece, and have a wide variety of car types for various budgets. They analyze all of the car operators in the area, and list the best offers.
Temple to Apollo, Delphi, Delfi, ten day greece itinerary, greek islands on a budget
The temple complex was built in the 4th Century BC, and dedicated to the god Apollo. People would travel here from all over to visit the oracles, and learn their futures. One of the most fascinating things here is the thousand year old carvings etched by slaves, detailing their life stories.
Another highlight is the view of the theater from above, surrounded by the hills leading to Mount Parnassus. The tour ended with a guided visit to the on-site Archaeological Museum of Delphi. We had lunch, then made a quick stop in the ski town of Arachova.
After the 3 hour ride back (6 hours in transit total), we walked the Athenian shopping district of the Plaka. We did some jewelry browsing, attempted bartering, and found our new obsession for ice-cream at Ambrosia.

Lodging: Astor Hotel

3. Athens ⇒ Cape Sounion

We booked a morning day tour out of Athens and up the coast to the ruins of the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, built in 440BC (Book our same Cape Sounion tour!). We got there early, beat the crowds, and had amazing views! We spent 2 hours there, which was the perfect amount of time.
This temple is worth the 1.5 hour drive from Athens, as its position on the top of a hill surrounded by the Aegean makes for an unforgettable view!
Temple of Poseidon, Sounion, ten day greece itinerary
Back in Athens, we explored “The Plaka”, then took a cab to Piraeus Port (a 30 minute drive). There, we boarded our ferry, “The Blue Horizon”. We headed towards Heraklion at 7pm. We had booked a 4 bed room cabin, and it was actually very comfortable!

Lodging: Overnight on the “Blue Horizon” ferry.

 4. Heraklion, Crete

Our ferry arrived on the island of Crete at 6am. After dropping luggage at our hotel, we took the 3 euro public bus to the restored archaeological site of the Minoan civilization: The Palace of Knossos.
Arriving there around 8am was a good idea, as we had no lines or crowds. Later that day, the tour groups rolled in, and the line was about an hour long!Palace of Knossos, Crete, Heraklion, Iraklio, ten day greece itinerary
The island of Crete, the southernmost place in Europe, is famous for the palace of Knossos. This is where the fabled Minotaur lived in the labyrinth- according to Greek mythology.
The palace complex was discovered by a British archaeologist in 1900, and he slowly excavated and restored many of the buildings over time.  Seeing the ruins and restored “re-creations” of what it would have looked like many centuries ago was a neat experience. Seeing pottery, frescoes, and structures from 1,900 BC is a humbling experience!
Next was the Crete Archaeological Museum. Here, you can see the original items found at the site of Knossos. The pieces here are ancient beyond comprehension, and their condition is extraordinary!
We then walked to the beautiful city waterfront where we saw its Venetian-era walls and fortress, as well as nearby volcano. We bought art from local painters, and had dinner at our hotel’s rooftop restaurant with the perfect view!

Lodging: Lato Boutique Hotel: The staff went above and beyond, and the rooftop restaurant is great!

 5. Heraklion, Crete

For our second day in Crete, we split a taxi to Amnissos Beach, popular with locals. We rented beach chairs and umbrellas for 10 euros, and spent a day enjoying the sun, sand, and calm ocean. The surrounding arid, desert-like landscape of Crete is gorgeous, and we got great views while swimming in the Aegean.
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Amnissos Beach, Crete
We ate lunch by the beach, which like most Grecian restaurants, can be a time-consuming process. Back at our hotel, we got ready and headed into downtown Heraklion (Iraklio in Greek).
We explored the city center, visiting The Church of Saint Titus, Saint Minas Cathedral, and the Morosini fountain. With stray cats galore, I was also happy to feed my new friends while we shopped the many boutiques.
We tried to do a vineyard visit and wine tasting with local producer Lyrarakis, but made a travel hiccup as we tried to do this on a Sunday. We ended up buying a few bottles from a grocery store, and did our own personal sampling at the hotel! 🙂 We had dinner reservations for our hotel restaurant, and had a nice meal with great service- and a stunning view!

Lodging: Lato Boutique Hotel

 6. Heraklion, Crete ⇒ Fira, Santorini

See the full details in my post about what to do in Santorini!

Lodging: Loizos Stylish ResidenceAn affordable place in Fira. The pool was always in the shade, and too cold to swim in, but the facilities and location are great!

 7. Fira ⇒ Oia, Santorini

See the full details in my post about what to do in Santorini!

Lodging: Loizos Stylish Residence

8. Oia, Santorini

See the full details in my post about what to do in Santorini!

Lodging: Anemomilos HotelAffordable, family run place with a great restaurant and beautiful pool.

9. Oia, Santorini ⇒ Parikia, Paros

Bidding a sad farewell to beautiful Santorini, we took our hotel’s shuttle down to the port at Thira. We took the two hour highspeed ferry to the small island of Paros.
We were able to walk to our hotel from the port, and got lunch at a waterfront restaurant. Next we headed to Livadia Beach for swimming, but there were a lot of sea urchins!
We then visited the city center to shop at the many adorable boutiques. We also went in to the ancient Byzantine church of Panagia Ekatontapiliani, founded in 326AD- and we marveled at the artwork inside from the 4th century!
On the walk back to our hotel we stopped by a 3rd century cemetery, and saw the iconic whitewashed windmill of Paros. We then got dressed up, and went out for a night on the town!

Lodging: Alexandra’s Rooms: A budget hotel with a good location

10. Parikia, Paros ⇒ Athens

We took an 11am ferry to Athens, and arrived almost 4.5 hours later. Our Athens hotel arranged a port pickup for us, and we headed into the city. We visited the Plaka again for last minute shopping, then made our way to the Monastiraki Flea Market area.


Lodging: Hotel Adonis: A budget stay in Athens, good location.

11. Athens, Greece

Our last day in Athens was my most memorable one. First we walked 15 minutes to the famed Acropolis. The ticket line was a bit chaotic and disorganized (lacking signage and clear communication) but we figured it out, and had our tickets to see the Parthenon!
We also realized there were no restrooms or water (as of 2018), so be sure to use the facilities ahead of time and bring plenty of hydration! Admission to the site does not include any informational brochures or maps, so come prepared with materials as well.
ten day greece itinerary, 10 day greece trip from athens
The Amazing Acropolis
Once we walked in to the Acropolis complex, we saw the ancient Theatre of Dionysus. After, we climbed the stone steps up the hill and arrived at the top- where all the magnificent temples are. We spent about an hour exploring the various ruins, and soaking up the history.
After leaving the Parthenon, we headed over to the Agora. This would have been the commercial and social center in ancient times, and many fallen columns and statues are still there.
We ended our visit at the Temple of Hephaestus , which I maybe liked more than the Parthenon due to its condition and lack of crowds! We got lunch in the nearby Monastiraki neighborhood, and then I had to say my goodbyes to Greece 🙁 – but headed off next to Iceland!

Lodging: Hotel Adonis

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  • Reply Mel and Marcus December 31, 2016 at 4:48 am

    We love Greece, last visit was to Rhodes. Even on this tourist Island there is so much culture, Rhodes town and Lindos for example. Crete looks interesting and The Palace of Knossos, good tip to get there early to avoid the crowds and probably the heat.

  • Reply Nat Deduck December 31, 2016 at 5:09 am

    There’s so much to see in Greece that it can be challenging to organize your time ans budget. Your article sums it up and it makes it perfect! Thanks for the information!

  • Reply Jennifer December 31, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    I love the Greek isles! Santorini is incredibly popular, but for a reason. We’ve been twice and we’d go back. We also really loved Folegandros, which you can easily reach by ferry from Santorini.

    I really wanted to see the Acropolis in Athens, but beyond that Athens was incredibly disappointing for me. I found the city to be extremely dirty and mainland Greeks to have a bit of a chip on their shoulder.

    • Reply Michelle W. December 31, 2016 at 7:51 pm

      I agree!! I wasn’t a big fan of Athens. Beyond the historic sites and museums I was not a fan. We also had some negative experiences with the people there as well. Had a few people try to scam us, taxi drivers screw us over, and restaurant vendors so obnoxious they would reach out and physically touch us to try and get us to eat at their place! Insane.

  • Reply Lia December 31, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    This looks amazing! I’ve always wanted to visit Greece. Love those gorgeous white and blue domed buildings!

  • Reply Gokul Raj December 31, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Is Santorini this isolated as seen in the pics. I thought it was a touristy place but looks so peaceful in your pics.

    • Reply Michelle W. January 1, 2017 at 3:49 pm

      These photos definitely show what you can see in Santorini, but if you were to turn around from the direction of the photo there would be tons of people! I did think that it was very crowded during mid-day. If you got out early there weren’t many people, and then we went out and found our own little swimming holes and those weren’t crowded at all! Yes touristy, but still worth it 🙂

  • Reply Megan December 31, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    I love that you’ve combined ferries and public transport to organize your own solo tour of Greece – so much more freedom and flexibility doing it this way than if you were to have organized an island hopping tour. I can’t wait to get to Greece, and we would probably do it this was as well – sounds like visiting most of the more famous attraction in the mornings is definitely the way to go – love that you managed to rock up and miss the huge crowds!! Makes for such a nicer atmosphere and easier to get stunning photos this way.

    Santorini is also on our list though I’m semi scared that my expectations won’t meet up with reality because I’ve heard it can be very touristy and the crowds can ruin the experience. But it looks like you had a fab time – sunset cruise sounds spectacular!!

  • Reply Mia January 4, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    We, absolutely, loved Athens! We followed a similar itinerary but we did the free walking tour that took us around the city and we went back to see the things we missed on the tour. One of my favorite things about Greece is the food so I can attest to the wonderful Greek salad! Great tips.

  • Reply Kim April 23, 2017 at 2:38 am

    This look amazing, I would like to visit Greece in October this year hopefully. May I know how much budget did you set aside for this trip?

    • Reply Michelle W. April 23, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      Hi Kim,
      I am very happy to help and give my budget spreadsheet with a detailed breakdown of the costs. I tried to send it to the email you have listed here but that did not work. If you can reply with your correct email I will send that information along 🙂

      • Reply Sara April 24, 2017 at 5:55 pm

        Hi Michelle, Can I be a bother and ask for a copy of your budget spreadsheet as well? I appreciate the time you put into sharing your experience – thank you so much!!

      • Reply Gwem Parrish March 3, 2019 at 3:55 pm

        Hi Michelle; the info you provided is so helpful and I really appreciate it! Would it be possible for you to provide a copy of your budget spreadsheet with a detailed breakdown of the costs? so many thanks! Gwen email:

        • Reply Michelle W. March 9, 2019 at 6:13 pm

          Thanks Gwen- Check your email for the details 🙂

  • Reply Ruchi June 2, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    Hey Michelle,

    We are going this july for our honeymoon and this blog is very helpful. I was wondering if you could also email me the budget spread sheet you had mentioned about to Kim please? Also, do you have any recommendations for food places or were there any options for Vegetarian? Thank You!

  • Reply Jane nguyen February 4, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. It’s very detailed as I’m looking forward to follow your itenerary this July to Greece! Cannot wait! 😉

  • Reply Summer Wylie March 3, 2018 at 10:26 pm

    Hi Michelle, if you still have your Greece budget spreadsheet and trip info could you send me a copy please? My fiancé and I are planning a trip for our honey moon in September. Also what time of year did you go? Thanks!

  • Reply Penelope April 7, 2018 at 8:06 am

    Hi Michelle!

    I am visiting greece in July, we currently have 1 hotel in Athens for the entire time of our stay. (12 days) i wanted to know your thoughts on possibly switching hotels as you and your group did. We are just worried about bag storage and having to carry around our luggage every time we switch. Also, if you could please email me your spreadsheet as well, that would be awesome! thanks so much!!

  • Reply Dawn H May 7, 2019 at 4:42 am

    Hi Michelle
    Thank you for sharing the details of your Greece vacation. It sounds jus wonderful. I normally plan my own overseas vacations as well, but had been thinking of doing Greece via a cruise just because of the logistics. Your article has changed my mind. I’m so excited to get started planning. If you don’t mind could you send me your budget spreadsheet as well. Thank you again for sharing!!!


  • Reply Don Leanage June 5, 2019 at 2:26 am

    Hi Michelle
    We are planning a 10 day trip to Greece coming September and your itinerary will help us greatly. I would be most grateful if you could email me your budget spreadsheet – even though it will be 3 years out of date, I will be a good starting point and I can adjust to allow for Inflation/current prices. Thank you so much.

  • Reply Carrie June 18, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    A popular request I see! Could I also see your budget. I’m going to Greece for ten days with my best friend ( we are both in are sixths but fit. So excited by your report

  • Reply Pratiksha November 21, 2021 at 8:37 am

    Thank you very much for this post. It’s very detailed Information I love it Thank you once again

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