If you only have 10 days in Greece for your first visit it is still possible to cover a lot of ground and ensure you are planning your next visit before you’ve even left!
Here’s our suggested itinerary that will allow you to visit three incredible Greek Islands, Athens and the extraordinary monastaries of Meteora, including where to stay, how to get around and what to do in that time. Even where to eat and drink!
This Greece itinerary 10 days covers EVERYTHING!
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When to visit Greece
The best times to visit Greece are April-June and September-October. The weather is mild and most places have few crowds. High season is late June to early September, and prices will reflect that as will the crowds, the number of cruise ships and accommodation availability.
Summer is still great, especially for beach time and in some of the lesser known spots. The water is warm, there are blue skies every day and a fun holiday atmosphere.
Easter is an especially wonderful time to visit Greece as it becomes very festive with parades, parties, and on many islands bonfires , fireworks and other activities and traditions. There are many festivals throughout the year that can vary for place to place and can be quite fascinating to witness.
Best beach and swimming weather: June to September
Best sightseeing weather: March to June and September/October
DAY 1- Athens
Athens is the capital of Greece and home to some of the most iconic and important historical sites and monuments in the world.
There are several ways to get to Athens which cover air, sea, rail, driving and even on foot!
Apart from the many things you can do in Athens including great shopping, incredible food, and all the ancient sites there is also great nightlife with a plethora of bars, tavernas, and clubs to choose from. There are a lot of new hotels and restaurants many with incredible rooftop views, especially of the Acropolis.
The Acropolis Museum is world-class and needs to be enjoyed either before or after you visit the Acropolis.
Where to stay in Athens :
For couples : Zillers Hotel has only 10 rooms and amazing Acropolis views from some rooms and the lovely rooftop bar and restaurant and its right on Mitropolous dining street,or The Foundry Suites in Psiri are uber cool and was once an industrial foundry.
Solo: I love to stay at Ergon House when I’m on my own. Its across from Zillers and part of the famous Ergon House food emporiums. They have even let me use my room until my 6pm International flight at no extra charge!
Where to eat in Athens on Day one:
Drinks : enjoy Sunset drinks at the Grand Bretagne Rooftop bar
Things to do in Athens on Day One:
- explore the area around your Hotel and get your bearings
- wander down Ermou Pedestrian Street
- Visit Syntagma Square and see Parliament House and the Changing of the Greek Presidential Guard – the Evzones
- wander through Plaka and the many cafes, shops and galleries
- stop by the Monastaraki flea market
- walk into the Athens Central Food Market
DAY 2 – Athens
Where to eat in Athens on Day Two:
Breakast : this will likely be included in your hotel tarrif. Otherwise the Brunch Factory does incredible meals for breakfast and lunch.
Things to do in Athens on Day Two:
- Visit the Acropolis either as early or as late as possible. Read our Full Guide on how to do this and the Acropolis Museum.
- Visit the Acropolis Museum
- Catch the Red Hop on Hop off bus to visit various ancient sites and points of interest
- Stroll through the National Gardens and see the Temple of Zeus
- have coffee or a drink in the Plaka
- Take in an open air concert at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus
- Spend time before, during or instead of a concert in the lively area of Psiri including a visit to the colourful and very kooky Little Kook!
DAY 3 – Meteora
The Meteora Monasteries are located close to the city of Kalambaka in Greece, near the Pineois river and the Pindus Mountains, about 360km north of Athens.
The word “Meteora,” means “hovering in the air” which, whilst a literal description of the famous monasteries, also shows just how otherworldly they are.
The complex is made up of twenty-four Eastern Orthodox monasteries that were built on giant sandstone rock pillars between the 14th and 16th centuries. Six of them are still in use today and can be visited by the public, whilst others are popular for sightseeing externally by hikers and photographers.
This UNESCO world heritage site is truly one of the most remarkable and visually beautiful places you will visit anywhere in the world. Even if you only have 1 night to spare on your trip to Greece you will not regret the effort to visit Meteora for a moment!
How to get to Meteora:
There are two ways to get to Meteora: either by signing up for one of the numerous guided Meteora tours from Athens or Thessaloniki or by using your own means of transport and staying a night or two in the city of Kalambaka or the village of Kastraki, and visiting the monasteries at your own pace.
It takes about 4 hours to drive from Athens or you can catch a train and bus which takes about 5.
Where to stay in Meteora :
Doupiani Hotel, Kastraki – great for all types of travellers and one of the closet hotels to the Monasteries as well as having incredible views of them. In fact it is feasible to walk to two of the monasteries from the hotel with not too much effort.
Where to eat in Meteora:
Breakast : Doupiani Hotel do a fantastic breakfast spread!
Lunch: Taverna Efrosino
Dinner: Meteoron Panorama for extraordinary views and food. Book a table outside!
Things to do in Meteora:
- Its all about the Monasteries! Read our complete guide to Meteora, including how to visit each Monastery and what they each represent.
Day 4 – Santorini
Santorini is a bucket list destination for most people and for good reason. Despite the cruise ships and the crowds, it remains one of those places that not only meets your expectations but probably exceeds it.
It can get a bit crazy when the cruise ships come in each day so a room with a pool and terrace makes for a great escape for an afternoon siesta and sundowners. When you reemerge for dinner most of the tourists will have floated away!
We love to stay in Oia which is considered the most picturesque village, although a lot of people also enjoyed Imerovigli which is about a 20 minute walk along the nice flat footpath that runs along the Caldera seam.
There are a surprising amount of things to do on Santorini with beaches, wineries, hot springs, great shopping and some of the worlds most iconic and photographed sunsets.
How to get to Santorini
You can travel to Santorini by ferry or by plane from Athens. Return to Athens from Meteora either on your overnight tour, by driving or by train.
There are also many ferries each day, year round. Most service either the Western or Eastern Cyclades Islands and on to Athens whilst some come from Crete. Book ferry tickets HERE.
TIP : Both the port and the airport can be quite nuts in summer and there can be long waits for the cablecar, taxis and donkeys. It REALLY pays to have a private transfer waiting for you!
Where to stay in Santorini :
Where to eat in Santorini on Day one:
Lunch: Lefkes Taverna in Oia is hard to beat for food or service. It often books out well in advance.
Things to do in Santorini on Day One:
- check into your hotel and explore your local area. If cruise ships are in you may want to rest up and explore at night when it is less crowded and cooler.
- explore the maze of streets in Oia including Panagia Platsani Church
- visit famous Atlantis Books for a unique bookshop experience
- check out the many upmarket boutiques and jewelry shops in Oia
- walk down to Oia Castle
Day 5 – Santorini
Where to eat in Santorini on Day Two:
Breakast : this will likely be included in your hotel tariff. Otherwise, see Day One.
Dinner: Book a sunset dinner cruise on the Caldera
Things to do in Santorini on Day Two:
- a half day tour of the island
- tour the world renowned wineries with a sommelier
- do wine tasting AND a cooking class
- swim at Black Beach, Red Beach and Kamari Beaches
- visit authentic Pyrgos village and see what Santorini is like for long time locals
- do a sunset fishing trip with dinner and drinks
- attend a ‘traditional’ Greek wedding!
- have a professional photographic session done – hard to beat the backdrop!
Day 6 – Naxos
Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades Islands. It is famous for its lush and fertile lands along with its picturesque, whitewashed villages and towns and beautiful beaches.
In fact, as many of the beaches are wide, shallow and often calm some people say Naxos has the best beaches in the Greek Islands!
It’s also a very affordable island and represents great value for money for all types of travellers.
How to get to Naxos
You can also travel to Naxos from Sanotirini by ferry which takes about 2 hours. There are several ferries each day, year-round. The main town of Chora is also the main port.
Where to stay in Naxos :
For couples : Antony Suites are gorgeous, right near St.George beach and are Adults Only
Solo: Mystique of Naxos is right near the beach in the Chora and has stunning rooms and a great little rooftop pool and sundeck. Walk to everything and cheap too!
Where to eat in Naxos on your first day:
Naxos has some legendary food in Greece and is particularly famed for its potatoes and cheeses.
Lunch: Boulamatsis Oinomageirion is our favourite place to eat and watch the ferries come and go in the port. Try the stuffed squid!
Dinner: We ate at Nikos Taverna on our first night in Naxos and will continue to return.
Things to do in Naxos on your first day:
Day 7 – Naxos
Where to eat in Naxos on your second day:
Breakfast : this will likely be included in your hotel tarrif. Otherwise see Day One.
Lunch: Try and get to O Vasilis in Melanes for a beautiful lunch in the country
Drinks: anywhere facing west for fantastic sunset views over Paros
Things to do in Naxos on your second day:
- Hire a car and venture out to other parts of the island;
- Visit some of the other wonderful beaches on the island such as;
- see the port and the tiny island Church at Panagia Myrtidiotissa
- visit the Cedar Forest of Alyko
- drop into the Fish and Olive Museum in the village of Chalkio
- see the remains of one of the famous Kouros Satues in Melanes
- learn about the famous Naxian food on a half day cooking class in a local taverna
- If you don’t want to rent a car a fantastic alternate activity is a boat trip around the Small Cyclades Islands. Crystal Clear aquamarine water, sea caves, tiny churches, swimming and lunch – a day you will never forget!
Day 8 – Paros
For many people Paros is the perfect Greek island. Not too small nor too big, with something for everyone. It’s also strategically located as the first ferry port from Athens to the popular Cyclades islands and therefore a great place to access the mainland coming from the other direction.
We like to stay in Naoussa on Paros which many say is like a small, cheaper version of Mykonos with a lively mix of tavernas, bars, and nightclubs as well as lovely whitewashed alleys full of great cafes and boutiques and gelati stores.
The port town of Parikia is also nice and a little more affordable than Naoussa.
How to get to Paros
You can also travel to Paros by ferry from Naxos which takes about 30 minutes.
There are many ferries each day, year round. The port town is called Parikia and that, or Naoussa are the best options to base yourself. Book ferry tickets HERE.
Where to stay in Paros :
For families and groups: Paliomylos Hotel and Spa is where chose to stay for special birthday celebrations with 38 family and friends. Chrys and the team are amazing!
Solo: Parian Village Beach Hotel is right across from the beach near the port town of Parikia and have great value single rooms with beautiful sea views and a nice pool.
Where to eat in Paros on your first day:
Breakast : Ragoussis Bakery is huge and amazing! In fact there are many excellent bakeries across the island.
Dinner: You cant visit Naoussa without dining at one of the lively port restaurants like Sigi Ikthios or its famous neighbour Barbarossa which is favoured by celebrities. We love Sativa Music Bar in Parikia which has great food as well as entertainment.
Drinks: if you’re wanting to kick on after dinner, Agosta bar in Naoussa or any of its immediate neighbors, are the place to be.
Things to do in Paros on your first day:
- Explore the villages of Naoussa or Parikia depending on where you are staying.
- Naoussa: don’t miss the Venetian Fort, the old fishing port, Kapopoulos Fine Arts Gallery, the ducks at the Harbour Bridge and the Church of the Virgin Mary ( Panayia).
- Parakia: The Church of 100 doors ( and its museum), the Frankish Castle, the Archaic Temple of Athena, the myriad of shops and cafes in the back alleys and the Port.
Day 9 – Paros
Where to eat in Paros on your second day:
Breakast : this will likely be included in your hotel tariff. Otherwise, see Day One.
Lunch: O Mylos in Marpissa have the best Gyros we’ve eaten anywhere! If you don’t want to drive then catch the little ferry from Naoussa to Kolymbithres Beach for a swim and lunch at Paros on the Rocks.
If in Parikia Meltemi Cafe is a great spot to stop if you’re exploring the southern end of town and the windmills.
Dinner: We had a beautiful night at Statheros on the water in Naoussa recently. A little further out of town Siparos remains one of our favourite restaurants in Greece and has incredible sunset views and excellent service. Tell Paris we sent you!
Things to do in Paros on your second day:
- Hire a car and do a loop of the island taking in various villages and beaches along the way
- visit Moraitis Winery in Naoussa
- spend a few hours at Paros Park – an historic nature reserve with a lovely beach and beach club
- stop for a coffee in Piso Livadi fishing port
- visit the once famous Marathi Marble Quarries – marble or the Venus De Milo and Napoleons tombstone came from here
- visit the Medieval village of Lefkas
- do a day trip to neighbouring Anti-paros
Day 10 – Lavrio
Lavrio is a town south of Athens on the Greek Mainland. The word Lavrion comes from ‘Lavra’ which means alley or paths and the area is thought to have been inhabited since Neolithic times.
It is a much prettier port than Pireaus and is also closer to the airport which is about 35 minutes’ drive away. Stopping here for a night will give you a feel for the area called the ‘Athenian Riviera” and it’s a very pleasant way to end your time in Greece.
The main point of interest in Lavrio is the fishing village itself, the Mineralogical Museum and nearby Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounio, a 15-minute drive away.
How to get to Lavrio
You can travel to Lavrio by ferry from Paros which takes about 3 hours but you may need to connect on Syros or Mykonos. Timetables for this route are often not released until Spring so keep an eye on schedules HERE.
If a ferry is not running at the time you require you can fly to Athens from Paros and catch a taxi to Lavrio.
Where to stay in Lavrio:
Cape Sounio, Grecotel Exclusive Resort is a sprawling resort on the beachfront and is a great choice for all travellers.
Where to eat in Lavrio:
Breakast : this will likely be included in your hotel tariff.
Lunch: Syrtaki is an excellent taverna overlooking the ocean near Cape Sounion.
Dinner: Marida is an excellent fish taverna in town that has huge portions at great prices.
With this itinerary you will spend 10 days in Greece visiting 3 of the best Greek islands as well as spending time in and around the fascinating ancient capital and the beautiful Thessaly countryside.
Of course, you can adjust it for a slower pace simply by extending a few places by a day or two.
You will take in stunning vistas, fascinating historical sites and information, hang out at beautiful beaches, visit medieval Greek villages and monastaries and world class wineries. You will see authentic Greek fishing villages, sail on the clearest azure water you’ve ever seen and indulge in some of the best food and nightlife on the planet.
This itinerary for 10 days in Greece offers something for all types of travellers to Greece and at all price points.
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