Athens Santorini Mykonos are the most popular destinations in Greece for good reason. Their iconic landscapes and historic sites make them some of the most photographed places in the world.

This itinerary ensures you make the absolute most out of your visit to these two islands and one of the worlds great cities. It covers how to get around, where to stay, top things to see and do and even where to eat and drink. Just adjust the amount of days in each place to suit your needs and your time-frame.

PLANNING A TRIP TO GREECE?

Whether you’ve been before or it’s your first time it can be hard to process all the information out there. Be sure to check out our complete Planning Guide as well as our FREE 13-page downloadable itinerary.

And come join our private Facebook Group where you can ask questions and get advice from real travelers!

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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. 

Best beach and swimming weather: June to September
Best sightseeing weather: March to June and September/October 

IMPORTANT TRAVEL ESSENTIALS FOR GREECE 

BASIC FACTS ABOUT GREECE

 Greece is known as Hellas with its official name being the Hellenic Republic “Helliniki Dimokratia”. It consists of 132,000 sq kilometres of land including 227 inhabited islands. The population is just over 10 million people.

The religion is East Orthodoxy ( Christian) , they drive on the right-hand side of the road and the calling code is +30.

WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN GREECE

Greece has many incredible destinations and is considered home to some of the most beautiful and interesting sites in the world. There are 19 UNESCO World Heritage Sites with another 16 under consideration.

There are 6 island groups – the Cyclades, the Dodecanese, the Saronic Islands, the Sporades Islands, the Northern Aegean Islands, the Ionian Islands, and Crete, so island hopping in the Greek Islands might be popular but it does require some research, as most of these groups do not connect with each other by ferry or flights.

There are also some incredible things to see on the mainland including Athens – ancient sites like Delphi and Olympia as well as places of considerable natural beauty and wonder such as Meteora and Mt Athos. The northern city of Thessaloniki is also wonderful with some incredible sites and attractions close by. It’s also very affordable too.

The Peloponnese peninsula is becoming more popular and is thought by many to be the ‘real Greece’. It is one of our favourite parts of Greece, in fact anywhere really.

HOW TO GET AROUND THE GREEK ISLANDS

The train and bus network is not as modern or efficient as those in say, France or Italy but the Ferry network is probably the most extensive and effective in the world.

In Athens taxi drivers, like many cities, can be a bit hit and miss so it pays to have the details of a trusted one. For private transfers, we use and recommend CATTaxi and if you use the Promo code “GTS” when you book through this link you will receive a further 10% off. If you do catch a taxi make sure the meter is on!

For port and ferry transfers you can book via this article too.

For Ferries we use Ferryhopper and we invariably hire a car at each destination even if it’s just for a day or two.

GREEK CULTURE

The Culture in Greece is rich and varied and is over 6000 years old.

There are a number of things that make it so unique including the world-famous Greek Hospitality but there’s also the unique architecture, food, dancing, music and more. The Greek Language is one of the oldest in the world and it always pays to know a few key phrases for your trip.

We have a lot of resources including a whole page on the Greek Culture as well as a Recipe page, and an article full of reading suggestions, one with our recommended Greek Playlist and another about movies set in Greece as well.

If you’re a history buff then be sure to check out this article on Greek Mythology and where to see the most amazing archeological sites.

Further reading: Frequently Asked Questions about Greece

Santorini – Mykonos – Athens

This article focuses on an itinerary that ticks the most boxes for the most people with these three destinations and can usually be done between May and November. Mykonos is a very summer focused destination and outside of thuse months many things are closed.

Why this sequence?

We always recommend doing Athens at the end, if possible. This ensures you are back on the mainland well before your international flight home and allows for ferry or flight delays or cancellations. Athens is also best for shopping so do it at the end and don’t lug everything around the islands with you.

Our recommended minimum duration would be:

Santorini – 3 nights

Mykonos – 3 nights

Athens – 3 nights (although you could spend a month or more)

VARIATIONS

Looking for laid-back islands that are more family oriented? Swap Mykonos for Naxos.

Looking for off-beat islands with no airports? Swap Santorini and Mykonos for Sifnos and Folegandros

Not interested in the beach but love culture? Stick with Santorini but add Syros or Hydra ( also great in the off-season)

Visiting in the off-season? (November to April): stick to the Mainland

Further reading: Island Hopping in the Cyclades

Santorini – 2 to 4 days

10 days in Greece

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. The views truly are the stuff of legends and it is little wonder it is so popular with honeymooners.

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 re-emerge 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

We always recommend you try and fly straight through to your furthest island, in this case, Santorini. Allow at least two hours on the ground in Athens airport between your arrival and your domestic flight and book with Aegean Airways/Olympic or Sky Express, both Greek-owned and run.

The small international airport has several flights from Athens a day as well as regular flights in summer from other European destinations like Rome and England. Check flight schedules HERE.

There are also many ferries each day, year round. Most service either the Western or Eastern Cyclades Islands and some will go on to Crete.

Book ferry tickets HERE.

TIP : Both the port and the airport in Santorini 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!

NEED TRANSport FOR Santorini?

Book Ferry tickets HERE

Book Hire Car HERE

Book Airport Shuttle Bus HERE

Book Private Airport Pickup HERE

Book Helicopter transfers for Santorini HERE

Where to stay in Santorini :

 For couples: Ducato Di Oia ( adults only) suites in Oia or Above Blue Suites in Imerovigli for more isolation and at a lower price point.

Armeni Luxury Villas are also more private than many and  Cave Suite Oia is another. Aloia Villas face the other way from the church domes but are really quite amazing, as is Ducato Di Oia.

Imerovigli is also a great choice. It’s north of Fira and one of the highest points of the island so the views are quite spectacular. It’s very popular with couples and has lots of upscale hotels and restaurants including Kasimatis by La Perla which is adults-only and Altana Cliffside Villas where you get your own plunge pool. Canaves Oia Epitome is one of the most iconic luxury hotels in Europe and is incredibly romantic. Aspa Villas are great value for money and most rooms have hot tubs.

For families and groups: White Harmony Suites have 2 bedroom suites or Theoxenia Boutique Hotel has quad rooms and is not far from, dare I say it, McDonald’s. Doukas Caldera Suites are also hard to beat ( with 2 sofa beds), or Altemar Suites have 1 and 2-bedroom suites that can sleep up to 4 and have jacuzzis on the terrace with great views.

In Oia we have had a great stay with our family at Armeni Village and Myst Boutique Hotel is also worth checking out. It’s a little out of town but that’s why it is more affordable.

If you want to be right near a beach then Crystal Blue in Kamari is great or Damma Luxury Villas have a wonderful 4-bedroom beachfront villa that can sleep 8. Tristhenia Hotel or Anezina Villas in Perissa will be the most budget friendly of all.

Solo: Kivotos in Imerovigli for a splurge or Abelonas Retreat on a tight budget. For something a bit different stay at Pyrgos 1870 winery or in the authentic medieval village of Pyrgos at Aroma Cavas Apartments or Skyfall Suites (adults only)

Where to eat in Santorini 

Breakfast: this will likely be included in your hotel tariff. Otherwise, Our Corner in Fira and La Scala on Oia are great choices.

Lunch: Lefkes Taverna in Oia is hard to beat for food or service. It often books out well in advance. Some of the Wineries such as Santos are great for lunch but be sure to book head there too. Other spots we love are Aeolos Taverna in Akrotiri or Akro Beach Bar at Black Beach.

Dinner: Santorini Mou in Oia or Dimitris Ammoudi Taverna in Ammoudi Bay are wonderful. For stunning clifftop views check out Lycabettus, Lauda and Strogoli for special occassions and Melitini, Thalami and Pelekanos for traditional meals.

You also MUST book a sunset dinner cruise on the Caldera for one of the nights.

Drinks: PK Cocktail Bar is amazing and check out V Lounge Cafe & Cocktail Bar in Fira or Le Moustache Pool Lounge too. 

Things to do in Santorini 

Further reading:

Santorini vs Mykonos

3 days in Santorini – a complete itinerary

Riding a Donkey in Santorini

How to get from Santorini to Mykonos

Winter in Santorini

Santorini with kids 

one day in athens
athens santorini mykonos
planning a trip to Greece

Mykonos – 3 days

where to stay in Mykonos

How to get to Mykonos

There are regular ferries between Santorini and Mykonos, although a very limited schedule in winter. In Summer there can be over a dozen daily with most stopping via Naxos, Paros and often Ios islands. The faster catamaran ferries are the quickest but can be less reliable and more unpleasant in bad weather. We go out of our way to book the Bluestar to Naxos or Paros and change there ( sadly Bluestar does not service Mykonos).

NEED TRANSFERS FOR MYKONOS?

Book Ferry tickets HERE

Book Hire Car HERE

Book Airport Shuttle Bus HERE

Book Private Airport Pickup HERE

Book helicopter transfers for Mykonos HERE

*TIP The public bus on Mykonos is quite good and it’s based out of Mykonos Town. There is also a water-taxi that services the southern beaches.

Further reading: How to Get around Mykonos

athens santorini mykonos

image@Cali Mykonos

Where to stay in Mykonos

It can be confusing trying to work out where to stay on Mykonos. Some of the most popular attractions are spread across the island and transport can be challenging.

If you’re looking for a home base that will allow you to easily explore other parts of the island without your own vehicle, Mykonos Town may be perfect.

Ornos is also a popular choice especially for families as it has a wide, usually calm, beach.

For couples: Check out Boheme with its ultra-cool Boho interiors in Mykonos Town. Not far from there is Portobello Boutique Hotel which is a lovely mid-range option.

In Ornos it is hard to beat  Mykonos Blanc while Myconian Ambassador Relais & Chateaux in Platys Gialos is one of the most popular, and iconic, hotels in Greece.

Mykonos Drops is also a beautiful mid-range hotel that has a very high standard of finishes and service at a great price point.

For families and groups: Villa Kampani is right on the Old Harbour and can sleep 8 people in stunning, sophisticated luxury or, if you want to stay right on Nammos beach and live like the rich and famous patrons then Villa Santa Katerina is the perfect luxury option for you. Sleeping 12 people with an infinity pool and spectacular views over the whole bay this would be a vacation to remember!

Solo: Lyo Boutique Hotel is our pick of the hotels in Super Paradise while budget travellers will love Andriani’s Guest House which is in a great location and excellent value. 

Where to eat and drink in mYkonos 

Breakfast: Breakfast is always included in hotel tariffs ( amazing ones too!). If you have chosen an Airbnb you will have to budget to self-cater or go out & many places will not open before 10am. The Liberty Breakfast Room is fantastic as is Cosmo Cafe and El Burro.

Lunch: Lunch by the beach is part of the reason people love Mykonos. Being able to swim, sunbathe, ride on a jetski and then wander into the taverna or have food bought to your sunbed is Mykonos 101.

If it’s just a meal you are after then Alesta View has amazing views across the island or Kastro’s in Mykonos Town is an institution. For cheap and cheerful eats To Maereio and Amades Eat Local are great or grab a Souvlaki at Sakis, Souvlaki Story or Lounda Pikantiki.

There is also a great sushi place at Super Paradise called Lyo and a fried chicken place near the airport called Airfast Chicken.

Our all-time favourite place to have lunch on Mykonos is Kiki’s Tavern in the north of the island near Agios Sostis Beach. Great food, great views, great service and good prices. This is a MUST DO! 

Mykonos BeachClubs 

Beachclubs such as Scorpios, Nammos, Jackie O’s and Super Paradise are the stuff of legends and are famous ( or infamous) worldwide. These are places where you come for lunch and a swim and leave at sunrise. There are international DJ’s and crazy beach parties in summer at all of them. If you want a sunbed you will need to book in advance. 

Dinner: When the sun goes down lots of the beachfront restaurants become lovely places to sit under the stars. We love Yialo Yialo and Avli Tou Thodori in Platis Gialos or Nikolas Seafood Tavern on Agia Anna Beach. Hippie Fish on Agios Ioannis Beach is world-famous and has amazing sunsets too ( book this very early!).

In Ornos Appaggio and Kostantis are fantastic while in Mykonos Town D’Angelo and Captains are institutions. It’s also worth the drive up to Limnios Tavern not just for the food but also the amazing views.

Vegans must check out Koukoumi Vegan Restaurant in the hills above Kalo Livadi Beach.

Drinks: There’s no shortage of bars on the most famous party island in Greece. In Mykonos Town Katerinas, Scarpa Bar, Galleraki, Bao’s, Negrita and Caprice are the ones you’ve all seen in photos lined up alone Little Venice in the colourful waterfront huts. These are also some of the most expensive bars but one drink wont hurt, right?

Nearby Notorious and 54 Cocktail & Sunset Lounge are worth a look. Elsewhere on the island Pasaji and 180 Sunset Bar are great too, but you need to book well in advance in summer.

Late into the night places like Queen of Mykonos and Astra kick on well into daylight while Void, Scandinavian Bar and Addiction are full on nightclubs. 

Things to do in Mykonos 

Further reading:

Santorini vs Mykonos

How to get from Santorini to Mykonos

Things to do in Mykonos

A complete Guide to Delos 

athens santorini mykonos
THINGS TO DO ON MYKONOS
athens santorini mykonos

Athens – 3 days (or more)

10 days in Greece

Athens is the capital of Greece and home to some of the most iconic and important historical sites and monuments in the world.

It’s one of the oldest cities in the world and considered one of the most fascinating. You could easily spend a month in Athens and only scratch the surface so be sure to allow at least a few days here, and always make sure your last night in Greece is back on the mainland before your flight home, even if its at an airport hotel or close by.

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 rooftop restaurants many with incredible Acropolis views.

The Acropolis Museum is world-class and needs to be enjoyed either before or after you visit the Acropolis.

How to get to Athens

From Mykonos, you can either fly or ferry to Athens, it’s really a personal choice. They take roughly the same time door-to-door and are often a similar price. 

museums in Greece
athens santorini mykonos

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 it’s right on Mitropolous dining street, or The Foundry Suites in Psiri are uber-cool – once an industrial foundry and also with a lovely rooftop bar and garden with amazing views.

We also love Athenian Residences in Psyri ( our favourite neighbourhood) which have a very romantic vibe, and a swimming pool!

For families and groups:

Great hotels that have one and two bedrooms suites and apartments include Met34, Athens Ikon and The Gem Society. All are in excellent central locations and all include breakfast too!

Auntie’s Home in Plaka is a fantastic 2 bedroom/2 bathroom apartment with a huge terrace and amazing Acropolis views too. I can’t believe it’s so cheap actually!

If you want to stay in Psyri check out A.P. Acropolis View Apartments. A lot of group members have loved it there and you can book a Suite that has its own Hammam with a connecting 2 bedroom family room. Amazing views too! 

If none of those work out have a look at Chloe Boutique Apartments that are right in the middle of Pysri and Plaka. They have a 4 bedrooms apartments that is very good value too.

Solo: I love to stay at Ergon House when I’m on my own. It’s across from Zillers and part of the famous Ergon food emporiums. They have even let me use my room until my 6 pm International flight at no extra charge!

Another great option is gorgeous Monsieur Didot and beautiful, chic Shila, both small, intimate and in quiet, leafy streets close to everything. 

Where to eat in Athens 

Breakfast: If you are staying in a hotel breakfast ( and usually a very delicious one) is likely to be included in your hotel tariff. Otherwise, the Brunch Factory does incredible meals for breakfast and lunch.

Lunch: Nikitas in Psiri for cheap and cheerful homecooked meals or Kostas for amazing Gyros. Cafe Melina is one of the prettiest spots in the Plaka or Gyros Pou Gyrevis for fantastic Gyros near the Acropolis Museum.

Dinner: Maiandros or Athinaikon in Monastiraki/Syntagma. We also love Yiasemi in Plaka ( the much-photographed steps) or Lithos Taverna in Psiri does my favourite Moussaka. And book yourself at least one night at an amazing Michelin Starred and/or Rooftop restaurant, for a truly unforgettable night!

Drinks: enjoy Sunset drinks at the Grand Bretagne Rooftop bar, 360 Cocktail Bar, A fo Athens Roof top bar ( be sure to book this as its small) MS Roof Garden or Thea Terrace. The Clumsies is one of Europes most famous bars as is Brettos. We also love to catch some jazz at The Speakeasy or a quite drink at Drunk Sinatra.

If it’s lively nightlife you are after the whole of Kolokotroni Street and Agias Irinis Square is where you find the best of Athens bar and club scene. 

Further reading: 14 of the Best Rooftop Restaurants in Athens 

Things to do in Athens 

Further Reading:

The Best Rooftop Restaurants in Athens

The Elite Presidential Guard

Private Drivers in Athens

monataraki athens
athens santorini mykonos
10 days in Greece
ATHENS AIRPORT HOTELS

The Athenian Riviera

Don’t forget Travel Insurance!

It’s important to make sure you are covered for medical expenses    ( some countries may include this in health insurance) but also for lost baggage, flight and ferry delays and cancellations, theft, and emergencies, including something that happens back home while you are away, and you need to get back urgently.

This can save you tens of thousands of dollars, or even more.

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