Get ready for one epic trip to Greece! Discover where to go, how to travel between the islands & more - here's my Greece 10 day itinerary!
With Greece recently opening up to tourists (including Americans), I’ve had a number of fellow travelers ask for my Greece 10 day itinerary.
Athens was a must since this was our first trip to Greece. As with most travelers, seeing the Acropolis and other ancient sights was something we felt we had to do. I’m glad we baked Athens into our itinerary, especially since the flights were considerably cheaper to fly into Athens vs. the islands, but let’s just say I won’t be rushing back to Athens anytime soon. More on that below.
Now, the Greek islands. My oh my, there are few destinations that have exceeded my expectations like Mykonos, Paros, and Santorini did! Each island offers a different vibe and something unique. I had such a wonderful experience I sincerely wished I could book a return trip to Greece the following year.
If you’re planning a trip to Greece and overwhelmed with where to start, you’ve come to the right place. This 10 day Greece itinerary is perfect for first-timers. You’ll get an idea of how many days to spend in each destination, what to do, how to get to and from each place, and more.
I will also include my thoughts if you’ve already been to Greece before (i.e. what to change if you want to nix Athens) and how to shorten this Greece 10 day itinerary to 7 days in Greece or extend it to 2 weeks in Greece.
Let’s dive into my Greece 10 day itinerary!
Greece 10 day itinerary summary
2 nights Athens
3 nights Mykonos
2 nights Paros
3 nights Santorini
2 nights and 1 day in Athens
A first trip to Greece would not be complete without a visit to the nation’s capital. If you’re coming from the US, you’ll most likely arrive in Athens in the afternoon or early evening. This means two nights in Athens will give you one full day of sightseeing.
This will be a complete whirlwind of a day, but it will give you the gist of Athens. You’ll have just enough time to tour the Acropolis, wander around the Plaka neighborhood (or join a walking tour), visit the Ancient Agora, and speed through one museum.
Yes, this may seem a tad aggressive, but if you’re itching to get to the islands, you won’t regret rushing Athens...and a 10 day Greece itinerary doesn't leave much room to linger in Athens when you want to experience the Greek isles.
A few notes on why I’m OK speeding through Athens
Most of Athens is not at all picturesque. In fact, it’s polluted, grimy, and looks as though it’s seen better days. It’s what you would expect from a country that’s been struggling economically for some time.
The one area that does have some old-world charm is the Plaka neighborhood. Sitting right below the Acropolis, this area is a maze of narrow streets, little tavernas, and more souvenir shops than you can count. Since this is the most atmospheric area in Athens, it has become a bit touristy. Appreciate it for what it is and think about all the history steeped in these ancient streets.
The neighborhoods surrounding Plaka are worth a quick visit, but only if you have time. Psyrri is known for its restaurants, clubs, and bars. The graffiti-covered buildings will be a stark contrast to what you’ll experience in the Greek isles.
Monastiraki and Syntagma are worth a quick walk around too. But again, only if you have time. Nothing mind-blowing here.
After spending four days in Athens (one full day was spent on the island of Hydra), I would have been 100% fine with just seeing the Acropolis, Ancient Agora, walking around the Plaka neighborhood, and then hopping on the first ferry to Mykonos.
If you’re a real history buff and want to explore several museums and possibly revisit a few of the ancient sights, then I would spend three nights in Athens. You really don’t need more than two full days to explore the city.
Athens to Mykonos Ferry - Departure
The best way to get from Athens to Mykonos is by ferry. It’s comfortable and relatively cheap. The high-speed ferry will get you to Mykonos in about 2.5 hours and cost around €60. There are cheaper ferries, but those can take up to 5.5 hours...be sure to check total travel time when looking at your options!
Book your tickets in advance to get the best prices and ensure you get the departure time you want. I searched for ferries using Go-Ferry as this would list all the ferry companies and the schedule. You can either book from this website or directly from the ferry company you’re looking at.
The two most popular companies are Blue Star Ferries and SeaJets.
Arrive an hour prior to departure. Many of these ferries are huge, I’m talking cruise ship size. Arriving early will ensure you get a good seat and aren’t rushed storing your luggage, etc.
Ferries depart from the Piraeus Habour, which is about 30 minutes from central Athens. There isn’t Uber but you can book a taxi through your Uber app.
Athens to Mykonos Ferry – Arrival in Mykonos
The Athens to Mykonos ferry will most likely drop you off at Old Port. The best option to get from Old Port to Mykonos town is by Sea Bus, regular bus, prearranged transfer with your hotel, or Welcome Pickups. Taxis should not be relied upon. There are so few on the island it’s not guaranteed one will be available.
We took the Sea Bus from Old Port to Mykonos town, which I highly recommend. Departures are every 30 minutes, tickets cost €2, and the ride is about 5 minutes. We then walked to our hotel in Mykonos town (Chora).
3 days in Mykonos
Mykonos is one of the most memorable places I've visited. I could have wandered Chora (Mykonos town), for days on end. It’s as Instagrammable as can be with narrow winding streets, white stucco buildings adorned with brightly painted shutters, tiny boutique shops, and fuchsia bougainvillea climbing up doorways.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking Mykonos is "just a party island". It’s so much more than that! Yes, partygoers will have enough day, beach, and nightclubs to keep them busy for an entire week…if not longer. But travelers looking for something outside the club scene will be just as happy with everything else Mykonos has to offer.
Jake and I aren’t big partiers. We're those people that love getting up early to wander the town before everyone else wakes up...i.e. we go to bed at a decent hour. We weren’t sure what to expect in Mykonos given its notorious clubbing reputation.
Let’s just say we adored Mykonos. We stayed four nights and could have easily stayed longer. I quickly learned that Mykonos can be anything you want it to be. A never-ending party, a day filled with beaches, boutique shopping with plenty of coffee stops in Mykonos town, lounging by the pool…I really can’t think of a type of traveler that wouldn’t be happy here.
4 days in Mykonos would be ideal for travelers looking to slow down and experience every part of the island (and revisit a few spots), but a 10 day Greece itinerary makes that a bit difficult.
3 nights and 3 days is the perfect amount of time to spend in Mykonos on a 10 day Greece itinerary. It will give you enough time to wander around Chora (Mykonos town) several times, enjoy seaside sunset cocktails in Little Venice, spend a day at Scorpios (the best beach club in Mykonos), view the picturesque windmills, take in the views from 180 Sunset Bar, lounge by your hotel pool, and fill your camera with a million photos. History buffs will probably want to add a side trip to the island of Delos.
We used our fourth day to rent a car and drive the entire island. This was a memorable day, but I wouldn’t say it’s worth taking time away from Paros or Santorini…hence why I’m 100% confident 3 days in Mykonos will be plenty for the average traveler.
Mykonos to Paros Ferry - Departure
The ferry from Mykonos to Paros is quick and easy. The high-speed ferry will get you to Paros in under an hour and cost €20 to €40 if booked in advance (which I recommend).
Go-Ferry lists the schedule and the ferries running between the islands. Book your tickets on Go-Ferry or directly from the ferry company. Arrive 45 minutes prior to departure to ensure you get a good seat and have plenty of time to store your luggage and get comfortable.
Mykonos to Paros Ferry – Arrival in Paros
The main ferry port in Paros is Parikia. It’s a 10 minute car ride or 20 minute bus from Parikia port to Naoussa (where most tourists base themselves). Prearrange a transfer with your hotel, use Welcome Pickups, or take the public bus. Taxis should not be relied upon. There are so few on the island it’s not guaranteed one will be available.
Jake and I rented a car while in Paros because we planned to visit beaches all over the island and wanted the freedom of having a car. I will also note, Paros is the easiest island to rent (and drive) a car. Driving in Mykonos was nerve-wracking to say the least and something I wouldn’t even attempt in Santorini.
2 days in Paros
Paros is a breath of fresh air once you leave the crowded streets of Mykonos. Locals say Paros is what Mykonos was like before Mykonos exploded in popularity (and price).
Paros feels like a more charming and relaxed Mykonos. The main town, Naoussa, is a less crowded and smaller version of Mykonos town.
Paros has a lot to offer, especially considering most guidebooks don’t even list this island. Compared to Santorini and Mykonos, Paros is considerably more affordable, the beaches are some of the best in Greece, the food is incredible, and the quaint harbor is right out of a storybook. Many also say Paros is less pretentious and more authentic than both Mykonos and Santorini…which I would agree with.
Paros has been gaining popularity since it was ranked as the #1 island in Europe by Travel and Leisure in 2018 and 2020. Even so, it remains more authentic and less crowded than neighboring Mykonos and Santorini.
Paros is perfect for slowing down, hitting the beach, sailing around the islands, and enjoying lengthy meals.
Two nights and two days in Paros is the perfect amount of time to experience the island on a 10 day Greece itinerary. Mykonos has more to do, which is why it gets an extra night, but if you prefer something a bit more laidback, then you might consider changing this 10 day Greece itinerary to 2 nights in Mykonos and 3 nights in Paros.
Extra time in Paros would allow for a day trip to neighboring Antiparos (where Tom Hanks has a home) or Naxos.
Paros to Santorini Ferry - Departure
The ferry port in Paros is small. Arriving 30 minutes prior to departure is plenty (45 if you like to play it extra safe).
The Paros to Santorini ferry is about 2 hours and costs €20 - €60 if booked in advance. Per usual, visit Go-Ferry to find departure times and then book on Go-Ferry or directly from the ferry company.
Paros to Santorini Ferry – Arrival in Santorini
The Paros to Santorini ferry will arrive at the Athinios port. To keep things confusing, it’s also known as New Port and Thira Port.
Public buses are timed with ferry arrivals, which keeps things easy and timely. Once you depart the ferry, go left and you’ll see the buses. The ride to Thira (aka Fira) takes about 20 minutes and tickets are €2.30. Cash only.
We were staying just outside of Thira, so we opted for the bus. Those staying in Oia will have to change buses, in which case it would be more convenient to arrange a transfer with your hotel or use Welcome Pickups.
3 Days in Santorini
Santorini will truly take your breath away. To say the views are spectacular is an understatement.
Santorini is a honeymooner's paradise complete with luxury hotels, private plunge pools overlooking the caldera (the flooded crater), romantic tavernas, and sunset catamaran cruises. It’s not hard to see why those seeking romance and luxury choose Santorini.
Don’t mistake Santorini as a couples-only destination. Just like I said Mykonos is so much more than a party scene, Santorini has something to offer everyone. In fact, I spent three nights in Santorini solo and absolutely loved it.
Those looking for history and activities will have plenty to choose from. Escape the crowds and visit the medieval town of Pyrgos, join a winery tour, have a seaside lunch at Ammoundi Bay, discover the history of Santorini at the Akrotiri archeological site, or hike from Fira to Oia. Santorini has a lot to offer and will please every type of traveler.
Three nights in Santorini will allow enough time to wander the main towns of Oia and Fira, take a sunset catamaran cruise, enjoy your hotel pool, and choose another activity like a few hours in Pyrgos or a winery tour.
10 day Greece itinerary without Athens
I recommend the below Greece 10 day itinerary for those nixing Athens. Naxos is an easy add-on as it's a one hour ferry from Paros to Naxos and then an hour and a half from Naxos to Santorini.
4 nights in Mykonos
3 nights in Paros with a day trip to Antiparos
2 nights in Naxos
4 nights in Santorini
7 Day Greece Itinerary
For a 7 day Greece itinerary, I would recommend skipping Athens all together and trying your best to fly right into Santorini or Mykonos, even if it is more expensive. With such a short amount of time, you’re going to want to focus your time on Santorini, Mykonos, and Paros.
3 nights in Mykonos
1 night in Paros
3 nights in Santorini
Take the earliest ferry possible from Mykonos to Paros to ensure you have two full days in Paros.
If you're visiting in July or August, take a night from Mykonos and add it to Paros (2 nights Mykonos and 2 nights Paros). Mykonos can get very crowded during high season, which can get frustrating on a quick itinerary. Paros will be less crowded and more enjoyable when you're short on time.
2 Weeks in Greece Itinerary
If you have longer and are planning a 2 weeks in Greece itinerary, I would suggest the below:
3 nights in Athens with a day trip to Hydra
4 nights in Mykonos
3 nights in Paros with a day trip to Naxos and/or Antiparos
4 nights in Santorini
I hope this helps map out your 10 day Greece itinerary. This is a great plan for a first trip to Greece as it hits the “musts” without rushing too much. I was very happy with the places we chose and the order we did it in. I would repeat this 10 day Greece itinerary again in a heartbeat and know you will love it too!
*Some of the hotels in Santorini, Paros, and Mykonos are adults only*