Greece is a beautiful country with endless places to explore. There are over 2,000 islands, 170 of which are inhabited. Within this fantastic country are diverse landscapes, charming cities, and rich culture. You could spend a lifetime exploring Greece and never see all of it.
Lucky for you, we have come up with an itinerary where you can get a taste of what this incredible place has to offer.
This eleven-day itinerary will take you to Athens, Paros, and Crete. It’s just a Greek sampler platter, but you’ll see some fantastic things along the way.
Without further ado, let’s go island hopping in Greece!
Soaking Up City Life and Culture in Athens
The first stop on the itinerary is Athens, Greece’s capital city. This metropolis holds one-third of the country’s total population.
In Athens, you’ll have rich cultural experiences and can enjoy exciting city life. It is a place that never sleeps, with something always happening.
There are over 3,400 years of history here, starting with some of the earliest recorded human civilizations. Around every corner are historical buildings that lie side by side with modern shops and cafés.
With so much to do and see here, it can be challenging to navigate. Here’s how we would recommend planning out two days in Athens.
Take a flight from JFK to ATH and arrive at around 10 am.
From the airport, take private transportation to New Hotel. We love this hotel and highly recommend it because of its mix of wellness, art, and experiences in a 4-star setting.
Once you check-in, spend the rest of the day unwinding and grabbing a meal at a local restaurant.
A few restaurants that we recommend are:
Kilimataria: a delicious Greek eatery with music and dance
Varoulko: a Michelin-starred seaside restaurant
Orizontes: the most scenic terrace in Athens
Lukumades: some of the most amazing donuts in the city
O’Kosta: a quick and delicious bite to eat
Day two will be a full day exploring Athens.
Start your morning with breakfast at the hotel or a surrounding eatery.
After, tour around the city (private tour guides are available). A pro tip would be to buy multi-site tickets to make things easier.
A few of the must-see places that you should visit in Athens include:
- The Acropolis
- Plaka: a great lunch and shopping spot
- Temple of Olympian Zeus
- The National Garden
Once you have visited these sites, take your time wandering through Athens. Grab dinner at one of the city’s many dining options and then rest for the next part of the trip.
Enjoying the Great Outdoors in Paros Rooms
The next place on the itinerary is Paros, an up-and-coming island about 40 minutes away from Athens by plane and 3.5-5 hours away by ferry. Similar to many places in Greece, it has an ancient history dating back thousands of years.
You’ll have a blast wandering through its beautiful villages and seeing historical sites. Its capital city of Parikia has ancient ruins, narrow streets, and lively taverns visitors can enjoy.
Around the island, there are countless beaches with warm sand and crystal clear waters.
Spending four days in Paros is a great way to explore the island and see the highlights.
Day three starts in Athens, where you’ll eat breakfast before heading to Paros.
You can either take a plane or ferry. We recommend a plane ride for those who want to get to Paros quickly and a ferry for those who want to enjoy the journey.
The hotel that we recommend in Paros is the Parilio Luxury Hotel. This retreat has elegant architecture that blends into the natural landscape. It has an intimate feel because there are only 33 suites. Guests have access to relaxing spa services and delicious dining at Mr. E.
After checking into your hotel, enjoy the grounds and have dinner at Mr. E (reservations highly encouraged).
Start day four off with breakfast at the hotel.
Spend all day on a sailing cruise exploring the Small Cyclades, a complex of islands in the Aegean Sea. Have lunch on the boat, then return for dinner.
Some of our favorite dinner spots on Paros include:
- Yemeni: an effortlessly elegant restaurant with seasonal local dishes
- Stou Fred: romantic garden restaurants serving up five courses of seasonal dishes
- Statheros: an organic farm-to-table eatery
- Ouzeri Halaris: a casual seafood taverna next to the sea
- Taverna Glafkos: a super cute waterside eatery serving up contemporary Greek fare
We highly encourage making reservations to any dinner spot on Paros.
Start the day by eating breakfast at the delicious Meltemi Café.
Once you have breakfast, visit the capital city of Parikia. This destination has the most important landmarks on the island. It’s only a 13-minute drive from the hotel.
In Parikia, you can see beautiful whitewashed two-story houses, ancient temples, and a 13th-century castle called Kastro. You should also check out the Archaeological Museum of Paros, with fascinating relics dating back to the Neolithic and Roman eras.
Eat lunch at Ela Paros, then return to the hotel.
Spend the afternoon at the spa and have dinner at a restaurant of your choice.
On day six, have breakfast at the hotel or café of your choice.
Spend the day enjoying your hotel’s pool or at Kolymbithres Beach nearby. It’s a rocky beach with shallow water perfect for soaking in the water. There is some sand where you can lay out and relax.
At lunch, you can dine at the pool bar that has delicious light bites to eat.
After a morning at the pool, spend the afternoon in Naoussa, just a seven-minute drive from the hotel. It’s a great place to walk around, shop, and explore.
Grab dinner and rest up for the journey to Crete after wandering around Naoussa.
Experiencing Rich Culture and Natural Beauty in Crete
Crete is the third and final destination on our itinerary. There is so much to explore here, so this is where you’ll be spending the most time. It is Greece’s largest island and the Mediterranean’s fifth-largest.
This destination is a fascinating place with over 130,000 years of history dating back to the Paleolithic age.
It’s a very mountainous island with dramatic landscapes. There are lush plains, stunning gorges, and beautiful lakes.
Being an island, you’ll find some pretty impressive beaches here.
Crete also has vibrant culture housed within its cities. Throughout the island, you’ll find some excellent archeological sites and relics from ancient times.
On day seven, have breakfast at the hotel before checking out.
This day will be a travel day, where you will take a two-and-a-quarter hour journey from Paros to Crete by airplane.
Once you arrive, take private transportation to the hotel, about 53 minutes.
Your hotel in Crete will be the Daios Cove Luxury Hotel. This five-star hotel has jaw-dropping views and outstanding amenities. It has a very exclusive location with a secluded cove that makes it the perfect retreat.
Dinner on day seven will be at the hotel’s Ocean Restaurant. This restaurant serves excellent seafood and fresh dishes with a view.
Start the day with breakfast at the hotel before a half-day boat experience.
For this experience, you’ll ride on one of Daios Cove’s private rib boats. This excursion is a unique way to experience Mirabello Bay.
After a morning of thrills and excitement, relax at the pool and enjoy the rest of the afternoon.
For dinner, try one of these delicious dishes to sample typical Cretan cuisine. Cretans pride themselves on highlighting high-quality natural ingredients. The local cuisine is very healthy and delicious.
Once you’ve sampled the local cuisine and have explored to your heart’s content, head back to the hotel and rest.
Day Nine and Ten
Day nine and ten are perfect for enjoying all of the activities you can do at the resort and on the island.
Start the day eating breakfast, then pick an activity that you enjoy.
Avid divers can enjoy Daios Cove’s diving center, where you can dive at the cove and explore the beautiful rock formations and underwater life.
Those who want to do something above the water would enjoy windsurfing and kitesurfing. Crete is an ideal location for both of these sports.
The island’s mountainous topography makes it ideal for hiking and cycling. An hour away from the cove is Richtis Gorge, one of the best hiking spots on the island. Countless biking trails wind through century-old olive groves, beautiful villages, and scenic hilltops.
There is a premier 18-hole golf course at the hotel, perfect for both amateur and competitive golfers. Not only is the course top-notch, but the views are spectacular.
Choose one or two of these activities per day, then spend the rest of the time relaxing at the hotel pool and beach.
After a long day out, have dinner at one of the nearby restaurants. Return to the hotel after dinner to prepare for your journey home.
Day eleven is primarily a travel day.
You’ll start the day at the hotel and grab a quick breakfast before heading to the airport.
After checking out, you’ll head to HER airport.
From the airport, you can fly directly to JFK.
We hope that this itinerary has inspired you to visit Greece and go island hopping! Athens, Paros, and Crete are all amazing places that are worthwhile to visit.
If you are interested in planning a Grecian adventure or want to see other travel content, visit Ultimate Jet Vacations.