greece in 7 days athens

7 Days in Greece: An Itinerary for the Ultimate Grecian Escape

Greece, the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, has long been a sought-after destination for travelers seeking a blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. With its sun-kissed shores, ancient ruins, and charming villages, Greece offers a wealth of experiences that cater to every kind of traveler.

If you’re planning a trip to this enchanting country, our comprehensive 7 days in Greece itinerary will guide you through the highlights, ensuring you make the most of your time in this Mediterranean paradise.

In just one week, you’ll embark on a journey through time, exploring the ancient wonders of Athens, Delphi, and the island of Delos, and immersing yourself in the lively atmosphere of Mykonos, the breathtaking beauty of Santorini, and the diverse landscapes of Crete. From the iconic Acropolis to the azure waters of the Aegean, this 7-day adventure is the perfect introduction to the rich history and culture of Greece.

Whether you’re a history buff, a beach lover, or a food enthusiast, this 7 days in Greece itinerary has something for everyone. So pack your bags, dust off your sandals, and prepare to be swept away by the magic of Greece as you embark on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that you’ll never forget.

Day 1: Arrival in Athens

Welcome to Athens, the vibrant capital of Greece steeped in history and pulsating with life! Upon arrival, check into your hotel and take a moment to unwind from your journey. Depending on your preference, you can choose to stay in a boutique hotel in the bustling city center or a luxurious resort overlooking the Saronic Gulf.

7 Days in Greece

In the afternoon, head out to explore the Plaka district, Athens’ oldest neighborhood, nestled at the foot of the Acropolis. The labyrinth of narrow, cobblestone streets lined with colorful houses is a sight to behold. Along the way, you’ll stumble upon local artisans selling handcrafted jewelry, ceramics, and textiles – perfect for picking up a unique souvenir or gift.

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Plaka district

As you explore the charming alleys, take time to visit the 11th-century Church of Agios Nikolaos Rangavas and the Church of Metamorphosis Sotiros, both featuring beautiful Byzantine architecture. Don’t forget to visit the Anafiotika area, a tiny neighborhood reminiscent of a Cycladic island with its white-washed houses and blue doors.

Sample local delicacies from street vendors, like the popular “koulouri,” a sesame-covered bread ring, or the famous Greek souvlaki, a delicious skewer of grilled meat wrapped in pita bread. For those with a sweet tooth, indulge in “loukoumades,” deep-fried dough balls drizzled with honey and dusted with cinnamon.

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End your day with a sumptuous dinner at a traditional Greek taverna, where you can savor authentic dishes like moussaka (a baked eggplant and minced meat casserole), dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), and a refreshing Greek salad topped with feta cheese. Don’t forget to try “rakomelo,” a delightful warm alcoholic drink made from raki, honey, and spices.

Day 2: Explore Ancient Athens

On your second day, rise early to visit the iconic Acropolis, an ancient citadel perched on a hill overlooking the city. Beat the crowds and the heat by starting your day at the gates of this UNESCO World Heritage site as they open.

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The Acropolis is home to several temples and monuments, such as the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike. Each structure has its own captivating story, which is best discovered with the help of a knowledgeable local guide.

The Parthenon, dedicated to the goddess Athena, is the epitome of Classical Greek architecture and a symbol of ancient Athenian power. Marvel at the remaining Doric columns and learn about the intriguing history of this monument, including the controversial removal of the Elgin Marbles.

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Adjacent to the Parthenon lies the Erechtheion, an intricate temple dedicated to Athena and Poseidon. The temple’s most striking feature is the Caryatid Porch, where six statues of women, called Caryatids, serve as architectural supports.

After exploring the Acropolis, make your way to the Acropolis Museum, a world-class museum housing over 4,000 artifacts discovered on the Acropolis and its surrounding slopes. The museum’s modern architecture and thoughtful layout allow you to delve deeper into the history and significance of the artifacts, including the famous Parthenon frieze and the original Caryatids from the Erechtheion.

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Acropolis Museum

In the afternoon, stroll through the Ancient Agora, the heart of ancient Athens and a thriving center for commerce, politics, and social gatherings. The site is home to numerous ruins, including the remarkably well-preserved Temple of Hephaestus, dedicated to the god of metallurgy and craftsmanship.

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Temple of Hephaestus in Agora

Take a moment to explore the Stoa of Attalos, a reconstructed building housing the Museum of the Ancient Agora, which showcases an array of artifacts found at the site.

Adjacent to the Ancient Agora is the Roman Agora, built during the Roman rule of Athens. Its most notable feature is the Tower of the Winds, an octagonal structure adorned with relief sculptures depicting the eight wind gods. The tower functioned as a horologion (timekeeping device) and weather vane in ancient times.

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View from Lycabettus Hill

As the sun begins to set, make your way to the Lycabettus Hill, the highest point in Athens. A funicular railway will take you to the summit, where you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the city and the Acropolis. At the top, you’ll also find the 19th-century Chapel of St. George and a café to relax and take in the scenery.

Day 3: Delphi and Meteora

On day three, embark on a day trip to Delphi, the ancient center of the world, located approximately 2.5 hours away from Athens. Known as the “navel of the Earth,” Delphi was once a major religious sanctuary dedicated to the god Apollo and home to the legendary Oracle of Delphi. Wander through the ruins and marvel at the Temple of Apollo, where the Pythia, a priestess, would deliver cryptic prophecies to pilgrims and rulers.

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The Sanctuary of Delphi also contains the Treasury of the Athenians, a small building that once held offerings to the gods, and the Delphi Theatre, which boasts stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Don’t miss the Delphi Archaeological Museum, where you’ll find the famous Charioteer of Delphi, a remarkable bronze statue from the 5th century BC.

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Next, journey to Meteora, a UNESCO World Heritage site nestled in the Thessalian plains, approximately 4 hours from Delphi. This awe-inspiring landscape is renowned for its monasteries perched atop towering rock formations. These monasteries were built by monks seeking solitude and spiritual elevation, and their otherworldly beauty attracts thousands of visitors each year.

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Visit the Monastery of Great Meteoron, the largest and oldest of the monasteries, which houses a fascinating museum showcasing religious relics and manuscripts. The Monastery of Varlaam is also worth a visit for its stunning frescoes and captivating views. After exploring Meteora, return to Athens for the night, with memories of the mystical landscapes fresh in your mind.

Day 4: Island Hopping – Mykonos

Bid farewell to Athens and embark on a greek island-hopping adventure! Your first stop is Mykonos, a cosmopolitan island famous for its picturesque windmills, vibrant nightlife, and stunning beaches. Mykonos is well-connected to Athens by ferry and flight, with the ferry ride taking approximately 2-5 hours, depending on the type of ferry you choose.

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Upon arrival, check into your hotel and spend the day lounging on the sandy shores of Elia Beach or Paradise Beach, both offering crystal-clear waters and a relaxed atmosphere. If you prefer a more secluded spot, head to the lesser-known Agios Sostis Beach or Fokos Beach, where you can bask in the sun away from the crowds.

Water sports enthusiasts can find plenty of activities in Mykonos, such as windsurfing, kitesurfing, jet skiing, and scuba diving. For a more laid-back experience, opt for a boat trip to the nearby uninhabited island of Delos, considered the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, which boasts impressive archaeological sites.

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Walking through the streets of Mykonos

As evening falls, wander through the charming streets of Mykonos Town, also known as Chora. Its white-washed buildings, colorful balconies, and narrow alleys create a picture-perfect setting. Be sure to snap a photo in front of the iconic windmills, which date back to the 16th century and have become a symbol of the island.

Little Venice, a romantic waterfront neighborhood, is the perfect place to watch the sunset with a cocktail in hand. As night envelops the island, you can choose to dance the night away in one of Mykonos’ famous clubs or enjoy a quiet dinner at a local taverna, where you can indulge in fresh seafood and locally produced wine.

Checkout our Mykonos hotel guide on the best places to stay here.

Day 5: Island Hopping – Santorini

On day five, set sail for the enchanting island of Santorini, approximately 2-3 hours away from Mykonos by ferry. With its iconic blue-domed churches, staggering cliffs, and jaw-dropping sunsets, it’s no wonder this island is a favorite among honeymooners and travel enthusiasts alike. If you have time, you can also do Santorini in 2 days.

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Begin your day in the village of Oia, perched on the northern tip of the island. Meander through narrow streets lined with whitewashed buildings, art galleries, and boutique shops. Be sure to visit the Maritime Museum and the remains of Oia’s Byzantine castle for a glimpse into the island’s history.

Next, head to the archaeological site of Akrotiri, an ancient Minoan settlement preserved under volcanic ash from the eruption of Thera in 1627 BC. This “Pompeii of the Aegean” offers a fascinating insight into the advanced civilization that once thrived on the island.

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For a taste of Santorini’s volcanic landscape, visit the Red Beach, named for its striking red cliffs and sand. While the beach can get crowded, its unique scenery makes it a must-see. Alternatively, take a dip in the azure waters of Perissa or Kamari Beach, both lined with black volcanic sand.

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Red Beach on Thira island

Wine lovers shouldn’t miss the chance to visit one of Santorini’s famous wineries, such as Santo Wines or Venetsanos Winery. Learn about the island’s unique vine cultivation methods and sample the local wines, including the crisp Assyrtiko and the sweet Vinsanto.

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Finish your day with a dinner at one of the cliffside restaurants in Fira or Oia, where you can savor delicious Greek cuisine as the sun sinks into the horizon, painting the sky in brilliant shades of pink and orange.

Be sure to take a look at our recommendations for the best hotels in Santorini.

Day 6: Island Hopping – Crete

Your final island destination is Crete, the largest and most diverse of the Greek islands. Known for its rich history, rugged landscapes, and unique local culture, Crete is a treasure trove of experiences. The ferry from Santorini to Crete takes approximately 2-4 hours, depending on the type of ferry.

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Upon arrival, make your way to the picturesque city of Chania, where you can wander the Venetian harbor and explore the old town’s winding alleyways. Stroll along the waterfront and visit the 16th-century Venetian Lighthouse, which offers panoramic views of the harbor. History buffs will appreciate the Archaeological Museum of Chania, housed in a former Venetian church, which contains artifacts dating back to the Neolithic period.

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Next, visit the ancient Minoan Palace of Knossos, a fascinating archaeological site that dates back to the Bronze Age. Knossos was once the ceremonial and political center of the Minoan civilization and is closely associated with Greek mythology, particularly the legend of the Minotaur and the story of Theseus.

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A guided tour of the site will help you understand the significance of its frescoes, storerooms, and throne room, as well as the role of the palace in Minoan society.

In the afternoon, head to the Samaria Gorge, Europe’s longest gorge and a hiker’s paradise. Located in the heart of the White Mountains, the gorge is part of the Samaria National Park, which is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including the endangered Cretan wild goat, known as the kri-kri.

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Samaria Gorge

The full hike through the gorge is approximately 16km and takes between 5-7 hours to complete. This challenging trek rewards you with stunning landscapes, from rugged cliffs and lush forests to crystal-clear rivers and ancient stone bridges.

If you prefer a shorter walk, consider the Imbros Gorge, a smaller but equally beautiful gorge located near the village of Imbros. The 8km hike takes about 2-3 hours to complete and offers a more leisurely experience.

After your hike, reward yourself with a hearty Cretan meal at a local taverna. Crete’s cuisine is characterized by its use of fresh, local ingredients, with dishes such as dakos (a barley rusk topped with tomatoes, feta cheese, and olives), horta (wild greens sautéed in olive oil and lemon), and lamb cooked in a wood-fired oven.

Check out our Crete hotel guide if you’re looking for the best places to stay on the island.

Day 7: Return to Athens and Departure

On your final day of your 7 days in Greece, return to Athens via a short flight or ferry ride. If time permits, spend a few hours exploring any attractions you may have missed earlier in your trip. The National Archaeological Museum, one of the most important museums in Greece, houses a vast collection of artifacts from prehistoric times to late antiquity, including the golden mask of Agamemnon and the famous Antikythera mechanism.

The Panathenaic Stadium, originally built in 330 BC and reconstructed in 1896 for the first modern Olympic Games, is another must-see site. This impressive all-marble stadium can seat 50,000 spectators and offers an insight into the ancient tradition of athletic competitions.

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The Panathenaic Stadium

The Temple of Olympian Zeus, once the largest temple in Greece, is another notable attraction. Although only a few columns remain standing, the sheer size of the ruins is a testament to the grandeur of the original structure, which was dedicated to the king of the gods.

Finally, savor your last taste of Greece with a farewell meal at a local taverna or a rooftop restaurant with views of the Acropolis. Reminisce on the memories you’ve made during your 7-day adventure, from the ancient wonders of Athens to the stunning sunsets of Santorini.

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As it’s time to head to the airport for your departure, bid Greece a heartfelt “antío” (goodbye) and leave with the knowledge that you’ve experienced the best of what this enchanting country has to offer.

7 Days in Greece Conclusion

This 7 days in Greece itinerary offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and relaxation, taking you on a whirlwind tour of the country’s most iconic sites and breathtaking islands. From the ancient wonders of Athens and Delphi to the pristine beaches of Mykonos and the dramatic landscapes of Santorini, this journey will leave you with unforgettable memories and a deep appreciation for Greece’s rich heritage.

As you depart, you’ll undoubtedly carry a piece of Greece with you, from the warmth of its people to the magic of its sunsets. And while this 7-day adventure may have come to an end, the memories and experiences you’ve collected along the way will surely inspire future travels to this enchanting land.

Perhaps, on your next visit, you’ll have the opportunity to delve deeper into the country’s off-the-beaten-path destinations or immerse yourself in local customs and traditions. But for now, let the spirit of Greece, its stories, and its beauty, live on in your heart and mind, serving as a constant reminder that there is always more to discover in this captivating land of gods and heroes.

So, until we meet again, Greece – fare thee well, and may the gods smile upon you always!

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