The Ultimate 7 Day Greece Itinerary
From ancient cities to island paradise, explore the best of Greece with this 7 day itinerary.
Thousands of years of history. World famous archaeological sites. Endless beaches and islands. Warm Mediterranean sunshine. Incredible food and drink. We could go on, but you’ve already read this a thousand times in every travel magazine you ever picked up. To cut a long story short, we think Greece should be on everyone’s bucket list.
The famous Greek philosopher Socrates once remarked ‘for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing’. We’re not philosophers, but here at Plum Guide, we do know all the best places to go, what to do there and where to stay. Especially where to stay. Our fastidious home critics have chosen only the very best rental homes, so wherever you are in the world, you’re guaranteed a good night’s sleep. So, think about that, Socrates.
While we’re sure you won’t want to leave the comfort of our homes, we’ve put together a one week Greece itinerary that you won’t want to miss.
Day 1: Get your bearings in Thessaloniki
Everyone knows the proverb ‘all roads lead to Rome’, but have you heard the one that goes ‘all flights lead to Thessaloniki’? The busiest airports in Greece are Thessaloniki and Athens, but we think Thessaloniki is a great place to start your Greek adventure. This port city is the country’s second largest city, and an ideal place for history nerds (or aviation nerds, apparently). With countless old churches, archaeological sites and museums, there’s plenty to geek over. Take a stroll through Ana Poli, the historic centre of the city. Admire the Byzantine and Ottoman architecture or people-watch in a local coffee shop. Head down to the waterfront, where you’ll find themed gardens and plenty of bars and restaurants along the promenade.
Day 2: Discover the Acropolis of Athens
A place that should be on every Greece itinerary is Athens. One of the oldest cities in the world and Greece’s capital, Athens is the heart of the ancient Greek Empire. Start at the Acropolis, one of the most iconic sites in Greece. We recommend getting there early to avoid any tourists ruining your photos. The site is home to some epic monuments including the famous Parthenon. Want to see more of ancient Greece? Spend the rest of the day exploring the countless relics around Athens, including Hadrian’s Library, the Roman Agora and Panathenaic Stadium. After all that, you’ll probably be really hungry. Grab a drink and a bite to eat at one of the many cafes on Mount Lycabettus. At 300 metres above sea level, it’s the highest point in Athens and boasts panoramic views of the city. 300 metres? We hear you spluttering out your coffee. Don’t worry, there’s a funicular to take you up.
Day 3: Shopping and history in Athens
Start your second day in Athens with a visit to the Hellenic Parliament to see the Changing of the Guard, a hugely elaborate, one-of-a-kind spectacle. Afterwards, head to Panepistimiou Street and Stadiou Street for some shopping. Want to blow your budget at the city’s high end boutiques? Voukourestiou Street is the perfect place for it. Next up, a little more history. The National Archaeological Museum is the second most important museum in Athens, the place to immerse yourself in the world of the ancient Greeks. If a rumbling belly transports you back to the present, Monastiraki and Plaka are the best neighbourhoods for trying some Greek cuisine. Grab a gyros and head to the National Garden, a great place for some quick R&R. Continue the R&R at this upscale Plum home near the city.
Day 4: Explore Naxos
No Greece itinerary would be complete without some island hopping. If you want to party with the cool kids, head to Mykonos. If wild parties aren’t your scene, we recommend going straight to Naxos. Naxos is best for history, outdoor adventures and local cuisine. Start at the Old Town, a maze of alleyways packed with souvenir shops, boutiques, bars and tavernas. Above the Old Town is the 13th century citadel and is a historical site worth exploring. Naxos has some of the best beaches in Greece, and Agios Prokopios beach and Plaka beach are the best spots to enjoy the turquoise waters and golden sands. If you need to get out of the sun a bit, head into the hills to Vallindras Kitron Distillery. Kitron is a liqueur distinct to Naxos, made from the fruit and leaves of the citron tree. See how it’s made the old school way and sample a few shots. Careful when making your way back down.
Day 5: Soak up Santorini
On day five, head to Santorini. Once you set eyes on it, it makes sense why this is one of Greece’s most popular islands for couples. There’s plenty of romantic things to do here, from volcano hikes and boat tours, to wineries and delicious food. A must-see is Red Beach. With its red sands (well done, Sherlock) and dramatic amber cliffs, it’s one of the most unique beaches in the world. One of Santorini’s most distinguishing features are the whitewashed caldera towns, spilling down the cliff sides like icing or bubbling champagne foam (yes please). Walk round Oia, Imerovigli, Firostefani and Fira to see these beautiful buildings up close. After that, you’ll need a drink so head to Sigalas Winery. One of many boutique wineries on the island, you can see how grapes are harvested using ancient techniques.
Chances are you’ll need a lie down after all that sun and wine. Kefi is a one bedroom home perfect for couples looking for some solitude. Relax in the infinity pool while you gaze out at the stunning landscapes. If you fancy something a little larger, Volcanic View is great for families or friends. Overlooking the sea, you may not want to leave your sun lounger.
Day 6: Conquer Crete
The largest island in Greece, Crete has a bit of everything. It’s the birthplace of the oldest civilisation in Europe, the Minoans. Explore the many Bronze Age archaeological sites across the island, including Knossos, a palace and its encompassing city. Crete is home to countless beaches, but Elafonisi beach is one of its finest. Famous for its pink sand, the lagoon has shallow, turquoise waters which are ideal for swimming. Need to burn off all that baklava you’ve been having? Take on a 16km hike through the gorge-ous Samaria Gorge. Rethymno is Crete’s third largest city and has the best preserved Old Town on the island. Once behind walls, the city’s cobblestone alleys date back to the 14th century. Another city to visit is Chania, especially its old Venetian harbour which dates back to 1320. Nowadays it’s packed with bars, restaurants and shops, a great place to get a taste of local life.
Day 7: Day trip to Delphi
By the seventh day of your Greece itinerary, chances are you never want to leave. If you’re heading back to Athens, we recommend making time for a quick day trip to Delphi. One of the most famous historic sites in Greece, Delphi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located 180km northwest of Athens. There are several important ancient Greek remains here, like the Temple of Apollo and the Theatre.
If you’re heading back to Thessaloniki, why not relax in a hammam before your onwards journey? During Turkish occupation, many hammams or Turkish baths were built in the city. The oldest one is Bey Hammam built in 1444 and although no longer in service, it’s still worth admiring the luxurious paintings and decor. You could also head to a more modern hammam, if getting your back scrubbed by a stranger is your kind of thing.