8 Day Greece Itinerary to Santorini, Mykonos, Athens

greece-itinerary

Our Greece Itinerary

Trang and I went to Greece for our last trip before the birth of our child. Naturally, we wanted to make the most out of it. So we scoured the internet to create a proper Greece itinerary.  After a few days, we settled on an eight-day trip with the use of a car. Starting in Mykonos, we wanted to kick the jet leg before continuing onto Santorini and Athens.

Except for not planning enough to do in Mykonos, and randomly roaming around in Athens the first day.  This itinerary worked out well for us.  It kept us moving and helped us accomplish everything we wanted to do on the trip.

If you’re planning a trip to Greece, this post can help you prepare for it.  Use it as a base and adjust it to fit your travel style.

Day One – Arrival

Flying from LA to Mykonos took awhile.  The direct flight from the US to Athens took about 13 hours, followed by a short flight to the island.  We landed at the Mykonos airport as the sun was setting. Our only goal for the day was to rent a car and to check in to our hotel.  Sounds easy enough, but of course I had to make it into an adventure. If you’re ever traveling abroad, make sure to rent an automatic vehicle, even if you think you can drive a manual car.

*Tips For The Flight – The long flight is hard on the body, so it’s important to come prepared. Here are 10 Tips We Use To Survive Long Flights that can help you regarding comfort and sanity. The better you feel getting off the plane, the sooner you can start enjoying your trip.

We checked into Pelican Bay Beach Hotel and helped ourselves to some complimentary alcohol in the lobby.  After we settled in, we walked to Petinos Beach to grab a bite at Avli Tou Thodori restaurant.

Day Two – Exploring Mikonos City

greece itinerary Mykonos town
Mykonos town

Places we went:

We got up early and headed into town.  After a short drive, we parked and made our way towards the bright white buildings with blue trimmings.  The town was beautiful, and a real joy to get lost within.

Following the trickle of pedestrians, we found our way to little Venice.  I’m not going to lie; it was disappointing.  Adjacent to Little Venice stood the Mykonos Windmills.  These windmills dominate all the island’s tourism materials.  While they are nice, the parking lot surrounding them didn’t help set the mood.  We hung out for a bit and headed back into the town’s beautiful side streets and alleyways.

Eventually, we stumbled out to Old Port.  Which was full of hostesses calling out for us to dine in their restaurants.  Wanting to get out of the sun, we decided on an ice cream spot and did some people watching.

greece itinerary mykonos old port
Mykonos Old port

It wasn’t even noon yet, and we had already seen everything on our itinerary.  So we mingled around a bit, ate some average oysters, and eventually headed back to the hotel to plan out some additional things to do by the pool.

Day Three – Driving Around Mykonos

Places we went:

Since we accomplished everything on our list the day before we decided to slow it to a crawl and check out the beaches near our hotel.  The first one was Petinos Beach, but the proximity of restaurants and hotels quickly became unpleasant. So we decided to find a less commercial beach.

As we walked back to our hotel, we stumbled upon a great view of a nearby cove.  From that vantage point, we noticed a small trail and followed it down to Psarou Beach.  This beach was more enjoyable with fewer people, softer sand, and even shade to help us escape the sun.  Once we had our fill, we grabbed the car and headed further into Mykonos to do some additional sightseeing.

Our drive ended at the Armenistis Lighthouse on the north side of the island.  The lighthouse offers beautiful panoramic views of the Tonos Island and provides a nice change of pace from the touristy city center.  With the sun going down we headed back to town to get a sunset timelapse with the iconic windmills in the foreground.

After a final dinner at Blue Myth we packed our bags and got some sleep. We were excited for our early morning flight to Santorini.

Day Four – First Day In Santorini

Greece Itinerary Athina Suites Fira
Athina Suites Fira, Santorini Greece

Places we went:

Landing in Santorini around 10 in the morning, we had plenty of time to get out and do some exploring.  We picked up an AUTOMATIC rental car and headed toward Fira to check in to our hotel.  As we drove there, I remember thinking how Santorini looked similar to Mykonos.  I continued to feel that way until we reached Santorini’s famous cliff side.  The view was breathtaking.  We splurged in Santorini and booked a couple of rooms in the immaculate Athina Suites.  I can’t stress how stunning this hotel was.  Every morning they would set up a delicious breakfast right on our private patio.  I was so mesmerized by the view that I would have been fine never leaving our hotel.

Eventually, Trang convinced me to head out, and we made our way south to visit Pyrgos. A small village on a hilltop where we also stopped for drinks at Franco’s.  Franco’s is where I was reminded of my dislike for Ouzo.

Going for the, “Two lighthouses, one trip” achievement, we stopped at Santorini’s lighthouse on the far southwest part of the island crest.  The cliffside view was pretty amazing.  I can’t stress enough on how it was all so damn beautiful.  It was such clear day that I could see all the way to Oia.

Great Seafood in Southern Santorini

With sunset approaching, we continued south to eat at To Psaraki restaurant.  It was fantastic.  If you decide to visit Santorini, you should rent a car, make the drive and eat here.  It’s pricey, but the seafood was delicious.  I don’t enjoy fish, but I made sure to suck all the meat off the bones. You can taste the quality and see that their products are caught fresh by the boats docked below the restaurant.

After dinner, we headed back to Fira. We wandered the streets (there aren’t many) and eventually retreated to our patio.  Where we once again enjoyed the best view in the world.

Day Five – Exploring Northern Santorini

greece itinerary Ammoudi bay
Ammoudi bay

Places we went:

The day started early; I wanted to ride the famous Santorini donkeys before the four giant cruise ships began unloading their passengers.  Starting from the top, my buddy Geoff and I jumped on the mules for an extremely fast trip down the cliffside.  It was terrifying!  Refusing to get back on those beasts we took a quick look around the small pier.  It was a touristy nightmare. So we retreated up the poop covered path that we had just bounded down.  Thankfully, our hotel wasn’t far.  Reeking of animal, donkey poop, and sweat; we showered and took the car north towards Oia.

The drive up to Oia was picturesque.  I know I’m completely over using the word beautiful, but Oia is that many times over.  Fira and Oia both share jaw-dropping views, but it’s Oia’s traditional architecture that turns it into every photographer’s dream.  Everywhere you turned had a great opportunity for photos. Noteworthy areas like the Church of Panagia and the Atlantis bookstore.  Oia had a lot of things to see and enjoy.

Cliff Jumping Fun

greece itinerary Ammoudi bay Cliff Jumping

Ammoudi Bay Cliff Jumping

Just below Oia lies Ammoudi bay.  If you continue past the restaurants and the bend of the mountain, you’ll find a couple of decent spots to do some cliff jumping.  At about 20 feet high, just high enough to make you second guess the jump, but not high enough to get hurt.  

To get to one of the locations, you’ll have to swim about 50 yards to a small rock island with a small shrine on it.  The water is crystal clear but cold. I would only recommend it for strong swimmers.  Others can jump off the second small cliff located on the same path.

Back in Fira for the evening, we had dinner at Cacio e Pepe Italian restaurant.  It was superb and I highly recommend it.  With full bellies, we made our way to our hotel to gaze once again at the fantastic view until we fell asleep.

Day Six – Free Day To Explore Santorini

Greece Itinerary Athina Suites Fira
Breakfast at Athina Suites Fira, Santorini Greece

Places we went:

Our last day in Santorini was our beach day.  After soaking in our last breakfast on the patio, we headed south to check out Red Beach.  The beach is a site to see.  The dark red color of the sand and the mountain surrounding it give it unique look.  The ten-minute walk around and down to the beach was fun.  Although the beach, in general, is quite hazardous due to the potential rockfalls and landslides.

From there we drove east to see the black sand beaches of Kamari.  This part of Santorini had a much different feel to it.  Quieter and full of inexpensive hotels.  Our original travel package had us staying in this area. But after walking around, we were so glad we upgraded to Athina Suites.

Wanting a break from the sun, we drove to the Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum where they offered a cave tour in addition to a wine tasting.  It was surprisingly fun even with the creepy life-size dolls.  My impression of the museum may have altered after a light-hearted wine tasting and sharing laughs with our host Christiano.

Back 2 Oia

With plenty of time to spare we headed back to Oia to capture some additional footage.  I had failed to record much during our first visit, so I wanted to go back to get some quality shots.

Later that evening we spent our final night jumping from one dessert place to another. Sampling popular dishes from each spot.  It was a great way to end our stay in Santorini.

Day Seven – Settling Into Athens

greece itinerary Monastiraki
Monastiraki

Places we went:

Next on our Greece itinerary was Athens.  After a short flight and bus ride, we walked through the doors of the Athens Lotus Hotel.  We had a few hours to kill before check in so we asked the hotel to hold our luggage and left without a plan.  That ended up being a terrible idea. We wandered the streets until we eventually gave up and ate at some random Chinese restaurant.  Thankfully it was better than average, but it still felt like a waste.

After lunch, we hopped on the subway heading towards the Acropolis.  Wanting to cross out some of the smaller attractions, we explored the ruins of Ancient Agora and found ourselves sitting on the cliffs of Areopagus Hill as dusk approached.  Before heading back to the hotel, we stopped at the Monastiraki square to watch the street performers and ate gyros at a small corner shop inside the flea market.

Day Eight – Athens In A Day

greece itinerary Parthenon
Parthenon

Places we went:

For our last full day in Greece, we visited Acropolis.  Being one of the ancient wonders of the world we had to see it for ourselves.  With its commanding view of the city, it’s hard to not stand there in awe.  The Acropolis has stood the test of time. Dating back to 400BC, the Acropolis is the oldest human-made thing I’ve seen in person.

From the Acropolis, we headed across the city to overlook Athens from Likavitou Hill.  If you’re thinking about visiting Likavitou Hill, consider taking a taxi.  The walk and ensuing climb were tiring.  With Trang being five months pregnant, it has been particularly hard for her, but she made it through like a trooper.  Even turning down the idea of taking a cab.  After a short gondola ride through the inside of the mountain, we popped out to a beautiful 360-degree view of the city.  We couldn’t stay long, so we made our way back down the hill to get ready for our final dinner in Greece.

greece itinerary Likavitou Hill
view from Likavitou Hill

Fancy meal of the trip

greece itinerary funky gourmet

funky gourmet

A few years ago, Trang got us reservations to Sukibayashi Jiro’s in Japan.  It was our first Michelin meal and a memorable one.  Since then we’ve tried to dine to at least one nice restaurant from each country.  We wanted to taste what food critics consider the best of the best.  Funky Gourmet is Athen’s Michelin star restaurant.  The night’s meal was called Silence of the lamb. We had lamb brain and tongue, along with a variety of others exotic dishes.  It wasn’t our favorite Michelin star meal, but we had a great time and was reminiscing on our week in Greece.  With the meal ending close to midnight we jumped into bed, slept for an hour, and was on our way to the airport.

Day Nine – Heading Home

At two in the morning, we said goodbye to the hotel clerk and hopped into our taxi.  The driver was a madman!  It was a white knuckle drive back to the airport as I held on for dear life.  I swear the driver was trying fly the car.  If we were to hit a speed bump, it would have been all over.  Thankfully, we got to the airport safe.  Had a quick layover in Amsterdam where we stocked up on Toblerone Toasted Corn Crunch.  This particular Toblerone is so good.  Try it next time.  Ten-ish hours later, we landed in LA and were greeted back to the US by a surprisingly friendly Customs Officer.  How crazy is that?

Greece Was Amazing

Overall, Greece was a successful trip.  We enjoyed ourselves and had enough time to explore what we wanted to see in each city. Check out our Greece vacation video to view the trip through our eyes.

For us, the real highlight of the trip was Santorini.  Its beauty blew us away, and the island lived up to its reputation.  If you decide to visit Greece, be sure to include Santorini on your list.

Thank you for visiting.  Hopefully, you found our Greece itinerary useful.  Don’t hesitate to leave us a comment if you have any questions planning your trip.  Another website that we found helpful for our trip was http://mygreecetravelblog.com/.  The site is run by a fellow traveler by the name of Don and it’s full of great information that I guarantee will improve the quality of your trip to Greece.  Check it out!

Or if you’ve already been to Greece, let us know what you enjoyed most about the country in the comments below.  Or you can find more posts about our travels on our Travel Page.

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Disclaimer: The links to Booking.com in this post are affiliate links.  If you end up booking your stay using these links I earn a small amount in commission. While these links are affiliate links I have personaly stayed in these hotels and all of them have either met or exceeded my personal travel expectations.

About Author

Kristoffer

Traveling, Capturing moments and Editing them down into tiny digestible videos. That's what I love to do with my downtime.


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15 Comments

  • Christina Ung

    Thanks for the great itinerary! I noticed you flew to the different islands, did you compare flying to taking a ferry boat and find flying to be the best mode of transportation?

    • Kristoffer

      Hey Christina,

      Glad the itinerary helps! You’re also our first nonspam comment, so I’m way happy right now! As for your question, we decided on flying for two reasons.

      The first was Trang. She gets pretty seasick, and we figured it would be even worse for her since she was pregnant with Kairi at the time.

      The second reason was time. After checking departure and arrival times, we noticed that we could get an extra 6 hours on each island if we flew. To us, the extra time on the islands was well worth the additional cost of flying.

      Thanks for asking about traveling between the islands. I’ll be sure to add a section about this to the post. It’ll be useful for future readers.

      • Christina Ung

        Thank you!

  • Patricia G.

    Greece looks absolutely amazing! Beautiful, picturesque scenery and architecture. I would like to visit there someday. I would also LOVE to ride a donkey someday, as you did. 🙂

    • Kristoffer

      Hope you make it out there. Though, riding the donkey was a lot more terrifying than you would think. Haha.

    • Kristoffer

      Thank you. I hope you can make it out there someday. It’s more expensive than some of the other places we’ve been, but we loved our time in Greece 🙂

  • Melissa Blevins

    Ahhhh Mykonos is so beautiful! And those beaches are so crystal-clear! I bet you were in Heaven! What a great trip to take before you settled down with a little one! Will you do any traveling with your kids?

    • Kristoffer

      Yeah, we’re a traveling family for sure. It’s been a while since our Greece trip. Kairi’s about a year and a half now and she’s already been to 5 different countries. Going on as many trips as we can before she turns two and can’t fly for free anymore 🙂

  • Ophelia T

    I love your post and photos. Greece is a wonderful country, so full of history and beauty. Thanks for sharing.

  • Esse D

    I’ve been on the fence about Greece for a while. I’m so afraid of going and being underwhelmed. Your post is helping to calm those reservations a bit.

    • Kristoffer

      I was too. Mykonos and Athens may let you down but Santorini will honestly take your breath away.

  • Selene

    Hola me hs encabtado el video y toda la explicación creo q es muy útil para personas qur vamos un poco perdidas pero quería hacerte una pregunta. Tuviste problemas en utilizar el dron allí? He leído que algunas zonas estan restringidas y me gustaría saber un poco de información, gracias.

    • Kristoffer

      Hi. Thanks for getting in touch. To answer your question about the drone. I actually didn’t have one in Greece. I had a DJI OSMO with me, but no drone. Sorry, Wish I could help more.

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