Greece is best known for its’ history, ancient ruins, volcanic landscapes and Greek islands in the Mediterranean sea. There is a lot of Greece that can be seen and experienced in 5 days, particularly in summer when the hours of daylight are longer. With just a few days, most will travel Athens to Santorini or Mykonos. This is my recommendation for a good balance between history, relaxation, sight seeing and experiencing food and culture.
Here you’ll find my five day itinerary for Athens to Santorini to Mykonos.
“It takes a lifetime for someone to discover Greece, but it only takes an instant to fall in love with her” – Henry Miller
Day 1 – Athens
More than likely your Greece visit will include a flight via Athens. Use this time at the beginning or end of your journey to explore the history and ruins of Athens and ancient Greece.
A few sites to experience in Athens include the list below.
Undoubtedly the most famous site in Athens, the Acropolis is an ancient citadel containing remains of ancient buildings overlooking the city.
The Acropolis Museum is an archeological collection of the findings of the Acropolis site.
The Parthenon is a former temple dedicated to the Goddess Athena. Located on the hill, the Parthenon overlooks the city and is worth the walk to the top.
Athens to Santorini
There are five airlines that between between Athens to Santorini and about 50 flights a week. Flying Athens to Santorini may be preferred over the ferry to save considerable time. Flight time between Athens to Santorini is 45 minutes in comparison to a five hour ferry.
During the summer months there are between six and nine ferries between Athens to Santorini. The Athens to Santorini ferry costs about € 40 to € 80 and takes about five hours.
Day 2 and 3 Santorini
After arriving from Athens to Santorini, allow about two days to explore the island by land and sea!
Viewing sunset from Oia is by far the most popular and touristy activity you can do on Santorini. As you can see from the photo above, the view is quite iconic. Be warned though there will be many crowds. Allow plenty of time to secure a good spot to view sunset and to leave the area given the number of people crammed into Oia’s narrow streets.
Thira to Oia hike
The hike between Thira and Oia follows the dramatic volcanic coastline for nine kilometres. While it is an easy walk, be sure to take comfortable walking shoes and water as there are no towns or shops along the way.
Allow three to four hours plus time to stop for photos. Consider timing your visit staying in Oia for sunset or an early morning for a spot of shopping.
Hire an ATV
A great way to see the island is to hire an ATV to explore on your on time. Hiring an ATV will cost about 20 euros per day. You’ll be able to access beaches off the tourist track.
Visit the island’s beaches
When it comes to beaches, Santorini has black, white and red sandy beaches. Some are accessible only by water taxi. Or take in the views over the coastline.
Believe it or not Santorini has some great wine and the wine tastings on the island are rated very highly.
Greece is known for its’ leather goods. New sandals? A bag? Wallet? Santorini has the lot locally made.
Boat trips or cruises
There are many boat trips exploring the island daily. Many include hot springs and volcano walk and others add a sunset cruise around Oia to take in those classic Santorini views from the water
How to get around on the island
- Travel by bus is very cheap and convenient mode of transport around the island, particularly between towns and to the airports and ferry ports.
- Water taxis provide a means to access certain beaches and restaurants around the island
- ATV rentals provide the freedom or travelling at your own pace and on your own time. Remember to bring your license!
- Taxis are also available as a way to get around for short distances.
Santorini to Mykonos
Similarly to Athens to Santorini, to get to Mykonos you have the choice between flying and taking a ferry.
There are about four ferries between Santorini and Mykonos and the trip takes about 2.5 hours. Bearing in mind the port is located about 45 minutes outside of the town of Thira so ensure leave plenty of time to catch your ferry.
Flying from Thira Airport to Mykonos will take about 60 or 90 minutes depending on the size of the plane.
Day 4 and 5 Mykonos
Mykonos is the Greek island famous for 300 days of sunshine a year. It’s also commonly known for it’s beaches, partying until the early hours and celebrity spotting.
Allow a few days in Mykonos to explore the island, experience the amazing food and do a spot of shopping.
Hire an ATV or scooter
Similar to Santorini, hiring a scooter or ATV is also very popular on the island of Mykonos. It will allow you to get off the beaten track, travel at your own pace and avoid the more touristy places.
Little Venice is a popular place to dine, watch the sunset or party at one of the night clubs. The views over the Aegean Sea should make it high on your to-do list.
Mykonos is filled with shopping – from tinkets, clothing and fantastic Greek products. Take time to explore the shopping and bring back some olive oil, leather goods or other locally made products.
Explore the town and beaches
You could spend hours wandering the lane ways and streets of Mykonos. The white washed buildings contrasting with the vibrant red bougainvillea and sparkling ocean backdrop are nothing short of picturesque.
Mykonos is the party island. Pop down to Little Venice to hit the night clubs after dark.
In five days there is only so much you can see of Greece but these highlights will get you started to help inform your next visit to Greece. Enjoy!
To plan your other European adventures – see my Europe page