12 days in greece

Experience the Best of Greece in 12 Days – Your Complete Itinerary

Welcome to Greece, a land of ancient wonders and breathtaking beauty. If you’re planning a 12-day trip to this magnificent country, we’ve got you covered with the ultimate itinerary. From exploring historic landmarks in Athens to witnessing stunning sunsets in Santorini and discovering the charm of Crete, your journey will be filled with unforgettable experiences.

Key Takeaways:

  • Follow our 12-day itinerary to make the most of your trip to Greece.
  • Visit Athens to explore ancient sites and indulge in local cuisine.
  • Experience the awe-inspiring beauty of Santorini with its caldera views and unique beaches.
  • Discover the island charm and rich history of Crete.
  • Learn about transportation options and must-try Greek cuisine.

Exploring Athens – Ancient Sites and Urban Delights

Embark on a captivating journey through the historic city of Athens, where ancient Greece comes to life. Immerse yourself in the rich history and vibrant culture that permeate every corner of this vibrant metropolis.

Start your exploration with a visit to the iconic Acropolis, home to the magnificent Parthenon and other ancient structures. Marvel at the architectural prowess of the ancient Greeks as you take in the breathtaking views of Athens from this elevated vantage point.

“Athens is where democracy was born, and the city’s ancient heritage is a constant reminder of its monumental role in shaping Western civilization.”

Indulge in a food tour through the bustling neighborhoods of Plaka, Psyrri, and Monastiraki, where you’ll discover the delicious flavors of authentic Greek cuisine. From savory souvlaki to delectable moussaka, your taste buds will be treated to an array of tantalizing dishes.

Neighborhood Highlights:

  • Plaka: Wander through narrow streets lined with neoclassical houses and charming shops selling local handicrafts.
  • Psyrri: Immerse yourself in the vibrant nightlife scene and enjoy live music performances at the numerous bars and clubs.
  • Monastiraki: Explore the bustling flea market and hunt for unique souvenirs, antiques, and curiosities.

Don’t miss the mesmerizing changing of the guard ceremony at the Parliament, where evzones in their traditional uniforms perform intricate maneuvers with precision and grace. And for a taste of luxury, venture to the upscale Kolonaki district, renowned for its high-end boutiques and chic restaurants.


Immerse yourself in the ancient wonders and contemporary charm of Athens, a city that seamlessly blends the old with the new.

Captivating Santorini – Caldera Views and Stunning Sunsets

Santorini is a captivating island known for its breathtaking caldera views and stunning sunsets. Located in the southern Aegean Sea, this picturesque destination attracts tourists from around the world with its unique beauty and charm. Whether you’re seeking relaxation on pristine beaches or seeking adventure in exploring ancient ruins, Santorini offers a variety of experiences to suit every traveler’s preferences.

One of the highlights of visiting Santorini is witnessing the panoramic views of the island’s iconic caldera. Formed by a volcanic eruption thousands of years ago, the caldera is a natural wonder that provides an awe-inspiring backdrop for your vacation. Take a stroll along the cliffside pathways of Fira and Oia to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of Santorini’s caldera. Don’t forget to capture the vibrant colors of the sunset, a truly mesmerizing experience.

To make the most of your visit to Santorini, embark on a memorable sunset cruise. Sail along the coastline and witness the sun dipping below the horizon, casting a golden glow over the caldera. This unforgettable experience is the perfect way to relax and unwind while enjoying the stunning natural beauty of Santorini. As you sail, take in the unique volcanic landscapes and indulge in delicious local cuisine and refreshing drinks onboard.

santorini sunset

Unique Beaches and Remarkable Sights

Santorini is also home to a variety of unique beaches that cater to different preferences. From the famous Red Beach with its striking red cliffs to the black sands of Perissa Beach, there is a beach for every beach lover. Dive into the crystal-clear waters and soak up the sun on these exceptional coastlines. For a truly memorable experience, consider visiting the volcanic hot springs near Palea Kameni and enjoy a therapeutic swim in the warm mineral-rich waters.

In addition to its natural beauty, Santorini boasts several remarkable sights that are worth exploring. Visit the archaeological site of Akrotiri, often referred to as the “Pompeii of the Aegean,” to discover the ruins of an ancient Minoan settlement. Explore the streets of Fira and Oia, where whitewashed buildings and blue-domed churches create a postcard-perfect setting. Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in delicious Greek cuisine at waterfront tavernas, where you can savor traditional dishes while taking in the stunning sea views.

Beaches Highlights
Red Beach Striking red cliffs
Perissa Beach Black sands
Palea Kameni Volcanic hot springs

Discovering Crete – Island Charm and Rich History

As you continue your 12-day trip to Greece, the next destination on your itinerary is the captivating island of Crete. Known for its island charm and rich history, Crete offers a diverse range of experiences that are sure to leave a lasting impression. From luxurious beach resorts to ancient archaeological sites, there is something for everyone to enjoy on this beautiful island.

During your five days in Crete, make sure to stay at the prestigious Blue Palace in Elounda. This 5-star resort offers stunning views of the Aegean Sea and features luxurious accommodations, world-class amenities, and a private beach where you can soak up the sun and unwind.

While in Crete, take a day trip to the famous Spinalonga Island. This historic island is known for its Venetian fortress and was once a leper colony. Explore the ruins, learn about its fascinating history, and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding turquoise waters.

Blue Palace Elounda

For wine enthusiasts, a visit to the Lyrarakis Winery is a must. Located in the heart of Crete, this family-owned winery produces exceptional wines using traditional Cretan grape varieties. Take a tour of the vineyards, learn about the winemaking process, and indulge in a tasting of their award-winning wines.

End your time in Crete by exploring the charming fishing village of Plaka. Situated near the historic site of Spinalonga, Plaka offers a glimpse into traditional Cretan life. Wander through the narrow streets, admire the colorful fishing boats, and enjoy a meal at one of the waterfront tavernas, savoring the fresh seafood and local delicacies.

Table: Highlights in Crete

Highlights Description
Blue Palace Elounda A luxurious beach resort with stunning views
Spinalonga Island A historic island with a Venetian fortress
Lyrarakis Winery A family-owned winery producing traditional Cretan wines
Plaka A charming fishing village with waterfront tavernas

Crete offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and warm hospitality. Experience the island’s charm and rich history as you explore its diverse attractions. From luxurious accommodations to historic sites and local wineries, Crete is sure to leave you with unforgettable memories.

How to Get Around Greece

When planning your trip to Greece, it’s important to understand the different transportation options available to you. Whether you’re looking to explore the mainland or hop between the idyllic Greek islands, there are various modes of transportation to suit your needs.

Flying with Aegean Airlines

Aegean Airlines is the largest Greek airline and offers quick domestic flights between major cities in Greece. With a well-connected network, flying with Aegean Airlines is a convenient way to travel between destinations, especially if you’re short on time. The airline also offers international flights, making it easy to connect to other parts of the world from Greece.

Island Hopping with SeaJets Power Jet

If you’re looking to explore the stunning Greek islands, hopping on a high-speed ferry with SeaJets Power Jet is a popular choice. These ferries offer fast and comfortable transportation between the islands and provide breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea along the way. With frequent routes and efficient service, island hopping has never been easier.

Renting a Car for Flexibility

For those who prefer the flexibility of having their own transportation, renting a car is an excellent option. Greece has a well-maintained road network, making it convenient to explore at your own pace. However, it’s essential to keep in mind some tips when renting a car. It’s recommended to book your rental car in advance, especially during the high season, to ensure availability. Additionally, be prepared for the busy rental car pickup and drop-off locations, and make sure to familiarize yourself with local traffic rules and parking regulations.

With these transportation options, you’ll be able to navigate Greece with ease, whether you’re exploring ancient sites in Athens, enjoying the stunning sunsets in Santorini, or discovering the charming villages of Crete. Choose the mode of transportation that suits your preferences and get ready for an unforgettable journey through the beautiful country of Greece!

Must-Try Greek Cuisine

When in Greece, one of the highlights of your trip will undoubtedly be the incredible Greek cuisine. Known for its vibrant flavors and healthy ingredients, Greek food is a must-try for any traveler. Immerse yourself in the Mediterranean diet and indulge in traditional dishes that have been perfected over centuries.

Start your culinary adventure with grilled octopus, a beloved Greek delicacy. Served with a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil, the tender and flavorful octopus is a true delight for seafood lovers. Pair it with a glass of local Assyrtiko wine to enhance the experience.

“Greek cuisine is a celebration of fresh ingredients and simple flavors. The combination of olive oil, herbs, and spices creates a unique and unforgettable taste,” says Chef Maria Georgiou.

No visit to Greece is complete without trying souvlaki, a popular street food made with grilled skewered meat, typically pork or chicken. Served in warm pita bread and topped with tzatziki sauce, onions, and tomatoes, souvlaki is a delicious and satisfying meal on the go.

Indulge your sweet tooth with bougatsa, a traditional Greek pastry filled with sweet cream. This fluffy and creamy dessert is enjoyed as a breakfast treat or a delightful afternoon snack. Accompany it with a cup of strong Greek coffee for an authentic experience.

Greek Cuisine

Traditional Greek Dishes

Dish Description
Moussaka A layered dish with eggplant, ground meat, and béchamel sauce.
Dolmades Grape leaves stuffed with rice, herbs, and sometimes meat.
Tzatziki A refreshing dip made with yogurt, cucumber, garlic, and herbs.
Greek Salad A classic combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, feta cheese, olives, and olive oil.
Saganaki Fried cheese, typically served with a squeeze of lemon.

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the diverse and delicious Greek cuisine during your 12-day trip. From the appetizing grilled octopus to the indulgent bougatsa, each dish is a testament to Greece’s rich culinary heritage. So, pack your appetite and get ready to savor the flavors of this remarkable Mediterranean destination.

Essential Tips for Your Greece Adventure

As you embark on your 12-day adventure in Greece, here are some essential tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. From language tips to transportation advice, these insights will help you make the most of your time in this beautiful country.

Mediterranean Diet: A Culinary Delight

One of the highlights of visiting Greece is indulging in the delicious flavors of Greek cuisine. Embrace the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and olive oil. Sample traditional dishes like moussaka, spanakopita, and tzatziki to truly experience the rich culinary culture of Greece.

Language Tips: Basic Greek Phrases

While English is widely spoken in Greece, learning a few basic Greek phrases can enhance your travel experience. Here are a few phrases to help you communicate with locals:

  • Kalimera – Good morning
  • Efharisto – Thank you
  • Parakalo – Please
  • Ne – Yes
  • Ohi – No

Transportation Tips: Navigating Greece

Getting around Greece is fairly straightforward, but there are a few things to keep in mind. In Athens and Santorini, public transportation, like buses and taxis, is convenient and efficient. However, if you plan to explore the more remote areas of Crete, renting a car is recommended. Remember to drive on the right side of the road and familiarize yourself with local road signs and regulations.

Transportation Mode Pros Cons
Public Transportation – Convenient and affordable
– No need to worry about parking
– Wide coverage within cities
– Limited schedule in some areas
– Crowded during peak times
Taxi – Quick and convenient
– Available 24/7
– No need to navigate public transport
– Can be expensive, especially for long distances
– Language barrier with some drivers
Rental Car – Greater flexibility and freedom
– Access to remote areas
– Ability to set your own itinerary
– Parking can be challenging in crowded areas
– Extra cost for fuel and insurance
– Need to navigate unfamiliar roads

Itinerary Options for Different Interests

If you’re planning a 12-day trip to Greece and looking to explore beyond the main destinations of Athens, Santorini, and Crete, there are several itinerary options available to suit different interests. Whether you’re a beach lover, a food enthusiast, or want to dive into ancient history, you can customize your trip to make it truly memorable.

If you’re seeking a relaxed itinerary with a mix of stunning beaches and delicious cuisine, consider adding Naxos and Mykonos to your trip. Naxos offers beautiful sandy beaches, ancient ruins, and charming villages to explore. Mykonos, known for its vibrant nightlife, also boasts picturesque beaches and traditional Cycladic architecture. This itinerary is perfect for those who want to combine relaxation, culture, and nightlife.

If you’re looking to discover the less touristy and off-the-beaten-path islands, consider visiting Syros, Tinos, Mykonos, and Naxos. Syros is known for its neoclassical architecture and vibrant cultural scene. Tinos is a religious and artistic hub with beautiful churches and traditional marble carving workshops. Mykonos, as mentioned before, offers a mix of beaches and nightlife, while Naxos brings together ancient history and stunning landscapes. This itinerary is ideal for travelers looking for a more authentic and unique Greek experience.

If ancient history is your main interest, you can focus on Athens, Naxos, Mykonos, and Tinos. Athens is home to iconic ancient sites such as the Acropolis and the Parthenon. Naxos and Tinos also have significant historical sites to explore, including ancient temples and archaeological sites. Mykonos offers a mix of history and relaxation, with its beautiful beaches and the opportunity to visit the nearby archaeological site of Delos. This itinerary allows you to dive deep into Greece’s rich history and immerse yourself in ancient culture.

No matter which itinerary option you choose, Greece offers a wealth of experiences and attractions to suit every interest. Customize your trip based on your preferences, whether it’s relaxing on beautiful beaches, exploring ancient ruins, or indulging in delicious Greek cuisine. With its diverse islands and rich history, Greece is sure to leave you with unforgettable memories.


In conclusion, your 12-day trip to Greece will be an unforgettable journey filled with incredible experiences. This Greece travel guide for 12 days has provided you with a detailed itinerary that covers the best of Athens, Santorini, and Crete. By following this itinerary, you can explore ancient sites, indulge in delicious cuisine, and immerse yourself in the beauty of the Greek islands.

Throughout your adventure, you will have the opportunity to discover the rich history and culture of Greece. From the iconic Acropolis in Athens to the breathtaking views of the caldera in Santorini, each destination offers its own unique charm. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a beach lover, or a foodie, Greece has something to offer for everyone.

Make the most of your 12-day Greece trip by embracing the Mediterranean diet, trying traditional dishes, and exploring the local specialties. Don’t forget to plan ahead and make reservations for popular activities to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Whether you’re traveling solo, with a partner, or with friends, this Greece travel guide for 12 days is your key to exploring Greece in all its glory.


How long is the recommended trip to Greece?

The recommended trip to Greece is 12 days.

What are the best places to visit in Greece for a 12-day trip?

The best places to visit in Greece for a 12-day trip are Athens, Santorini, and Crete.

What are the must-see attractions in Athens?

Must-see attractions in Athens include the Acropolis and its landmarks, the changing of the guard at the Parliament, and the vibrant neighborhoods of Plaka, Psyrri, and Monastiraki.

What should I do in Santorini?

In Santorini, you should enjoy panoramic views of the caldera, explore the streets of Fira and Oia, relax on unique beaches, take a catamaran sunset cruise, and visit the historic site of Akrotiri and the Red Beach.

What are the highlights of Crete?

The highlights of Crete include staying at the luxurious Blue Palace in Elounda, visiting Spinalonga Island, exploring the Lyrarakis Winery, and discovering the charming fishing village of Plaka.

How should I get around Greece?

In Greece, you can fly with Aegean Airlines for quick flights between destinations, take high-speed ferries with SeaJets Power Jet for island hopping, and consider renting a car for exploring Crete.

What are some must-try Greek dishes?

Some must-try Greek dishes include grilled octopus, souvlaki, bougatsa sweet cream pie, and fresh seafood. The Mediterranean diet with its emphasis on olive oil is also worth exploring.

What are some essential tips for a Greece adventure?

Some essential tips for a Greece adventure include learning a few Greek phrases, embracing the Mediterranean diet, following transportation tips, and making reservations for popular activities.

What itinerary options are there for different interests?

There are various itinerary options based on your interests, including a relaxed itinerary with Athens, Santorini, Naxos, and Mykonos, exploring the off-the-beaten-path islands of Syros, Tinos, Mykonos, and Naxos, or focusing on ancient history with Athens, Naxos, Mykonos, and Tinos.

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