Are you planning a week in Greece? Whether you are visiting this incredible country for the first time or you are a repeat visitor, our suggested itinerary for a week in Greece gives you a real taste of mainland Greece and her beautiful islands, and includes some of the most stunning highlights, including the Acropolis and Parthenon, with plenty of opportunities to relax, soak up the local atmosphere, and enjoy the truly delicious local cuisine.
Day One: Intro to Athens
It is impossible to see all of this marvelous city in just a couple of days, but you can certainly head to all the main attractions! The best thing to do before you start is to buy a ‘Combined Ticket’, which gets you into all the top sights for a reduced price and is available at most sites, including the Acrocoplis, the Agora, and the Temple of Zeus. If you can start your day early, all the better because where you are heading, everyone else will be too!
On the first day, you have the chance to step back into ancient history with a visit to the Acropolis first thing in the morning. The Acropolis is an ancient citadel standing on a rocky outcrop that can be seen all over Athens. It is the location of the famous Parthenon and other monuments of ancient Greek civilization. The Theater of Dionysus is always impressive and was the world’s first theater, a longtime home to famous Greek tragedies and comedies.
A visit to the Ancient Agora is always enlightening because this was the focus of the city’s artistic, social, and commercial activities. Hadrian’s Library as imposing as it important, and was long the largest building in the city – and much more than a library- and the Roman Agora was the hub of public life. Finally, a visit the Acropolis Museum will give you a greater insight into this fascinating city and its deep history. Today is an action-packed day that you will never forget; we recommend unwinding with a glass of ouzo and a plate of cured olives to end the day.
Day 2– Dive Into the Past
There is still so much to see in Athens, so this will be another action-packed day! Begin with a visit to the Temple of Olympian Zeus, which is one of the most important archaeological sites in the city. Head for Syntagma Square, the city’s main square and enjoy breakfast Greek style with a rich cup of Greek coffee and a fresh tyropitta (cheese pie) in one of the kaféneio – coffee shops. You will want to head to the front of the Parliament building (which is close by) just before 11:00 so that you can see the Changing of the Guard ceremony performed by the Evzonas – the guards in their distinct white uniform with pompom decorated clogs and black tasseled hats. The soldiers guard the tomb of The Unknown Soldier.
From there, catch a cab to the foot of Mount Lycabettos (300 m); if you are feeling energetic, you can walk up the winding path to the top of the hill, but it is easier you can catch the funicular train up the mountain! At the top, there is a wonderful panoramic view across Athens to the Acropolis and there is a good restaurant, which is perfect for a welcoming drink and lunch after your journey to the top.
Once you are back down the hill and in the center of Athens once more, it is time to join a fun tour to Cape Sounio. This beautiful cape was first mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey and is where the ruins of the Temple of Poseidon stand high on the clifftop overlooking the glistening sea. The excursion ends back in central Athens, perfect for heading to Klimataria, a nearby taverna with drinking, dancing, and delicious food.
Day 3- Food of Athens
What better way to discover the true character of Athens than through its wonderful food? Join our fun-filled tour and explore the city with a guide who will reveal traditional culinary secrets as you explore the main market, family-run bakeries, and regional specialty shops where you can enjoy the taste of wonderful olive oils, salty tapenades, creamy local cheeses, and honey plus delicious local dishes including souvlakia, honey-drenched baklava, bougatsa, and Greek coffee. You will also learn the benefits of observing the traditional Greek diet and the cultural importance of food in Greece, and leave the tour full of new information and tasty snacks to take home after a week in Greece.
Day 4– North to Thessaloniki
The perfect way to travel to Thessaloniki, the country’s second city is by train as you get a wonderful view of the passing countryside. Thessaloniki is enchanting as it is a cosmopolitan city with the friendly ambiance of a village, and offers a more offbeat energy than Athens does. The city’s colorful history is waiting to be explored, with vestiges from the Roman Empire, the Venetians, and the Ottomans melding in every corner.
Apo Poli is the old part of the city that sits on the hilltop and is delightful with fountains and beautiful Byzantine churches, and the bohemian art center of the city. If you’re looking for some lesser known sites that are worth the trip, check out Bensousan Han, a building that has most recently become a site for artists and exhibitions to display their works, or the Pasha Gardens, a forgotten green haven near Ano Poli with half-ruined structures and an ethereal view: one of the best sights you’ll see during your week in Greece.
Day 5- Meteora and the Monasteries
Meteora is a spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site, with amazing rock formations rising precipitously from the ground, rough and rugged green countryside, and numerous monasteries clinging to rocky ridges for centuries. We offer a 3 day hiking excursion that follows in the footsteps trodden by the monks 15 centuries ago or alternatively, you can enjoy a guided tour that includes entrance some of the working monasteries. This tour takes you from Thessaloniki or Athens to Meteora and back, leaving you free to worry about nothing more than exploring.
After such a memorable morning, the rest of the day is spent relaxing in Thessaloniki. A wander along the gorgeous seafront will take you to the famous White Tower with its viewing platform, or if you’re looking to just relax, Thessaloniki is well known for its great regional cuisine and this is something that certainly needs checking out. We recommend Molyvos, a mezze bar and restaurant with a killer interior design.
Day 6- Back to Athens
Returning back to Athens by train, you will have the opportunity to take a leisurely stroll along Ermou Street for some souvenir shopping for memetos after a week in Greece. At one end of the main shopping street is Syntagma Square and at the other is the Kerameikos archaeological site, which was first used as a cemetery in the 12th century BCE and for 1,000 years afterwards. With a leisurely evening in mind, why not enjoy a traditional dinner at Doris, one of the city’s oldest restaurants?
Day 7- The Greek Islands
What better end to your wonderful Greek holiday than joining our leisurely cruise to three gorgeous Greek Islands? The islands are in the Saronic group, so are conveniently close to Athens in distance, but worlds away in experience. Leave Pireaus by boat and go to the pretty island of Poros, where you have a couple of hours to explore and discover that Poros is actually two islands! It is the perfect place to relax with a coffee overlooking the waterfront or discover some of the island’s artisans in their workshops.
From Poros, your boat heads for Hydra, a gorgeous island with no traffic other than donkeys. There are beautiful mansions to admire as you soak up the heady atmosphere. After a few hours, you are back on the boat heading for the lovely unspoiled island of Aegina. There is an array of things to do, including a visit to the Temple of Aphaia or the island’s museums, taking a leisurely stroll around the town itself, or venturing along the coast to explore the pretty fishing villages. This day is fun and so fulfilling as you will have discovered the charm of the islands – the perfect finale to your week in Greece.