10 perfect days in Greece


If you’re looking to plan a trip to Greece, you may feel a little overwhelmed. With over 6,000 islands scattered across the Aegean and Ionian Seas, it’s hard to know where to start, especially if you want to go island-hopping. The best rule of thumb: Stick to one chain like the Cyclades, which is home to heavy hitters like Santorini and Mykonos, plus some under-the-radar islands that will give you a taste of old-school Greece.

We mapped out a 10-day itinerary that starts and ends in Athens, then hits several islands along the way, striking a balance between must-see landmarks and off-the-beaten-path treasures. We used Tripadvisor ratings and real reviews to make sure you hit the best spots, but we’ve also paced it so that you won’t need a vacation after the vacation.



MORNING: The sights of Athens

Spend your first day exploring the main sights of Greece’s capital, which Athens has it all. First stop: the famous Acropolis. This ancient citadel built in the fifth century B.C. towers over the city and is home to some of the world’s most impressive ancient ruins like the Parthenon, known for its dignified white marble columns and perfect sense of proportion. Here here early—it gets very busy, especially if you’re visiting in the summer months. Plus, you don’t want to be climbing in the heat of the day. And take plenty of water and wear a hat—there’s virtually no shade.

Important to note: To protect the Acropolis, there are new visitor quotas: 3,000 people will be allowed access during the first hour after the site opens at 8 a.m., followed by 2,000 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., and so on, until closing time at 8 p.m. The good news is that this means you’ll be sharing the Acropolis with fewer people, the downside is that you will need to make reservations further in advance.

Afterward, head to Mnisikleous Street (also known as the Plaka Stairs) for traditional Greek food with a spectacular view of the city. Located on the northeast side of the Acropolis hill, these stairs have many tavernas located on them with outdoor seating on cushions. About halfway up, Geros Tou Moria is a popular spot, thanks to its Greek salad, gyros, souvlaki, zucchini fritters, and an array of dips. But a heads up: The Plaka Stairs are very touristy and get busy later in the day.

After dinner, climb even higher uphill to the picturesque neighborhood of Anafiotika, which is called “the Greek Island within the mainland.” Its hidden cobbled streets and sugar-cubed houses resemble the places you’ll see in the Greek islands—a taste of what’s to come.


  • This Athens Full Day Private Tour is well worth the custom since it includes skip-the-line access to the highlights—the Acropolis, the Parthenon, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and the Ancient Agora of Athens—plus a lunch of with gyros, Greek salad, and baklava.
  • The Athens Highlights: A Mythological Tour takes in the city’s main sights and showcases ancient Greece’s daily life.
  • A great way to tour the city is on the Greek Food Walking Tour, which explores the city’s culinary cultural heritage with stops to try traditional foods and coffee, plus sighteeing along the way

AFTERNOON: Street food and street art

After lunch, head to Varvakeios, the central market in Athens, to explore the open-air stalls selling fruit and vegetables and small shops with herbs, honey, nuts, and wine (the perfect picnic). Across the street in a huge neoclassical covered market built in the late 1800s are the meat and fish areas. They’re worth scoping out, though a warning—you’ll need a strong stomach to take these in.

To gain a different perspective of the city, head to Keramikos Metro (one stop from Monastiraki Metro) to check out the Awesome Street Art Tour of Athens in the Gazi neighborhood. Gazi is the old gasworks district of Athens, with many bars and restaurants and an exhibition space and museum in the old factories—they’re highly Instagrammable at night when the chimneys are lit up. Your street art tour will guide you around and explain about the social and political messages behind the stunning murals.

EVENING: Piraeus port for dinner

Head down to Piraeus to explore the port area of the city. There’s a surprising amount to see and do—such as the Archaeological Museum—yet by far the nicest activity is to sit and watch the sun set in the Bay of Zea. Also known as Pasalimani, this bay was originally the biggest military port in the state of Athens. These days, you’ll see locals taking a stroll and having a coffee at many of the cafés and bars along the waterfront, which have harbor-edge seating. Join them as you watch the fishermen mend their nets.

When it’s time to eat, Noe is your best bet. It’s popular thanks to its meatballs, chicken souvlaki, Greek salad, and meze (shared dishes), as well as vegetarian and vegan dishes. Don’t miss the eggplant croquettes and the cheese pies. If Noe doesn’t have space, some other great dining options in Piraeus include Thea Thallasa (a charming little taverna), Entelamezen (with live music), Cinque (a wine bar and deli), Thes (for creative Greek cuisine), and Abibayio (Mediterranean fusion).



MORNING: Mykonos and mythology

Get up early for your first Greek island-hopping destination, Mykonos, which is just over two hours away from Athens on the fast ferry. Although it’s only 35 miles across—making it one of the smaller islands in the Aegean—this island attracts a cosmopolitan crowd drawn to high-end shopping and a nighttime party vibe (or all day revelry, if that’s your thing). But there’s also a quieter, more traditional side of the island waiting to be explored.

Before you leave Athens, check to see if your hotel can serve you an early breakfast or a light bite because the Mykonos ferries start running at 7 a.m. (But it’s worth noting that there are good snacks and coffee on board the ferries: Try the Greek breakfast snack of koulouri, a circular bread encrusted with sesame seeds.) Upon arrival, leave your bags at your hotel and head to Mykonos port via the Old Town. If you’re still hungry, Yummy Mykonos serves up crepes, fruit and yogurt bowls, waffles, and superb coffee in a lovely streetside setting.

Then it’s time to head to the UNESCO World Heritage island of Delos, one of the country’s most important archaeological sites. Supposedly the birthplace of twins Apollo and Artemis, the island was a major religious center and port during the 1st millennium B.C. You can buy tickets for the 40-minute boat ride to the island at the main harbor (which includes entrance to the archaeological site). You don’t really need a guide, but there are some available once you get to Delos. Check out the Doric temples, markets, an amphitheater, houses with mosaics, plus the iconic Avenue of the Lions statues.

Tips: Be sure to wear sturdy shoes. Also, since there’s little shade, bring plenty of sunscreen, water, and a hat. There’s also a small café in the museum.


AFTERNOON: Wandering along the cobbled streets

Now that you’re back on dry land, spend some down time exploring the streets of Little Venice around the Old Port, which is lined with atmospheric 19th century stone buildings. From here, you can also see the iconic six stone Windmills, some dating back to the 16th century. The views here are always great, but return at sunset for a truly Instagrammable moment.

Stop in at the Church of Paraportiani, a collection of five churches built starting in the 15th century, that rise out of the landscape like a castle. The views and the architecture are worth it.

Then head to Galleraki, a café and bar in Little Venice. It’s a great spot for a light afternoon snack and pre-dinner wine or beer. Kick back and relax on its balcony seating (which has amazing sea views), but be sure to leave room for tonight’s special meal.

Travelers say: “The view from the windmills is spectacular. From here we could look down upon the curve of whitewashed houses, bars and restaurants that make up Little Venice…There’s plenty of space on the grassy slope or the low stone wall to sit and soak up the view, but as the sun starts to drop in the sky, people start to flock in to watch the sunset.”—@Mairwen1

EVENING: A traditional meal

There are plenty of amazing places to eat in Mykonos, but for a night to remember, book a Mykonian meal in a local home turned restaurant. You’ll help prepare traditional recipes using fresh ingredients—nibbling on Greek mezze and sipping wine as you cook—and get insights into Mykonian culture from the friendly host. You’ll enjoy your creations with fellow travelers. The hosts will even drive you back and forth to your hotel, and you’ll get a goodie bag to take home with you at the end of the meal.



MORNING: Kayak along the coast

Today is all about the water. The northern beaches of Mykonos tend to be quiet and serene, and one of the best ways to explore the coastline is by kayaking. The company Mykonos Kayak runs trips from either Panormos or Agios Sostis beaches. You’ll experience places otherwise inaccessible from land, learn about the different flora and fauna of the island as you pull up and take a small hike over the countryside, then swim, snorkel, and relax on the shore. Best of all, you don’t need prior kayaking experience to join the fun.


  • Discover Scuba gives you the chance to explore the underwater world of the Lia reef off Mykonos with this beginner scuba experience. Take in the colorful marine flora and fauna.
  • Sea Kayaking with Mykonos Outdoors offers a two- to three-hour trip, if you’d rather keep it short. You’ll go kayaking, hike over herb covered coastal hills, and swim in crystal-clear waters.

AFTERNOON: Lunch and a lighthouse

Kayaking will work up your appetite, so grab lunch at the famed Kiki’s Taverna at Agios Sostis beach. The fish cooked in a wood-burning oven is excellent, and the freshly prepared salads you’ll spot displayed at the counter are a can’t miss. You may have to wait to get a table, but the owners will bring you glasses of wine while you relax in the shade—it’s all part of the experience. (Note that it’s cash-only here.)

Then it’s time to kick back on the small beach at Agios Sostis (a hidden gem of a quiet cove) or the larger Panormos Bay (which has shallow waters and is popular with families). It’s just a six-minute drive between the two if you want to experience both.

Before you leave the area, head out to Armenistis Lighthouse, about a 15-minute drive from Agios Sostis and Panormous on the island’s west coast. The lighthouse itself isn’t open to the public, but the views from this spot are spectacular.

EVENING: A sunset cruise and clubbing

You could go back to Mykonos Town for sunset, but our advice—escape the crowds of Little Venice and opt for a sunset cruise instead. Every sunset in Mykonos is worth stopping for, but on a boat, they’re pure bliss. You’ll drop anchor, be served drinks and snacks, and then watch the sun dipping into the Mediterranean in a private piece of paradise.

Once back on dry land, head to dinner. NOA Taverna has both terrace and indoor seating with great views across the town. The mouthwatering traditional dishes include crispy fried zucchini served with creamy tzatziki, baked eggplant, and grilled meatballs. Another good option: Compass, about a mile from Little Venice, which has burgers, local fish, homemade moussaka, and a huge range of pastas and meat dishes such as ribeye steaks and veal. Mediterraneo, near the Mykonos bus station, is an Italian restaurant with excellent pasta, pizza, and sushi.

Now that you’re all fueled up, it’s time to party. In the Old Town, 54 Cocktail Lounge and Skybar has tasty signature cocktails, plus wine and beer, all served on its sky terrace with lounger seating to take in the sea views in style. Negrita is another in-town hangout that’s more sedate during the day: People come here to take in the sea views and have a bite to eat. At night, it morphs into a raucous cocktail bar that’s popular with a young crowd.

If it’s more of a party you’re after, head out to Cavo Paradiso nightclub at Paradise Beach, known as one of the most impressive music and event destinations in Europe. You’ll find internationally acclaimed DJs headlining here. Party until dawn and watch the sun rise at this venue situated atop a 100-foot cliff overlooking the Aegean sea.



MORNING: Off to Santorini

Your next destination: Santorini, which is a two-and-a-half to three-hour ferry ride from Mykonos. With its blue domed churches, winding cobblestone streets, and white-washed villages perched above stark black volcanic cliffs, this is what you’re envisioning when you think of the quintessential Greek island.

For many visitors, this is simply a cruise stopover, with just enough time to get a taste of the island. With two days, though, you’ll be able to get an in-depth look at its key sights, have time to relax on the black- and red-sand beaches, and even have time to unwind at a winery (or two). Best of all, you’ll be here at the end of the day to witness the island’s famed sunset.

After you arrive on the island, head to Fira, the island’s capital, to fuel up for your first adventure at VR Cafe/Bar with some powerful Greek coffee. Not only is it a solid brunch spot, it also overlooks your next destination: Santorini’s legendary caldera. (Tip: VR is also a top spot for an evening cocktail while you watch the sunset, so plan a return visit late in the day.)

EARLY AFTERNOON: Caldera views

Santorini was created from a dormant volcano that lies just off its shores. Being able to walk across volcanic rocks, while taking in the scenic views of the island is a sight you don’t want to miss.

Take the cable car down from Fira to reach the harbor. There are no water taxis or ferries to the volcano, so booking a guided tour is the best—and only—option for a visit. The three-hour Santorini Volcano and Hot Springs tour allows enough time to wander over the craters and see the steam rise from this otherworldly phenomenon before you start to feel like lava yourself. Note that it’s hot in this volcanic landscape, so bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat, in addition to good walking shoes.

LATE AFTERNOON: Lunch and beach time

After spending time hiking around the volcano, head to the famous Red Beach at Akrotiri, with its stunning red, black, and white rocks. It’s possible to take a bus here from Fira if you don’t have a rental car. However, be warned that it can be quite a scramble down to the beach from the top of the cliff. To make your beach visit more comfortable, it’s worth paying the small fee for a sunbed.

Ready for lunch? Asterias Tavern at Red Beach has fresh-from-the-Aegean seafood (don’t miss the grilled octopus) and vegetarian dishes, along with excellent sea views. You can either eat before or after your beach time, since it’s open all day. (If you want to return for dinner, the restaurant has a free car service to and from Akrotiri Village so you don’t have to drive at night.)

Shake off the sand, then take a 15-minute drive to the Akrotiri Lighthouse, which has fantastic views from the grounds (the interior isn’t open). Try and plan your visit to watch the gorgeous sunset vista from here.


EVENING: Fine dining, Greek style

Greece is known for its seafood, and if you haven’t tried it at least once, then you’re missing out. With traditional dishes such as tomato croquettes, zucchini balls, and the ubiquitous Greek salad with feta cheese, Santorini is also accommodating to vegetarians.

In Fira, treat yourself to one of the island’s most romantic spots, Michelin-starred Selena. It’s pricey, but worth it, for its artfully presented dishes and setting in a secluded former 18th century Catholic monastery. For a more affordable option, try Greece’s street food—souvlaki and gyros—at Lucky’s, just off the main square. It’s great for a quick bite on the go before you set off to sample the Santorini nightlife.

Nightlife on the island, especially the capital town of Fira, tends to be concentrated around wine or cocktail bars. Although it doesn’t have live music, jazz fans love Kira Jazz Bar. Fans of clubbing should head to Enigma, where a young crowd dances to a mix of dance, techno, and R&B. For a more sedate experience, PK Cocktail Bar—spread across three levels—has amazing caldera and sunset views and combines a great cocktail menu with local wines, plus champagne, all at very reasonable prices, given its location.



MORNING: Hike from Fira to Oia

Today it’s time to take in a picture-postcard coastal village carved into the rock face with a hike from Fira to Oia. The six-mile unmarked hiking trail goes over cobblestones and donkey paths, so be sure to wear sturdy shoes. It’s well worth it for the views of the Aegean Sea and the volcano. Plus, you’ll pass through the pretty villages of Firostefani and Imerovigli along the way, with their sugar-cube whitewashed houses dripping with colorful bougainvillea.

The hike can take three to five hours, depending on your speed and the time of day you set off, so leave early enough that you reach Oia in time for lunch and can avoid walking in the midday heat, there’s not a lot of shade en route. Don’t want to do it alone? On the Santorini Caldera Fira to Oia Hike, you’ll be part of a small group. You’ll trek past traditional villages, cave houses, and spectacular lookout points as you learn about the volcano’s history—information you wouldn’t get if you were going solo. You’ll also be shown how to get back to Fira if you’re not going to stay in Oia.

Note that if you’re not up for hiking, it’s easy to drive from one village to the other or to take the public bus (about a 20-minute ride). Both options provide stunning views and allow you to have a more leisurely morning.

AFTERNOON: Lunch and relaxation

Now that you’ve reached Oia, kick back and relax over lunch at the highly recommended KooKoo Bar/Restaurant, located in the heart of the village. Not only does it offer a vast selection of Greek dishes, pastas, pizzas, and grilled fish, its rooftop seating has stunning Santorini views.

From here, it’s a 10-minute walk to the Windmill of Oia, an all-star photo op. Be warned, though, in the summer it can get very crowded.

Re-fueled, it’s time to treat yourself to some more relaxation time at Oia’s Amoudi Bay, a small port with a lovely swimming spot. There are also many seafood taverns here with outside seating that practically jut out into the water, so you could take a quick look around Oia village once you arrive after your hike and head straight down to eat lunch and relax here. But some advice: There are over 200 steps from Oia village down the craggy rock to Amoudi, so walk down and take a taxi back up.

EVENING: Wine tour and dinner

Many equate Santorini with its sunsets, and they are indeed spectacular. Another Santorini speciality: world-famous wine grown in the volcanic soil. Get the best of both by toasting the glowing orange sunset with a golden wine tasting at Domaine Sigalas. This family-owned estate has been producing wine for over 20 years. It’s a 10-minute drive, or half hour walk, from Oia village. There are tours around the estate with wine tasting and snacks, plus an a la carte menu. Best of all—you can pair a sunset vista with high-quality wine and a unique meal. But a heads up: It’s important to book in advance.

Afterward, head back to Oia to chill out over a cocktail. The village’s nightlife tends to be more sedate than in Fira. Sun Spirit Cocktail Bar has sunset views (and a minimum drink order). Hassapiko only offers indoor seating, but its has well-priced cocktails such as daiquiris and mojitos.


  • Santorini Wine Stories Sunset Tour is a four-hour tour taking in three different wineries and trying up to 10 different varieties of wines, paired with cheese. They collect guests from their hotels in Oia (you can join there after your hike).
  • Santorini Wine Tour with sunset in Oia is slightly longer at six hours and again has an Oia hotel pick up, taking you to Venetsanos Winery, one of the island’s oldest—opened in 1949. There you’ll learn about the vine growing process on this barren island and will head to the Wine Museum Koutsogiannopoulos, followed by a sunset cocktail with a view.



MORNING: Naxos is next

Your next Cycladic island adventure is Naxos, the greenest of the Cycladic islands, thanks to its high mountains and lush valleys. Although it is becoming increasingly popular, it has managed to escape the mass tourist crowds—making it a lovely respite from busier islands like Mykonos and Santorini. An early-morning ferry will get you here. The first ferries usually leave Santorini at around 9.30 a.m. and take about one-and-a-half hours, so you’ll arrive just before midday.


  • Eat your way through Naxos town on this food tasting and cooking class experience, which includes a visit to a local market, as well as an iconic castle.
  • Anthony Bourdain loved learning how to make traditional Greek cuisine over a wood fire with Mrs. Juliana—and so will you on this half-day journey, which includes a visit to her family farm.
  • Take in all the highlights on Naxos with a bus tour that includes a visit to an ancient temple, a citron distillery, and more, plus free time for lunch and swimming.

EARLY AFTERNOON: Lunch and beach time

Upon arrival at the Port of Naxos (aka the town of Chora), you’ll find a string of tavernas and restaurants lining the promenade. Have lunch at the Naxos Apothecary Porta at the end of the harbor, where you can shop for homemade body-care products while you eat. The small but thoughtfully prepared menu features local dishes with a twist—think, egg, tomato, and strawberry salad or pork with roast potatoes. Relax with a glass of wine and take in the gorgeous harbor views; you’ll love it so much you may even choose to come back for dinner.

After lunch it’s time to relax on the beach. Agios Georgios—or Saint George—is right by Naxos harbor, so you don’t have to travel far. It’s the island’s most popular beach, thanks to its long stretch of sand, clear waters, and spectacular views of Paros island in the distance. It’s also fully organized, meaning, there are sunbeds and umbrellas to rent, as well as water sports at one end of the beach. Families also love it, since it’s quite shallow.


EVENING: Sunset views at an ancient Greek site

A 15-minute stroll from the beach brings you to the Temple of Apollo, also known as Portara on the headland. It’s a massive marble doorway that sits on a small islet linked by a causeway. According to ancient Greek mythology, the Minoan Princess Ariadne was abandoned here by Theseus—her lover and the King of Athens—after he slayed the Minotaur monster on Crete. It’s a gorgeous place to see the sunset, and yes, it gets busy, but it is worth it.

Head back into town to freshen up before dinner at Barozzi Restaurant and Cocktail Bar, housed in a renovated 1930s neoclassical building with a roof terrace. This fine-dining restaurant serves three-, five-, and seven-course menus with dishes such as rabbit ravioli, sea bass, and Angus steak, paired with wines. Don’t miss the negronis by the resident mixologist. Reservations are required. If fine dining isn’t your thing, check out Metaxi Mas Taverna, with its traditional Greek dishes like moussaka, pastitsio (Greece-style lasagna), and gyros.

Naxos is not a hedonistic party island like Mykonos: Its nightlife is more sedate with good music sets paired with great views across the Aegean Sea. Naxos Town itself has a selection of clubs and bars to choose from to see the night away. We love The Rum Bar Cocktails and Spirits for the sunsets, the rum drinks (there’s a huge variety), and the DJ sets.



MORNING: The old town and an ancient castle

Head out for breakfast on the go or sit in at The Old Bakery in Naxos Old Town. It specializes in bread mainly, so grab a roll filled with cheese, olives and tomatoes or the Greek koulouri and strong Greek coffee then head to your first destination, the Castle of Naxos (aka the Kastro).

This 13th century Venetian castle has a striking circular design (the only castle on the island like this). Set on four levels, its Glezos Tower is perfectly preserved. During its heyday in Venetian times, the Katstro served a huge role in politics, education, and religion. The complex also housed the Roman Catholic Cathedral and Ursulines School and Merchant Academy, a former Jesuit school that’s now a cultural center. These buildings are still open to the public and worth checking out. A note: There is an elevator at the castle that allows visitors to reach the highest point—handy if you’re mobility impaired or just don’t want to make the hike.

Have lunch at the Avaton 1739 café, accessible via the elevator from the castle and housed in the Ursulines School. It has gorgeous terrace seating with views across the town and sea. Brunch is served until 3:30 p.m.; try the Naxos omelet made with the island’s signature cheese.

AFTERNOON: An intoxicating wine tour

One of the best ways to literally gain a taste of the island is through its wines. We all know that Greek wines are famous throughout the world, and Naxos is no exception. This afternoon, head to Saint Anne’s Winery, a 15-minute drive into the hills just outside Naxos Town, for a wine tasting and tour. You’ll learn about the ancient and modern ways of cultivating the grapes and making wine, then sample six to nine different varieties with bio products from the farm such as peppers and tomatoes, Naxos cheeses, and breadsticks.

Note: If you don’t have a car, the winery may be able to arrange a pick up/drop off from town. Request this when you book.

EVENING: A meal to remember in a former monastery

After sunset cocktails back at Avaton 1739, look forward to an evening of dining in Naxos Old Town at Doukato, a former monastery with an atmospheric courtyard setting. Order the beef eggplant with Naxos cheese—a fan-favorite dish—or the simple chicken souvlaki, meatballs, or calamari.

After dinner, it’s time for cocktails. For gorgeous views across the sea, check out 520 Cocktail Bar in a building dating back to the 1700s. Like Home has cocktails, DJ sets, and hookah pipes (if that’s your thing) on a rooftop overlooking the Temple of Apollo. On the Rocks Bar on the beachfront of the harbor is a café/coffee bar by day and bar at night. For cocktail connoisseurs, try Swing Bar in the center of the Old Town (located right where the Old Market begins) specializes in molecular bartending and has dance parties across its two levels. Jazz and Blues bar is a more sedate experience in the heart of the Old Town.



MORNING: A ferry ride to Paros

Your next stop, Paros, has it all—busy beaches, hidden coves, mountain villages, and a buzzing capital. Depending on how early you want to leave, there are high-speed ferries that depart at around 7 a.m. and take only 10 minutes; the slower (and less expensive) ferry takes up to an hour. For the sake of this itinerary, have a leisurely breakfast of fresh juice, coffee, waffles, and pancakes at Naxos Port’s Flisvos Beach Café before boarding your ferry.


  • Get to know Paros and its little sister, Atiparos, on this easy busy tour that includes a walking tour of the old town of Parikia, a visit to several mountain villages, swimming, and more.
  • Whether you are looking for something romantic, adventurous, gastronomic, or family-friendly, you can do it all with this private tour.
  • Here’s a fun way to get to know Paros: with a self-guided tour and game in Parikia’s old town—you’ll solve riddles and earn points as you learn more about the island’s history and culture.

AFTERNOON: Port and beach time

Your ferry will arrive in Parikia, the capital and home to the main port. The town is built like an amphitheater around the port, so it has lovely views. The buildings here are the ones you typically associate with Cycladic architecture: white-washed sugar cubed houses with colored wooden doors and balconies extending over the main street, plus cobbled lanes. You’ll see the famed Windmill of Parikia as you come into the port. It’s not open to the public, but it’s good for your Instagram feed.

Wander around the back lanes of Parikia and have lunch at Koutouki, which serves small jugs of wine with shared meze dishes (meatballs, eggplant croquettes, fava dip, tzatziki) and any number of grilled meat or fish dishes.

Then it’s on to Livadia Beach—a 10-minute walk from Parikia or a few minutes in a taxi—to while away the rest of the afternoon. The beach is divided into different sections: You can choose from the fully organized section with sunbeds, umbrellas, and water sport facilities or the part with no beds (bring your own towel) and natural shade from trees overhead. There are also several bars that line the waterfront so you can sip a frappe (Greek iced coffee) in style.

EVENING: A castle and cool beach vibes

Head back to Parikia to hit the Frankish castle, just in time for sunset. Known locally as Frangokastelo, this 13th century building isn’t so much a castle as a group of buildings clustered together. It was originally built to stop pirates from invading the town; the walls are now whitewashed. During its time there were four chapels inside—and the ancient columns are still visible.

Hibiscus Restaurant—one of the oldest restaurants in town—is set right under a massive ficus tree and serves a mixture of Greek and Italian cuisine, great views across the harbor, and indoor and outside seating. Dishes not to miss include eggplant stuffed with parmesan, chicken in a feta sauce, and thin crust pizzas cooked in the wood-burning stove.

Nightlife on Paros is similar to Naxos—a far cry from hedonistic Mykonos. Bebop X Joomla is the spot for cocktails, wines, jazz, and great sunset viewing. The Pirate Bar serves wine and beer in a small, cozy place tucked down a narrow side street. For a beach party vibe, head to Cabana Beach Bar. It opens in the early morning, so you can pay for your lux sunbed and stay here all day. At night, it migrates into a beach club with parties, signature cocktails, and DJ stints.



MORNING: Head to the mountains

Today is all about exploring a different side of the island—the inland villages. It is possible to use the KTEL public buses (which leave from the main bus station at the port of Parikia), but the timetable is pretty irregular. To navigate Paros on your own terms and not rely on public transport, it’s best to rent a car. And a note: Automatic cars are not readily available on most Greek islands, so check at the time of booking and make sure you’re comfortable with a stick shift. There are plenty of car rental companies in Parikia, so take your pick.

Grab breakfast at a bakery like Tseriki, located on a narrow back street. Choose from sweet and savory pies, pastries, and excellent Greek coffee to kickstart your day. From here, it’s only a five-minute walk to the Archaeological Museum, which is temporarily closed but has outdoor exhibitions on view.

Within 15 minutes, you’ll be in the mountain village of Lefkes, set high on a hill covered in olive and pine trees. Originally Paros’s capital during the Middle Ages, it’s a typical Cycladic traditional village with whitewashed houses, many now used as hotels, guesthouses, and restaurants. It only has about 300 permanent inhabitants. It’s a rarity in Greece, still untouched by mass tourism.

Wander the town’s cobbled streets and see the imposing Monument to the Hero of Wars, the Byzantine white marble huge Church of Agia Triada (the Holy Trinity), and the Folklore Art Museum (which exhibits tools and clothing from times past). There are several boutiques not to miss along its cobbled alleyways like ONEIPA Concept Store and Blackrose, which both sell Greek-made products.

AFTERNOON: Mountains and seaside

For lunch, Lefkes has several places to choose from in the village square or just outside the center, with views of the church. Lefkiano is a local favorite, serving traditional dishes such as stuffed peppers and tomatoes, moussaka, octopus, and sea bass. It has both outside and rooftop seating. Other choices include Ramnos (good for brunch omelets or a club sandwich washed down with coffee), Kafeneio Marigos (great for sweet treats such as orange pie), Agiazi Cafe (another pastry and coffee spot), and Flora Taverna (serving traditional Greek foods).

Then it’s on to another mountain village: Prodromos. If you’re feeling fit, you can hike the Byzantine Trail from Lefkes to Prodromos. It’s about an hour each way along a rocky path that has great island views. Or if you’re not in the mood for a hike, it’s a 15-minute drive away and has superb views along the way, from verdant olive groves to pine forests. Prodromos is quite small, so make a pit stop here to photograph the narrow alleyways and bright pink blossoming bougainvillea and take a look inside Keros (the specialty Greek produce shop selling sweet wines, orange balsamic vinegars, and a selection of honey).

A 15-minute drive away is Naoussa, Paros’s picturesque second town and home to its Old Port. It’s quieter than Parikia but it gets busy especially around sunset, so spend some time exploring the shops along its cobbled streets, the remains of the Venetian Fortress at the harbor entrance, and the small whitewashed Church of St Nicolas before settling down for another coffee at any number of cafés with harborside seating such as Panorama Café/Bar (which also serves cocktails if you decide to stay late), Café Karino, and Kiranos Café.

EVENING: Last night in the islands

If you’re not staying in Naoussa, head back to Parikia for dinner at the many restaurants in town. Parea Cuisine, owned by a family that teaches at the local cooking academy, serves farm-to-table dishes like octopus with potato puree or lamb shank. A tip: It’s a 15-minute drive along a mountainous road from Naoussa to Parikia, so it’s advisable to drive before it gets dark.


DAY 10

MORNING: Ferry back to Athens

Head to Parikia port to catch your ferry or your flight back to Athens. If you opt for the ferry, there are several options a day and they take between two hours and 50 minutes and five hours. To make the most of your last day in Athens, it’s advisable to take the fast ferry that leaves at 11 a.m. and arrives at 2.50 p.m. This gives you an afternoon to unwind in a different part of Athens—the Athenian Riviera.

Upon arrival at the port of Piraeus, head immediately by taxi—30 minutes—to the gorgeous Lake Vouliagmeni for a natural spa experience to while away your afternoon. This is a hidden gem in the Athenian Riviera—a lake set in an idyllic landscape that’s considered a geological wonder. Both the sea and subterranean thermal springs provide a unique and natural thermal spa experience, continually replenishing the lake’s brackish waters.

Lake Vouliagmeni is a top attraction in the Athens Riviera thanks to its exceptional attributes; it has water temperatures ranging from 72 to 84 degrees throughout the year. The therapeutic properties of the lake’s waters are renowned for their healing benefits, plus there are Garra Rufa—the skin nibbling fish—swimming freely around to remove any coarse or dry skin.

Lake Vouliagmeni has an entrance fee and two areas. The “normal” area has seating at tables, umbrellas, and comfortable cushioned sunbeds. But the more expensive “prive” area is worth it— there are fewer people and sunbeds scattered around a grassy area with natural shade from trees. (You can also sign up for a private tour from Athens, if you want someone else to do all the planning for you.)

AFTERNOON: Sunset at Cape Sounio

Once you’ve spent time unwinding by this natural lake, head to Cape Sounio, a 45-minute drive away at the Riviera’s southernmost tip. It’s here that you’ll find the Temple of Poseidon, a fifth century white marble structure set atop a cliff with gorgeous sea views (especially at sunset). It’s got a fascinating backstory: According to mythology, Aegeus—the King of Athens in ancient times—threw himself into the sea here because of a misunderstanding with his son, Theseus.

Tickets can be bought at the ticket booth at the entrance. There are no guides here because it’s a small monument, so if you want a guide, you need to book a tour in advance. Budget about an hour, and be sure to bring a sweater or a light jacket: There’s no shelter here, as it’s exposed on all sides to the elements and it can get windy.


  • With this private tour from Athens, you can enjoy the freedom of traveling with your own dedicated driver at your preferred time. Experience the Temple of Poseidon (at your own expense) for as long as you like and opt to break your journey home with a meal at a restaurant along the way.
  • This sunset tour of the Temple of Poseidon starts with a chauffeured drive along the Athenian Riviera and includes a seaside dinner.
  • On this private tour to the magical Cape Sounion, you’ll visit the Temple of Poseidon, have a thermal spa-like experience at Lake Vouliagmeni, and savor Greek delicacies in a local tavern.

EVENING: A night to remember

For your last night in Athens, base yourself along the Athenian Riviera coastline, which is fast becoming a destination in its own right. To treat yourself, splash out on the One&Only Aesthesis Hotel in Glyfada. You’ll stay in one of several bungalows dotted around the private grounds with a private pool. The restaurants offer specially curated menus, not to mention an in-house Gurlain spa. The hotel also organizes trips to the places mentioned above—or you could skip it all and enjoy being pampered at this luxe hideaway.

Just be aware that the Athens Riviera is not cheap—but to round off your 10-day island-hopping experience, it’s totally worth it.


Πηγή: Trip Advisor


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