AMAZING 5-DAY GREECE ITINERARY
- 1 AMAZING 5-DAY GREECE ITINERARY
- 2 TRAVEL TIPS FOR A GREECE ITINERARY FOR 5 DAYS
- 3 SANTORINI IN 3 DAYS
- 4 ATHENS IN 2 DAYS
- 5 FINAL WORDS ON SPENDING 5 DAYS IN GREECE
Are you planning your 5-day Greece itinerary? Then read on as I share my tips on creating an epic itinerary with some fantastic places to visit in 5 days in Greece.
One of the most popular travel destinations in Europe is Greece. And if you have seen pictures (or been there yourself), you will know why. Greece is stunning. I mean, really stunning. It is one of the most picture-perfect countries in Europe – if not in the world.
And yet Greece has some flaws…There are around 6000 Greek islands! How can you decide which islands to visit with that many options? Mykonos, Ios, Piros, Santorini, Crete…And let’s not forget about the beautiful places on the mainland. No, Greece might be exceptionally gorgeous, but it is not easy to navigate the islands and decide which places to visit in 5 days in Greece. I am well aware that any Greece itinerary will be controversial.
There are so many stunning places and activities that you can only see a tiny fraction of it in less than a week. And while I have not seen most islands (and probably never will – I mean there are soooo many islands), I have been to Greece several times and here I share my tips for your first-time itinerary for Greece in 5 days.
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TRAVEL TIPS FOR A GREECE ITINERARY FOR 5 DAYS
For this first-time Greece itinerary, Athens and Santorini will be the main places to visit (plus a few day trips from both places). Why did I choose these two destinations for a 5-day Greece itinerary? I think it is a perfect combination of a perfect Greek island – Santorini – and a lot of history and culture in Athens.
You will find out how to get around, where to stay, what to do and see, plus more travel tips for your 5-day itinerary.
HOW TO GET TO GREECE
There are a couple of options to arrive in Greece. In general, ferries and planes are the most popular ways to get around. I am always for ferry rides.
However, if you are not from Greece, you most likely will fly to Athens International Airport or Santorini International Airport. Both airports are quite well connected to European airports.
If you are in Greece already or in the neighboring countries, you could arrive via bus to Athens, but given Greece’s geography, buses are not the best way to get to Greece.
FROM ATHENS TO SANTORINI OR THE OTHER WAY AROUND
There are two main ways to get to/from Athens to Santorini.
- By ferry: One popular way is via ferry. There are – usually – several ferries going to/from Athens daily. It takes between 4-8 hours to reach Santorini.
- By plane: The fastest way is to book a flight which takes less than one hour, but is also less fun and scenic.
BEST WAY TO GET AROUND GREECE
- Bring your most comfy shoes and prepare for a lot of walking in Athens and Santorini. Sometimes, walking will not get you everywhere. At least if you only have five days in Greece and want to do more than walking.
- You could rent a car and explore Greece. However, I highly suggest not doing that.
- Use public transportation.
- Buses in Santorini will bring you to most attractions, and they run pretty frequently. Public transportation limits your flexibility, but it is still the best way to get around. In Santorini, you could rent an ATV for a day or two, but there is no need to rent a car for the duration of your whole trip.
- In Athens, besides walking, the metro might become your best friend. It is fast and affordable and will be there if you are too tired to walk.
BEST TIME TO VISIT GREECE FOR 5 DAYS
- Greece is a popular place to visit – and thus, it gets busy. Especially Santorini gets crowded. Actually, that was why I avoided Santorini for the longest time – I was scared of the crowds.
- Avoid July and August at any cost. If you cannot avoid it, then be prepared for many, many people.
- If you are flexible, I suggest getting to Greece for 5 days between April and June or September and October. The weather should be pleasantly warm but not hot, and the crowds are gone (it still might be busy).
- Athens is also beautiful in spring – as you can see, there are many good months to visit Athens and Santorini. Just try to avoid July and August.
WHERE TO STAY – 5 DAYS IN GREECE
For this 5-day itinerary, you will have to change accommodations once.
You will find hotel recommendations for Athens and Santorini directly after the travel tips for the places.
MORE TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR GREECE ITINERARY
- If you visit Greece in the summer months (or actually at any time), bring sunscreen and wear comfortable shoes.
- Here is a packing list for your Europe trip.
- Want to learn a few Greek words before your trip? Then check out the most important Greek phrases for your trip.
SANTORINI IN 3 DAYS
Let’s start with how to see some of the best places in Greece in 5 days.
Santorini, one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea, is the epitome of a perfect Greek island. Its whitewashed houses cling to the cliffs above an underwater caldera (crater) and make it a heaven for photographers. But there is so much more to do and see in Santorini (1 day would not be enough to see the island’s real beauty).
Here are some places to add to your Greece itinerary and check out my detailed Santorini post for a day-to-day itinerary.
Oia is the most famous village in/on Santorini, and most pictures that are floating around the Internet are probably from Oia.
It is beautiful. It is stunning. It is a must-see place. Gorgeous sunsets and fantastic luxury hotels add to Oia’s beauty – many people just come via ferry for a few hours to see Oia. There are not many attractions in Oia because it is really tiny. However, it is worth more than just an hour or two.
THINGS TO DO IN OIA
- Watch the sunset from one of the numerous fantastic vantage points. There is more than one sunset viewpoint, but be prepared for all the crowds, so secure a good spot early on.
- Visit Amoudi Bay. No lecture but a friendly but urgent reminder NOT to use the horses/donkeys in Santorini to get around. Yes, walking all the steps to Amoudi Bay is tiring. However, using horses/donkeys who are tied in the heat should never be an option.
- Marvel at Oia Castle + Byzantine Castle Ruins and enjoy the views from the watchtower of a Renaissance-era castle.
- Get lost in the streets of Oia. Oia has beautiful little spots and streets that make getting lost so much fun.
- Visit the Atlantis book shop in Oia – an independent bookshop (so come here, especially if you want to buy books) that is probably also one of the most charming ones.
Fira is the busy capital of Santorini with many cafes, restaurants, shops, and churches. The sunset from Fira is underrated, though it is as pretty as the Sunset in Oia.
THINGS TO DO IN FIRA
- Watch the sunsets from one of the many vantage points (I liked them as much as the sunsets from Oia).
- Hike from Fira to Oia (it is worth it).
- Explore the side streets and discover the many cute alleys.
- See all the beautiful churches (you can also go inside and visit them).
- Make reservations for some of the restaurants with a view in Fira.
A beautiful gem in Santorini is the small village of Pyrgos. It is located inland and attracts fewer visitors than the villages along the shores. However, Pyrgos is charming and cute. It might not be the most obvious choice for a 5-day Greek itinerary, but it is worth a trip.
THINGS TO DO IN PYRGOS
- Get lost in the narrow streets of Pyrgos (there are not many, but they are beautiful).
- Go shopping – there are numerous small souvenir shops).
- Find the cutest little churches in Pyrgos.
- Enjoy drinks with a view (there are not many restaurants/cafes, but some have beautiful views).
- Check out my Pyrgos guide for more detailed travel tips.
BLACK SAND BEACHES
Santorini is worldwide known for its beautiful whitewashed houses – but also its black beaches. You have the option to choose from several black sand beaches – my tip is to pick Perissa, which you can visit on your way to or from Pyrgos.
VOLCANO TOUR / BOAT TOUR
In Santorini, you can also book a volcano tour – some very affordable volcano tours include a cruise to the volcanic islands. Depending on the tour, you can also swim in hot springs and see an active volcano. There are many tours offered, so you can see which one is best for you.
I have a detailed Santorini travel guide with more tips for you. Then it is time to leave Santorini and end your 5 days in Greece with a trip to Athens.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN SANTORINI
- Luxury: For luxury accommodation, Oia is the perfect place to stay. Charisma Suites seems like the perfect choice for anyone who wants to splurge. Check out prices here.
- Mid-range: Check out this 4* hotel in Pyrgos. It seems a good place to stay if you look for a decent boutique hotel that is quite unique.
- Budget: You can find budget hotels in Fira – check out this unique hostel close to the main bus station and the city center. It is not the cheapest hostel but probably the best.
ATHENS IN 2 DAYS
Athens is the capital and biggest city of Greece and was a powerful civilization and empire in Ancient Greece. Like Rome, the historic sights still dominate the city. Here is where you will find a wonderful mix of history, culture, nature (yes), and vibrant city life.
THINGS TO DO IN ATHENS
- The Acropolis is one of the most famous landmarks in Europe and of course a must-see place in 5 days in Greece. While you can see most historical sites in Athens from the street, a ticket for the Acropolis is well worth it. You can also purchase a combined ticket which includes the entrance to all of Athen’s major archaeological sites.
- Wander around Plaka, the oldest and most beautiful part of the city – and it’s unsurprisingly the most touristy part of town. It’s between the Acropolis and Syntagma. Come here for photo ops, search out the hidden village of Anafiotika, and stumble across intriguing ruins such as the Tower of the Winds.
- The streets at Monastiraki Square are filled with bric-a-brac, leather sandal sellers, and local food specialties – a perfect place to do some souvenir shopping. On Sundays, a famous flea market takes over Monastiraki. Vintage records? Fez hats? Antique kitchenware? Musical instruments? It’s all here at Monastiraki Square.
- North of Monastiraki Square, you will find the vibrant area of Psyri. It has a Bohemian vibe with its mix of cobblestones, wine bars, workshops, and cafes. It’s also home to some of Athens’ best street art – taking a street art walking tour is a great way to engage with a different side of the city.
- As with many cities, Athens is best seen from above. For the best views of the Acropolis, head to one of Athens’ many rooftop bars, e.g. from A for Athens Hotel.
- Athens can be hectic and stressful, but you can also relax at the beach on Athen’s Riviera, stretching south of the city. Take the tram to one of the city’s expensive beach clubs (Balux Project or Bolivar), which have lockers to stash your stuff while you swim.
- Check out more Athens travel tips.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN ATHENS
- Luxury: New Hotel is a luxury hotel close to the Acropolis – it is one of the best-rated hotels in Athens, and staying here undoubtedly has many perks! Check out rates here.
- Mid-Range: InnAthens is a very well-rated and centrally located 3-star hotel in Athens. As with central hotels in Athens, they are not cheap, but the reviews speak for themselves. Click here to find out more about the hotel and rates.
- Budget/Hostel: If you prefer staying in a hostel, check out City Circus Athens. This is a great place to stay as a solo (female) traveler. Check out rates here.
Check out this more detailed post on things to do in Athens.
FINAL WORDS ON SPENDING 5 DAYS IN GREECE
Greece is so rich in unique and stunning places. This makes it difficult just to name two places to visit for your 5-day Greece itinerary. However, with Athens and Santorini, you will not go wrong. They might not be hidden gems, but there is a reason for the popularity of these places. If you cannot get enough of Greece, check out my post on the most beautiful places in Greece.