HOW TO SPEND 5 DAYS IN GREECE ITINERARY IN 2024

AMAZING 5-DAY GREECE ITINERARY

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. 

Greece might be exceptionally gorgeous, but it is not easy to navigate the islands and decide which places to visit.

I am well aware that any 5-day 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?

Picture this: You can soak up the sun on Santorini’s pristine beaches and sip on a refreshing ouzo cocktail, then hop on over to Athens for a dose of ancient history and culture. It’s like having the best of both worlds! This combo is unbeatable. It’s like Zeus and Poseidon teaming up to create the ultimate travel experience.

But first things first, let’s talk transportation. You’ll need to figure out how to get to Greece, and how to get around to make the most of your trip. 

I´ll also let you in on the best times of year to visit, so you can avoid the crowds and make the most of your trip. 

And let’s not forget the fun stuff. I am talking about adventure, culture, and more. Whether you’re a history buff, a beach bum, or a foodie, Greece has something for everyone. So get ready to indulge in all the sights, sounds, and flavors this beautiful country has to offer.

But wait, there’s more! I’ve also got a few travel tips up our sleeves to make your journey as smooth and stress-free as possible. 

So, there you have it. Your 5-day for Greece itinerary is all mapped out.

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 arrive in either Athens or Santorini.

ATHENS

Ready to start your Grecian adventure? Let’s talk about how to get to Athens!

By plane: There are a few ways to reach this ancient city. The most common way is by plane. Athens International Airport (ATH) is the country’s main airport and serves as a hub for numerous airlines. From here, you can easily catch a taxi, bus, or metro to get to your destination in Athens.

By ferry: If you prefer a more scenic route, you can also take a ferry to the port of Piraeus. This is a great option if you’re coming from nearby islands or other coastal cities. From Piraeus, you can catch a train or bus to Athens.

Another option is to drive to Athens. This is a great way to explore the countryside and coastal areas at your own pace. However, keep in mind that traffic in Athens can be quite chaotic, so make sure to familiarize yourself with the local driving laws and regulations before hitting the road.

Athens and Santorini in 5 days Arzo Travels
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SANTORINI

Ready to soak up the sun on the stunning island of Santorini? Here are a few ways to get there:

By plane: The quickest and easiest way to reach Santorini is by plane. Santorini National Airport (JTR) serves both domestic and international flights, with direct flights available from many major cities in Europe. From the airport, you can catch a taxi or bus to your accommodation.

By ferry: If you prefer a more scenic route, you can also take a ferry from Athens or other nearby islands. Several ferry companies operate daily, and the journey can take anywhere from 4-8 hours depending on your starting point. Keep in mind that ferry schedules and prices can vary depending on the season, so make sure to check in advance.

By helicopter: For those looking for a luxurious and speedy option, you can even book a helicopter transfer from Athens to Santorini. While it’s definitely a splurge, it’s also a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will give you a bird’s eye view of the stunning Greek landscape.

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. Also, do not forget that you need to be at the airport at least 90 minutes before departure and thus, the flight can also take a long time.

BEST WAY TO GET AROUND

Get ready to put those feet to work! Comfortable shoes are a must when exploring Athens and Santorini. Walking is a great way to take in the sights and sounds of these beautiful destinations.

But if you’re looking to cover more ground and see everything on your must-see list, you might need to mix things up a bit.

While renting a car may seem like a tempting option, I’m here to give you the inside scoop on why it’s not the best idea for your Greek getaway.

First off, let’s talk about the traffic. Santorini and Athens are bustling destinations, and the streets can get pretty packed with vehicles. Unless you’re a fan of sitting in traffic for hours on end, you might want to think twice about renting a car.

And let’s not forget about the parking situation. You don’t want to spend your precious vacation time circling the block in search of a spot. So, leave the car rental behind and get ready to have some real fun in Greece.

 There are plenty of other ways to explore Greece that won’t leave you stressed out and stuck in traffic. 

Rev up your engines, folks, because I’ve got an adventurous option for exploring Santorini: ATVs! These are the perfect way to zip around the island and soak up some serious Mediterranean vibes. Just make sure to wear a helmet and watch out for those hairpin turns!

But if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly and leisurely option, the bus system in Santorini is the way to go. These buses will take you to all the hotspots and run frequently, so you won’t have to worry about missing out on any must-see attractions.

Now, let’s talk about Athens. If walking isn’t your cup of tea, fear not! The metro system in Athens is fast, affordable, and oh-so-convenient. It’s the perfect way to get around when your feet need a break, or if you’re trying to beat rush hour traffic. Plus, you’ll feel like a local as you whiz past the city’s iconic landmarks.

BEST TIME TO VISIT GREECE

Let’s talk about timing. If you’re planning a trip to Greece, let me give you a little piece of advice: avoid July and August like the plague! Trust me, it’s like everyone in the world has decided to descend upon Greece during those months. It’s like a sea of people everywhere you go.

But if you’re like me and can’t resist the allure of Greece during peak season, make sure you’re prepared for the crowds. Wear comfortable shoes, bring a water bottle, and be ready to squeeze your way through the masses.

However, if you’re flexible with your travel dates, I highly recommend visiting Greece between April and June or September and October. The weather is perfect – not too hot, not too cold – and the crowds have thinned out. You’ll have more space to breathe, and you might even be able to snag a prime spot on the beach.

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 IN GREECE

Now, some itineraries might have you hopping from hotel to hotel every night. But not this one! I am all about maximizing your adventure without sacrificing comfort.

So, good news, you’ll only have to change accommodations once during your Greece itinerary. That means you’ll be able to see and do a lot without feeling like a nomad constantly on the move.

Changing accommodations can be a hassle. You’ve got to pack everything up, haul it to the new spot, unpack…ugh, just thinking about it is exhausting. But with this Greece itinerary, you’ll be able to settle into your first accommodation and really make it feel like home.

So, to make things easy, I will list some hotel recommendations under each destination!

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.

5 DAYS IN GREECE – ITINERARY

So, let´s get started with the beautiful Santorini.

1-3 DAYS – SANTORINI

First up, we’ve got Santorini – the jewel of the Cyclades islands. This place is like something out of a dream. The whitewashed houses perched on the cliffs above the sparkling Aegean Sea make for the perfect Instagram backdrop. And let’s not forget about that underwater caldera – it’s like nature’s own infinity pool!

But trust me, there’s so much more to Santorini than just pretty views. You’ll want to spend at least a day (if not more) exploring the island’s hidden gems. Check out Black Beach for a unique twist on your typical beach day, or hike up to Skaros Rock for some seriously jaw-dropping views.

And that’s just the beginning, folks! I’ve got plenty more adventures in store for you on this epic 5-day Greece itinerary. So pack your bags, put on your adventure hat, and get ready for the trip of a lifetime!

Here are some places to add to your Greece itinerary and check out my detailed Santorini post for a day-to-day itinerary.

TRAVEL TIPS FOR SANTORINI

1. Though Santorini enjoys a Mediterranean climate and you can expect sunny days almost year-round, keep in mind it can get very windy. So make sure to dress accordingly.

2. There is no real need to rent a car or quad – you can get around by bus easily. But also walking from one town to another is possible – and the views along the way make it even more fun. Guided tours are available for volcano visits and more.

3. Have some cash – € – with you. Not all shops accept credit cards, and also bus tickets have to be paid in cash.

4. If you have ever thought about a trip where you can dress up without feeling overdressed, then Santorini is your place. Beautifully dressed people – this is Santorini!

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OIA

You absolutely cannot miss the village of Oia. I mean, this place is the stuff of dreams! And let me tell you, I’ve seen my fair share of travel photos, but nothing compares to Oia.

In fact, I’m willing to bet that most of the photos you’ve seen online are from Oia. It’s like every corner you turn is a new postcard-worthy view. And the best part? You don’t have to be a professional photographer to capture the magic. Just whip out your phone and start snapping away – you’ll have Instagram gold in no time.

But don’t just take my word for it. Oia is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in Santorini, from the blue-domed churches to the winding staircases. And let’s not forget about the famous sunset views – trust me, they’re even better in person.

So, if you’re ready to see what all the fuss is about, make sure to add Oia to your Greece itinerary. 

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Oia is beautiful. Oia is stunning. Oia 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 bookshop 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.
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FIRA

Let’s talk about Fira – the bustling capital of Santorini. This place is like the beating heart of the island, with cafes, restaurants, shops, and churches around every corner. And let me tell you, the energy is electric!

But here’s the thing – Fira’s Sunset is seriously underrated. Sure, everyone raves about the sunset in Oia (and don’t get me wrong, it’s stunning), but Fira’s sunset is just as pretty. Trust me on this one – you won’t want to miss it.

Picture this: you’re sipping on a cool drink, feeling the warm Mediterranean breeze on your skin, and watching the sun sink below the horizon. It’s like something out of a movie! And the best part? You’ll have a front-row seat to the show without having to elbow your way through crowds.

So, if you’re looking for a more lively atmosphere with plenty of options for dining and shopping, Fira is the place to be. And don’t forget to stick around for the sunset – it might just be the highlight of your trip!

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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.
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PYRGOS

Let me tell you about a hidden gem in Santorini that you won’t want to miss: the charming village of Pyrgos. This place is like a breath of fresh air – it’s located inland, away from the hustle and bustle of the shore villages, and attracts fewer visitors.

But don’t let the lack of crowds fool you. Pyrgos is absolutely adorable, with its winding alleyways and traditional white houses. And the best part? You’ll get a taste of the real Santorini, away from the tourist hotspots.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – “But Pyrgos isn’t on the coast, so why should I go there?” Well, my friend, let me tell you – sometimes the road less traveled is the most rewarding. Plus, Pyrgos has some seriously stunning views, so you won’t be missing out on the famous Santorini scenery.

So, if you’re up for an adventure and want to add a little off-the-beaten-path magic to your 5-day Greece itinerary, make sure to check out Pyrgos. 

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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.
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BLACK SAND BEACHES

Alright, fellow beach bums, let’s talk about the black sand beaches of Santorini! Now, I know what you’re thinking – black sand? That doesn’t sound very appealing. But trust me on this one, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

Santorini is famous for its whitewashed houses, sure, but the black sand beaches are equally as stunning. And the best part? You’ll have your pick of several options. But if you’re looking for a personal recommendation, let me tell you about my favorite – Perissa.

This place is like a slice of paradise. The sand might be black, but the water is crystal clear and oh-so refreshing. And the beach is lined with cafes and restaurants, so you can sip on a cold drink or grab a bite to eat while soaking up the Mediterranean sun.

And here’s the best part – you can visit Perissa on your way to or from Pyrgos. It’s like a little pit stop on your way to more adventure. So pack your beach bag, put on your sunscreen, and get ready for some seriously breathtaking scenery.

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VOLCANO TOUR / BOAT TOUR 

Let’s talk about one of the most epic experiences you can have in Santorini – a volcano tour! That’s right, you can visit a volcano and swim in hot springs. How cool is that?!

Now, I know what you’re thinking – “But won’t that be expensive?” Actually, some of the volcano tours are surprisingly affordable. For example, you can book a cruise to the volcanic islands that includes a tour of the volcano and a dip in the hot springs.

It’s like stepping into another world – the landscape is like something out of a sci-fi movie. And don’t even get me started on the hot springs. It’s like a natural spa treatment – you’ll leave feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

Now, there are a ton of different volcano tours to choose from, so do your research and find the one that’s best for you. But trust me, this is an experience you won’t want to miss. So pack your swimsuit, put on your adventure hat, and get ready to explore the fiery depths of Santorini!

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 TOURS IN SANTORINI TO BOOK

BEST PLACES TO STAY IN SANTORINI

4-5 DAYS – ATHENS

Let’s talk about Athens – the ancient yet vibrant capital of Greece. This place is like a time capsule – everywhere you turn, you’ll find traces of the city’s rich history and culture. And let me tell you, it’s a sight to behold!

Think of Athens as Rome‘s cooler, younger sibling. The historic sights still dominate the city, from the iconic Acropolis to the stunning Parthenon. And trust me, you don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate the beauty of these monuments.

But Athens isn’t just about the past – it’s a city that’s alive and kicking! The nightlife scene here is seriously buzzing, with plenty of bars, cafes, and restaurants to explore. And if you’re lucky, you might even catch one of the city’s legendary events, like the Athens Marathon or a music festival.

But here’s the thing – Athens is a city that’s worth visiting no matter what time of year it is. Even in the colder months, there’s always something to do, whether it’s exploring museums and galleries or sipping on a warm cup of coffee in a cozy cafe.

So, if you’re ready for a city that’s equal parts ancient and modern, make sure to add Athens to your Greece itinerary. 

TIPS FOR VISITING ATHENS – GREECE IN 5 DAYS

  • Get around by foot or public transport – walking is the best way to explore Athens and its picturesque streets! The city also has a great public transportation system, including buses and trolleys.
  • Take advantage of free attractions – many of Athens’ most famous sites, such as the Acropolis, are free to enter, so make sure you don’t miss out!
  • Visit the local markets – Athens’ traditional produce markets are great places to try the local food and pick up souvenirs.
  • Make time for a day trip – there are some incredible places to explore just outside of Athens, such as Delphi and Cape Sounion.
  • Stay cool in the summer – Athens can get very hot in the summer, so be sure to pack light clothing and plenty of sunscreen!
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THINGS TO DO IN 2 DAYS IN ATHENS

If you’re visiting Athens, you absolutely cannot miss the Acropolis. I mean, this place is like the Mona Lisa of historical landmarks. It’s a must-see! Now, you might be thinking, “But can’t I see all of Athens’ historical sites from the street?” Well, technically, yes. But let me tell you, getting up close and personal with the Acropolis is a whole different experience. It’s like stepping into a time machine and being transported back to ancient Greece.

And here’s the best part – you can purchase a combined ticket that includes entrance to all of Athens’ major archaeological sites. That’s right, one ticket for multiple sites! So if you’re a history buff or just appreciate a good selfie backdrop, this is a deal you won’t want to miss.

Trust me, the Acropolis is worth every penny of that ticket price. So put on your walking shoes, charge up your camera, and get ready to explore one of Europe’s most iconic landmarks. 

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Plaka. This place is like a fairytale come to life – it’s the oldest and most beautiful part of the city, and trust me, you won’t want to miss it.

Now, I have to warn you – Plaka is pretty touristy. But here’s the thing – there’s a reason why everyone flocks here. The streets are lined with adorable shops and cafes, and there are photo opportunities around every corner.

But here’s a pro tip – if you’re looking for something a little more off-the-beaten-path, make sure to search out the hidden village of Anafiotika. This place is like a secret oasis in the middle of the city, with its white-washed houses and charming alleys.

And if you’re into ruins (who isn’t, right?), Plaka has got you covered. Check out the Tower of the Winds, an ancient clock tower that’s sure to give you some serious Insta cred.

So, if you’re up for some serious wandering and want to soak up the authentic vibes of Athens, make sure to hit up Plaka. Trust me, it’s like stepping into another world

If you’re looking for a one-stop shop for souvenirs, food, and all sorts of knick-knacks, then you absolutely have to check out Monastiraki Square, in the vibrant area of Psyri.

This place is like a treasure trove of goodies. The streets are filled with leather sandal sellers, local food specialties, and all sorts of trinkets and baubles. It’s like a shopper’s paradise!

But here’s the real kicker – on Sundays, a famous flea market takes over Monastiraki. And let me tell you, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Vintage records? Check. Fez hats? Check. Antique kitchenware? Check. Musical instruments? Check. You name it, they’ve got it.

So, whether you’re looking for the perfect souvenir to bring back home or just want to get lost in a sea of treasures, Monastiraki Square is the place to be. 

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One of the best ways to see Athens – from above! That’s right, if you want to get a bird’s-eye view of this stunning city, you need to head to one of Athens’ many rooftop bars.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Rooftop bars? In Athens? Tell me more!” Well, my friend, these bars are not just any old rooftop bars. They’re like secret hideaways that offer some of the best views of the city, including stunning vistas of the Acropolis.

One of my personal favorites is A for Athens Hotel. This place is like a little slice of paradise in the heart of the city. The drinks are delicious, the atmosphere is laid-back, and the views are out of this world.

So, if you’re ready to take your Athens experience to the next level (literally), make sure to check out one of these rooftop bars. Trust me, the views are worth the price of admission!

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Let’s talk about the ultimate way to unwind in Athens – hitting up the beach! That’s right, if you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, then you need to head south to Athens’ Riviera.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Beaches in Athens? Tell me more!” Well, let me tell you, these beaches are like little slices of paradise. The water is crystal clear, the sand is soft and warm, and the vibes are seriously chill.

But here’s the real kicker – you can take the tram to one of the city’s beach clubs, like Balux Project or Bolivar. These places are like little oases in the middle of the city, with lockers to stash your stuff while you swim and soak up the sun.

So, if you’re in need of a little R&R, make sure to hit up the beach clubs on Athens’ Riviera. Trust me, it’s like a little slice of heaven in the middle of the city!

Check out more Athens travel tips.

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BEST TOURS TO BOOK IN ATHENS

Athens: Acropolis Guided Tour with Entry Ticket

BEST PLACES TO STAY IN ATHENS

Check out this more detailed post on things to do in Athens.

FINAL WORDS ON SPENDING 5 DAYS IN GREECE

Well, that wraps up our 5-day itinerary in Greece! From the stunning cliffs of Santorini to the ancient wonders of Athens, we’ve covered some serious ground in just a few short days.

We’ve walked through charming villages and soaked up the sun on beautiful beaches. We’ve explored historical landmarks, and we’ve even taken in some seriously epic views from rooftop bars.

But most importantly, we’ve had a blast doing it all! I hope this itinerary has inspired you to take your own trip to Greece and experience all that this beautiful country has to offer.

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. And if 5 days in Greece is not enough – I mean this is totally understandable – check out my post on the most beautiful places in Greece.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your passport, pack your bags, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime. Greece, here we come!

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