Greece is a small country located in Southeast Europe with population of around 11 million people. There are many different itineraries available in Greece, depending on your interests and time frame. In this 10 days Greece itinerary we will be looking at a quick round trip through the central part and the Peloponnese peninsula starting and ending in Athens, the capital of Greece.By the way, if you have already seen Greece, consider this 10 day Amalfi Coast Itinerary as well.
Some facts about Greece before we start:
- Ancient Greece is said to have laid the foundation for Western civilization as well as the Olympic games;
- Greece is a member of EU, currency is Euro;
- Greece is one of the most mountainous countries in Europe;
- Greece is a country of thousands islands (largest is Crete) and lots of world heritage sites;
- Feta is Greek national cheese;
- Greece is a sunny country – over 250 days of sunshine yearly!
Our 10 day Greece itinerary will look like this:
Day 1: Arrive in Athens
Day 2: Full day Athens
Day 3: Mycenae and Epidaurus
Day 4: Monemvasia
Day 5: Elafonisos and Kalamata
Day 6: Relax in Kalamata
Day 7: Driving to Katakolon
Day 8: Full day Olympia
Day 9: Drive to Delphi
Day 10: Delphi
Here is a rough plan of the trip
- Keep your eyes on the road – lanes are often blurred, so follow the car in front of you! Motorcycles usually don’t obey any lanes at all.
- Be careful when passing parked cars – the doors be opening at any time.
- Get used to shifting gears down for breaking on mountain roads.
- Wearing seat belt is a must.
- Highway speed limit is 100-120 km/h, in towns it is 50 km/h.
- To rent a car in Greece you need your driving license and an International Driving Permit if you are outside of EU.
- Most drivers speed up when the yellow light is on, so be careful and slow down gradually.
- Keep right on the highway if possible to let the faster drivers pass you by.
- Bring this amazing list of 100 fun road trip questions along – you may need it during long drives.
Day 1 of 10 day Greece Itinerary: Arrive in Athens
Getting from the airport to the city
Your fantastic 10 day itinerary in Greece starts with an arrival by international flight in Athens. Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos is located 35 km from city center and can be easily navigated via public transport. For the first couple of days we do not recommend picking a rental car, as you will be mostly exploring the city and the traffic in Athens can be quite challenging.
One of the easiest ways to get to the city is by taxi, but that will not be cheap option. On average, you are looking at paying around 40 Euro. The cheaper option is metro, which you would have to find by following the train signs inside the terminal. The station is located outside the airport building. Ticket price is 10€ per person.
One of the best and cheapest options is the airport bus, which will only cost you 6 Euro per person and is easier to find. There are several bus routes running to different parts of town.
For a mid-range budget, you can look into Athens Residence Apartments, Art Gallery Hotel or Oliver suites. All of these accommodations have great rating score and fantastic location for exploring the nearby attractions. For a slightly better hotel experience, you can consider Coco-mat Athens BC 5* and Divani Palace Acropolis 5* (the rate is from 100€ per night). These hotels have swimming pools, which can be nice during hot summer months.
Day 2: Full day Athens
Today you will have a full day dedicated to exploring the ancient treasures of the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum. Start your day with a delicious breakfast at your hotel or any nearby cafes.
Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum are true must-do’s and should not be skipped. Acropolis is by far the most famous tourist magnet of Athens, depicted on all postcards and travel brochures. The hill was inhabited as far back as the fourth millennium BC. The Parthenon is also located here. Moreover, the Temple of Athena Nike, Erechtheum, Dionysos Theatre, and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus are all right next to each other.
Give yourself time to explore the ancient monuments and breathe in all the history of this place. Climbing the stairs may be a challenge, so bring enough water and protect yourself from the sun. It’s not too bad and can be compared to ascending the 4th floor of a regular building. The steps can be slippery though, so be careful. We recommend getting there as early as possible to avoid the midday heat.
Tickets can be purchased at the counter or booked in advance, online as a single entry or a combination ticket that includes other archaeological sites in Athens. You can also take advantage of skip-the-line tickets and a variety of guided walking tours. Ticket price for Acropolis is €10 in winter, €20 in summer, combined ticket for 7 sites (some with their own museum on site) is €30 all year.
Acropolis Museum is a rather modern and lately constructed museum, that can truly be considered one of the best museums in the World. The museum displays a collection of artifacts found around Acropolis from the Greek Bronze Age to Roman and Byzantine Greece. More than 4,250 objects are exhibited over an area of 14,000 square meters.
One of the highlights of this museum is the excavation area under the museum. The museum is built on few floors, so you can walk down the stairs and see houses and streets that were found during excavations while building the museum. All items displays are labelled in Greek and English. Take your time exploring the museum and dive in to the ancient vibe of this place.
If you enjoy visiting museum, consider reading this guide about Vatican Museum in Rome, Italy and Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia.
- DIO DEKARES I OKA is a small friendly family-owned restaurant with very good feedback from visitors and the locals. The serve Greek and Mediterranean food.
- GRILL “The KALYVAS” – Very affordable and very tasty. Some reviews suggest this is the best grilled meat and Gyros in the area. The place is also quite inexpensive.
- Το Ποτάμι – Nice place with outside tables, popular with younger crowds. The choice on the menu is simple but the food is delicious. Also, it is great value for money as the prices are not too high.
Day 3: Mycenae and Epidaurus
Today you will pick up your rental car for the upcoming week. We recommend picking up from the airport, in order to avoid driving in Athens city center, which can be stressful sometimes for which many recommend to take some CBDDY: hemp oil sale. Additionally, picking up from the airport is usually cheaper. All major international car rental companies have offices in Athens airport, so choose any you like or have a membership with. It’s going to be a long day, so make sure to head for an early start.
Going to Crete as well? Have a look at this guide how to rent a car in Crete, Greece!
On the way south to our first place of interest, we should make a stop at Corinth Canal – a narrow passage that separates Peloponnese from the Greek mainland. The canal is only 6.4 kilometers in length and 21.4 meters wide. It’s not a huge attraction on its own, but as we will be passing it anyway, why not make a quick stop and have a look? It’s a great photo spot and has recently become a tourist magnet.
Archaeological Site Mycenae and Citadel and Treasury of Atreus
Our next stop is for true history fans. Located on a small hill, the site was inhabited since the Neolithic times (about 4000 BC) but reached its peak during the Late Bronze Age (1350-1200 BC). In the second millennium BC, Mycenae was one of the major centers of Greek civilization. In order to fully enjoy this place, it is strongly recommended to hire a guide. Make sure to pre-book in advance, guides are usually available in Mycenae. Entrance fee is 12 Euros.
The Treasury of Atreus or Tomb of Agamemnon was constructed during the Bronze Age around 1250 BC. It reminds of Egyptian tombs. The tomb can be reached from Archaeological Site Mycenae by foot or by taking a short car drive. The visit will take you no more than 30 min and the entrance fee is included in previous site ticket already.
The Great Theatre of Epidaurus
Our final stop will be the Theater of Epidaurus, which is around 50 minute drive away from the Mycenae. This majestic theater was built with dedication to ancient Greek God of medicine, Asclepius, at the end of the 4th century BC. With total capacity up to 14000 viewers, it is one of the most beautiful Greek theaters you will ever see. Back in the days, it was used for music, singing and dramatic games.
You should have no problem finding a parking spot and it is free. Theater ticket price: 12 Euro. After your visit, take the final drive to your home for the day – Nauplion. Driving time – around 30 min.
Tonight, we will stay at a small seaside town called Nauplion. For budget holiday we recommend Nafplia Hotel 2* and Filoxenion Hotel 3*, for a little upscale experience, have a look at Hotel Ippoliti 4* or Athena hotel 4*.
Things to look for in Nauplion:
- Komboloyia – handmade best-selling souvenir in the old town.
- Nauplion promenade with charming small cafes and seafood restaurants facing the sea.
- Palamidi fortress/castle for a good workout.
Day 4: Monemvasia
Today we will discover the medieval city of Monemvasia – arguably the most romantic place in whole Greece. The drive from Nauplion is 195km and will take around 3 hours. The drive is not going to be that difficult, as we will make a stop at one very famous historical place – Sparta!
As you may have heard, Sparta used to be a a prominent city-state in ancient Greece. Known for winning the Athens at Peloponnesian War (between 431 and 404 BC), this tiny state was heavily militarized. Military training and physical development was among the highest priorities back in the days. You may have seen some Hollywood movies that were inspired by the courage of Spartan soldiers, such as Spartacus and 300.
The drive to Sparta from Nauplion is not too long – 120km (1 hour 40 minutes). Depending on how much time you’d like to spend in Sparta, there are some sightseeing you can do here:
Statue of Leonidas and Acropolis / ancient Theater
Known from the myths of the 300 Spartans and also depicted in Hollywood movies, Leonidas was the king of Greek city-state of Sparta. A bronze statue that you can see today was erected in 1968 and has a sign “ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ” (“Come and take them”). That was his answer to Xerxes when he proposed to stop war and spare the Spartan army if they lay down their weapons.
The acropolis is sadly not very well preserved. What you can see today, are:
- The temple of Athena Chalkioikos
- Ancient theatre of Sparta
- Circular building of unknown use
- Remains of shops
- Remains of a large Basilica of the Middle Byzantine period
Compared to other sights seen during this trip, the ones in Sparta may not be worth your time.
Museum of the Olive and Greek olive oil
If you are really interested in one of the most well known Greek products – olive oil – this museum is a must! This small museum will guide you into the world of olive oil production, technology behind it, history and the culture. You will see how it became such an important part of Greek economy from the very early stages in history, the way it was presented in mythology, religion and ancient art and what products can be made with it.
We strongly recommend taking a small detour and driving to the abandoned in 1832 city of Mystras. Today, these breathtaking medieval ruins, standing in a beautiful landscape, are a great reminder of how powerful former Byzantine capital, the ‘wonder of the Morea’, once was. The ruins are dating from between 1271 and 1460 and are very well preserved!
In order to make your visit more comfortable, consider parking at the lower level first, explore the area and then drive up for the upper town. Lower and middle area is quite large, so make sure to plan your time accordingly. Entry fee is 12€
Our final stop for the day is the lovely island town Monemvasia. The drive from Sparta/Mystras is around 90km and will take 1hour and 30 minutes. The town has a beautiful medieval fortress, which you can attempt to climb if you are up for it. One interesting fact: Monemvasia is Europe’s only castle that has never ceased being inhabited. The town has a unique fairy tale atmosphere. Forget the time while walking the cobbled paths, enjoy the views Byzantine churches, mansions and the deep blue Myrtoan Sea. This is an ideal place to see the sunset and finish this amazing, full of adventures, day in the Peloponnese.
Day 5: Elafonisos and Kalamata
It’s time to unpack your swimsuits! Today we are going to enjoy some true beach fun! Start your day early and head to Vigklafia harbor. Driving time is 50 min (36km). We are going to board a small ferry crossing over to Elafonisos – tiny island with amazing turquoise blue water and clean beaches. It only takes 8 minutes to reach the island. You can either do that with your car or without, depending on whether you’d like to drive around the island. Ferry price is 1€ per adult and 11€ for the car. Tickets cannot be booked in advance and are cash only.
There is not much to do in Elafonisos besides the obvious beach activities. Simos Beach is rather peaceful and very clean beach with soft white sand and beautiful sea – ideal for snorkeling. Take your time exploring the dunes and breathing the fresh sea breeze. When you get hungry, have lunch at the harbor area in one of the numerous waterfront tavernas. By the way – did you know there is a beach called Elafonissi in Crete, largest island in Greece! If you enjoy beach holidays, have a look at this fantastic beach day trip to Loutro in Crete as well.
We will be spending the rest of the afternoon driving from Vigklafia to our final destination for the day – Kalamata. It’s going to be quite a long drive – 210km and just under 3 hours. Make sure to take breaks and rest. We will not be stopping for any sightseeing along the way, as the drive is too long anyway.
Kalamata is a coastal port town on the south of the Peloponnese. The town is a perfect spot for a 2 night base and exploring the surrounding areas. The town has a lot to offer and we will start exploring it first thing in the morning. But first, we need to check in the hotel and enjoy a lovely dinner.
Kalamata Marina area has many cozy tavernas offering fresh seafood and delicious gyros. Pick any you like and enjoy the lovely atmosphere of a typical Greek family run restaurant.
Day 6: Relax in Kalamata
Today is the only day when we are not going to have a lot of driving hours. This is totally up to you – whether you’d like to spend this day relaxing on the beach, strolling through the streets of the old town and peeking into the shops or taking one of the possible day tours. Here are some ideas how to spend this day outside of Kalamata.
Hike Polylimnio waterfalls
Take a short (50min, 38km car drive to Mavrilimna Riverside parking lot and follow the crowds or the signs along the river. Get closer to Greek nature by following the trail. The main lakes are Mavrilimna with the waterfall and spectacular Great Waterfall Kadi. You can swim in the lakes, too. The whole trip will take you around 1,5 hours.
Do you enjoy hiking? then you might also like Samaria Gorge Hike in Crete – largest island in Greece!
Day Trip to Pylos, Methoni and Voidokilia Beach
Located only 50km from Kalamata, small town Pylos is a lovely small seaside town with many historical and natural attractions. Pylos is a lot like the numerous Greek islands with its unique architecture and color of the houses. Formerly known as Navarino (Italian name), it’s history is dating baсk tο the Mycеneаn period. Local products that should not be missed, are olives, grapes, raisins, figs, citrus and vegetables.
Main attractions are:
- Neokastro Castle founded in 1573
- Archaeological museum
- Three Admirals’ Square, dedicated to three admirals who battled in the Battle of Navarino
- Archaeological site Ancient Pylos
The castle of Methoni is one of the most important fortress complexes in Greece. Built by Venetians in 1209, it continues to impress even after centuries of being in ruins. Today, this is a beautiful archaeological site that covers 9.3 hectares. Admission is 2€ per adult, Open daily 08:30 – 20:00, Closed on Tuesdays!
The last stop for the day (or the first one, however you like it) would be Voidokilia Beach – arguably one of the most attractive beaches of Greece due to no infrastructure. There isn’t much to do except for the obvious beach activities, such as sunbathing and swimming.
Kalamata boat tours
Do you enjoy sea cruises? If you are visiting Greece anywhere between March and end of October, then this one may be for you. Board the small yacht (max 46 people) for a day full of adventure that includes a meal (sightseeing tickets are usually for extra charge, so bring cash). Also, if you are lucky, you may have a chance of spotting the dolphins!
If full day cruise doesn’t sound attractive, there is sunset cruise option as well. These cruises are shorter (usually 2 hours) and will give you a great perspective of Kalamata and a romantic setting to watch the sunset. Complimentary glass of wine is included! More information about boat tours can be found here.
Day 7: Driving to Katakolon
If you haven’t taken the day trip to Pylos the day before, this may be a good idea to drive through all the sights mentioned above before heading to the final stop for the day – the town of Katakolon. You will have just enough time to enjoy the beauty of Pylos and drive the scenic seaside road. The distance between Pylos and Katakolon is 125km (ca 2 hours drive).
An alternative to taking a seaside road, there is a detour via Messene. This town is often overlooked and is considered underrated travel destination. Only 30km drive from Kalamata, this archaeological site offers a nice glimpse at how the people used to live centuries ago. Some parts have been restorated, such as the stadium. Beware that Messene archaeological site may be difficult to find.
Day 8: Full day Olympia
Today we are going to visit famous Olympia – the birthplace of Olympic Games! After short (40min) drive from our hotel base in Katakolon, we will arrive in the picturesque small town and religious sanctuary of ancient Greece – Olympia! The Olympic games were held here for 1100 years, up until 393 AD.
Wandering around the ancient Olympia you will get a good feel of how the games used to be held. We would recommend hiring a guide, if possible. Otherwise, bring a guide book or print out some material beforehand, in order to have some information, as there are no tour guides outside the gates offering excursions.
Olympia Archaeological Museum
Visit the museum in order to get an even better understanding of what the ancient Olympic games looked like. Interesting fact – this museum was the first museum in Greece outside of Athens, opened in 1882! Entrance fee: 12€.
Museum of the History of the Olympic Games
Visiting this museum will give a better understanding of the historical development of the Olympic Games and other similar festivals. Among the artifacts displayed are bronze and clay geometric figurines of warriors, equipment used by athletes and statues of athletes. The majority of the items come from Olympia, others are from all over Greece.
Day 9: Drive to Delphi
Today we will relocate to a small town nearby Delphi called Itea. Take your time and navigate through the rural Western Greece. The whole trip is 212km and would take you roughly 3 hours if driving nonstop. However, there are couple of noteworthy attractions along the way.
Clermont – Castel Tornese
Chlemoutsi is a medieval castle built in the early 1220s and is one of the finest fortifications of the early period of Frankish rule in Greece. The castle is located 226 meters above sea level with a view of the Ionian Sea as well as Zakynthos and Kefalonia. Drive time from Katakolon – 45min. Ticket price: 4€. Closed on Tuesdays.
Venetian Castle of Nafpaktos
Castle of Nafpaktos is one of the most beautiful castles in Greece. The castle is known for its defensive walls constructed on the sides of the hill shaped of a pyramid. From the castle walls, beautiful views of bay of Patras can be observed.
Drive time from Chlemoutsi is 1 hour 30 min. You will be passing a very beautiful bridge along the way: Rio–Antirrio Bridge. It is one of the world’s longest multi-span cable-stayed bridges, linking Peloponnese peninsula to mainland Greece.
Day 10: Delphi
On the last day of our amazing 10 days Greece Itinerary we should not skip the visit to world famous site called Delphi (formerly known as Pytho) – known as the seat of the famous oracle Pythia – priestess of Apollo, who was often consulted with by ancient rulers.
From the main entrance, we should follow the route uphill to the Temple of Apollo (built in 4th century BC). One of the better preserved sights in Deplhi is the Theater, which back in days could accommodate up to 5000 viewers and where Pythian Games were held from the 590 BC onward.
Delphi Archaeological Museum
More artifacts found on site can be explored in the Delphi Archaeological Museum, including friezes, Large Sphynx of Naxos statues, two identical man-sized Kouroi, votive offerings, and stele.
Ticket price for both Delphi Museum & Archaeological Site is 12€.
Modern Delphi is a tourist town and you will have no problem finding a nice restaurant to freshen up and prepare for the last drive of this trip – back to Athens. Trip time is 2hours 30 min, it is around 185km. Depending on when your flight is leaving, we would recommend spending one night in Athens to have enough rest after this amazing trip, shop for some last souvenirs and have some more gyros and souvlaki before you leave.
Have a great Holiday in Greece!
I love Greece and this looks like fun! Also I didn’t know there actually a place called Kalamata.
FANTASTIC and comprehensive guide! This is exactly the kind of trip my husband and I would love, especially all of the amazing history! I took a lot of notes and definitely saving this for later!
Wellness Travel Diaries
Museum of the Olive and Greek olive oil sounds like such a cool place to explore! I love learning about the food culture in the countries I’m visiting. Do they do olive oil tastings as well??
You have put so much time and thought into this, so that others can have an amazing trip! I have seen so many movies featuring Greece and would absolutely love to go! Hopefully I can try out this itinerary one day!
What a very informative post. I love Greece and go there frequently to visit my husband’s family. Will have to visit some of the cities you listed next time we go!
Ann Plans Travel
10 days in Greece sounds fantastic. I loved how comprehensive your post was. It’s so helpful to be able to have a reference when planning an upcoming trip, especially for a long duration of time.
Katie | KatieGoes
YAS! This is getting pinned to my to-do list. I am yet to see Greece. It looks wonderful.
Greece looks so fabulous. I can’t wait to go. I love that you included everything we need to know to have a great time! Thank you!
This sounds like a great trip! I can’t wait to go back to Greece and visit some of the places you mention
I love this guide, it’s really concise but very insighful. I especially appreciate ho you included diverse activities and tips for different kind of interests. Personally, I enjoy visiting historical, ancient sites, and from what you wrote about Acropolis, I’m ready to jump on a plane and head to it!
I didn’t know there were so many fantastic archaeological sites outside of Athens…they all look stunning. I spent a gorgeous week on Corfu once but have never been to the mainland…from your photos it looks just as lovely.
What a detailed itinerary! I’ve not visited Greece yet but it is definitely on my list. I love how much history you can take in on this trip and the beautiful sites you can see. Thanks for the fantastic guide!
Hannah | https://getlost.blog/
Great itinerary! I haven’t been to Greece yet and want to so bad. Sounds like I need at least 15 days there if I want to do all the things you suggest plus some island hopping 😛
So many great places to see in Greece. I love your itinerary. It would be great to do it someday. Thanks for sharing!
I´ve been to Greece many many years ago. And since that time, it wasn´t really on my list again. But one day, I have to go back. I want to see all the ancient ruins, and historic places and some beaches would be nice, too!
So many epic places in Greece I haven´t seen yet – definitely saving your itinerary for the future travels! I´d love to visit Monemvasia. I´ve been to many of the Greek islands, but only to Athens from all of your must-stops! Thanks for the inspiration
Great itinerary! :] I would so love to go back to Greece someday to explore more! The Museum of Olive + Greek olive oil sounds awesome + I’d love to check out the beaches!
What a beautiful citys! Greece has a rich culture and history, and I think that’s super evident in the country architecture.Your photos are impressive. I’d love to visit all these places sometime.
Greece looks so fabulous. I can’t wait to go. I love that you included everything we need to know to have a great time! Thank you for sharing this amazing article.
Where is Athens
Wow! There’s so many great options for staying in Greece. I have always wanted to see Natural History Museum – Gaia Centre. It’s really historic and very interesting. I’m quite excited to take photographs of the place. I hope to see it soon.