Welcome to Athens! After a metro or bus ride from the Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport to wherever you are staying, drop your bags, refresh yourself and head out to explore the city.
The Greek capital has plenty of things to offer, from historic landmarks (such as the Acropolis and Parthenon) to museums; cool districts and neighborhoods to a wide collection of restaurants and cafés.
Dedicate two days to experiencing the central city.
Located in the Saronic Gulf, Spetses, the island of spices, is only a two-hour ferry ride from Piraeus, the main port in Athens located at the end of the green metro line (Line 1). Booking tickets from abroad is often difficult, so you will have to go to a travel shop (or ask the concierge at your hotel) ahead of time to get yours.
The island has an authentic charm and a relaxed atmosphere, with a little town and many isolated beaches. A favorite for wealthy Athenians with summer houses on the island, Spetses is green and blessed with natural beauty. Visit the Bouboulinas Mansion for a quick lesson on a local heroine before exploring the small island. The historic village of Kastelli is located on a hill, and has panoramic views of the island and the blue sea. The many secluded beaches and coves are ideal for a quick dip before heading back to Athens.
Pro tip: When you step off the ferry after your return trip, dine in Piraeus. Our favorite pick is Pirée, a stunning café/restaurant/bar and art gallery all in one, near the port.
Visit the ancient sanctuary of Delphi, a stunning archaeological site near the modern town of Delphi, at the foot of Mount Parnassus. Save some euros and take a Ktel bus, which takes you to the UNESCO-listed site in three hours. The archaeological site, where people from across ancient Greece came to hear the oracle of Apollo, includes a few must-see sights such as the oracle of Delphi, the Temple of Apollo, and the sanctuary of Athena and the tholos.
Pro tip: This is your last night in Athens. Rent a car right when you come back so you are ready to head out the next day. The cars usually come equiped with GPS and road maps so you don’t get lost.
Start your exploration of Greece with a few days in Peloponnese. Take advantage of the proximity of Corinth to the Greek capital and explore the ancient city as well as Acrocorinth, the ancient city dominating the valley, before continuing to the theatre of Epidaurus, one of the best examples of an ancient theatre. At the end of the 19th century, the theatre underwent intense renovation and today hosts the annual Athens-Epidaurus festival.
The last leg of this trip takes you to Nafplio, a lovely town in Argolida, which used to be the capital of Greece.
Pro tip: Stay at 3sixty boutique hotel in Nafplio, a stunning hotel housed in a beautiful neoclassical mansion.
Enjoy the morning in Nafplio before heading out to Kardamyli, a picture-perfect town in Mani, Messinia. There, find a hotel then head to Old Kardamyli, where you can admire the traditional Mani tower houses, as well as the view over the gulf. Drive to nearby Stoupa beach for an afternoon dip.
After saying goodbye to Kardamyli, drive for about two hours to the site of Ancient Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games. Here you can visit the gymnasium, stadium, temples of Hera and Zeus and the Philippeion, a building dedicated to king of Macedon Philip II, who was an Olympic champion in chariot racing. Make sure to drop by the museum next door to admire some of the artefacts found on site.
End your day with a quick drive to Patras, an important port city connecting Greece to Italy. For nightlife, Radinou Street is a must, although entertainment can also be found at Agiou Nikolaou Street.
The distance covered today allows you to depart from Patras in the afternoon, so take the opportunity to get acquainted with Patras, a lively port city that’s home to a major university. At first glance, the city may not inspire you much, but for the discerning traveler it has a few gems, including the church of Agios Andreas, the castle and a plethora of small cafés filled by students and seniors.
After lunch, leave Peloponnese behind and continue your exploration of Greece by crossing the Rio/Antirio Bridge, making your way to Epirus’ capital, Ioannina, a two-hour drive away. Ioannina is another under-the-radar destination. There’s a beautiful old town, a lake with an islet, a medieval castle and museums, and a plethora of bars and restaurants to quench your thirst and satisfy your tastebuds.
Start the day with a walk around the lake after a good breakfast. Then, set off to Metsovo, a charming mountainous village known for its delicious smoked cheese, metsovone. Metsovo, with its traditional architecture and charming and serene aura, is an ideal spot to spend the day and enjoy some fresh air.
Head on to Kalampaka, the village at the foot of Meteora, where you will spend the night. Admire the boulders from the bottom and get ready to have your mind blown the next day.
Meteora, with its collection of monasteries perched atop huge limestone boulders, is one of Greece’s most surreal destinations. Take in the beauty of the region by exploring the six still-operational monasteries. You will surely enjoy the view from the top of the boulders and the serenity of the century-old monasteries.
Pro tip: Don’t just visit one or two monasteries and head back to your room. Visitmeteora.travel features a few excellent activities and excursions in the region. You can also go hiking, rafting, rock-climbing and even mushroom picking.
You cannot possibly visit central Greece without dropping by the sacred mountain of Olympus, the home of the gods. This majestic mountain is the highest point in the country and will definitely keep you in awe. Stay at Litochoro and take the time to relax after the two-hour drive.
We don’t expect you to climb all the way to the summit of Mount Olympus, but there are plenty of trails across the mountain that will allow you to admire the beauty of this region without too much effort. Take a picnic so you can take the time to enjoy the views before heading straight to Volos, the gateway to the Sporades.
Pro tip: Volos is known for its love of tsipouro, so make sure to have a try with dinner. Our recommendation? Tsipouradiko Dionisis, on the waterfront.
Time to visit the last island of your trip, the beautiful and relaxed Skiathos, one of the three islands of the Sporades. Take a morning ferry (get the tickets the night before, if you can, at Volos port) and get ready to explore this low-key island of stunning beaches, verdant forests and turquoise waters. Skiathos town includes the Bourtzi, a medieval castle, as well as a modern harbor lined with restaurants and cafés.
This is your rest day before leaving Athens. Take some time to sleep in or walk around Plaka and Thissio, or go souvenir shopping.