Island hopping in Greece is SO much fun, and it’s super easy, whether you opt to do it via plane travel, or even via ferry.
There is so much to see and experience, from sparkling blue beaches, white and blue seaside towns, and delicious Greek cuisine.
To help you make the best of your time in Greece, we’ve built the ultimate 10 day Greece Island hopping itinerary. This itinerary begins and ends in Athens, and includes some of the best, bucket list Greece Islands to visit.
Everything you need to plan your Greece itinerary is right here, from what to do, how to get around, and where to stay.
The two best forms of transportation for Greece Island hopping include flying and boats. Flights are typically much faster, and a better option for anyone who might get seasick.
If you are traveling to smaller islands, or love the sea, then the ferries might just be for you!
We opted for planes for the majority of our Greek island-hopping itinerary, but we did get a couple of boats in between.
All our Greece island hopping itineraries start and end in Athens as it’s home to an international airport, but you could likely get a flight back from one of the major islands, such as Mykonos if you so wished.
Flying was our preferred method of transportation while island hopping, and we found some really great deals while doing so.
Using Skyscanner, you can find internal flights within the Greek islands for as little as £10-20 per person depending on when you book.
Alternatively, you can get around the Greece Islands on boats and ferries!
There are plenty of companies that offer boat shuttles between the islands. Some of them are high speed, and some of them are traditional ferries.
What I’ve found is that the high-speed ferries sometimes aren’t even that much more expensive than the traditional ferries.
If it saves you 4 hours of travel time, it’s often worth it to spend the extra money to book a high-speed ferry.
One way you can plan your island-hopping itinerary is by using Ferry Hopper. With Ferry Hopper, you can select all your trip dates and locations and see it all in one place- it’s a super convenient way to plan out your trip.
10 days is a great amount of time to get a flavor of the Greek islands. It’s just enough to enjoy each island, but leave you wanting to return! (which is always a good thing!)
This 10 day Greece Island Hopping Itinerary kicks off in Athens, the heart of Ancient Greece.
There is so much to do and see in this incredible city, and it’s also an international hub that’s easy to get to from other countries- making it a fantastic starting point.
Visiting the Acropolis is without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Athens.
The name “Acropolis” is derived from ancient Greek and translates to high city. Which is quite fitting, as Acropolis sits up high upon a bed of fortified limestone.
The Acropolis is home to many of Ancient Greece’s most important architectural monuments, including: the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena, and the Erechtheion.
On the sides of the hill, slightly lower than the rest, are the Theatre of Dionysus, and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.
Below the Acropolis is the Acropolis museum, which displays the artifacts that were found at the Acropolis.
While on some select public holidays it is free to visit the Acropolis, it typically costs about 20 euros to visit the Acropolis and its surrounding sites.
To visit the Acropolis museum, it’s an additional 5-10 euros depending on whether you’re visiting in the high or low season. The high season runs from April 1st to October 31st, and the low season runs from November 1st through March 31st.
We really recommend booking a sunset tour of the Acropolis. It won’t be as hot, and it’s also a beautiful time to visit.
It’s also 100% worth it to book a tour guide- there is so much to learn about the Acropolis, and you’ll get much more out of it booking a tour guide.
Or better still, opt for a hotel in Athens with a view of the Acropolis for the ultimate experience!
While the Acropolis is one of the most important architectural sites in Athens, the city is rich in history, and there are many other incredible monuments to take in, including:
Where Ancient Greeks went to worship the Greek god Zeus, and where both his and the Roman Emperor Hadrian’s statues were placed.
Hephaestus was the Greek god of blacksmiths and craftsmen, and this temple was built almost 2500 years ago!
Hadrian’s Library was built under the rule of Roman Emperor Hadrian, and was constructed to be the most grand and luxurious library in all of Athens.
An agora was a place of meeting in Ancient Greece, and the Ancient Agora of Athens is an impressive building where people gathered to watch performers, buy and sell goods, hang out, and also where members of government met to conduct political business.
In addition to checking out the numerous historical monuments in Ancient Greek, it’s also really cool to explore some of the many interesting neighborhoods in Athens.
Some of the best neighborhoods to explore in Athens include:
Plaka is the oldest neighborhood in Athens, and said to be the heart of the ancient city. Today, its winding streets, colorful buildings, and plentiful markets, bars, and taverns make it a fun and interesting place to explore.
Syntagma is the heart of Athen’s governmental operations. In Syntagma Square, you can see the Parliament building, as well as watch the ceremonial changing of the guard that occurs in front of the Monument to the Unknown Soldier.
If you’re looking to do some bargain shopping, Monastiraki is the place to go. The entire neighborhood is centered around its lively flea market, where you can buy almost anything!
Going to a rooftop bar is easily one of the top things to do in Athens. The best time to go is at night, as you’ll be able to see the Acropolis fully lit up- a truly magical sight.
There are a number of rooftop bars in Athens, both for excellent drinks, and dining!
The hostel Safestay Athens has spectacular views of Athens and the Acropolis, and their menu prices are reasonable.
The two best ways to get around Athens include the metro, and on foot.
With that said, Athens is pretty big, so we don’t recommend trying to get everywhere on foot. It’s just one of the best ways to explore and get a feel for the neighborhoods of Athens.
To go longer distances than you’d like on foot, the best way to get around in Athens is by taking the Metro.
Athens has a fairly sophisticated metro system, and the metro is not only the easiest, but also the quickest way to get around. The metro map will be posted at stops, but you can also typically obtain it at whatever hotel/hostel you choose to stay at.
This award winning Athens hostel is known for its beautiful rooftop bar with a view of the Acropolis, social events, and private capsule beds.
For travelers with a mid-range budget, Plaka Hotel is a great option.
It has a great, central location in Aspen’s historical center, and most rooms offer a view of the Acropolis from their private balconies!
This luxury Athens hotel is located just a 2 minute walk from the metro, and 10 minutes from the Acropolis.
Each room is modern and stylish, featuring smart TVs and new tech, and some even have private balconies overlooking the Acropolis.
For more luxury hotel options, check out our post on the best luxury hotels in Athens.
From here you can fly from Athens to Santorini on a quick flight. Check Skyscanner.
We recommend getting an early flight from Athens to Santorini.
We did this, and we landed at 8 am, which gave us time to pick up our rental car and start sightseeing before we checked into our hotel.
The benefit of an early start like this is you get out before the heat really sets in, as well as before most of the other tourists are even awake!
Flights are quick and easy too, about 40-50 minutes. You can take a look at flight options here!
There are so many incredible things to do in Santorini. We’ve narrowed down the top 4 things to do below, but rest assured, you’ll have plenty to do on this lovely island.
What’s a Greek Island hopping itinerary without exploring some of the incredible beaches the Greek Islands have to offer?
Santorini is ripe with beautiful beaches, each unique and remarkable in its own way. Here are some of the best beaches to visit in Santorini:
Perissa is a beautiful black sand beach with crystal blue waters. It’s easily accessible, and there are lounge chairs and sunbeds available for hire on the beach.
Because it’s so popular and easily accessible, it is also one of the busiest beaches in Santorini, so be prepared for crowds.
The Red Beach in Santorini is truly remarkable. Volcanic rocks created the deep red hue of the beach, which has a stark contrast to the aquamarine waters.
Getting to the Red Beach requires a short hike through some rocky terrain, so be sure to bring shoes that you can do some light hiking in!
If you’re looking to get a little more off the beaten path, the White Beach in Santorini is incredible. It’s only accessible by a taxi boat from Red Beach, or by booking a private boat.
The sand itself isn’t white like the name suggests, but the surrounding cliffs are, and the water is crystal clear and perfect for swimming.
Oia is one of the most famous and beautiful villages in Santorini. It’s famed for its white houses and buildings that scatter all across the hillside.
Oia is the sunset spot in Santorini. The most popular viewing place is from the Oia old castle, where you’ll have a spectacular view of the sun setting across the beautiful blue-domed, white buildings.
If you plan to watch the sunset from the old castle, be sure to get there early to claim a good viewing spot as it does get extremely busy.
Over the years, Oia has grown more and more chic, attracting not only more average tourists but also many celebrities. As a result, Oia is filled with luxury villas, high-end brands, and 5 star restaurants, making it a good place if you want to do some shopping, or enjoy a taste of luxury.
One of the most fun ways to explore Santorini while island hopping Greece is by booking a boat tour!
The coastline of Santorini is ripe with secluded beaches and caves, many of which are only accessible by boat.
Additionally, the volcano in Santorini is also only accessible by boat. A boat tour is a fun and adventurous way to get out there and explore both the old volcano( Palea Kameni) and the new volcano (Nea Kameni).
Another of the top things to do in Santorini is to hike from Fira to Oia. The hike is about 10km, and takes anywhere from 2-5 hours depending on how fast you hike, and how many times you stop for pictures!
While hiking from Fira to Oia, you’ll pass numerous white villages, as well as wonderful views of the volcano and coastline.
If you do this hike in the summer, you’ll definitely want to start early as it gets really hot, especially with all the white buildings reflecting the sun.
The terrain of the hike is pretty easy, you’ll just want to have proper and comfortable walking shoes, along with sun protection and plenty of water.
Situated in Perissa, this budget hotel provides air conditioned rooms equipped with a wardrobe, flat screen TV, and a private bathroom with a shower.
Guests also have access to a swimming pool, and the hotel is located about 1km from both Perivolos and Perissa Beach.
Villa Limnes is where we stayed in Santorini, and it’s gorgeous. The property is only a 1 minute walk from the beach, and all guests have access to lovely gardens and a terrace.
Each accommodation comes with air conditioning, a kitchenette, a TV, and a private bathroom with toiletries.
For a true taste of luxury, the elegant Onar Villas are located right above the water, with sweeping views of the volcano, ocean, and the Caldera.
Each villa is equipped with a private hot tub, espresso machine, and slippers, a bathrobe, and beach towels.
The Onar Villas are only a few feet away from the bus stop, as well as a 10 minute walk from the Oia town centre.
Read more in our guide on the best hotels in Santorini with a private pool.
There are a few different ways to get around Santorini, but the BEST way we recommend is by rental car.
This is what we did, and I highly recommend this option
With only 10 days to spend island hopping in Greece, you want to make the most of your time, and a rental car will give you the freedom to operate at your own leisure, rather than by waiting for public transportation.
It’s especially worth it if you want to explore some of the more remote beaches on the island that you can’t get to by public transportation.
It’s also super easy to rent a car in Santorini! But rental cars do tend to get booked up months in advance, particularly if you’re visiting in the summer months.
So we do recommend booking a rental car early for your visit to Santorini.
If you do opt for using public transportation on Santorini, it’s fairly easy to get around. You can get to pretty much all of the bigger cities on the island through the public bus system.
Another good option is to use buses for the majority of your trip, but then to book a private taxi or two if you want to get somewhere specific the bus can’t take you.
From Santorini you can get the boat to Naxos- the time it takes will vary depending on whether you get a fast or slow boat. Check FerryHopper!
Naxos is the largest of the Greek Islands, and a fun authentic stop on our 10 day Greek Islands itinerary.
Naxos isn’t as popular as some of the other Greek Islands, which means that it has far fewer tourists- making this a great island for those who like to get a little more off the beaten path with fewer tourists around them.
Despite there being fewer tourists, Naxos is still absolutely stunning, and rich in things to see and do.
Being the greenest of the Greek Islands, the mountains and hills on Naxos are incredible, offering tons of hiking and sightseeing.
The beaches are right up there with the greenery in terms of the best things to see in Naxos.
With that said, the beaches on Naxos are really only accessible by car.
Luckily, car rentals on Naxos are super easy and convenient- all the rental companies will meet you right at the airport (or boatport if you fly), and then you can just hop in your car and go!
The mountains and hills in Naxos offer some of the best views on the entire island, so naturally one of the top things to do in Naxos is to hike through the mountains!
One of the best hikes you can do on Naxos is to hike to the summit of Mount Zas.
According to Greek Mythology, Mount Zas is said to be the birthplace of Zeus! The peak is also the highest point in the Greek Islands.
This moderately difficult hike takes about 2-4 hours and is approximately 5.6km long.
Naxos is home to some seriously incredible beaches. This island is particularly well-known for its soft, white sandy beaches with crystal clear waters that are just perfect for swimming in.
Some of the best beaches on Naxos include:
Hawaii Beach (Alyko) is one of the most pristine beaches on Naxos! Its white sand, sparkling blue waters and remote location make it a fantastic place for a swim or beach day.
Hawaii Beach is located about 30 minutes from Naxos Town.
Plaka is a beautiful, large, white sand beach just outside of Naxos town. It’s easy to get to and the water is pleasant for swimming!
Agia Anna is a small fishing village, located not far from Naxos Town. It hosts a collection of beaches with turquoise waters with soft white sand, including Agia Anna Beach, one of the nicest beaches on the island.
The architecture on Naxos is full of Venetian style, and many of the architectural monuments are very well preserved.
Some of most famous monuments include:
The Portara was built around 530 BC as a temple to Apollo. The huge marble frame towers over 6 meters high, and it was actually never finished, which only adds to its allure.
The Venetian Castle is an incredible historical landmark in Naxos that remains from the Venetian times.
It’s an impressive landmark, with incredible views of the harbor, and rich in history from the Venetian period.
There are many other incredible architectural monuments to see in addition to the Portara and Venetian Castle, including the Bazeos Tower, the Tower of Agia, and the Temple of Demeter.
While there are many interesting sights, both manmade and natural to explore on Naxos, it’s also worth it to spend some time exploring Naxos Town (Chora).
Chora is filled with restaurants and shops, and it’s fun to simply wander around the winding alleyways.
You can also marvel at the white buildings and colorful doorways and bannisters.
Since Naxos is the biggest Greek island, its sights and beaches are pretty spread out, so it’s definitely worth it to rent a car while exploring Naxos.
With a rental car, you’ll be able to experience the true beauty of the island, and explore at your leisure.
Sunday Studios is a lovely little hotel to stay in Naxos while on a budget! It’s only a 1 minute walk from Agia Anna, and has magnificent views of the Aegean Sea.
Each studio is fully furnished, has a bathroom, and opens out to its own private balcony.
We stayed here on our Greece Island hopping trip, and absolutely loved it.
Sea Nymphs Suites is located right in front of Agia Anna Beach, and each room is equipped with a flat screen TV, private bathroom with bath or shower, and includes bathrobes and slippers.
The rooms are very stylish, with light, bohemian decor.
Less than 50 meters from Agia Anna Beach, Naxian Queen Luxury Villas and Suites offers two story villas, each equipped with elegant decor, a dining room, TV, and fully equipped kitchen.
Villa guests enjoy access to a pool, and breakfast is served daily on the property.
Get your boat from Naxos to Mykonos (it's only around 40 minutes) with FerryHopper!
Mykonos is another incredible Greek Island to visit while island hopping in the Cyclades!
In addition to beautiful beaches, Mykonos is also very well known for its delicious Mediterranean cuisine, as well as its nightlife.
There is no shortage of incredible things to do in Mykonos, and it’s an incredibly fun final stop on our 10 day Greece Island Hopping Itinerary.
Mykonos has some delicious food.
Some of the highlights include tasty Feta cheese, super fresh seafood, and rich desserts like baklava. It’s also worth trying louza, a classic Greek appetizer made with thinly sliced and spiced pork.
Little Venice is a great area in Mykonos to grab a bite right in front of the water!
One of the most iconic sights in Mykonos is the little collection of windmills (Kato Myli) perched just outside of Little Venice in Mykonos Town.
Most of the windmills were built by the Venetians in the 1500s to aid in the island’s grain production.
Today, there are 7 windmills left in Mykonos Town, and they are one of the first things you’ll see upon arriving in the harbor of Alefkandra.
They’re free to see and visit, and one of them has even been turned into a museum.
Mykonos is famed for its nightlife, and the heart of it is right at Paradise Beach.
Across from the beach, there are plenty of bars, clubs, and restaurants.
This area is so popular that in the summertime, world-famous DJs will show up and play at some of the nightclubs.
If you’ve come to Mykonos to experience the nightlife, Paradise Beach is the place to be- although keep in mind, it’s pretty expensive!
Paraportiani Church is one of the most photographed spots in all of Greece- and with good reason!
This remarkable church is bright white, and is actually five churches in one, all stacked on top of each other.
The church is located right in the Kastro neighborhood of Mykonos, and is well worth seeing while you’re in Mykonos!
If you only stick to the main tourist sites, along with beautiful beaches in Mykonos, you can easily get around by public transportation, taxis, and even by booking shuttles from your hotel!
If you’re looking to get out and off the beaten path, then it’s more worth it to look into a rental car.
Villa Varnali Small Boutique is situated right in the heart of Mykonos City Center, and is less than 500 meters from Megali Ammos Beach.
Each room is fitted with air conditioning, a wardrobe, kettle, fridge, flat screen TV, terrace, and a private bathroom with a shower.
There is also an outdoor pool for guests to enjoy.
Artemoula’s Studios are in a great, quiet location- only a 6 minute walk from Platis Yiolas Beach.
The property features two pools, a poolside bar, and a lovely sun terrace.
Each room has air conditioning, a kitchenette, and dining area, as well as a balcony with a view of the sea, pool or surrounding areas.
We stayed here while visiting Mykonos, and it was fantastic!
This luxury hotel is located in Mykonos City, with incredible ocean views. It’s about a 2 minute walk from Agios Charalabos Beach, and a 5 minute walk from Megali Ammos Beach.
Each room has a private balcony, as well as air conditioning, a flat screen TV, and a private bathroom with shower and robes.
Read more in our guide on the best Mykonos hotels with private pools.
Once you’ve reached the end of this 10 day Greece Island Hopping Itinerary, it’s time to fly back to Athens.
It’s a quick nonstop flight back to Athens from Mykonos, which you can easily find and book using Skyscanner.
If you find yourself with a little more time, then consider this alternate 2 week Greece Itinerary!
The additions here are Milos and Paros. You can get to each by booking a ferry.
The ferry from Naxos to Paros takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
To get from Paros to Milos, you can book either a high speed or a traditional ferry, which will take either 90 minutes or 5.5 hours depending on which you book!
Athens- 2 nights
Santorini- 2 nights
Naxos- 2 nights
Paros- 2 nights
Paros is less busy and touristed than other Greek Islands, but it’s equally beautiful.
It’s a wonderful island with quaint fishing villages, and beautiful beaches to explore.
Milos- 3 nights
Milos is a very volcanic island, and with it, hosts some of the most incredible beaches of the Cyclades.
Like Paros, Milos is much less frequented by other travelers, so it’s a great place to get off the beaten path while island-hopping in Greece.
Mykonos- 3 nights
Fly back to Athens
That’s a wrap on our 10 day Greece Island hopping itinerary! If you have any more questions about our itinerary, please let us know in the comments.
We had such a blast on our island hopping trip, and we hope that this itinerary helps you have the same experience.
Island hopping the cyclades is so much fun, and we encourage anyone who’s thinking about it, to take the leap and do it!
For those who are wondering what to pack, check out our beach vacation packing list.
Also, if you think there’s any information we missed, or locations to visit that we left out, we’d love to hear your thoughts below…