3 Weeks in Greece Itinerary

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Vacationing in Greece is like stepping into a mix of amazing beaches, ancient ruins, and super tasty food. Expect to see incredible places like the Acropolis in Athens, and get ready to be wowed by the beautiful islands, like Santorini with its famous sunsets.

Greek food will be a highlight, with yummy dishes like gyros and fresh seafood. People are friendly and love sharing their culture. The weather’s usually sunny and perfect for exploring or just chilling by the sea.

If you’ve been dreaming of seeing the place where civilisation was born and love history, Athens has so much to offer. It’s where you’ll see the Parthenon standing over. You’ll also get to enjoy the serene sunsets of Santorini and the stunning island of Crete.

The first time I went to Greece was a stopover during my European cruise. I also spent two days there, I fell in love right away and I knew I had to come back.

Spending 3 weeks in Greece means you can see its historical sites around Athens and make your way north and explore Meteora and Thessaloniki. Finally, finish your itinerary by visiting every stunning beach and island down the Mediterranean and Argean Sea.

Greece is one of South Europe’s famous destinations that you must visit at least once. If you want to see many places in a single trip, our 3 weeks in Europe itinerary and 3 weeks in Eastern Europe might be able to help you, especially if you’re on a budget.

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE GOING TO GREECE

It’s not easy to plan a trip to a place you’ve never been. Perhaps the travel information below will help you visualise and start planning and creating an itinerary for your upcoming Greek holiday.

4 images - top left is Heraklion Fortress, top right is cave houses in Santorini, bottom right is the Meteora monastery that sits on top of a rock, bottom left are statues in Acropolis - 3 Weeks in Greece Itinerary

When is the best time to go to Greece

The best time to visit Greece depends on what you seek. Peak season runs from July to August, when the weather is warmest and sun-soaked beaches beckon, but expect crowded attractions and higher prices.

For a blend of pleasant weather and fewer tourists, the shoulder seasons — late April to June and September to early October — is the best time to travel to Greece. During these months, you can enjoy milder temperatures, fewer crowds, and lower accommodation rates.

The rainy season usually spans from December to February, with colder temperatures and occasional showers, especially on the mainland. While this period sees fewer visitors, it offers a unique perspective of Greece’s landscapes, softer hues, and a calmness contrasting the summer bustle.

Are 3 weeks enough for Greece

Yes, three weeks is a substantial amount of time to explore Greece. While you can’t cover every nook and cranny, it’s sufficient to experience the major highlights: Athens’ historical sites, famous islands like Santorini, Mykonos, and Crete, and some off-the-beaten-path destinations.

The most important thing to remember when planning and writing your 3-week itinerary is to not plan to see more than 5-6 cities. Creating a busy travel plan will be exhausting in real time, and you won’t be able to relax or enjoy your trip.

What to pack

For a trip to Greece, pack lightweight clothing, a swimsuit, sunblock, comfortable walking shoes, a hat, sunglasses, a reusable water bottle, a power adapter, and a small daypack for sightseeing.

There will be lots of walking, especially around Athens, so make sure your walking shoes or sandals are very comfortable. Apart from that, pack your basic items for a 3-week trip. We have a packing list for a summer trip as well.

How to get around

Due to its geography, transportation around Greece combines various options. Getting around Greece offers a blend of modern and traditional transportation methods:

Most Comfortable: Domestic flights and high-speed ferries are comfortable choices for hopping between islands and major cities. For land travel, renting a car gives you the flexibility and comfort to explore at your own pace, especially on the mainland.

Most Affordable: Buses (KTEL) are the most budget-friendly way to travel between towns and regions. Standard ferries can be more affordable than high-speed ones for short island hops.

Around the cities: In cities like Athens, the metro and bus systems are popular for local commutes. Taxis, although more expensive, are also commonly used, especially in areas not serviced by public transport. Ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Beat are popular to use within the cities of Greece.

Regardless of your preference, Greece offers a range of transportation options that cater to diverse travel needs, ensuring that the country’s treasures are always within reach.

Language and currency

The main language in Greece is Greek. However, English is widely spoken, especially in tourist areas, hotels, restaurants, and attractions. Many Greeks, particularly the younger generation and those working in the tourism industry, have a good grasp of English.

The main currency in Greece is the Euro (€). While some tourist-oriented businesses might accept USD, it’s not commonly accepted for everyday transactions. Visitors are advised to use Euros for hassle-free payments.

Both cash and bank card payments are popular in Greece. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted in urban areas and popular tourist destinations. However, carrying some cash in smaller towns or remote islands is advisable as card facilities might be limited.

2 images - left is columns at Temple of Olympian Zeus and the fortress of Heraklion City

Average travel cost for 3 weeks in Greece

The average cost per person of vacation for 20 days in Greece is around €2,000, that’s around €100 a day. If you’re visiting during the peak season (summer and winter), accommodation and flight costs are much higher.

Travel costs in Greece can vary widely based on your preferences:

Affordable:

  • Accommodation: Budget hostels or guesthouses: €20-40/night.
  • Food: Local tavernas or street food: €10-20/day.
  • Activities & Transport: Using local buses, free or low-cost attractions: €15-30/day.
  • Total: Approximately €45-90/day or €945-1,890 for 3 weeks.

Mid-Range:

  • Accommodation: 3-star hotels or boutique guesthouses: €50-100/night.
  • Food: Mix of tavernas, cafes, and occasional dining out: €25-50/day.
  • Activities & Transport: Some organized tours, ferries, car rentals: €40-80/day.
  • Total: Approximately €115-230/day or €2,415-4,830 for 3 weeks.

Luxury:

  • Accommodation: 5-star hotels or luxury villas: €150-400/night.
  • Food: Fine dining experiences: €80-150/day.
  • Activities & Transport: Private tours, high-speed ferries, domestic flights: €100-300/day.
  • Total: Approximately €330-850/day or €6,930-17,850 for 3 weeks.

Remember, these are ballpark figures; actual expenses can vary based on choices and unexpected costs. You should also remember that the price of flying to Greece and back home are not included in these estimated costs.

Visa

Greece is a member of the EU and executes the Schengen State visa policy. This means that passport holders in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, and many places in Latin America, can enter and travel around Greece for 90 days.

EU passport holders have freedom of movement in Greece. At the same time, the nationalities not mentioned above must apply for a Schengen visa at the nearest Greek embassy or consulate.

Other travel tips

When booking your travel arrangements, these travel sites may help you find the best accommodation and most affordable flights and tours for Greece. I sure love these travel services when booking my own travel needs.

PINNED MAP OF MUST-SEE PLACES IN GREECE

Click the enlarge button on the top right corner. Credit: map data: Google

3 WEEKS IN GREECE ITINERARY

When visiting Greece, this means you have the chance to explore one of the oldest sites in the world. Learn about the birthplace of democracy, the Olympics, Western philosophy, and even alarm clocks and umbrellas.

Once you’re ready to relax and enjoy the beach, go to the south, where many islands are waiting for you for some fun water adventure.

You’ll start your trip in Athens, but it also ends here. But you have 20 days in Greece to enjoy all its pristine islands and historical sites.

If you feel like 3 weeks in Greece is too much time, you can plan a 3-week Southern Europe itinerary instead, where you can visit other countries including Greece.

Package tour

Consider in booking a package tour if you want to skip all the travel planning and arranging. These types of tours also include transportation, food, activities, tickets, accommodations, and sometimes food on the total price.

Day-to-day overview

  • Day 1: Land in Athens, book an airport transfer, get a local sim card (or an esim), and local currency if needed or pick up your car rental
  • Day 2-4: Explore Athens, especially the Acropolis
  • Day 5: Travel from Athens to Metero by bus or driving or book a day trip to Meteora instead
  • Day 6-7: Visit the Meteora monastery
  • Day 8: Get to Thessaloniki from Meteora by bus or driving
  • Day 9-10: Discover Thessaloniki
  • Day 11: Fly to Santorini or Paros from Thessaloniki
  • Day 12-13: Enjoy Santorini or Paros
  • Day 14: Take the ferry to Naxos or Mykonos from Santorini or Paros
  • Day 15-16: Explore Naxos or Mykonos
  • Day 17: Get to Crete from Naxos or Mykonos by air or sea
  • Day 18-19: Discover Crete
  • Day 20: Catch a flight back home, might need to fly back to Athens from Crete

Athens for 5 days

Athens, the birthplace of Western civilization, offers a chance to travel back in time. It’s where ancient landmarks like the Parthenon and the Acropolis stand as a testament to the city’s glorious past.

The streets are full of life, with cool markets, yummy street food, and cafes where you can chill. If you’re looking to buy souvenirs, there are plenty of flea markets to visit. As the heart of Greek philosophy, politics, and arts, Athens provides a deep dive into human heritage.

For hiking enthusiasts, the surrounding hills and mountains, including Mount Hymettus and Philopappou Hill, present trails that lead to panoramic vistas of Athens, juxtaposing the urban landscape with nature’s grandeur.

Athens is the perfect city to start your 3 weeks in Greece trip. Most international flights land here, plus an extensive train, bus, ferry, and plane network leaves Athens.

Things to do in Athens

Accommodations in Athens

2 images - theatre of Acropolis on the left, column towers in Parthenon - 3 Weeks in Greece Itinerary

Meteora for 3 days

Meteora, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a stunning fusion of nature and spirituality. It’s famed for its gravity-defying monasteries perched atop towering rock pillars.

The incredible landscape, formed over millions of years looks like a picture out of painting. As you hike or drive through, the sight of monastic settlements with unique rocks offers an experience that is unique to Meteora.

Kalabaka is the town where Meteora Monastery is located, not many accommodations there. But you can also consider Theopetra as your main base when looking for accommodation during your stay.

To reach Meteora, you can take the train from Athens. The journey time is 5 hr and 45 minutes. The bus is more affordable but will take around 6 hours. If you’re driving, it’s a 4-hour drive.

Things to do in Meteora

  • Monastery of Great Meteoron
  • Varlaam Monastery
  • Rousanou Monastery
  • St. Stephen’s Monastery
  • Holy Trinity Monastery
  • St. Nicholas Anapafsas Monastery
  • Meteora Rock Climbing
  • Kastraki Village
  • Meteora Nunneries
  • Sunset at Meteora viewpoints
  • Hiking the Meteora trails
  • Meteora Natural History Museum
  • Meteora Mushroom Museum

Accommodations in Meteora

Thessaloniki for 3 days

Thessaloniki is great in Northern Greece, where you can take a break from the tourist trail. As you walk its streets, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman legacies come alive in monuments and churches. The city’s lively waterfront, interesting markets, and art scene make it an awesome place to end your day of exploration.

You can reach Thessaloniki from Meteora by land. The drive will take around 3 hours. You can also take the bus (4 hours) or the train (3 hours).

Things to do in Thessaloniki

Accommodations in Thessaloniki

2 images - left is the Meteora monastery on top of a rock, on the right is the tower in Thessaloniki City -3 Weeks in Greece Itinerary

Santorini or Paros for 3 days

These two islands offer very different experiences, but I recommend you choose between them to save some time.

Santorini is ideal for those seeking dramatic landscapes, iconic sunsets, and luxury accommodations. It’s famous for its caldera views, unique volcanic beaches, and romantic ambience. However, it’s often more crowded and touristy. If you’re looking for the “traditional white stone houses”, it’s in Santorini.

On the other hand, Paros is a more laid-back alternative, offering beautiful beaches, traditional villages, and vibrant nightlife. It’s less commercial than Santorini and provides a more authentic Greek island experience.

Choose Santorini if you desire postcard-perfect views, and don’t mind the crowds. Visit one of the best black beaches in Santorini if you’re looking for something unique yet worth a visit.

Paros is a top choice for a relaxed atmosphere with a blend of beach and culture. If you choose Paros, you can also explore the nearby island of Naxos.

Both destinations have direct flights from Thessaloniki. The trip will take around 1hr and 20 minutes.

Things to do in Santorini

Things to do in Paros

Accommodations in Santorini

Accommodations in Paros

Naxos or Mykonos for 3 days

Again, these two islands are ver different. But as mentioned, if you already decided to go to Paros, you can easily get to Naxos from there.

Unfortunately, there are no direct flights from Santorini or Paros to Naxos or Mykonos. All flights will have to connect through Athens. However, there are many ferries that connect al these islands. So, you probably want to decide based on direct ferries between the islands to make your trip more hassle-free.

Naxos is known for its diverse landscapes. Naxos offers long sandy beaches, ancient ruins, and traditional villages. It’s family-friendly and typically more budget-conscious, providing a genuine Greek island feel.

Mykonos is famed for its vibrant nightlife, cosmopolitan atmosphere, and picturesque town with iconic windmills. It attracts a more upscale, party-centric crowd and is usually pricier.

If you’re after a lively scene with high-end shops and clubs, pick Mykonos. For a more relaxed cultural experience with varied landscapes, opt for Naxos.

Things to do in Naxos

Things to do in Mykonos

Accommodations in Naxos

Accommodations in Mykonos

2 images - on the left is an alley of Mykonos Town. on the right is the cave houses of Santorini in Oia village

Crete 3 days

3 weeks in Greece must include the beautiful island of Crete. It’s the largest Greek island, where beautiful beaches, mountains, ancient history such as the Minoan ruins, and delicious food come together.

Its diverse landscapes range from the pink sands of Elafonissi to the rocky Samaria Gorge. Exploring ancient ruins like the Palace of Knossos takes you back to the times of Greek myths and legends.

Crete is also a fantastic way to end your trip because you can simply relax on the beach or do watersports you enjoy. From here, there are plenty of direct flights to Athens if you’re catching your flight home from there.

There are three airports in Crete; Heraklion, Chania, and Sitia. Heraklion and Chani are the two most popular, but neither has direct flights from Mykonos, Paros, or Santorini. However, there are direct ferries to reach Crete.

Things to do in Crete

Accommodations in Crete

MUST-TRY GREEK DISHES AND DRINKS

Greek cuisine is easily one of the best and healthiest in the world. For this reason alone, you must try at least 4-5 dishes during your visit (recommend more!). See which one you like the most, and maybe you’ll even bring a Greek brand or wine back home.

3 images - moussaka on the left, baklava in the middle, and tzatziki on the right
  • Moussaka: Layered eggplant, potato, and minced meat topped with béchamel sauce.
  • Souvlaki: Skewered and grilled meat, often served with pita bread.
  • Horiatiki: Traditional Greek salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, feta cheese, and olive oil.
  • Spanakopita: Spinach pie made with phyllo dough, spinach, and feta cheese.
  • Dolmades: Stuffed grape leaves, usually filled with rice and herbs.
  • Pastitsio: Greek pasta baked with layered pasta, minced meat, and creamy béchamel sauce.
  • Tzatziki: Creamy yoghurt-based dip with cucumbers, garlic, and dill.
  • Baklava: Sweet pastry made of layers of phyllo, filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey.
  • Galaktoboureko: Custard-filled phyllo pastry soaked in syrup.
  • Loukoumades: Golden fried dough balls drizzled with honey and cinnamon.
  • Kadaifi: Shredded wheat dessert soaked in syrup, often with nuts.
  • Ouzo: Anise-flavored aperitif, often diluted with water.
  • Retsina: Resinated wine with a distinctive pine flavour.
  • Metaxa: Greek brandy, smooth and fruity.

SUMMARY OF 3 WEEKS IN GREECE ITINERARY

Three weeks in Greece is a voyage through time, flavours, and breathtaking landscapes. From the ancient ruins of Athens to the cerulean waters of the islands, every moment is etched with wonder. When creating your itinerary, do not overload it and design one that is relaxing for you.

This 3 weeks in Greece trip is not just a vacation. It’s a soulful experience, a harmonious blend of past and present, tradition and innovation. I hope that this itinerary has helped you visualise what a holiday in Greece looks like.

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Embark on an affordable 3-week adventure in Greece! Explore Athens' ancient ruins, relax on the beaches of Crete, wander through the streets of Santorini, and indulge in delicious Greek cuisine. Opt for budget accommodations. via @threeweektraveller