5 Days in Greece Itinerary Ideas by a Local

Only have 5 days to visit Greece? Don’t worry – With my 5-day Greece itinerary; you will be able to get a good taste of what Greece has to offer in a short time. I have prepared for you three different 5-day itineraries to choose from depending on your taste.

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Greece in 5 Days – Detailed Itinerary Ideas

The Parthenon in Athens Greece
The Parthenon in Athens Greece

5 Days in Greece Option 1

Day 1: Athens
Day 2: Delphi
Day 3: Meteora
Day 4: Island Cruise Hydra, Poros, Aegina
Day 5: Athens

Day 1: Athens

How To Get To & From The Airport

Athens International Airport (Eleftherios Venizelos) is located 35km (22miles) from the city centre with a number of public transport options to get you into the city.

Metro – Line 3 (the blue line) takes you from the airport straight to Syntagma Square in 40 minutes. The metro operates daily from 06.30-23.30, with trains running every 30 minutes and stops clearly identified in English. Cost 10 €.

Express Bus – The X95 express bus operates every 30-60 minutes minimum (with more frequent services in the Summer) 24/7. It stops in Syntagma Square with a journey time of 40-60 minutes, depending on traffic. Cost 5.50 €.

Taxi – The official taxis (yellow cabs!) operate a flat rate fee from the airport to the city center to ensure visitors are not ripped off. Journey time takes 30-60 minutes, depending on traffic. 40 € between 05:00-24:00 and 55 € between 00:00-05:00.

Welcome Pickups – Pre-book a private transfer, and your English-speaking driver will meet you at the arrivals hall with a bottle of water and a map of the city. Baby/child car seats can be pre-booked in advance. Click here for more details and to book your transfer.

Things To See and Do in Athens

  • Acropolis – Allow yourself at least 2 hours to explore ‘the Acropolis’ as it comprises not only the iconic Parthenon and the iconic Caryatids (the female columns) located at the top of the hill but plenty of interesting sites on its slopes too, including the 6th-century BC Theatre of Dionysus and the 2nd-century AD Theatre of Herodion.
The Acropolis in Athens - 5 days in Greece
The Acropolis in Athens is a must-see on your 5 days in Greece
  • Acropolis Museum – Filled with 4,000 artifacts, be sure to see the 160m long frieze plus the statue of a man with a calf called The Moschophoros – One of the first examples of marble used in Ancient Greece.
  • Ancient Agora – The hub of ancient Athens used for religious, political, and social activities, including sporting events from the 6th century BC; this is the place where Socrates would hold his lectures.
Attalos Stoa in Ancient Agora in Athens - 5 day Greece itinerary
Attalos Stoa in Ancient Agora in Athens
  • PlakaOne of the oldest neighborhoods in the city featuring gorgeous neoclassical architecture, Plaka is a hive of activity full of tavernas, rooftop bars, and souvenir shops.
  • Monastiraki Square – Your gateway to the famous Monastiraki Flea Market, this square, with its fountain, 18th century Ottoman mosque, and metro station entrance, is a great place to people watch whilst snacking tasty Greek street food.
Monastiraki Square in Athens - Greece in 5 days
Monastiraki Square in Athens

Where to stay in Athens

It’s best to book a central hotel in Athens, one in or around Syntagma Square or Monastiraki Square as this will save you time and money since all the must-see sights are within walking distance.

Niki Athens Hotel: Located 100 meters from Syntagma Square with a bus stop for the airport right outside the door, this modern hotel with a bar has sound-proofed rooms with large balconies. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

14 Reasons Why: Just 200 meters from Monastiraki Square and the famous flea market, this modern hotel features a terrace and a lounge where you can relax and mingle with other guests before retreating to your room. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Herodion Hotel: Located seconds away from the Acropolis Museum, this elegantly decorated hotel has a view to die for, its rooftop garden with hot tubs and a rooftop bar and restaurant both overlooking the Acropolis. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Day 2: Delphi

Delphi is an important stop on your 5 day Greece Itinerary
Athenian Treasury in Delphi Greece

The most sacred place in Ancient Greece during the 6th century BC, the UNESCO site of Delphi is well known for being the religious center of the ancient Greek world where the famous oracle foretold the future and is a must-visit place when exploring Greece.

How To Get There:

You have 2 options for reaching Delphi, either rent a car for 2 days and drive (continuing on to Meteora the next day with an overnight stay in or near either of these places) or sit back and relax by booking this 2-day tour that includes a visit to both places.

Click here for more information and to book your 2-day trip to Delphi and Meteora.

If you don’t want to overnight in Delphi or Meteora, you can base yourself in Athens for the duration of your stay and make some day trips from Athens instead. It is just very tiring going back and forth, but it is up to you.

What To See at Delphi

  • Temple of Apollo at Delphi – The place where the cult rituals took place, including the famous divination ceremonies, the Temple of Apollo is the most important building at Delphi.
  • Treasury of the Athenians – Used to house trophies from various Athenian victories as well as a variety of votive objects dedicated to the sanctuary, the treasury was built in either the 6th century BC or the 5th century BC.
  • Ancient Theatre of Delphi – Built for the music and poetry contests of the Pythian Games, the theatre seen today dates from 160BC and 67A.D but was first built in stone in the 4th century BC.
  • Archaeological Museum – Containing architectural sculpture, statues, pottery, mosaics, and metal objects dating back to the 8th century BC, be sure not to miss seeing the lifesize bronze charioteer from 478-474BC!

Day 3: Meteora

Meteora Monasteries - Greece in 5 days
Meteora Monasteries

The biggest and most iconic monastic center in Greece, the hanging monasteries of Meteora (of which six can be visited) are a can’t-miss attraction on your 5-day Greece itinerary.

Great Meteoron Monastery – The most iconic of the hanging monasteries with its red roof is also the most difficult to reach due to its altitude, however, perched upon a 610-metre-high rock, it’s from here that you get the most breathtaking views!

Rousanou Monastery – This 16th-century monastery is actually inhabited by nuns making it a nunnery. It’s the most easily accessible monastery at Meteora since it’s located lower down the rock pillars.

St Nicholas Anapausas Monastery – Built at the beginning of the 14th century, only one monk lives at this monastery today.

St Stephen Monastery – Built in the 15th century, this is the only monastery (now inhabited by nuns, so technically a nunnery) visible from the nearby town of Kalampaka.

Varlaam Monastery – Built by a monk named Varlaam in the 14th century, he lived here alone until his death. In 1517, 2 monks from Ioannina renovated the monastery using a pulley system of ropes and baskets to transport the necessary building materials up the rock. It took them 20 years to move the materials but only 20 days to finish the reconstruction.

Holy Trinity Monastery – Made famous when it was featured in the James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only, this 14th-century monastery was only accessible by rope ladders prior to 1925 when 140 steep steps were cut into the rock.

After marveling at the hanging monasteries, make your return to Athens in the late afternoon or evening.

Spend the night in Athens.

Day 4: Island Cruise: Hydra, Poros, Aegina

Hydra Island Greece in 5 days
Hydra Island Greece

The 3-island day cruise allows you to visit 3 Sanonic islands in one day. Visit the picturesque port towns of Hydra, Poros, and Aegina with an English-speaking guide and enjoy lunch and entertainment in the form of traditional Greek dancing while onboard.

Hydra – This island is where the jet setters go to enjoy the boho Greek vibe. Shop for souvenirs at the craft shops and consider strolling around the quaint backstreets.

Poros – This small tranquil green island is known for its lemon groves and pine forests. Climb to the top of the bell tower to enjoy the magnificent views.

Aegina – Another green island, this one known for its pistachio trees; here you’ll get to see the 5th century BC Temple of Aphaea and the lively fish market.

Click here for more information and to book your day cruise.

Spend the night in Athens.

Day 5: Athens

If you have a night flight home, you’ll have enough time to see more of Athens during the day. Use this time to see the following:

Changing of the Guard in Syntagma square
Changing of the Guard in Syntagma Square
  • Changing of the Guard – Taking place every hour, on the hour, watch the presidential soldiers (Evzones) proceed in traditional dress to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where they switch places with their colleagues using must-see slow-motion movements.
  • Panathenaic Stadium – Built in the 6th century BC this is the only stadium built entirely from marble in the world. Initially used for male-only track sporting events, today, this is where the Olympic Flame begins its journey around the world every 4 years.
Temple of Olympian Zeus - 5 day Athens itinerary
Temple of Olympian Zeus
  • Hadrian’s Arch – Built in 131AD to honor the arrival of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, today, the triumphal arch stands to the side of Athens’s main road, but it once spanned the road that linked Ancient Athens with Roman Athens.
  • Temple of Olympian Zeus – Just behind Hadrian’s Arch are the remains of the 6th-century temple dedicated to the King of the Olympian Gods, Zeus. Originally featuring 107 Corinthian columns, it took 700 years to build.
  • National Archaeological Museum – NAM contains the richest collection of Greek artifacts dating from the 7th century BC to the 5th century BC. Items include Minoan frescoes, the Antikythera Mechanism (the world’s first computer!), and the gold death mask of Agamemnon.

Greece in 5 Days Option 2

Day 1: Athens
Day 2: Mycenae, Epidaurus, Nafplio
Day 3: Delphi
Day 4: Island Cruise Hydra, Poros, Aegina
Day 5: Athens

Day 1: Athens

Follow the itinerary of option 1 to visit the main attractions of Athens.

Day 2: Mycenae, Epidaurus, Nafplio

Mycenae in Greece
Lion’s Gate in Mycenae Greece

Book a day trip to visit 3 historic towns in the Peloponnese with pickup from your Athens hotel. Alternatively, you can rent a car and explore on your own.

  • Mycenae

This was the most important city of the Mycenaean civilization that dominated not only mainland Greece, and its islands but also the shores of Asia Minor for 4 centuries. Visit this UNESCO site with your guide and explore the ruins of the fortified hilltop citadel seeing the 13th century Lion’s Gate, the Cyclopean Walls, the ‘beehive’ tombs known as tholos, and the grave circle where a wealth of burial goods including gold death masks were uncovered, the items, or replicas of them, being on display in the museum.

  • Epidaurus

A place of ancient healing in Ancient Greek and Roman times, the ancient sanctuary of Asclepius at Epidaurus is considered the birthplace of medicine. On a guided tour, you’ll see the remains of the dormitories where visitors would await their healing treatments, the 480-380BC sports stadium, and the Tholos or Thymele – a circular building from 360-320BC which had a labyrinth thought to house the sacred snakes for the cult activities that took place on the floors above.

Epidaurus is also famous for its 4th-century BC theatre, which has incredible acoustics and is considered the best-preserved theatre in Greece. At the archaeological museum, you’ll see the finds that have been unearthed from the sanctuary, including fascinating medical items made from bronze.

Epidaurus Theatre in Greece
Epidaurus Theatre
  • Nafplio

The picturesque seaside town of Nafplio was the first capital of Greece after the Greek War of Independence. Enclosed within ancient city walls and boasting sea views plus mountain views, it’s awash with winding backstreets, Venetian, Frankish, and Ottoman architecture and has not one but two castles – one of these being built on an island just off the coast!

Click here for more information and to book your day trip to Mycenae, Epidaurus, and Nafplio.

Day 3: Delphi

Ancient Theater of Delphi in Greece
Ancient Theater of Delphi

It’s possible to visit Delphi in a day whether you hire a car, take the public bus, or book a day trip there.

If you decide to do a guided tour, I recommend this 10-hour guided tour to Delphi from Athens.

Day 4: Island Cruise to Hydra, Poros, Aegina

Aegina Island
Aegina Island

Spend the day on an organized cruise visiting 3 islands close to Athens. Hydra, Poros, or Aegina. Alternatively, you can catch the ferry from Piraeus port and visit one of them on your own. If you decide to do that, I highly recommend that you choose Hydra.

Click here for more information and to book your day cruise.

Finally, if you are not interested in the Greek islands, there are many things you can see in the Greek capital, or you can head to Meteora instead.

Day 5: Athens

On the final day of your five days in Greece, you can spend it exploring more of what Athens has to offer, for suggestions check the last day of option 1.

If you decide to book a car for your 5 days in Greece, I recommend booking a car through Discover Cars where you can compare all rental car agencies’ prices, and you can cancel or modify your booking for free. They also guarantee the best price. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

5 days in Greece Option 3

Day 1: Athens
Day 2: Santorini
Day 3: Santorini
Day 4: Santorini
Day 5: Athens

Day 1: Athens

Spend your first day on your 5-day Greece itinerary exploring Athens (see the detailed itinerary in option 1)

Day 2, 3, 4 Santorini

OIa Santorini - 5 days in Greece
Oia in Santorini is a must in any Greece itinerary

I chose Santorini for this 5-day Greece itinerary as it is a popular destination everyone wants to visit but it is also one of the few Greek Islands that you can easily visit all year round.

If you don’t want to visit Santorini, you can take the ferry to the nearby islands of Mykonos or Syros if you are visiting between May and October.

You can either fly to Santorini from Athens airport (flight time of 45-55 minutes) or take the ferry from Piraeus (journey time of between 8 and 10 hours, depending on the route and ferry company). Since you are only spending five days in Greece, I recommend that you fly to Santorini. There are many airlines offering daily flights to Santorini, and if you book early, you can find amazing deals.

If you decide to take the ferry, check here for the ferry timetable and to book your tickets.

Red Beach Santorini
Red Beach Santorini

Top Things To Do In Santorini

  • Explore Oia – Think of Santorini and the pictures you’ve seen were probably taken from this quaint cliffside village. Wander the streets taking in the breathtaking views being sure to stay for sunset, which is best viewed from the castle ruins.
  • Visit The Volcano – The view you’ll never tire of seeing whilst standing on Santorini; take a boat trip to the volcano and hike 10 minutes to the top of the still-active crater.
  • Akrotiri Archeological Site – One of the most important prehistoric settlements of Greece, see what has been uncovered of the Bronze Age town that was buried beneath volcanic ash after the Theran eruption in the 16th century BC.
  • Museum of Prehistoric Fira – See the artifacts unearthed from Akrotiri Archeological Site with items dating from the Neolithic period to the early Cycladic period at the museum in Fira.
  • Red Beach – Famed for its red cliff face, which turns the sand a reddish-brown color, this small beach with its volcanic rocks requires quite a trek to reach, but the views make it well worth the effort.
Fira Santorini
Fira Santorini
  • Skaros Rock – Hike out to the headland of Skaros Rock which features the remains of a Medieval fortress – The views are out of this world, and it’s slightly off the tourist trail!
  • Perissa Beach and Perivolos Beach – Head to the South of the island and sink your toes into the black volcanic sand that these two beaches are famous for.
  • Explore Fira and Firostefani – Walk along the Caldera, admiring the view out to the volcano and taking in all the architecture that makes Santorini so special – You’ll be taking photos every 2 seconds!
  • Ancient Thera Archeological Site – Perched on a ridge of the 360-meter high Messavouno mountain, see the remains of the ancient capital of Thera that were inhabited from the 9th century BC – 726 AD.

On day 4, I recommend that you head back to Athens for your last night in Greece to make sure you are back on time for your flight home the next day. Depending on your preferences, you can spend the majority of the day in Santorini or head back to Athens in the morning to allow for more sightseeing of the city.

Where To Stay in Santorini

Canaves Oia Boutique Hotel With sunset views to make your mouth drop open, this elegant Cycladic-styled hotel is located on Oia’s famous cliffside. Antiques and art decorate the rooms, with a pool on-site, too, and friendly staff who go the extra mile. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Costa Marina Villas: This traditionally styled guest house is just 200 meters from the central square in Fira, so is perfect for exploring the town, with restaurants and shops close by. – Click here for more information and to book your stay.

Day 5: Athens

Spend your last day exploring the many sites Athens has to offer. For ideas, check the last day of option 1.

As you can see, even when you’re short on time, it is still possible to see a lot of Greece in 5 days! So how will you spend it? Are you more drawn to the amazingly historic archaeological sites, or do you dream of visiting as many islands as possible? Let us know in the comments, and remember, five days in Greece will have you returning for a longer trip, one day for sure!

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