How to Plan a 12-Day Greece Trip: 5 Top Itinerary Ideas

By Carper | Updated Mar. 18, 2024

A 12-day time frame would allow you to explore a region of Greece deeper or enjoy the remarkable sights and unique local activities of an all-round destination mix. 

Here are five 12-day Greek itineraries that are popular with families and couples, covering history, culture, food, and special activities. 

You could also opt to combine a neighboring country with Greece, such as Italy or Turkey, within 12 days, experiencing two very different countries in one journey. We are always ready to customize your private tour, and are dedicated to making sure that a trip meets all of your needs.

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Route List

Itinerary 1: 12-Day Classic Highlights of Greece for a First Visit

From famous antique ruins, such as the Acropolis, to sunny beaches and the tranquil Aegean Sea, this itinerary balances historical sites, outdoor adventures, culinary experiences, and water activities, and contains the must-sees for first-timers to Greece.

Below is the itinerary breakdown:

  • Day 1: Athens arrival
  • Days 2–4: Santorini (the town of Fira, the blue-domed churches, the frescoes of Akrotiri, and a caldera cruise)
  • Days 5–7: Paros (a cycling tour, village walks, and free days for day trips or relaxation)
  • Days 8–10: Athens (the Acropolis, Syntagma Square, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and take a cable car ride to Mount Lycabettus)
  • Day 11: Meteora (the hermit caves of Badovas, three active monasteries on the cliff, and some light hiking)
  • Day 12: Departure

Your adventure begins in Athens with a warm welcome at the airport. Enjoy an authentic Greek dinner before jetting off to explore Fira in Santorini, blue-domed churches, and Minoan archaeological sites accompanied by a knowledgeable guide.

For a serene Santorini experience, we recommend taking a caldera cruise, allowing you to bask in panoramic views, snorkel in pristine waters, savor the sun, dip into volcanic hot springs, and witness the island's breathtaking sunset from the deck.

After relishing Santorini's unique red and black sand beaches, venture to Paros for cycling and village walks. Consider day excursions from Paros, such as embarking on a full-day cruise to Antiparos and Despotiko for water activities and cliff diving, acting like a local in the Venetian harbor and Mykonos town, or to Naxos for some hiking in the childhood home of Zeus.

Return to Athens, a city steeped in history and culture, featuring architectural marvels like the Acropolis and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. With your private guide walking alongside you, you would find out the charming stories behind those silent monuments that transport you back in time.

Before bidding farewell to Greece, spend 1 day in Meteora, renowned as "the city in the sky". Explore strange rock formations, marvel at cliffside monasteries, and embrace breathtaking vistas that would linger in your memory.

If you are interested in this itinerary, reach out to us and we will customize it perfectly according to your personal preferences and travel desires to ensure a wonderfully fulfilling journey.

Itinerary 2: 12-Day Greek Summer Vacation for Families with Teenagers

When you first arrive in Greece, your children may only have a vague impression of the country, so why not start with enjoying the wonderful summer sunshine and then gradually create a clear picture by engaging with the locals?

Begin in Crete, the cradle of European civilization, move on to stunning Santorini, and conclude in Athens, the cornerstone of European heritage, to delve into Greek history and culture.

Below is the itinerary breakdown:

  • Days 1–3: Chania, Crete (Elafonisi Beach, Balos Lagoon, Gramvousa Peninsula, Samaria Gorge, and a family cooking class)
  • Days 4–5: Heraklion, Crete (explore the old town, the Koules fortress, the Agios Minas Cathedral, and the Minoan Palace of Knossos)
  • Days 6–8: Santorini (red and black sand beaches, a panoramic boat tour, a sunset at Oia, a wine-tasting experience, and a day trip to Mykonos)
  • Days 9–11: Athens (the Acropolis, Syntagma Square, Panathenaic Stadium, hike on Mount Lycabettus, and a day trip to Delphi)
  • Day 12: Departure

In this itinerary, you would start your journey in Crete, with 3 days enjoying natural beauty and sunny beaches based in Chania, and 2 days exploring historical sites in Heraklion.

From Chania, you and your family could soak up the Aegean sunshine at Elafonisi Beach, take a boat tour to Balos Lagoon and Gramvousa, and embark on a day trip to Samaria Gorge for some trekking and streamside natural beauty.

In Heraklion, enjoy a slow-paced walk in Heraklion's old town while appreciating the historical sites, including the Koules fortress and the Agios Minas Cathedral. Visit the Minoan Palace of Knossos to add some mysterious Greek mythology to your trip.

Then, hop on a 2-hour ferry to Santorini for iconic white buildings and volcanic caldera views. The stunning sunset at Oia and a book hunt at Atlantis Books with your children are highly recommended.

Finally, you would fly to Athens, the birthplace of European culture, where you could show your kids amazing sites once learned about from history books, including the Acropolis and Panathenaic Stadium. We could also arrange a day trip to Delphi adding more fun about Greek history and breathtaking views.

This itinerary is perfect for families traveling with teenagers. It focuses on three locations, providing diverse activities and adventures while avoiding constant hotel changes. And it lets you immerse yourself in the Aegean vibes so that you could cherish a Greek-style summer vacation. 

If this itinerary doesn't meet your requirements, feel free to contact us. We would be happy to personalize a private tour for you.

Itinerary 3: 12-Day Romantic Greek Island-Hopping for Active Couples

If you particularly love island-hopping and sunny beaches while spending some romantic time with your loved one, then this itinerary could be perfect for you, maybe to celebrate an anniversary or honeymoon.

You would embark on an island-hopping trip of the Cyclades visiting at least four islands with remote but stunning beaches, various activities, natural beauty, and romantic moments we have prepared for you. 

Below is the itinerary breakdown:

  • Days 1–2: Athens (the birthplace of European culture)
  • Days 3–4: Santorini (one of the most romantic sunsets in the world)
  • Days 5–6: Ios (less visited with various activities)
  • Days 7–10: Paros (slow-paced lifestyle and a perfect day-trip hub)
  • Day 11: Mykonos (lively nightlife and a carnival atmosphere)
  • Day 12: Departure

One of the highlights of this itinerary is that you could enjoy different island vibes within one island-hopping trip, which is perfect for beach lovers. Immerse yourself in Santorini's romance, soak up endless sunshine at Mylopotas in Ios, walk through the magical village of Naoussa in Paros, and join a lively beach bonfire in Mykonos.

Another highlight not to be missed is savoring local wine with your loved one while looking out on a stunning Santorini sunset. With the sun slowly setting and candles lit, the moment is yours to savor happiness quietly and keep it as an unforgettable memory of a lifetime.

And with 3 days in Paros, we would like to recommend spending 1 day on a day trip to Milos, the island of lovers. Appreciate its fascinating rock formations and lunar-like landscapes, and enjoy a cozy sunny day with your loved one by your side.

Contact us now and we would be happy to personalize a private tour for you, ensuring a hassle-free and tailored experience.

Itinerary 4: 12-Day Greece and Italy Trip 

For the charm of arts in Italy and unique natural beauty in Greece, this 12-day itinerary would take you to explore two different countries, admiring famous historical sites and enjoying picturesque islands.

Below is the itinerary breakdown:

  • Days 1–3: Rome, Italy
  • Days 4–5: Florence
  • Days 6–7: Venice
  • Days 8–9: Athens, Greece
  • Days 10–11: Santorini
  • Day 12: Departure

Your journey in Italy begins with Rome, a city bursting with vibrant culture. Feel the echoes of the past through the ruins of the Roman Forum. A tasty Italian dinner after your arrival provides the warmest welcome.

Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance, is renowned for its art. Stroll through the colorful streets and admire the magnificent Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. The city's rich history and splendid architectural style leave many in awe.

The City of Water, Venice, is famous for its romantic canals and gondolas. Drift across the lagoon, taking in the sights of grand palazzos and bridges that seem to float on the water. A visit to Piazza San Marco is a must, where you could admire the Basilica di San Marco and its intricate Byzantine mosaics.

In Greece, Athens and Santorini offer their own unique charms. 

Athens reveals the ancient Greek civilization through the Acropolis and museums with rich ancient collections. Santorini, with its whitewashed buildings and blue-domed churches, creates a postcard-perfect scene with its dreamy sunset views.

Contact us now and we'll create your own personalized, hassle-free private tour.

Itinerary 5: 12-Day Trip to Greece and Turkey

With a well-planned itinerary, 12 days are adequate to explore Greece and Turkey. Indulge in their renowned cuisines and immerse yourself in their rich historical rhythms.

Below is the itinerary breakdown:

  • Days 1–3: Istanbul, Turkey
  • Days 4–6: Cappadocia
  • Days 7–9: Athens, Greece
  • Days 10–11: Santorini
  • Day 12: Departure

To make your trip memorable, we recommend saving the European cultural origins of Athens and the serene moments in Santorini for last, while delving into Turkey's cultural mosaic in Istanbul and the unique natural beauty of Cappadocia to begin your tour.

Istanbul, a city blending cultural heritage, modern marvels, and delectable cuisine, is famous for its diverse offerings. The best way to enjoy it is by taking a Bosphorus sunset cruise that we have carefully selected for you — appreciate the view of Dolmabahce Palace while feeling the warm sea breeze.

Cappadocia is famous for its moon-like landscape and strange rock formations. A hot-air balloon ride to witness the "fairy chimneys" from above is a must. Celebrate this enchanting and magical adventure with a champagne toast after your descent. 

Let us know your specific interests if you would like us to personalize a private tour just for you.

Get Inspired with Some Popular Itineraries

7-Day Essence of Greece 14-Day Italy and Greece Family Highlights Tour 10-Day Greece and Italy Classic Tour 14-Day Best of Italy and Greece Tour

More Travel Ideas and Inspiration

How to Plan a 12-Day Greece Trip: 5 Top Itinerary Ideas How to Plan a Trip to Turkey and Greece in 2024 How to Plan a Trip to Italy and Greece: 6 Tips (2024) How to Plan a Trip to Greece 2024: 6 Things You Need to Know
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