When you only have 3 days and it is your first time in Greece you will definitely need to include Athens City as your arrival point and visit it’s most popular attractions for 1 full day and then to continue your travel to the famous island of Santorini.
Make sure you put on your comfortable walking shoes, travel light, have plenty of water, wear a hat and have your camera fully charged and get ready to explore!
DAY 1: Athens
In Athens you should prefer you accommodation to be centrally located , if not you will need to use a bus or taxi and the traffic jams in Athens city are common and would delay you from getting the most out of your one day.
Start your morning with a visit to the most famous Acropolis of Athens, by visiting the Acropolis in the early morning you will avoid the crowds of tourist and the hot sun. To explore the Acropolis it will take you a couple of hours. You will find ruins on the ground level but the most breathtaking ruins are on the top level. From here you will have a great view of Athens city, picture taking is a must.
Second stop the Acropolis museum. This modern building opened in 2009 housing the collection of artifacts found on the Acropolis hill. On the top floor there is a café, you can sit in the open terrace to relax and enjoy its magnificent view.
Continue your walk to the Temple of Olympian Zeus. The impressive 6th century BC Temple with its only 15 remaining columns is still breathtaking.The temple once hosted the 2 large statues made from ivory and gold of Zeus and Hadrian. Nearby is the Arch of Hadrian, this was a gate separating ancient Athens and the Roman city of Athens.
From the Temple of Olympian Zeus a nearby walk is the Panathenaic stadium, the only stadium in the world that is built from marble and hosted the first modern Olympic games in 1896.
Cross the street to walk through Aegli Zappeio gardens, were you will see Zappeio building, originally built to serve the needs of the Olympic Games. Today the Aegli Zappeio gardens have a café, restaurant and in the summer an open air cinema and summer bar.
Nearby is the Greek Parliament Building situated in the heart of Athens city just across Syntagma square. Here you will see the monument of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The tomb is guarded by the Evzones. The changing of the guards is on an hourly basis and quite impressive, soldiers wear the traditional attire white pleated skirts, red pointed wooden clogs with large black pompoms and embroidered vests. Every Sunday at 11:00 the ceremony is more impressive as there are many guards parading and also a band.
Visit the metro station on Syntagma square with a large selection of ancient ruins that were found during the digging of the Metro. Continue your walk along the pedestrian street of Ermou filled with shops, fast food restaurants and cafes. From here you will reach Monastiraki square with its bazaar and many taverns.
A must is Plaka area also know as old Athens, a touristic area filled with souvenir shops, cafes and taverns with typical Greek dishes where you may chose to have dinner. You will also see the archaeological sites of the Roman agora, Hadrian’s Library and the Ancient Agora.
DAY 2 & 3
Depart the next day for Santorini where you can chose to reach either by ferry boat, highspeed boat or airplane. As time is limited only to 2 days the best option would be by airplane, it only takes 50 minutes and you can take an early morning flight to enjoy 2 full days.
Stay in Fira which is the chora of Santorini is suggested, from here you can reach all destinations by bus. Fira has plenty of hotels for all budgets, the hotels that are located on the caldera are more expensive as the view is priceless. Fira has cobblestoned streets with plenty of souvenir shops, jewelery shops, restaurants, cafes and also offers a lively nightlife with a variety of clubs.
Being on the island of Santorini you must make time to also go for a swim. Kamari beach is the largest and most popular beach, with black volcanic pebbles and emerald blue water. You will have the chance to relax on comfortable sunbeds. Make sure you have suntan lotion and sandals; this is a very hot beach due to the black pebbles.
Santorini is also known for its beautiful sunsets. The most amazing sunset is from the village of Oia. Oia can be reached from Fira by car or bus. It is a beautiful upscale village with some of the best 5 star hotels on the island. Oia is preferred by couples and honeymooners, don’t be surprised if you see a bride walking in the streets of Oia as plenty of weddings take place here. Arrive in Oia at least a couple hours earlier than the sunset to find a spot to sit and watch the sunset, as it gets very crowded especially during the summer season when cruise ships dock in Santorini. Again make sure you have comfortable walking shoes and a camera.
Another must is Volcano boat tour. There are plenty boat tours that you can book for the volcano. These are operated either by traditional boat (wooden Kaiki) and the transfer is usually included that will pick you up by coach either from your hotel or a designated meeting point to the port. These boat tours are either half day tours and full day tours. The boat tour will have a stop to the island of Nea Kameni which has an active volcano, here you will have the chance to walk around the rim of the volcano. The tour will also stop at Palea Kameni, giving you time to swim in the green sulfur waters or bathe in therapeutic mud.
While in Santorini you should also try some of its delicacies, the fava beans, tomato fritters, saganaki – friend cheese in filo pastry covered in honey, and of course Santorini’s is also known for its wines. Wine making in Santorini is taken very seriously, preferred throughout Greece.
These will be 3 busy days to get the most out of your vacation in Greece and will give you memories to last for a life time!