The southern islands of Crete and the Dodecanese are full of superlative experiences: a lost civilization, deep gorges, Crusader’s castles, and isolated beaches. This itinerary will take you through all of them, beginning and ending in Athens.
Day 1-2: Athens
Athens has lots to offer, but why don’t you start with the Acropolis, the great emblem of classical Greece. Then follow in the footsteps of Socrates and Plato with a stroll through the ancient Agora. Finally, visit Greece’s oldest private museum, the Benaki Museum, which showcases everything from ancient sculpture to 19th-century gowns.
Day 3-4: Crete – Heraklion & Knossos
Visit Heraklion, Crete’s bustling capital, to see the Archaeological Museum – one of the largest and most important in Greece. There are artefacts spanning 5500 years from neolithic to Roman times, but it’s rightly most famous for its extensive Minoan collection. The beautifully restored museum makes a gleaming showcase for the artefacts, and greatly enhances any understanding of Crete’s rich history.
The Minoan Palace at Knossos is the biggest attraction on Crete, and well worth at least half a day of your time. Surround yourself in luxury at the Elounda peninsula, and take a boat ride to the mysterious island of Spinalonga.
Day 5-6: Crete – Matala and Phaistos
Visit the ruins of one of the greatest Minoan palace in Phaistos, which are beautifully set on a hill overlooking a plain. Don’t forget to visit the charming Venetian quarter of Rethymnon, which is dominated by the Fortressa Castle.
Day 7-8: Crete – Hania and Samaria Gorge
Stroll around the Venetian quarter of Hania and visit some of its best museums or take a hike through the Samaria Gorge. If you don’t feel like covering the 18km of the longest gorge in Europe and just want to spend a relaxing day at the beach, you have come to the right place with plenty of quiet beaches to choose from!
Day 9-11: Rhodes
Explore the well-preserved, walled Old Town, which has monuments built by the Knights of St. John. Take a 15 minute donkey ride up to the Acropolis of Lindos for sweeping views. The magical Valley of Butterflies lives up to its name; you’ll see thousands of the creatures.
Day 12-13: Symi
See the lovely Monastery of Taxiarchis Michael Panormitis, dedicated to Symi’s patron saint. Visit one of Symi’s pristine beaches; you’ll have to take a boat as practically none are accessible by car.
Flight prices starting from 600 Euro (outside of Europe).