Chania Crete
Europe, Itineraries

My 12-Day Greece Itinerary

It finally happened guys — I went to Greece!

Thanks to a world history class, Greece has always been on my wish list. The history fascinates me, and I loved reading books on Greek mythology in elementary school (I may have also written a 56-page book report on Greek mythology in 5th grade).

I was so excited I spent more than a week planning my “12-Day Greece Itinerary” — a week well spent as it allowed me to go to Crete, Santorini, Athens, Delphi, and Meteora. I originally wanted to go to Ios or Mykonos, but the budget was tight.

I’ve decided to dedicate this post to showing people just how I plan my trips. It’s one of the main questions I get asked, so I wanted to not only show you my process, but maybe inspire you to plan another trip (hopefully to Greece).

Below I’m going to post the original 12-day Greece itinerary that I made for the trip without edits. It’s exactly how I wrote it the first time (with personal information excluded), and I won’t be going back to edit anything. I’m well aware that not everything will happen like I hope, and everyone should be aware that this usually happens and it’s perfectly okay.

As much as I’d like to seem like an omniscient traveler, I know I make mistakes.

What I will do is write about what actually happened — so be on the lookout for that! I will also be posting about the estimated trip budget vs. how much I actually spent.

So without further ado, here is a 12-Day Greece Itinerary that was clearly planned by someone on too much caffeine and with too much time:

Note: I went on this trip with a friend. This will be reflected in the Airbnb prices.

12-Day Greece Itinerary: Summer 2018

Date: September 2018

Budget: $1,000 (Note: predicted costs do not include transportation to Crete/from Athens)

Destinations: Crete, Santorini, Athens, Delphi, and Meteora

Transportation: Ferry/Train https://www.ferryhopper.com or ferriesingreece.com (busses are KTEL)

The yellow lines represent possible routes we hadn’t settled on. In the end, we chose to go directly to Athens from Santorini.

Day 1: Crete arrival

Want to know how my time in Crete actually went? Check out the article here!

  • Arrive a Chania, Crete. Chania is one of two major entry points to Crete. It is known for its Old Venetian architecture.
  • Eat, drink, be merry. Walk the harbor to the Venetian Lighthouse. Visit Naval or Archaeological Museum.
  • Based off of Airbnb and Hostel World prices, we should be able to get a bed in a shared apt. for $25/night. Locations seem best with Airbnb.
  • I like this place (for a possible stay of two nights 9/10-9/12). It is $25 a night with $7 fee. Total for two people for two nights is $57. So, $28.5 per person.
  • I assume we will both find our own way to Crete

Day 2: Day trip to Samaria Gorge

  • In 1962 Samaria Gorge was declared a national park due the rare, endangered kri kri—a Cretan wild goat. The gorge is on the southern side of the Chania prefecture.
  • At 16 kilometers, it is one of the longest gorges in Europe. The hike could take ~7 hours.
  • The hike starts at the Xyloskalo trailhead (altitude 1,250 kilometers). There are remnants of abandoned Byzantine churches and Venetian castles along the trail.
  • The hike ends at kilometer 14. After that, hikers will walk to the nearby town of Agia Roumeli. You would then take a ferry back to Chania I believe. This could be planned while at Crete (we could do it on our own, or with a tour).

Day 3: Bus from Chania to Heraklion

  • The bus from Chania to Heraklion would be ~15 euros. Would take 2.5-3 hours. There are many busses a day.
  • Heraklion is a large city. Closest to Knossos. Will be the port we leave from.
  • Accommodation will be ~$20 a night. This Airbnb will give us the entire apartment with two beds. It is $26 a night. So, $13 a night each. There are cleaning and service fees. Total would be $72 for two nights. So, $36
  • This hostel has an 8-bed female dorm. It is $18.39 a night. Total for two nights is $73.56. So, $36
  • We can figure out something to do with this day. Explore. If we feel like more travel, there’s a cheap, one-hour bus ride to a nice beach, Matala. Local bus company KTEL?

Day 4: Palace of Knossos

  • This is the main picture, strong chance it’s the only thing still standing. There is a nearby museum of artifacts. 5km from Heraklion.
  • Half-day tour or do it ourselves. Can decide when we get there? Bus ~5 euros round-trip. Entrance fee 10 euros?
  • Do whatever we want the rest of the day. Before leaving Crete, I wanted to scuba dive. We can also beach day if we get out/come back early enough.
Like a dork, I did make maps of every location.

Crete Price Breakdown

Chania Accommodation…………..$41.00

Samaria Gorge Transportation……$20.00

Samaria Gorge Entrance Fee………$6.00

Bus from Chania to Heraklion……$19.00

Heraklion Accommodation……….$35.58

Knossos Bus Transportation………$6.00

Knossos Entrance Fee…………….$13.00

*Food and Drink………………….$160.00

Total………………………………$300.58

* I will be assuming $40 a day on food and drink. Hopefully we will be better than that.

Day 5: Fira, Santorini arrival

  • The ferry from Crete to Fira, Santorini will cost ~$83. Will take 1hr and 50 min.
  • We will have to travel from the port to Fira. Taxi will take 30 minutes and cost about $42. So $21 Bus will take about an hour and a half, and cost about $3 each. I would recommend taking the bus to the hotel, and maybe going for the taxi when we have to go back to the port to get to Ios. There is only one port in Santorini.
  • Housing is more expensive on Santorini. Our options are this It is in a more central location, and $32 per night. For both of us, with fees, it will be $190.23. So, $95 each.
  • The other option is this It looks really nice and has a pool, but is a bit farther from town. Apparently a 10-minute walk from Fira. It is $57 a night. The total for four nights is $256. So, $128 each. I will use this price on the price breakdown.
  • OPTION: 5-hour sunset cruise for $130. Cruise will include hotel transfer, BBQ meal on-board, complimentary water and wine, and snorkeling equipment. Link here. I think this would be awesome and a great way to see Santorini. Cruise would start at 2:15-2:30PM.

Day 6: Santorini Beach Day

  • Free day. We can go to the red or black sand beaches, or hike to ancient Thera. All will require busses.
  • Fira has the most nightlife in Santorini. This could be our night.

Day 7: Hike From Fira to Oia

  • Hike will take about 3 hours. We can explore Oia or something this day and then hike back.
  • I originally thought we could spend the night in Oia, but we’d still have to make our way back to Fira for the Ferry, and I wasn’t sure if hiking with all of our belongings would be worth it.

Santorini price breakdown

Fira Accommodation…………$96.01

Ferry from Crete………………$83.00

Transportation from Port………$3.00

Transportation to Port…………$21.00

Bus to/from beaches……………..$9.00

Food and drink…………………….$120.00

Total…………………………………$332.00 (not including catamaran day)

Day 8: Athens arrival 

  • Ferry from Santorini to Athens (Piraeus) will take between 4 and 7 hours (depending on the ferry). It will cost about $70.
  • I’m a big fan of this hostel. It is within walking distance of the acropolis, has $5 breakfast, and a rooftop bar & café with a view of the acropolis! It’s also eco-friendly and near nightlife. Check-in is 2PM, the earliest ferry from Ios will arrive at 2:45—so this is good. It’s $25.38 a night. For two nights, it’s $101.51. So, $50.75 A third night, after an overnight Delphi/Meteora trip would cost $50.75, so $25 each.

Day 9: Acropolis and explore

  • Entrance to the acropolis is $25. We may want to get a guide, who knows. I believe the ticket includes admissions to other archaeological sites.
  • Another option is to explore Plaka (seen above). A cute neighborhood. We can just wander Athens.

Day 10/11: Delphi and Meteora

  • If we want to do both Delphi and Meteora, this two-day tour costs $214 and includes transportation, one-night accommodation, 1 breakfast, 1 dinner, Delphi, two Meteora monasteries, a guide, pick-up/drop-off from the hotel, and Thermopylae. Drop off is around 7PM. It is expensive but seems really nice. I will use this in the price breakdown.
  • OR this 2-day Meteora tour costs $169. It includes round-trip train tickets, one night accommodation, sunset Meteora tour, hiking Meteora tour, guide, VIP Limo Mini Bus. We would have to get to and from Athens train station ourselves.
  • OR this 1-day Meteora tour costs $109. It only gives us 3 hours at Meteora. It includes everything the previous one had, except accommodation, hiking, and sunset tour. So, we could do this trip 9/22 and leave 9/23, a day early. Accommodation would then be $76.13 for three nights.

Athens price breakdown

With Delphi & Meteora Trip

Ferry from Santorini…………$20.00

Accommodation 1…………….$52.55

Accommodation 2…………….$25.40

Delphi/Meteora Tour……….$214.00

Food and Drink……………….$100.00

Taxis……………………………..$15.00

Acropolis Entrance Fee……$25.00

Total………………………………$452

Final 12-Day Greece Itinerary Price Breakdown

Final ………………………………………………………………………………………..$ 1,084.58

Now I know what you’re thinking: “Hey! You said this was a 12-Day Greece Itinerary. This is only 11 days!”…Yeah that was a problem later.

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