10 Day Greek Island Itinerary – Cyclades Island Hopping

This 10 day Greek island itinerary will cover the best of the Greek Cyclades. The Greek Islands are the epitome of ideal summer vacation. Soak up the sun, swim in the bluest of waters, drink cocktails and wine, and devour delicious Greek food!

This 10 Day Greek Island Itinerary is a guest post written by Jess from Sneaky Detour.

As much as we all want to spend months on end in this beach lovers paradise, when there are 6000 Greek islands you will probably have to narrow it down. Visiting 3 of the best islands in 10 days is the perfect taster itinerary for your first Cyclades island hopping trip.

The Cyclades are a grouping of the Greek islands, located South-East of Greece’s mainland in the Aegean Sea. These islands are known for their beautiful beaches, calm waters, picturesque white villages, and of course being a great holiday destination.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through them, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. It will help me keep this blog up and running and there is a good chance that I will spend it all on coffee.

A Brief Outline of this 10 Day Greek Island Itinerary

Starting in Mykonos, this island will give you a great taste of the Greek Island life. After spending 3 nights in Mykonos, catch a ferry to Paros for a more relaxed few days of exploring.

Hop off the ferry at Santorini and finish your holiday on a high whilst spending 3 memorable nights catching some incredible sunsets.

In 10 days it is possible to visit 4 different islands. However, it would be quite a rushed itinerary with a lot of time spent sitting on ferries. Having that extra day on each island will allow you to explore at a relaxed pace and really enjoy your holiday. 

When To Visit The Greek Islands

The best time for the Cyclades island hopping can be anytime between the months of April to November.

April is when the climate starts to warm back up to those ideal Mediterranean temperatures.

July and August are the peak summer months for the Greek Islands bringing in the warmest temperatures of 30C+ along with more tourists because of this.

September to November is similar to April to June; temperatures are still warm, however as it is a shoulder season the islands are less busy.

Long story short, it depends on what you are after. If the hottest temperatures, sun and atmosphere is what you are after July – August is for you (meaning that lots of other travellers don’t bother you).

If you are after a more relaxed scenery the shoulder seasons are for you (April-June & September-November). Having visited the Greek Islands in both peak summer and shoulder season, my personal preference is September.

Day 1-3 of 10 Day Greek Island Itinerary: Mykonos

Mykonos is known for its atmospheric nightlife, windmills, and iconic Greek villages on the waterfront. It has a little bit of everything for everyone; dancing the night away in exclusive locations, exploring beautiful beaches and scenery, and sipping on cocktails in waterfront tavernas, oh and don’t forget eating too much Greek gyros! Staying 3 nights in Mykonos will give you time to get a little taste of everything.

How To Get To Mykonos

There are 2 ways to get to Mykonos. 

If you are planning on flying into Athens before your Greek Island Hopping adventure, catching a 35-minute direct flight from Athens to Mykonos will be the easiest way to get there. This one-way flight will cost about 40-50 euros (even in peak season) and you get a pretty decent glimpse of Mykonos from the plane. Grab a window seat! 

There are 2 ferry ports in Athens; Rafina port being closer to the airport and Piraeus Port being closer to the city of Athens. Although Rafina does have more ferries running to Mykonos per day.

Depending on which ferry you get the time will vary from 2hrs – 5hrs and prices range from about 30 euros to 60 euros, obviously, the faster ferries being more expensive. I use both Direct Ferries and Ferry Hopper to book all of my ferry tickets as they compare all prices from the different ferry companies in a clear way.

What To Do In Mykonos

  • Explore the town of Mykonos

You could spend days walking through the picturesque laneways filled with white walls and hints of blue. As you explore you will be sure to find some great tavernas for a sneaky cocktail as you watch the waves crash against the shore. There are also plenty of beautiful shops perfect for souvenir hunting. Make sure you check out the old windmills which Mykonos is known for.

  • Little Venice at Sunset

Just down the hill from the windmills lies an area of Mykonos called ‘Little Venice’. This area has great views in the late afternoon as the sun sets upon the many bars and cafes that line the towns shore. 

  • Delos

Take a boat day trip to the nearby island of Delos where a UNESCO World Heritage archaeological site lies. If you are into your history checking out this ancient Greek ruin is right up your alley. It is also believed to be the birth site of Greek gods Apollo and Artemis.

  • Paradise Beach

If cocktails and beach chilling are more your thing take one of the local buses out to Paradise Beach and park your bum on the beach at one of Mykonos’ beach clubs such as ‘Guapaloca Mykonos’ and have cocktails all day as DJ’s play into the night. 

  • Beach Hop

Visit some of Mykonos’ best beaches such as Kalafatis, Kalo Livadi, Elia Beach, Agios Sostis or find some of the many lesser-known beaches. 

3 Day Mykonos itinerary: 

Day 1 → Hop off the ferry and after checking in to your accommodation take a stroll through the lanes of the main town. As it gets closer to sunset head to the windmills for some great views. Then enjoy dinner at one of the nearby tavernas in Little Venice. 

Day 2 → Rent a quad bike (ensure you have an international drivers license) and after you have had breakfast get ready for an ultimate beach hopping day. Visit the above-mentioned beaches and make sure you enjoy some traditional Greek dishes. A Greek salad always goes down well on a hot day. 

Day 3 → Book a boat tour out to Delos island to see the ancient Greek ruin. Then jump on one of the local buses out to Paradise Beach for some beachside relaxing with as many cocktails as you can handle. Most beach clubs have decent drink deals before 5 pm. 

Where To Stay in Mykonos

You can either stay inside the main town of Mykonos or stay outside of the town to find cheaper accommodation options. We stayed in a nearby location called Agios Ioannis Beach at ‘Voula Apartments & Rooms’. They had great food, neat rooms and a nice pool to relax by at the end of the day.

It was also very easy to get into town via one of the local buses for a few euro which took 15 minutes. In shoulder seasons a studio apartment for 2 people is typically about 100 euro. If you choose to stay more central ‘Infinity Mykonos Suites’ is another great option.

Budget – Paradise Beach Camping

Mid Range – Voula Apartments & Rooms or Infinity Mykonos Suites

Luxury – Branco Mykonos

Day 4-6 of 10 Day Greek Island Itinerary: Paros

Paros is one of my favourite Greek Islands! It has a really laid back vibe with some gorgeous Greek villages, beautiful old boat harbours and a bit more space compared to Mykonos. Paros has an abundance of beaches and it gives you a more traditional sense of Greek Island life. It is definitely worth hiring some kind of transport (quad or buggy) to really explore the island as it is a great European road trip destination. It felt similar to road tripping in the Algarve region of Southern Portugal.

How To Get To Paros

Jump on Ferry Hopper or Direct Ferries to book your ferry ticket. You can easily book these tickets in advance however in shoulder season there are plenty of spare tickets and in high season there are even more ferries running. Your ticket will be anywhere from 25 – 35 euros and will take 45minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes. 

What To Do In Paros

  • Explore Parikia

Walk the cobblestone streets of Parikia which is the island capital and port town. You will start to notice how these traditional Greek villages can look so similar with their white and blue colours and layouts but still be so completely unique. 

  • Explore Naousa

Naousa has to be my favourite town in the Greek Islands. It takes that traditional Greek village feels to a whole new level with its stunning alleyways, old rowboats and delicious seafood.

This old fishing town also has some great little cocktail bars, one of my favourites being ‘Alley Cafe Cocktail Bar,’ where you can settle into a perfect afternoon. Ps. If you want to find this cocktail bar it doesn’t come up on google maps but it is near Open Garden which is a nice spot for dinner too.

  • Day Trip to Antiparos

Just a 10-minute ferry ride away from Parikia port is the island Antiparos. This is a great island to explore on a day trip and you might even run into Tom Hanks who goes there in the Summer.

  • Day Road Trip

The best way to explore outside of the towns is by hiring your own transport. We hired some little golf buggies and they proved to be a very fun way to get around. 

Having a vehicle will allow you to explore some great beaches like Santa Maria beach and towns like Lefkes that is quite hard to access otherwise. Check out our post for a full guide to a Paros road trip itinerary.

3 Day Paros Itinerary: 

Day 4 → Catch the ferry from Mykonos to Paros and check in to your accommodation. Some hotels offer a transfer from the ferry port in Parikia. Spend the day/afternoon getting familiar with Parikia and Naoussa.

Day 5 → Hire a vehicle (small car/buggy/quad) and head out to Santa Maria beach, up to Golden Beach and to the town of Lefkes on your way home.

Day 6 → Catch the ferry out to Anti Paros for a day trip of island exploration. Spend your last afternoon in Naousa having cocktails at Alley Cocktail Bar and have some delicious seafood for dinner. 

Where To Stay in Paros

Again, you can stay in the port town or in other nearby towns. I would highly recommend staying in the fishing village of Naousa as it is just a magical little Greek Village. We stayed just a short walk away from Naousa town in a hotel called ‘Adonis Hotel Studios’ and we loved the location, facilities and breakfast. 

Budget – Daphne

Mid Range – Adonis Hotel Studios

Luxury – Hotel Senia – Onar Hotel Collections

Day 7-10 of 10 Day Greek Island Itinerary: Santorini

Santorini is an epic way to finish off your 10 day Cyclades island hopping adventure! It is a very popular destination in the Greek Cyclades and it has every right to be. Santorini is all about the view and not so much its beaches.

Picture this; the sun is out shining over the bluest ocean as you overlook the Caldera with a wine in hand. The Caldera refers to the semi-submerged volcano which Santorini bends around. It is a truly epic view. Santorini itself can be a very romantic destination with great dining options however it is also great for all kinds of travellers. 

How To Get To Santorini

The ferry from Paros to Santorini (Fira / Thira) will range from 25 to 35 euros and take 2 – 3 hours. As you arrive at the port in Fira you will notice just how high up the cliffs are in which the iconic white houses sit upon. There is a long zig-zagging road which will take you up the cliff. I highly encourage you to organise a transfer with your accommodation as it gets quite chaotic down at the port especially in peak summer.

What To Do In Santorini

  • Explore Fira

Walk down the streets of Fira and take in beautiful colours. Look in all of the jewellery shops and souvenir shops. There are also plenty of cafes and bars along the cliffside of Fira that offer that postcard Caldera view. 

  • Watch the Sunset in Oia

Towards the northern tip of the island lies the vibing village of Oia. This town is the absolute hot spot to watch the sun go down. It is definitely an epic sunset to witness however in summer it does get quite crowded so make sure you get there early to get an ideal spot. Oia Castle is a popular spot to watch the sunset from. 

  • Fira to Oia Hike

The Fira to Oia hike is a scenic coastal track which will take this walk will take anywhere from 3-5 hours, of course, depending on how often you stop to take pictures (don’t forget water). I would only recommend this hike if it’s not a hot day in the peak summer season.

  • Santo Winery

This is a beautiful winery which has delicious wines as well as food platters. It is the perfect way to start your afternoon and it is in a picturesque location. I found this experience to be one of my highlights in Santorini.

  • Red and Black Beach

Santorini is home to some unique beaches. They aren’t your typical golden sand beaches but they do have character and are worth a visit. The feature which stands out about these beaches is the colour of the sand which is due to the volcanic environment which surrounds them.

The following beaches are located towards the Southern end of the island; Kamira beach, Perissa black sand beach and Red Beach. My preference if you have to choose one to visit is Red Beach.

3 Day Santorini Itinerary: 

Day 7 → After checking into your accommodation first relax with a glass of wine and take in the view. Start by venturing your way through the streets of Fira. Enjoy the late afternoon up on the cliffs of Fira at Santo Winery for an even better view and delicious wine and food. Find a taverna for dinner in Fira if you are still hungry.
Day 8 → Hopefully all that wine hasn’t hit you too hard! After a nice slow morning, why not hike your way to Oia from Fira. Find a bar to rest your legs in Oia and then make your way to find a prime position to watch the sunset. The sunset is a BIG deal in Oia!
Day 9 → Head down to Santorini’s unique beaches; Perissa black sand beach and the Red Beach. Then choose between Fira and Oia to spend your last night in.
Day 10 → Soak up as much time as you can in Santorini before your ferry or flight back to Athens.

Where To Stay in Santorini

If there is one place to splurge some cash on your accommodation it is Santorini! As I have mentioned above, the hype of Santorini is all about those Caldera views in Fira and sunsets in Oia.

However, with those views comes a price tag. If you choose accommodation further away from the iconic cliffside you will notice a friendlier price. Also, keep in mind with peak summer prices are also put up a significant amount.

If you aren’t trying to blow your whole budget on accommodation I suggest you spend 1-2 nights inland and then have your last 1-2 nights with the Caldera view. On our last visit, we spent 4 nights inland just outside of Fira and then our last 2 nights in Oia with a Caldera view in a cute Airbnb.

Mid-Range → Loizos Stylish Residences (Fira)

High-Mid Range → Anteliz Suites (Fira)

Luxury → Modernity Suites (Fira) or Canvas Suites (Oia)

How to get from Santorini to Athens

You have 2 options to get back to Athens on Greece mainland; direct flight to ATH airport or a ferry to one of the two ferry ports in Athens (Rafina or Piraeus). Rafina port is closer to the airport and Piraeus is closer to Athens city.

Your ferry ride will be roughly 6 hours long and about 60 euros whereas your flight will take 45 minutes and be 30 – 50 euros (even in peak summer). If you are simply going to Athens just to fly back home taking the flight option might be the more simple option. There are many low-costs flying to Athens, so check them out. And if you need some more tips on booking really cheap flights, check them out here.

There you go, 10 blissful days in the Greek Islands. I guarantee that after 10 days in the Greek islands you will be dying to get back to this Mediterranean paradise!

About the Author

Jess is from Australia and she covers her world travels together with Lauren in their blog Sneaky Detour. Sneaky Detour is all about taking the roundabout route and visiting special places along the way.

Some last tips for your Spain Itinerary: 10 Days

Accommodation in Greek islands

My to-go website for finding accommodation is booking.com. Keep in mind that recently it started raising the price of the hotel if you keep coming back to it several times. If you notice this, I would recommend deleting cache and/or checking the price in the incognito window. Here are some more tips on getting the best deals on Booking.

If you prefer more independence than by all means go for Airbnb. There you will find apartments, villas or even rooms in the houses of the local’s. Remember to get your 35 euro off the first booking, if you haven’t tried it yet.

What to pack for the Cyclades island hopping?

It all depends on the season of course. Keep in mind that although winters are comparatively mild in Greece, there is often no heating inside, so pack some extra warm pyjamas. Check out some more tips on packing for Europe here.

Don't be shy, write what you think!