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Greece Road Trips – 5, 7 & 10 Day Greek Road Trip Itineraries
Visiting Greece is always an incredible adventure. The country has incredible landscapes, unique beaches, and even stunning mountain destinations that are ideal in winter.
The country, more than 80% made of mountains, offers unique road trip opportunities for those who love to explore new lands and discover lesser-known places to enjoy. In this article, we bring you some of the best Greece road trips for 5, 7, and 10 days.
Things To Know Before Taking A Road Trip In Greece
When Is The Best Time To Drive Around Greece?
It would be quite obvious to say that summer is the best moment for an epic road trip in Greece, and that can be the case if you choose a seaside destination or an island. However, Greece has amazing places to discover, also far from the sea and near the mountains.
Moreover, driving through Greece in summer can be pretty uncomfortable if you suffer from the hot temperatures or you are not very happy moving along very trafficked roads.
For that reason, transition months, such as April, May, and June, but also September, October, and November, are great for avoiding crowds, enjoying milder temperatures, and enjoying beach time and impressive landscapes.
Those interested in wintery scenarios will be surprised by the majestic beauty they can find in the northern part of the country during the cold season. If you prefer to drive during this time of the year, make sure your car is ready for snow and slippery roads.
How Difficult Is It To Rent A Car And Drive In Greece?
Generally speaking, the roads in the country are in reasonably good condition, except for some forgotten mountain roads in lesser-visited areas. Although the Greeks are famous for being bad drivers, the situation on the National Roads is not as bad as you think.
If you’re planning on renting a car, then it is a good idea to keep a few golden rules in mind.
- Pre-book: It’s a good idea to pre-book it before you arrive. This won’t be necessary for winter, but car availability tends to be limited in summer.
- 21+: You must be 21 years of age and must have held your license for at least a year, regardless of age. If you are under 25 years of age, you may end up paying a young driver surcharge, which will increase the cost of your car rental. For older drivers, there may be a maximum age of 70 for renting a car, depending upon the company you’re hiring from.
- International Driver’s License: You will need an international driver’s license, and you will need to carry this at all times, alongside your passport and insurance documents.
- Credit Card: Most car rental companies will ask for a credit card to secure the booking and to take a provisional deposit in case of any damage. Provided you return the car in complete working order, with no scratches or issues, your card will not be charged.
Greece By Car & Traffic In Greece
The most trafficked centers are Athens and Thessaloniki and even other Greeks visiting these two cities from more tranquil islands prefer to move around by bus, metro, or even taxi.
If any part of your itinerary includes a stop in any of these two important cities, park the car on the outskirts of town and visit the center by taking the bus. You will avoid chaotic traffic, possible fines, and the usual nightmare of not finding any free parking spot.
Best Road Trips In Greece
Important Things To Consider When Road Tripping In Greece
These are approximate itineraries. Road trips in Greece are probably the more flexible way of travel, without fixed schedules or rigid timetables. In these itineraries, we suggest 2 or 3 days at any destination, but it is always up to you to make each stay shorter or longer… and this can change for many reasons.
First, you might not like the place as much as you thought, and you prefer to move forward, or — on the contrary — you love a place so much that you want to spend the rest of the time there. Both things can happen, and there is nothing wrong with that as long as you are flexible and enjoy your decisions.
But also, it might happen that, given the spontaneous nature of traveling Greece by car, you decide not to book accommodation in advance. This would not be a severe issue in winter, but in the high season, you might have to change the village you stay in because all accommodation is booked. Plan accordingly, and do not leave all your road trip itinerary choices to the last minute.
5-Day Greece Road Trip Mainland: Thessaloniki And Northern Greece
Although this cannot be considered a classic road trip of the country, you can be sure that it will offer a different view and perspective that has nothing to do with the usual image of paradisiac beaches that you usually think of when dreaming of Greece.
Day 1 & 2: Athens, Thebes & Delphi
Depart from Athens and drive by the ancient town of Thebes, a city in Central Greece that played an important role in Greek mythology. Your next stop on the road will be the traditional village of Arachova and then Delphi, where you can spend the rest of the afternoon at the famous oracle of ancient times and the Temple of Apollo.
Day 3: A Taste Of Meteora, Thessaloniki
This short trip around northern Greece will not give you enough time to visit all the Meteora monasteries (but you can do so if you follow the 10-day itinerary of mainland Greece further down in this article).
A morning in Meteora will allow you to visit just a couple of the Byzantine monasteries that the monks built at the top of the incredible rocks of Meteora.
Get back on the road to reach Thessaloniki, the most important city in the country after Athens. You can explore the Museum of Byzantine Culture and walk along the famous seaside promenade to spot the magnificent White Tower of Thessaloniki.
Day 4: Naoussa & Vergina
There is a lot to do in a day, so you can choose to do it all and spend less time at each stop. Head to Naoussa, where you can visit the school of Aristotle, the place where the great philosopher taught morals and politics to Alexander the Great and other Macedonians.
If history is not your cup of tea, then you might enjoy visiting one of the many wineries in Naoussa to taste some of the great wines produced in the area. Don’t drink much if you’re driving through Greece, though… fines can be high if you drink and drive in Greece.
The following stop is Vergina, where you can pay a visit to the royal tombs of Macedonia before heading to Veria (Biblical Berea), a place famous for being on the road of Saint Paul but also hosting an important Jewish neighborhood.
Day 5: Lake Plastiras & Back To Athens
Drive along the coastal road from Vergina surrounding the impressive heights of Mount Olympus. Pass through the city of Larissa, and drive to the small town of Karditsa to then reach one of the prettiest natural areas in Greece, Lake Plastiras, one of the biggest artificial lakes in Greece framed by the peaks of the Agrafa mountains.
Once this visit is over, you will drive to Athens. Remember that the road is long (about 6 hours or more), so it might be wise to depart early.
5-Day Greece Road Trip Itinerary For The Islands: Paros-Naxos
Close to each other and easy to visit in less than a week, these are two islands that the Greeks often pick for their holidays.
Day 1 And 2: From Athens To Paros – Paroikia, Lefkes & Naoussa
You’ll need an early wake-up call to reach the port of Piraeus and sail to Paros. Either rent a car on the mainland and load it on the boat or hire a rental car upon arrival on the island.
After a sailing time that can range from 2.5 to 5 hours (depending on the boat you choose), you will arrive at the main port and town of the island, Paroikia, where you will spend the first day exploring the old town with its Frankish Castle overlooking the sea, and the picturesque Cycladic atmosphere.
On the second day, drive to the mountain village of Lefkes to spend the morning visiting what was the first capital of Paros. Surrounded by pinewoods and endless sea views, the village is famous for its whitewashed homes, the nineteenth-century church of Agia Triada, and its succulent snails, a staple dish in Paros’ cuisine.
Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring Naoussa and the nearby beaches. The Cycladic settlement, with its cobblestoned alleys, passages, and colorful bougainvillea, is among the most photographed settlements in the country.
End your stay on the island by spending a few hours in Santa Maria Beach, just a short ride from Naoussa. Here you will witness one of the best sunsets in the Aegean.
Day 3, 4, & 5: Naxos & Back To Athens
On your third day, take an early ferry and move to the next destination on this road trip, Naxos. The journey to Naxos won’t take more than an hour.
Somewhat bigger and more mountainous than Paros, this is a grand island to explore Greece by car as it has dozens of exciting mountain villages and a long coastal stretch with some of the best beaches in Greece.
It would be a good idea to spend the first morning exploring the old town, known as Chora, where you can visit the impressive Venetian castle and the Archaeological Museum, and devote a few hours to the Portara, the most famous sight on the island.
On the second day, drive to the island’s center to explore the village of Halki, a traditional settlement in the heart of Naxos famous for its stunning cuisine and the production of a unique spirit, the kitron.
You can visit the Kitron Factory and Museum in the heart of this ancient town and enjoy lunch at the main square before getting back on the road to explore the tiny settlement of Filotti, opposite the impressive Mount Zas (the highest in the Cyclades).
Devote the rest of the day to the marble village of Apeiranthos, not far from Filotti. Here you will find that most of the houses, the facades of important buildings, and the streets and tiny alleys are made of white marble.
On your last day in Naxos, check out some of the beaches. The most famous of them is Plaka which is one of the widest and most beautiful shores in Greece, with crystalline turquoise waters and white powdery sand, perfect for solo travelers, families, and couples. Everybody will find the right spot on the long beach of Plaka.
In the afternoon, board your ferry boat back to Athens, thus ending your five days in two of the most beautiful Cyclades.
7-Day Greece Road Trip Itinerary For The Mainland: Peloponnese
The Peloponnese is a fantastic region in Greece that can be easily discovered on an epic road trip with interesting stops and places to see along the way. Even when seven days are nowhere near the right amount of time to see the best of the Peloponnese, one week can be enough to check out the best towns, beaches, and historic sites.
Day 1 & 2: Athens, Corinth & Nafplion
As with most trips on the mainland, this adventure starts in the country’s capital. Do not overlook its countless archaeological sights and unique museums, and devote at least a morning to Athens before hitting the road towards the east.
Your first stop will be Corinth, where you can admire the breathtaking canal and visit the ancient Acropolis of Corinth.
Your next stop will be the aristocratic Nafplion, a famous city on the Argolic gulf that was also the first capital of the modern Greek State before Athens. Spend a whole day in Nafplion to visit its fortresses and beaches, and soak in the views of the old town and the harbor.
Day 3 & 4: Mycenae, Sparta, Mystra
Your first stop will be Mycenae and its impressive archaeological site, where, among the top highlights to check out, there is the famous Lion Gate, which was the main gateway to the citadel of Mycenae and is the most iconic symbol of this archaeological site.
Right after, drive to Sparta, where you can explore Ancient Sparta, with the ruins of its Ancient Acropolis, the Theater, the Agora, and the remains of the Temple of Artemis.
You can also check out Sparta’s Archaeological Museum and the famous Statue of King Leonidas. The warrior’s bronze statue is located in front of the stadium. It features King Leonidas in a defiant position against the Persians.
While Mycenae and Sparta can be seen in a day, Mystra will undoubtedly need more of your time. Only 5 km from the center of Sparta, you will find Mystra, a great place to discover more of Greece’s past in the Peloponnese.
This small village, which remains relatively unknown to tourists, played a key role in the history of Greece as it was the most important Byzantine capital in the country.
The ancient city of Mystras is UNESCO protected and worth visiting since it hosts one of the most impressive ruins dating back to Medieval times.
Day 5 & 6: Gytheio & Diros Caves Monemvasia
This small town on the eastern shore of the Mani Peninsula was the seat of the Ancient Seaport of Sparta and where, according to legend, Paris of Troy and Helen from Sparta spent their first night together before departing for Troy, ultimately starting the Trojan War.
Gytheio is a port town featuring beautiful (and delicious) seaside fish tavernas and authentic cafés. The town is within a short distance from Mystra. Here, take some time to explore the old town, the lighthouse, and the Ancient Theater dating back to the first century.
On your second day, move on to explore the Diros Caves. This spectacular natural site is one of the earliest inhabited places in Greece. Inside, you will find an underground lake where you board a boat to sail through the caverns and tunnels featuring impressive stalactites and stalagmites.
Day 7: Monemvasia & Back To Athens
Your next and final stop in this Peloponnese itinerary will be the impressive medieval town of Monemvasia. This charming medieval settlement is probably the most visited place in the Peloponnese.
After the visit, get back on the National road and reach Athens to put an end to this fantastic week in the Peloponnese. The picturesque settlement is connected to the mainland by a narrow, artificial strait dating from the Venetian period. In fact, before the Venetians, the island was only accessible by boat.
7-Day Greece Road Trip Ideas For The Islands: Rhodes
Another of the great Greek islands, Rhodes, is located in the Dodecanese cluster, not far from the Turkish coast. Rhodes is an excellent destination for a Greece road trip, and a seven-day itinerary is the right amount of time to visit the most important landmarks on the island.
Day 1 & 2: Rhodes Town
Start by taking the time to explore the old town of Rhodes, with its incredibly well-preserved medieval alleys and stunning castle dating from the times of the Crusades. Known as the Palace Of The Grand Master, this fantastic palace is the best-preserved castle all over the Mediterranean and stands as one of the most distinctive landmarks of Rhodes.
You will need at least two days to experience the best of this ancient Medieval town, discover the museums, the ancient Jewish neighborhood, and the Archaeological Museum, and taste its delicious food in some of the taverns in the city center.
Day 3 & 4: Lindos & Lardos
Jump on your car and devote the next day to heading south; you will be able to drive along the coastal road and explore some of the beaches on the island; start by spending some time in Faliraki, one of the most popular shores, and then drive along until you reach your next stop, Lindos, where you can pay at least two more days.
While driving around the area, you will have the opportunity to check out stunning shores, some of them famous, including the picturesque Ladiko and the superb Bay of Anthony Quinn, one of the most exotic coves on the island.
The first thing to do is climb to the top of Lindos Acropolis, home to one of the most charming settlements on the island; you will be stunned by the views from above.
If you’re planning to spend the night in Lindos before continuing your trip around the island, don’t miss dinner with a view over the Acropolis and the sea.
Lardos is another coastal resort you can visit before moving on to your next stop. The beach is gorgeous, and spending some time, there can be a relaxing break and offer some free time to swim and sunbathe.
Day 5 & 6: Monolithos & Prasonisi
The following day, get back on the road to reach the southernmost point in Rhodes, Prasonisi. The coastal road has excellent panoramic views, and the area is not as crowded, so that you can stop anywhere you want to explore the landscapes.
If you are fond of mountain settlements, you can make a short detour to visit Monolithos, a tiny village surrounded by high hills. Over here, you can explore an ancient castle with fabulous coastal views.
Your next stop is finally Prasonisi, an incredible beach popular among windsurfers. Depending on the tides, this beach sometimes turns into an island at certain hours of the day. From here, you can get back on the road to get back to Rhodes Town.
Day 7: Valley Of The Butterflies & Back To Rhodes Town
You can either drive back north along the coast or try the slower but nicer mountain roads inside the island to get to your next stop, the Valley of the Butterflies. Also known by the name of Petaloudes, this park is located near the village of Theologos, about 27 km from Rhodes Town.
The natural reserve houses a massive colony of butterflies during spring and autumn. The Pelekanos River crosses the valley with several bridges and endless waterfalls along its whole length.
Once back in Rhodes Town, you can see a bit more of the city or enjoy a few hours in the local aquarium. Set up on the premises of Rhodes’ Hydrobiological Station, it hosts a fantastic marine museum that you will undoubtedly love visiting.
10-Day Greece Road Trip Ideas For The Mainland: Grand Tour of Mainland Greece
If you’re thinking about an epic Greece road trip that takes you to the main cities and regions on the mainland, then this itinerary can be perfect. Remember that it packs a lot, so you can make it shorter and move around at a more relaxed pace.
Day 1: Athens
Start from Athens, where you can spend at least a full day discovering past treasures, including the Acropolis and its fantastic museum. In town, also pay a visit to Monastiraki Square and the Neoclassic district of Plaka.
Day 2 & 3: Corinth, Epidaurus, & Nafplio
The second place you will visit on this itinerary will be Corinth, and you can quickly get there from Athens by driving through Greece on the national road. Once in Corinth, make some time to check out the ancient city and the impressive canal.
Drive a few more miles and explore the ancient Theater of Epidaurus and head to Nafplio, one of the most picturesque cities in Greece and the first capital of the modern Greek State.
Day 4, 5, & 6: Mycenae, Ancient Olympia, Delphi
During the following days, you can visit the ancient city of Mycenae and move on towards the central area of the Peloponnese to visit Ancient Olympia and Delphi, as well as the local museums.
The whole area might take you a day or two, depending on how much you enjoy exploring ancient ruins, archaeological sites, and museums.
Day 7 & 8: Meteora, Kalambaka, Pindos Mountains
Devote your next day or two to exploring the area around the magnificent complex of monasteries in Meteora, located near the imposing Pindos Mountains in Kalambaka.
These famous monasteries stand on top of enormous dark rocks and give life to the country’s second most important monastic community. Meteora means high up in the air, and the word perfectly depicts the out-of-the-world scenario you encounter.
It is a good idea to slow down and spend at least two full days visiting the monasteries and admiring the impressive natural landscape that has made this place famous worldwide.
If you plan to check out some of the monasteries, then read this guide to the Meteora Monasteries for further information.
Day 9 & 10: Thessaloniki, Mount Olympus, and Volos
Your next stop will be the northern city of Thessaloniki, the second most important metropolis in Greece and a place with so much to see and experience that you could easily spend two days or more in the region.
Devote at least one day to explore the jewels of this former Byzantine center, visiting the vast and interesting Museum of Byzantine Culture.
In the area near Thessaloniki, there are also a few beaches where to spend some time unwinding and relaxing after so many days on the road.
It is a good idea to head to the impressive Halkidiki peninsula, home to some of the most popular beaches in continental Greece.
Back on the road for the last portion of your trip, discover the most important and highest mountain in the country (over 2900 meters), Mount Olympus, which, according to Greek mythology, used to be the home of the gods.
You can either spend the rest of your Greek road trip exploring the ski resorts near Olympus or drive towards the coast to reach the seaside city of Volos and, from there, head back to Athens, where your Greece road trip comes to an end.
10-Day Greece Road Trip Islands: Crete
There is no better island than Crete for a long road trip in Greece, and even if ten days look like a lot, once you land on Crete and start moving around, you will soon realize that in ten days, you will barely scratch the surface of this stunning island.
Almost everyone chooses to drive towards the west, visiting the cities of Chania and Rethymnon. Of course, these two Cretan regions are so popular for a reason; they feature incredible beaches, high mountain ranges, breathtaking gorges, and more. However, if you are looking for a tranquil Greece road trip, following your own pace and rhythm, I suggest heading east for a more intimate experience of the island.
Day 1 & 2: Heraklion, Knossos, Wine Region
The easternmost region of Lasithi is an excellent place for a Greek road trip. It features endless roads with almost no traffic, where you will only encounter incredible beaches, a few scattered villages, and the occasional goat on the side of the road.
Start departing from Heraklion, the capital of the island and the place where you will probably arrive. Devote one day to the city center to visit the museums, and one more day to the Heraklion wine region and the impressive Minoan Palace of Knossos, the cradle of the occidental civilization.
Day 3 & 4: Agios Nikolaos, Kritsa
Devote the next two or three days to the small town of Agios Nikolaos, with its gorgeous Lake Voulismeni connected to the sea.
From here, there are fantastic drives to visit the mountain village of Kritsa, where one of the oldest churches in Crete, Panagia Kera, is open to visitors. It features some of the oldest Byzantine frescoes you can find on the island.
Day 5: Plaka, Elounda & Spinalonga
Not far from the center of Agios Nikolaos, take the coastal road that takes you to the exclusive settlement of Elounda to spend a few hours on the beach and eat delicious fresh seafood by the sea.
Later in the afternoon, drive a little more towards the west of the coast to visit the small settlement of Plaka. Plaka seats on the Mirabello Gulf, facing the former leper colony of Spinalonga, an islet you can see in about half a day.
Day 6 & 7: Sitia, Vai Beach, Toplou
Follow your itinerary heading east to the coastal town of Sitia, where you can spend time relaxing and discovering the Italian roots of this coastal port. Here, check out the Venetian Fortress, the gorgeous Toplou Monastery, famous for its wines, and the fantastic Vai Beach, the most impressive palm beach on the island.
Spend the rest of the days traveling south and visiting the small settlements that populate the road until you reach Zakros, where you can spend the night.
Day 8, 9, & 10: Zakros, Xerokampos, Ierapetra & Back To Heraklion
Start your day by exploring the Gorge of the Dead with its impressive beach in Kato Zakros. Drive a bit more to the South to find the most solitary coast on the island, Xerokampos. This is a perfect place to spend one or two days wholly isolated from the rest of the world.
Follow west to the city of Ierapetra. You can take a boat from here and spend a whole day on an uninhabited island, probably among the most incredible destinations in Crete, Chrissi.
In the southern area, you can also explore the small town of Myrtos and then make your way back to the northern coast to reach Heraklion again and put an end to your ten fantastic days in eastern Crete.
So, now that you have all of your ideas on the best road trips in Greece – which of these Greek road trips will you start with?
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