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Greek Islands for Solo Travelers: Crete & Santorini

9 days |  12 days with Rome extension
9 days |  12 days with Rome extension
Group size1420 travelers
Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

87
Physical activity
view of coast and windmills in santorini oia greece
woman drinking wine with seascape view behind her in crete greece
bougainvillea flowers in greece
view of parthenon acropolis in athens greece
OverviewItineraryDates & pricesReviewsTraveler photosHotels, flights & FAQ
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Explore the best of the Greek Islands alongside fellow solo travelers.

In Greece, you don’t just visit ancient ruins. You step back into the world of Zeus and Athena. And dinner at a taverna is more than a daily activity. It’s a chance to mix and mingle with friendly locals while practicing your Greek. (Yamas, which means cheers, will get you far!) As you hop from archaeological treasures in Athens to Crete and over to sunsets on Santorini, you and your group of like-minded solo travelers will find that the best sunset is the one enjoyed with a glass of assyrtiko in hand and new friends at the table. Not ready to leave? We wouldn’t want to, either. Experience the Italian art of dolce far niente—the sweetness of doing nothing. Take advantage of our two-day Rome extension and take your time over a frothy cappuccino.

Your tour package includes

  • 7 nights in a private room at handpicked hotels
  • 7 breakfasts
  • 4 dinners with beer or wine
  • 1 wine tasting
  • 3 sightseeing tours
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Included highlights

  • Acropolis
  • Parthenon
  • Ruins of Knossos
  • Heraklion Archaeological Museum
  • Santorini wine tasting
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Day-by-day itinerary

Print itinerary
Overnight Flight1 night
Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Athens today.

Athens2 nights
Day 2: Arrival in Athens
Included meal: Welcome dinner

Welcome to Greece! Settle into your hotel. Then, gather with your Tour Director and fellow solo group members. You’ll get to know each other at a mixer before enjoying a welcome dinner, served with beer or wine.  

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Athens
Included meal: Breakfast

Nothing can prepare you for the sheer sense of awe you’ll feel when you come face-to-face with Athens—where ancient architecture and artifacts coexist with modern life. Meet up with your dedicated local guide, who will introduce you to the highlights of this bustling capital. 

  • Pass by the Panathenaic Stadium, built entirely out of marble—the only such stadium in the world. 
  • Continue to Syntagma Square—home to the neoclassical Greek Parliament building—and admire the plaza’s imposing marble steps, fountain, and lush shade trees. 
  • Gaze upon the Arch of Hadrian, built to honor the Roman emperor, and imagine how its Pentelic marble stones were carted more than 11 miles from Mount Pentelikon in 131 A.D. 
  • View the remains of the sixth-century Temple of Zeus and gaze up at its 16 ornate Corinthian columns. 
  • Drive through Plaka. Situated at the foot of the Acropolis, this district is one of the oldest parts of Athens and is known as “the neighborhood of the gods” due to the dozens of monuments strewn throughout. 
  • Set off on a walking tour around the ancient Acropolis—site of the Parthenon, Temple of Athena Nike, and Erechtheion. You may have seen these enduring icons of antiquity in books and films, but now you’re stepping through the work of craftsmen who quarried and honed these marble blocks thousands of years ago.  

Olive oil, feta, seafood, and fresh herbs are hallmarks of Greek cuisine. If you choose to join the Greek cooking class and dinner, you’ll get acquainted with this tapestry of flavors before devouring your creations over included beer or wine.   

You can also use your free afternoon in Athens to explore on your own. Head back to the Plaka district or wander through Anafiotika on the northeast slope of the Acropolis. The latter neighborhood dates to the 19th century and is chock-full of charming, whitewashed cottages and vibrantly hued doors, the likes of which you might have seen—or will see soon—on Santorini. 

Greek Cooking Class & Dinner

From $135 per person

Crete2 nights
Day 4: Flight to Crete & sightseeing tour
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Fly to Crete, the largest of the Greek islands, this afternoon. The birthplace of the ancient Minoan civilization, Crete is home to the legendary tales of King Minos, the labyrinth, and the Minotaur. Remnants of Minoan civilization can be found across the island, and its diverse landscape ranges from lush valleys and dramatic gorges to mountains, and beaches. Expect to be embraced by the locals’ friendliness—perhaps alongside a shot of raki, a strong brandy made of distilled grape skins that’s offered as a sign of hospitality.  

Board your bus and cruise past Crete’s olive tree-covered terrain surrounding Heraklion—an ancient port town that was once the hub of the Minoans, Europe’s first civilization—where you’ll set off on a guided tour. 

 

  • Visit the ruins of the Bronze Age palace of Knossos. Part administrative center, part place of worship, it held a special place at the heart of Minoan culture (and was where, according to myth, King Minos imprisoned the Minotaur in the heart of a labyrinth). 
  • See the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, home of the world’s preeminent collection of Minoan art and many artifacts taken from the excavation of Knossos and other dig sites around Crete. 

Sit down for an included dinner this evening, served with beer or wine. 

Day 5: Free day in Crete
Included meal: Breakfast

Looking to experience centuries of cultural diversity? Join the excursion to Chania, a coastal city on Crete’s northwestern shore that has passed between Greek, Venetian, and Ottoman hands through the years. Embark on a walking tour of Chania’s Old Town, a historic quarter tinged by Venetian heritage that also happens to boast a thriving Jewish community.  

You can also use your free day to enjoy Cretan cuisine—grilled seafood and local cheeses like mizithra—at one of the island’s many seaside tavernas or stroll along the warm sands of a beach or three.  

Chania

From $119 per person

Santorini2 nights
Day 6: Ferry to Santorini, wine tasting & Oia village visit
Included meals: Breakfast, Wine tasting, Light dinner

You’ve seen the photos—now get ready to star in them yourself. Your scene-stealing backdrop? Steep cliffs that plunge into the Aegean and Santorini’s iconic caldera, dotted with whitewashed buildings. Take a ferry to Santorini and spend the evening under the winding vines of a local winery.  

Santorini’s nutrient-rich volcanic soil lends itself perfectly to growing wine grapes. Get to know the island’s unique vineyards during an excursion to a local winery. 

  • Tour the winery and learn how its grapevines are trained to grow close to the ground to protect themselves from the strong ocean winds. 
  • Sit down for a light dinner in the vineyard and sip your way through a sommelier-guided tasting featuring locally produced wines, including assyrtiko and vinsanto.  

After dinner, pay a visit to the picturesque village of Oia, perched atop the cliffs of the Santorini caldera. You might just catch a glimpse of the evening sun melting into the Aegean in fiery bursts of pink, orange, and red as you stroll between whitewashed buildings stacked with colorful rooftops.  

Day 7: Sightseeing tour of Santorini
Included meal: Breakfast

Your guided tour of Santorini will take you from dramatic black-sand beaches to jagged cliff-lined shores and back—a stark contrast to the island’s beloved whitewashed buildings and sprays of bright fuchsia bougainvillea vines. 

  • Visit the archaeological excavations at Akrotiri, a settlement buried in volcanic ash, where richly pigmented Bronze Age frescoes and other Minoan artifacts survived a devastating volcanic eruption in the 16th century B.C. 
  • Ride to the top of Mount Profitis Ilias for panoramic views of Santorini, neighboring island chains, and the blue waters kissing the horizon. 
  • Stop in small, picturesque Pyrgos, where you’ll weave through the steep streets of this slightly off-the-beaten-path village. The ancient capital of Santorini enjoys a more laid-back atmosphere and views for days.   

Choose to hop on a catamaran for a steal-your-breath-away dinner cruise starring the cliffside village of Oia—Santorini’s calling card. You can also spend your free afternoon poking around authentic shops and sampling the local wine if you’re craving time to explore on your own. 

Santorini Caldera Cruise & Dinner

From $149 per person

Athens1 night
Day 8: Flight to Athens
Included meals: Breakfast, Farewell dinner

Spend a final morning in Santorini before flying back to Athens—perhaps enjoying a sunrise stroll to memorialize your bold, brave solo adventure or indulging in some shopping to pick up a few mementos to take home. 

This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant, served with beer or wine, as you celebrate your trip with your fellow group members. 

Flight Home
Day 9: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home or extend your stay to explore the Eternal City—Rome. You’ll spend two days falling in love with a city that’s older than Italy itself. Your itinerary gives you plenty of opportunities to enjoy Rome as an epicenter of food and faith, or free time to weave through the city on your own.  

Extension to Rome
Have your sights (and taste buds) set on more art, history, and food? Rome is sure to deliver. Whether you play time-traveler while hopping between historic sites or try to check as many items off your foodie bucket list as you can, the days are yours to seize, and we’re here to help. Soak in the scenery and admire the highlights during guided tours and free time to do as you please.
Rome3 nights
Day 9: Flight to Rome
Included meal: Breakfast

Have your sights (and taste buds) set on more art, history, and food? Rome is sure to deliver. Whether you play time-traveler while hopping between historic sites or try to check as many items off your foodie bucket list as you can, the days are yours to seize, and we’re here to help. Soak in the scenery and admire the highlights during guided tours and free time to do as you please. 

Food of Rome: Walking Tour of Trastevere

From $135 per person

Day 10: Sightseeing tour of Rome
Included meal: Breakfast

Follow in the footsteps of the ancient Romans on a guided walking tour to discover its beautiful, Meet a local guide for a morning walk through central Rome, visiting the Eternal City’s bewitching squares and fountains. 

  • Start at the Spanish Steps to view the Fontana della Barcaccia, a sculptural fountain in the shape of a sunken ship overflowing with water, commemorating the flooding of the Tiber River in 1598.  
  • Continue to the iconic Trevi Fountain, built in the 18th century to celebrate water and the god Oceanus, dripping with Baroque glamor, statues, and intricate carvings. 
  • Pause for a gelato break—pistachio? Chocolate? Better get both—and continue to the Pantheon to enter the best preserved ancient Roman temple dating to the second century. Feast your eyes on its perfect symmetry and engineering brilliance.  
  • Finish at the sumptuous Piazza Navona, site of Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers. We especially love it illuminated after nightfall if you’d like to return.  

 

Later, you won’t want to skip the guided tour of St. Paul’s Basilica—one of Rome’s four major papal basilicas. You can also choose to spend your free afternoon in Rome exploring on your own. Be sure to ask your Tour Guide for recommendations.  

(Please note: On some departures, the Rome sightseeing tour and the Ancient Rome: St. Paul’s Basilica & the Catacombs excursion may take place on day 11 and the Iconic Sights: Vatican City excursion may take place on day 10.) 

(Please note: Entrance to the Pantheon may not be possible on certain days, your tour will explore the Pantheon’s exterior instead.) 

Ancient Rome: St. Paul’s Basilica & the Catacombs

From $89 per person

Day 11: Free day in Rome
Included meals: Breakfast, Farewell dinner

It’s your final full day in Rome. Whether you want to take it easy over a morning cappuccino or admire the exquisite art and architecture of the Galleria Borghese, use your free day at your leisure. Add an excursion to the sacred walls of Vatican City, where the Sistine Chapel’s venerated ceiling fresco, St. Peter’s Basilica, and countless masterpieces await. 

Looking for something off the beaten path? Use your free day to descend into the eerie underground chambers of the Capuchin Crypt—also known as the bone chapel, adorned with skeletal remains in a unique display of artistic macabre. 

This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner, served with beer or wine, as you celebrate your trip with your fellow group members. 

(Please note: On some departures, the Iconic Sights: Vatican City excursion may take place on day 10 and the Rome sightseeing tour and the Ancient Rome: St. Paul’s Basilica & the Catacombs excursion may take place on day 11.

Iconic Sights: Vatican City

From $125 per person

Flight Home
Day 12: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

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Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Overall rating 4.6 out of 5

Based on 87 authentic traveler reviews
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    5 out of 5 stars

    The best vacation ever!
    4/28/22 by 1st-time traveler Jennifer

    Our tour guide was amazing! The group became such close friends that we have gone on other trips together since and, even though we are scattered all over North America, we stay in touch. We are currently trying to fight out our next adventure! Greece was magical and the excursions were amazing! I h...

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    EF Go Ahead Tours replied on 12/12/23

    Hi Jennifer! Thank you so much for your kind revie...

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    4 out of 5 stars

    10/14/23 by 4th-time traveler Anonymous

    4 out of 5 stars

    Fantastic First Solo Tour!
    10/7/23 by 4th-time traveler Paula

    My first solo tour was fantastic! 20 women!! We spent just enough time in Athens to see a lot of things. I skipped the optional cooking class and spent the afternoon walking 11 miles to see everything on my list. The city was fairly easy to navigate. It was a gorgeous day with perfect weather. Cl...

    Read more +
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    Hotels, flights & FAQ

    Here's the nitty-gritty—where you’ll stay, how you’ll get there, and what to know about your destination before you go.

    Hotels

    We handpick every hotel to strike the balance of comfort, location, and local charm. Specific accommodations will vary based on your departure date, but these are frequently used hotels for this tour and we're confident you'll be satisfied.
    Brown Acropol
    Brown Acropol

    This cosmopolitan hotel is located in Athen's Omonia Square. Guests enjoy high-end rooms, rooftop restaurant with spectacular views and jacuzzis. Near...

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    MAR n MAR Santorini Hotel & Suites
    MAR n MAR Santorini Hotel & Suites

    This sophisticated hotel is located in the Kamari Village on Santorini island. Guests enjoy the outdoor pool, views of the Aegean Sea, and spa lounge....

    Read more +
    Galaxy Hotel Iraklio
    Galaxy Hotel Iraklio

    This luxe hotel is located in Heraklion. Guests enjoy restaurants, the outdoor pool, and spa. Nearby, you’ll find Lions’ Square, Ammoudara Beach, and ...

    Read more +
    Hotel Massimo D'Azeglio
    Hotel Massimo D'Azeglio

    This historic hotel is located in central Rome. Guests enjoy a restaurant, bar and lounge, and fitness area. Nearby, you’ll find the train station, Te...

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    FAQ

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